January 25th, 2011, I was having a black, depressing day. My trading business was doing lousy, and the job search was fruitless. Depression was overwhelming me. I did not want to talk to anybody. Everyone and everything annoyed me. Since I had accepted a Church welfare assignment at Deseret Dairy for that morning, I showed up for my scheduled assignment but remained unresponsive to the usual banter of the production line. Our job was truly mindless, counting out and placing packets of powdered gelatin in boxes -just what I needed to forget my perceived troubles.
One of the volunteers was an old man, born and raised in Utah, a redneck, retired carpenter, who volunteers there a couple of times each week. He happily babbled on and on about nothing at all. I heard about his breakfast cereal and what he put on it and why, a horse he once owned. On and on he rambled I only wished he would just shut up and leave me alone.
Then surprisingly, he said that he has a son who is now his daughter. I perked up, waiting to hear the standard blather about how awful this was. To my astonishment, he described how he now speaks to her by phone every day and is so proud of all she accomplishes -accomplishments he of course described in annoying detail.
After confessing that his wife and family did not and would not accept this gender change, he declared, "They are still your child". Continuous, honest and heartfelt love and respect was needed for this and any valued child, he assured us. Another gross misjudgment on my part. My first impression, as usual, was totally wrong. Here was a true father in the highest and best sense. We only understand these confusing issues in part. That requires tender restraint on our part in dealing with it.
This of course leads to the much broader lesson for parents. "They are still your child". Our children, family members and friends will likely, at some point in our lives, disappoint us deeply. Even when they wound us to the very heart, they are still our children or friends. Our responsibility is to love them for what they are and can become. For those who were blessed to be part of Margaret Hansen’s family extended family, you know from first hand experience how one of God’s choicest Saints loved and praised everyone without exception.
Finally, by sending me this sweet experience on one of my worst days, God plainly taught me the lesson that I am his child, and that he loves me enough to pull me out of a deep hole. Can he do that for all of us? Are we too far gone? He says, “Never, Never, Never.”