There is always that bit of shock when you hear that someone you have loved and admired, has passed. We got a text from our son on the early morning of Wednesday, January 3rd, that President Thomas S. Monson had passed away peacefully on Tuesday night the 2nd. The shock was replaced with a happiness for him that he had finished his race. Truly, what an example of living such a life of service and love! My next thought was the loving and happy reunion with his wife, Frances.
As I have thought about President Monson’s life this week I thought I would post one of my favorite stories he has told, that has had a great effect on our family.
President Monson started, in a General Conference talk1, saying that one of the pleasures of living in a city is to escape the office and take a walk and admire the store windows of each store.
“One Wednesday I paused before the elegant show window of a prestigious furniture store. That which caught and held my attention was not the beautifully designed sofa nor the comfortable appearing chair that stood at its side. Neither was it the beautiful chandelier positioned overhead. Rather, my eyes rested on a small sign that had been placed at the bottom right-hand corner of the window. Its message was brief: “FINISHERS WANTED.”
“The store had need of those persons who possessed the talent and the skill to make ready for final sale the expensive furniture the firm manufactured and sold. “Finishers Wanted.” The words remained with me as I returned to the pressing activities of the day.’
“From the very beginning to the present time, a fundamental question remains to be answered by each who runs the race of life. Shall I falter, or shall I finish? Only the answer awaits the blessings of joy and happiness here in mortality and eternal life in the world to come.”
This phrase has become one of our foundational sayings in our family. When the dishes weren’t quite done because the counters weren’t’t wiped, I would sing out “Finisher’s Wanted!” I used it constantly to reinforce the principle of not leaving something undone. I want my children to hear it in their heads when I’m not there. Recently I heard my oldest daughter who has been out of our house for many years say to a sibling she was helping, “ Hey, don’t leave that! Finishers Wanted!” It’s transferred to the next generation!
I also look for any examples where I can point out Finishers to my children:
A few years ago, I was walking by the front window of my house and noticed that the garbage cans were being loaded into the garbage truck. They were green cans full of yard waste. I stopped to watch the truck in its machinations. My youngest walked by and stopped too and we saw that the claw on the truck had missed our can and knocked it over spilling branches and clippings all over the road that we had filled to the brim the previous weekend. “Look Cam! Let’s see what the man will do. Will he leave it and drive away or get out and pick the garbage can up?” To our surprise, he jumped out and picked up the spilled branches, stuffed them in the can, picked up the rest of the spilled leaves and debris, and then jumped back in the truck. He got the claw to pick up the can the right way this time, dumping the entire contents into his truck. “Cam! He’s a Finisher! He could have driven away and left that mess for us, but he didn’t! He cleaned it up and left with the job well done! He is a Finisher!”
I love this one Finisher gem of the many, many, many that President Monson shared over the years to help us run the race of life. We will hear through the next weeks until his funeral on the 12th, about his life of service, compassion and life as an apostle. He has influenced millions of us and I am so grateful he was able to be our prophet. “We Thank Thee Oh God, For a Prophet!”