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 Short Story

The Self We Want To Be

By James H. Lee Jr.

Some years ago I was working in this big warehouse at night, all by myself, and turned on the radio so that I could listen to Elder Paul H. Dunn, one of the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, share his message, along with the Mormon Youth Chorus and Symphony. It was on a Sunday night. I had to work nights in order to be free to attend church on Sunday, and working for a bakery requires Sunday night laboring to load the trucks with merchandise for the route salesmen to deliver on Monday.

Anyway, on this particular night, Elder Dunn said that it was very important that we shape our life and our destiny, and not be shaped by life and our trials and problems and temptations and wrong choices, because ultimately we were responsible for every choice we make in life, and will have to account for each one. He said we need to choose to live a good life, so that when we look ourselves in the mirror at night, we can be proud of what we see.

After his talk was over, I turned off the radio, and began working on putting up the orders. As I was standing there, a phrase suddenly came into my heart and mind which was "If we but shape our destiny, we can become the self we want to be." I thought, "Wow!! I need to write that down." So I went over to my desk and picked up a pencil and a piece of paper and wrote down that phrase, and as soon as I had recorded it, another line came, and another, and another. Finally I said, "don't go so fast. I can't write that fast." But the message kept coming until it was through, and I wrote as fast as I could so as not to miss a word. This was the very first poem I had ever received without some labor on my part to create it. It is recorded in my very first spiral notebook as number 42.

Suddenly it came to me that this had to be a witness from the Holy Ghost of what Elder Dunn had shared that night with me. So I picked up the paper, and began reading what I had written. As I did so, I burst into tears, and cried for a half hour because I knew that message was what I needed at that very moment in my life to go on.

In the midst of my tears . . . I suddenly felt an outpouring of love like I had never known in my life. I felt the present of the Savior, surrounding me with love, like an aura, and I couldn't stop the tears from flooding my cheeks, even as they are at this very moment. I knew without any doubt that God loved me and so did Jesus, and I decided that I had to memorize that message that very night, so that at any time in my life when I was feeling down and out, or struggling with challenges in my life, that I could recite that message, and remember the great love which I felt that night from the Savior of the world. I spent the whole night, as I put up the orders for the routes, memorizing that poem, amidst my tears. And before morning, I had committed it to memory, and have recited it many times since, and felt that same feeling of love flow into my soul, from my Savior and friend.

I submit to you this day, amidst my tears, the message which I received that night, when it was made known unto me that God loves me, and so does Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, and if He loves me, after all the wrong choices I have made in my life, I know with all my heart and soul that He loves you, too.

Here is the message that I was inspired to write that night. May it touch your heart as it has mine so many times in my life, and may you have a wonderful day. Shared with much love and appreciation for your love and friendship, and for the Savior's continued guidance and direction in my life.
James H. Lee Jr.
Copyright 2004

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