Two Missions

On Saturday, I stood next to one of my best friends, Tony, as people filed past the casket of his son, Tyler.

I was amazed at how strong he was throughout the viewing. It was hard for me to imagine being in his shoes. I can’t really imagine it. You’d have to live it before you could understand it fully. The death of a son just recently home from a mission. His whole life ahead of him, then suddenly gone. No cause of death. Just gone.

While standing there, Tony’s bishop came up with a frame. It held two things: Tyler’s mission call from President Gordon B. Hinckley on the left and these verses on the right:

But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.

And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.

These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.

—D&C 138:30–33

Then his bishop said, “This was his first mission,” pointing to his call from President Hinckley. “And this is the mission he’s on now,” pointing to the verses from the Doctrine and Covenants.

That’s when it started made sense to me. How else could I make any logical sense of it? This comment from Tyler’s mission president’s wife captured it:

We will miss you, and we know you are continuing your missionary work over on the other side…Those with such perfect…pure love of Christ in their hearts and mind, leave this mortal life young…You were just a precious, perfect, positive…person. It was in your eyes, your heart and your actions. I knew you were special when I first met you. Goodbye, Elder Graham. We will meet again before the Lord.

What a tribute to a guileless young man, too pure it seems to continue on earth.

I pray to have the patience of Tyler’s family, to endure what I cannot understand, knowing in the end that I can understand and accept what is, for now, unfathomable.

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