“Don’t lose your voice,” Jeffrey R. Holland said today. “Never lose your voice!”
I’ll try to comply.
My dad was a brilliant man—in some things. An avid outdoorsman, he deeply understood intricate concepts like migratory birds and trout streams. In other subjects, however, Dad was genuinely baffled. His fascinated, inquisitive mind is something we loved about him, and he asked lots of questions. He definitely taught us kids to do the same! Having natural curiosity about many things, however, does not mean it’s easier to grasp the answers. Take, for example, the day Dad admitted to my son-in-law, an engineer, “I’ve always wondered how ships are able to float. Can you explain that to me?” What followed was a memorable evening full of laughs and love. Sprinkled throughout the explanation were smiles and diagrams, buoyancy and displacement factors, until at last Dad shrugged his shoulders. “I guess it’s a matter of knowing when to keep the doors opened and closed.” Then Dad smiled at me and picked up a newspaper. My son-in-law looked at me quizzically. Frankly, I hadn’t learned how ships stay afloat either. So I was no help. But I’d certainly been entertained watching these two men, whom I adore, go through their dialogue!
And here we are now. I’m still reeling from the rapid decline of my father’s health. As of this writing, Dad’s funeral is fresh on my mind. The cemetery flowers are only slightly wilted. Imagining the rest of my life without his presence is surreal. Impossible to fathom. Undeniable heaviness.
But somehow there’s this buoyancy factor. Things I’ve known and loved all my life are displaced just as the water splashes away from the hull of a ship as it is launched. Faith in a merciful God, absolute knowledge in life after death, and an abundance of loving family, friends, and co-workers are all keeping me afloat. I wish to express my deepest gratitude and graciousness to so many, many of you at this time. You’ve been there for me. The hull is large and spacious and adequate. We’re moving slowly, But we’re moving.