Why I still love Neal A. Maxwell

As a young single adult, I was a spiritual admirer of Elder Neal A. Maxwell.  I loved the way he used words to create images and analogies that helped me better understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He died the day that Clark was born.  I like to think they gave each other a hug somewhere in the “wormhole” between here and the spirit world.  Now that I am a mother and (maybe) a little bit wiser, I love him even more.

“Occasionally some individuals let the seeming ordinariness of life dampen their spirits. Though actually coping and growning, others lack the quiet, inner-soul satisfaction that can steady them, and are experiencing instead, a lingering sense that there is something more important they should be doing . . .as if what is quietly achieved in righteous individual living or in parenthood are not sufficiently spectacular.”

“If we spent as much time lifting our children as we do criticizing them, how effectively we could help them to see themselves in a more positive light!”

“Some mothers in today’s world feel “cumbered” by home duties and are thus attracted by other more “romantic” challenges. Such women could make the same error of perspective that Martha made. The woman, for instance, who deserts the cradle in order to help defend civilization against the barbarians may well later meet, among the barbarians, her own neglected child.”

“God’s extraordinary work is most often done by ordinary people in the seeming obscurity of a home and family.”

“One’s life … cannot be both faith-filled and stress-free…Therefore, how can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, ‘Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!’ …Real faith … is required to endure this necessary but painful developmental process.”

“When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time. The women of God know this.”

“Obviously, family values mirror our personal priorities. Given the gravity of current conditions, would parents be willing to give up just one outside thing, giving that time and talent instead to the family? Parents and grandparents, please scrutinize your schedules and priorities in order to ensure that life’s prime relationships get more prime time! Even consecrated and devoted Brigham Young was once told by the Lord, “Take especial care of your family” (D&C 126:3). Sometimes, it is the most conscientious who need this message the most!”

“We salute you, sisters, for the joy that is yours as you rejoice in a baby’s first smile and as you listen with eager ear to a child’s first day at school which bespeaks a special selflessness. Women, more quickly than others, will understand the possible dangers when the word self is militantly placed before other words like fulfillment. You rock a sobbing child without wondering if today’s world is passing you by, because you know you hold tomorrow tightly in your arms.”

And finally, this was my favorite quote that I printed out and carried in my planner for almost the entire decade of my 20s.  It still rings true today:

“Throughout scripture we encounter the need for us to remember that the Lord has His own timetable for unfolding things; it will not always accord with our schedules or our wants. When, in our extremities, we urgently call for a divine response, there may be, instead, a divine delay. This is not because God, at the moment, is inattentive or loves us less than perfectly. Rather, it is because we are being asked, at the moment, to endure more for the welfare of our souls. The blessed meek understand that God loves them even when they may not be able to explain the meaning of what is happening to them or around them.”

What a great man.