Sunday, December 14, 2008

A great man passed away on December 1st 2008

At my Granddad's house 10 days before he passed away

A great man passed away on December 1st. He touched my life in more ways then I can even begin to write. He was a kind, strong, and gentle man. Most of you knew him as an Apostle of Jesus Christ. I knew him not only as an apostle but I also as my Granddad. He lived life to the fullest enjoying every step of the journey along the way. He was witty, wise, humble and very funny. My Mom’s Dad Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, left behind a legacy of faith and example to the world of how to live your life. As far as I am concerned, he was a perfect father to my Mom, husband to my Grandma, and Grandfather to me.

My Granddad confirmed me after my baptism. He gave me the priesthood at age 12. At this time he invited me to sit up on the stage at General Priesthood session with him, I regret to admit I was a stupid 12 year old that was more worried about what his friends might think than what would be a life long cherished memory and probably the closest I’d ever get to be sitting on that stage. I declined the invitation. He set me apart for my mission to Sydney, Australia, and all the miracles the Lord promised through that blessing came to pass. He married Ashley and me in the Salt Lake Temple and gave us some very wise counsel. He also told Ashley and me that one chapter a day (of the B.O.M) will keep the adversary away, and also a couple who prays together stays together. This advise we have strived to live by.

There was two times as a missionary he helped change the course of my mission, with out even visiting my mission. The first time came in the form of a letter. When I was a missionary we received a lot of persecution. I remember when I was first out I wrote my Granddad, and told him about some of those experiences. I must have sounded like I was complaining and discouraged. He wrote me back, and said that a wise German Mission President once told me, "The toughest seas make the best captains." I found a picture of a boy captaining a ship with Jesus Christ by his side and hung it on my wall with that quote. It changed my mission and my life. I realized the Lord was molding me it to what he wanted me to be, not who I thought I should be!

At my Mission Farewel with my Mom and Grandparents

Another experience I had on my mission was when I was out six months, and I was discouraged. I wasn't having the success I wanted to have I didn't feel I was living up to my potential as a missionary. I also felt in sports all you had to do was work hard and you would see the results I found that the mission was different in so many ways. It wasn't until a gift came to me in the mail that help me fill in the missing pieces. This gift came in the form of a church magazine. Inside the magazine was a talk my grandfather had given called, “Lessons Learned in the Journey of Life.” This talk also made a huge impact on me. I followed the 5 steps he described and I became the missionary I knew the Lord wanted me to be. As I read the talk I could feel my Granddad speak to me, his voice seemed to jump off the page. In order to get the five steps I suggest you read the talk it could change your life as it changed mine:)
After my mission he helped me make the most important decision in my life, prior to moving to New York City. I thought I was confused and didn’t know what to do. I was living my dream playing college football for the same crimson football team he played for. I loved Ashley so much, but I knew if we were going to get married I was going to have to move to be with her and give up my dream of playing for the University of Utah. I knew this in my heart already but sometimes it takes wise council to point out the obvious. He told me sometimes if in life we come to a cross roads he said, “You are at this point,” he asked, “Do you love her”? I said, “yes of coarse but can’t we wait to be married?” He said, “In this life there are windows of time for us to make the right decision, don’t let that window of time pass you by.” With out telling me what to do he told me, “marriage is more important than football and besides they have college football out east.”

Joseph B. "Speedy" Wirthlin playing football for the University of Utah.

I have never looked back and know realize how important that decision was that I made. Ashley and Samuel mean more to me then anything in the whole world, even more than Utah Football:) My Granddad loved Ashley he used to tell me what I already knew he would say, “You have the most wonderful wife, she is so beautiful, strong in the gospel, and down to earth.” We will all miss my Granddad but I am so happy he is with my Grandma. He will soon have a full head of hair again and his strong athletic build back, There might have even been signs that read, “welcome home Speedy Wirthlin.” I imagine the reunion with my Grandma was one of the sweetest in the history of heaven! As I live my life I hope to live in a way that would honor him and make him proud.

On my Grandparent's Wedding day, May 26th 1941.