You can probably say that about any one of us. We all change as we age, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. Things that were important to us when we were young, aren’t all that important anymore. Things that we never thought about when we were teenagers, often become the very thing around which our lives now revolve. Granted, some of us change more than others. I am amazed when I encounter someone that I haven’t seen in years, and although physically different, mentally they are still teenagers; in many ways they are emotionally stunted.
Well, I have changed in just about every way imaginable. If you haven’t seen me in 40 years, and saw me again for the first time today, it is quite likely that you would not recognize me. And if you were reading this without knowing who had written it, you would never know that Cary Martinez was the author.
Of all the changes I have seen in myself, the most striking one is in understanding what is important, and what is not. The thing of most importance to me as a teenager was, well, me! Yes I was interested in music, but only because I wanted to be a musician. I was very manipulative, and pretty much everything I did or said was based on a selfish motivation: what would make me happy right now. Today, the thing of most importance is my family; my wife and my children, my parents and siblings, and in fact, all of my extended family. My material possessions mean nothing to me compared to the people I love. I have recently lost an adult son to an untimely death, and I would give away everything I own, to have him back with me again.
What has held me together, mentally, and emotionally, is my faith, my belief, even my knowledge of our purpose in this mortal life, and my knowledge that I can have my family with me forever. And that is why I am a Latter Day Saint (formerly known as Mormons). I am a Christian, although not what most Christians would call a “traditional” one. Latter-Day Saints practice a different kind of Christianity, which is why we are rejected as “true Christians” by some. I am not writing this blog because I feel I need to convert the world to my beliefs. I am writing because I feel a responsibility to let my family and friends know why I believe what I believe; how I know what I know; why I am so completely different from that reckless and misguided young person I was some 45 years ago.
So, if you would like to continue reading, I would like you to do a couple of things for me. First, leave your own beliefs at the door. I’m not asking you to abandon your faith, but simply try not to allow it to influence or color what you read here. Enter with an open mind. Easier said than done, right? But, just, for a few moments, try not to worry about whether you believe in the same things that Latter Day Saints believe. For a moment just strip yourself down mentally to the basic “you”. Without regards to religion or any other belief systems, answer these questions: What do you believe to be important in your life? What are the most important things to you?
If your life is all about success in your career or in business, then you should find a religion, or belief system that deals with that and that helps you to get ahead in those areas of your life. But the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about is helping you to be happy, and to have a happy family. It is about gaining an eternal perspective, one that extends beyond this mortal life. If personal relationships are important to you, if your spouse and your children are important to you, you probably would want them around you as much as they could be, even for eternity if such a thing were possible.
There are many things that I enjoy about my life. But if I could only keep one thing in my life, it would be my family. My wife is my closest and best friend. My children are my treasure. So, everything in my life revolves around my wife and my children. If this is the same for you, if you have these same feelings about your family, then it would be profitable for you to listen to what I have to say. I’m not selling anything. I don’t get brownie points for convincing someone of what I believe. It has just become the most important thing in my life, and when we have something important, we want to share it with the people that we care about. I want to share it with my extended family, and I want to share it with my friends.
Regardless of what some people may think, especially after reading this blog, I am not a religious fanatic. I do not want to convince the world that what I believe is true. That’s the nice thing about writing something in a blog. I can write what I want, I can tell everyone what I believe, and how it has completely changed the way I live, the way I view life and love, and you don't have to read it if you don't want to. If you think I’m just some nut trying to do a commercial for his religion, you can just close this page and go read something else. It’s that easy.
I feel a need to share what I know and what I believe with the people around me, because it has made me happy, and because I believe it to be true. And if it’s true, then it’s something everyone needs and everyone will benefit from having in their lives. But I don’t want to get in anyone’s face and bug you or bore you with things that don’t interest you. So, if you're interested in knowing how your family, your loved ones, can be with you forever, please continue reading. If you knew of some way that you could be with your family forever, would you be interested in it? For just a moment, don’t worry about what is or is not possible. If it were true, would it be important to you? Even if you think having your loved ones with you forever is just a fantasy or a dream, think about what it would be like. I’m telling you now that it's possible. That is what the true gospel of Jesus Christ is all about.
Before I start telling you how it’s possible, I want you to know that there is a way to find out for yourself if what I am telling you is true. That’s the cool thing about all of this. You don’t have to believe me. You don’t have to believe anyone else. You can go directly to the source and learn for yourself if what I say is true.
Interested? Come back for my next post on Friday, August 20.