About two months ago, I toured the Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. This was one of the most memorable museums I visited as a child. As a young person, I was memorized by the size of the shuttles and aircrafts on display. However, this most recent trip was memorable for a different reason.
My grandpa worked as a mechanical engineer on the Apollo missions. He helped put man on the moon. As I walked around the museum soaking in all of the information shared, I couldn’t help but think of him. There in that museum reflected so much of what he devoted his professional life to, and now millions of visitors each year come to learn about the Apollo missions.
However, I think if you were to ask my grandpa what the greatest accomplishment of life is, it would have nothing to do with the Apollo missions. Instead he would say his greatest accomplishment is his posterity.
My grandpa passed away two years ago yesterday. Consequently, you can’t ask him this question. But I do believe what he most cherishes about his life is his family. Certainly his professional skills contributed to amazing advancements in the field of science. And while there is no museum depicting the lives of his family, I believe his greatest joy has come from seeing us grow.
Last week I was at a professional conference and was surprised when the closing keynote posed this question to the audience, “What are you leaving behind for someone else to cherish?” His question wasn’t focused on professional accolades but on human relationships.
It can be so easy to forget that what matters most is human relationships – be it family relationships, friendships, or even acquaintances. Certainly we all “know” this, but do our actions reflect this knowledge?
No one will reward me for taking five minutes to write a note to a friend; no one will say good job for including struggling friends’ or family members’ petitions in my prayers; and not one person will probably even notice if I spend an evening baking cookies for a neighbor. Yet, if my presentation at work goes well next week, people will notice; if I win an award for my professional efforts, people will applaud; and if I help meet the strategic goals of my team at work, our success will be rewarded. However, in the grand view of eternity, my professional accomplishments really mean nothing in comparison to the relationships I form with others.
I am grateful for the example of my grandpa, my parents, and others, who teach me through the way they live their lives that human relationships matter most. The greatest example of this is the Savior Jesus Christ. As Isaiah said:
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs , and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
The Savior, despite all the persecution he faced, always knew that human relationships mattered most. He knew that through his suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross and through his resurrection, we would be provided the opportunity for eternal life and the ability to live with God and our families forever. That is what matters most.
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