A dear friend and his wife sent me an e-mail in 2006 that is so powerful I have shared it at this time of year over the years. The things we see, are not always what they seem, which makes this so appropriate. Feel free to share it if you are led to do so.
Heavenly Father, help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night could be a single father who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with his children.
Help us remember that the pierced, tatooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly could be a worried 19 year old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.
Remind us Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job) could be a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmare.
Help us remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress could be savoring this moment, knowing that based on the biopsy report she got last week, this will be the last year they go shopping together.
Heavenly father, remind us each day that of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.
To Dwayne and Beverly, I am so thankful you shared what God put on your heart with me so so many years ago. It is the gift that continues to touch lives and yes, causes us to "Contemplate".
May God Continue To Richly Bless You.
Elder Thomas W. Burgess