In high school I had to take a “Careers” class. I only remember two things from that class:
We watched a video on sexual harassment one day. The video warned about giving “meaningful looks.” What the heck are “meaningful looks?” I was a teenage boy. And now I was terrified of being sued for looking at the girls around me.
Another day we took an aptitude test. My results said I should be an artist. No way. I couldn’t make money as an artist. I enjoyed writing and drawing, but I didn’t think I could support a family doing those things.
I went to college to be an engineer. That didn’t last long. Before long I was just taking the classes that sounded fun. I only went when I felt like it. My grades suffered.
I got a letter from the college. They told me to take a term off to think about my life. Then I could ask to come back.
I wasn’t going to beg to come back. Forget that!
I got a call center job. I hated it, but the money was okay. I spent the next few years bouncing from one call center job to another.
Five years later I went back to school to learn Japanese. I decided to take some other fun classes while I was at it. After a year I started getting more serious. It didn’t take long to burn out after that.
Years later I was out of work. By then I’d gotten married. I had a son. I applied at the call centers I’d worked at before. They never got back to me. I didn’t have any other experience.
My wife said I should go back to school. I’d been wanting to for a while. I majored in Computer Science. I was excited at first, but my heart wasn’t in it for long.
My grades went downhill. My adviser told me I’d have to change majors.
I left school instead. I applied to an online university. They wanted me to get a computer certification before enrolling.
I started studying for the certification tests. I couldn’t focus. I was so bored.
I went to college for six-and-a-half years. I have zero degrees. There were some fun and interesting parts, but mostly it was a waste of my time. And not just because I didn’t get that parchment.
I worked in call centers for a few more years. My last job laid me off. A few months later I was separated and living in my mom’s basement.
I’ve spent twenty years pursuing things I thought would make me money, and making myself miserable. I’d say it was a waste, but at least I’ve learned something from it:
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?
Imagine the best father ever.
Then multiply that by a billion. By Infinity.
That’s Heavenly Father.
The perfect father. The perfect man.
He knows us perfectly. Better than we know ourselves. Better than we think we know ourselves.
He loves all of us, unconditionally. No matter what we do.
He loves us all equally. Whether we’re kings or paupers.
He gives us all we need to succeed. We just have to ask.
He gave us a Savior. He was willing to watch His only begotten son suffer. Imagine only having one son who carries your genes. Then imagine watching Him suffer for the sins of everyone who ever lived. Everyone, including the people who mock Him and you. Including the people who deny either of you existed. The people who say they don’t need you. Not only does He suffer for everyone’s sins, but he feels all their sickness. Their afflictions. Sadness. Depression. Anxieties. Every negative thing ever to happen to anyone, anywhere. And all you can do is watch. Whenever one of my boys gets hurt, my first impulse is to run to them. I can’t imagine what it was like. I’m sure it was all He could do in that moment to hold Himself back.
He is infinitely patient. I’m especially grateful for that. I don’t think there’d be hope for me if He wasn’t.
He gives us agency. He lets us choose. Will we make use of the Atonement? Give up? Keep trying?
If we do keep trying, he makes sure all things work for our good.
If we keep trying he gives us strength to make it easier.
He listens to our prayers, and answers them. We just need to listen. He guides us and helps us to know what to do.
He knows all. The past. The future. The hidden. Our very thoughts.
He is understanding. Heavenly Father was once a mortal, too.
He is trustworthy. If He says something, it is so. He can’t lie or break His covenants.
He wants us to be like Him. To have everything He has. That is His purpose in life.