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:) http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=2614a1615ac0c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1
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.

21 comments:

Shelby and Mike Fenton said...

That is one of the best posts I have read. He was an awesome man and I am sure he is proud of you for the man you have become. If there is anything we can do let us know. See you in a few weeks amigo!

Lisa Loo said...

Matt that is such a sweet memoir of your grandpa. He sat by us for a few Utah games and there is no doubt he was a UTE! I'm so glad that you listened to his wisdom, we love having you in the family and how could we live without that little Samuel. I'm so sorry for your loss.
Love you guys -
Lisa

Brittany said...

Thanks for posting that Matt, it was so great to get more insight to such a great man's life!

Lisa R.D. said...

This was a great post Matt... I am glad to hear many of those experiences (why is it I hadn't heard them?). Hope you and Ashley and Samuel are well!

The Arbuckle's said...

what a wonderful tribute to your granddad. He was a great and strong man in the church and I know he has touched many lives, but I loved hearing your own personal stories with him and how he touched your life.

We are so sorry for your loss but what a great life and legacy he leaves behind.

Ashley and Matt said...

Hey Lisa aka sis, if you asked my YM at church or Ashley if they have heard these stories, they could probably quote them from memory :) I quess we need to share stories more.

Matt

Dave, Danielle and Luke said...

I loved reading this! Matt, that was such a sweet tribute and SO well written. It is easy to think that our apostles have always been older and wise so it was great to see his life through your words and pictures! He will be missed and we are so sorry for your loss. I am glad that both sets of your grandparents are together right now though. We can't wait to see you guys soon!

Whitney said...

touching post my friend and im sorry you lost your grandfather, the church lost a good servant! sorry it took so long to write u but i was working a ton and didnt have the time. I think u got the most important thing about death down, focus on the good things in their life and what they taught u and know where their going. i love u matt and remember kia kaha bro

Benjamin Gerritsen said...

That was a wonderful tribute to Granddad. I have really enjoyed reading the cousins blogs about Granddad and their memories of him.

Jen Chapman Kent said...

I'm so sorry for your loss...we all lost a great man! What great memories you have of him and thanks for sharing them with all of us! It's no surprise you are such an example to so many w/ a Granddad like him! Ok and I so remember seeing him @ your farewell too! Wow, where does time go?! Again, sorry for your loss! Take care & God bless!

Darleen said...

That was beautiful and such sweet memories of your grandfather. What a great man that he was!! And I had no idea that you were related. My memory of your grandfather--I met him once at the Lion House and was so excited that I got to meet an apostle. I think I was in elementary school. He was so nice and gave me the warmest smile. I never forgot it!

Christine said...

I loved this post! Your are right he has touched many people and given lots of wise council and advise. We are so glad that you married Ashley as well. You have a beautiful little family.
Love, Christine

Joslyn and Devin said...

Matt and Ashley, It's been awhile- but it was so good to read the touching tribute about "Granddad" and about Zion, and the little things going on in your life.

Jordan said...

That was very elegant Matt. It's obvious that you felt inspired to write that. Elder Wirthlin was/is an amazing soul. I remember when you introduced him to us at our seminary graduation. Just shaking his hand was an honor and I vividly remember feeling the spirit radiate from him so powerfully. To think what that experience showed me and subsequently how his talks touched me through the years, I can only imagine the magnitude of what you gained from him. You're a luck man. Even though I'm not affraid to give you a hard time and poke fun at some of your deficiencies (as any true friend would, to keep you humle), I in all honesty see the man you've become and am very impressed. It helps that you had a great mom, family, and now a great wife. Memories of those loved ones we've lost for a time will live on through our actions and our respect for the heritage they've established and left behind. You're doing a good job of that. I love you guys!

Melissa said...

Hi Matt and Ashley. It's Melissa Rock. That was the most beautifully written post. Wow, what an incredible man he is. Matt, you are well on your way to becoming the same. Thank you for sharing.
Hope all is well with you guys, your little man is absolutely adorable, what a darling family you are.
I hope you dont mind me stopping in every once in a while! Happy Holidays.

kj said...

Many of us were saddened by the loss of your grandfather. What a wonderful man. I loved reading this very personal memoir about a man that touched so many lives. Thank you for sharing it.

Jen Chapman Kent said...

Hey will you send me your e mail again @ brownsuga6702@comcast.net... I don't know how I didn't add it before? Thanks!

JT and Lizzie Davis said...

Hey guys. I just found your blog through the Jones's. This is a wonderful post, thank you for letting us all read it! Elder Wirthlin was in my stake in Utah where I grew up. He was a wonderful man & will be missed.

JT and Lizzie Davis said...

Oh, btw, we have a blog too, it is: www.jtandlizziedavis.blogspot.com

Daniel, Lyndsie and Makai said...

What a sweet tribute to your Granddad, Matt! He was a wonderful man. I always looked forward to hearing his conference talks. Hope you guys are doing well!

Dave, Danielle + Luke said...

UPDATE NOW PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!