Monday, November 22, 2010

Gum Wrappers

Today at church as I was sitting in the chapel waiting for the meeting to begin Tyler Poulson came up and handed me Jesse's scriptures while telling me that he'd found them at Jordon Robles where he is living right now.  I experienced a rush of mixed emotions, surprise,  happiness,  and then I burst into tears as I hugged Jesse's scriptures to me,  the pain of missing him flooding me suddenly.  Those around me comforted me,  Sherri Lambourne sitting in front of me,  Gwen Kaiser on my left gave me a tissue and told Tyler I needed a hug, Taeino, Gwen's daughter and Jesse's friend, slid over and held my hand,  mine were not the only tears.  I'd been talking to Gwen about our Thanksgiving plans and how it was difficult this year.

I looked through Jesse's scriptures,  noticing every little thing, his name inscribed on each book Harold Jesse Allen, a lesson on the Plan of Salvation, folded and between the two books, added pages inserted in special places, a piece of card stock with the simple phrase written by his own young hand -- I must never forget that I am a son on God.  I looked over his underlining while noticing all the places my thoughts took me, the memories associated with Jesse and his scriptures,  his hands -- little when he first received them at the age of 8 when he was baptized , and then large, strong hands as he was growing to manhood. There marking D&C 86 was a cobalt blue metallic gum wrapper.  I thought of the many times I'd passed out gum (after the sacrament) to my family, my boys, -- those sitting there in church with me. They knew who to ask :)  I remembered Jesse's head resting in my lap,  stroking his back and hair during the meeting.  How much I missed that.  How much I missed having him sitting there with us in church.  Maybe that is part of the reason that Sundays and church can be so hard now.  When Dennis came and sat down by me I showed him Jesse's scriptures and we both cried as we looked carefully through everything.

We looked at the papers he had in the pockets of his scripture case,  his temple recommend,  a ticket to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Dedication. 3 little pieces of papers with quotes  -
                                                            The True measure
  "You can describe a man in inches, pounds, complexion, or physique.  But you measure a man by character, compassion, integrity, tenderness and principle. Simply stated, the measures of a man are embedded in his heart and soul, not in his physical attributes."  (Bishop Richard C. Edgley,  Behold the Man, New Era, May 2000, 4)

"Essential to your success and happiness is the advice 'Choose your friends with caution'. We tend to become like those whom we admire, and they are usually our friends.  We should associate with those who, like us, are planning not for temporary convenience, shallow goals, or narrow ambition,-- but rather with those who value the things that matter most, even eternal objectives.  Maintain an eternal perspective!"  ( Thomas S. Monson, "'Be Thou an Example," Ensign, May 2005, 112)   My Patriarchal Blessing tells me to keep and Eternal Perspective and it is more vital now than ever before in my life.

President Ezra Taft Benson
"Give me a young man who has kept himself morally clean and has faithfully attended his Church meetings. Give me a young man who has magnified his priesthood and has earned his Duty to God Award. ... Give me a young man who is a seminary graduate and has a burning testimony of the Book of Mormon. Give me such a man, and I will give you a young man who can perform miracles for the Lord in the mission field and throughout his life."

I read through all the scriptures he had underlined and marked through out the 8 years he carried and used those scriptures.  I loved doing that.

So many of the verses in his scriptures that he marked I love and want to share -- here are a few.

In his Triple combination the book mark was between 2 Nephi 4 and 5 -- he had marked in yellow (the only scriptures he had marked in yellow) vs 34 and 35 -- "O Lord, I have trusted in thee and I will trust i thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm."  vs 35 "Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice into thee; yea, I will cry unto three, my God, the rick of my righteousness.  Behold, my voice shall forever ascent up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.

Other scriptures he had marked are --

2 Nephi 2:25, 27  "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."  vs 27 "Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man.  And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." (emphasis added by me :))

Mosiah 2:17 "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn, that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God."  That is the verse we put on the book marks we made with his picture and passed out.  He wrote in the margin -- Serving other serves God

2 Nephi 32:3 "Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore I say unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."   (He didn't underline the next vs but I love it -- vs 4 "Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.")
2 Nephi 32:8,9 "And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. for if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray." vs 9 "But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of they soul."

2 Nephi 25:26 "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."

I came home from church and opened a new package of gum,  not really paying attention to what flavor I was opening.  It just happened to be Cobalt -- the same flavor of the wrapper that I found in Jesse's scriptures -- I took the wrapper from the piece I got for myself and flattened it out just like the one in his scriptures and I put it in my scriptures marking the same spot I found it in his - D&C 86.  I know it's a small, silly and sentimental thing to do but it's a little reminder of the many Sundays together in church with Jesse and my family.  I thought of the little things we do, sometimes very significant in their meaning -- such as partaking of the sacrament -- things that remind us of very important things -- of covenants, sacrifice, the atonement, resurrection, love, and family.  I took a piece of Cobalt gum to Dennis my husband, and he too placed his wrapper in his scriptures marking D&C 86.

Gum wrappers -- memories and symbols of family and love.


  1. Mom I absolutely loved reading this. I'm so grateful Matt and I could be there the Sunday before when he gave his talk =) I think of that talk often and remember it was on Faith. The Lord was telling us all, preparing us, faith is what makes it sometimes bearable.

  2. Dear EliZabeth,

    What an experience, the synchronicities that sometimes escapes us because we are so busy seeing with our eyes and not our heart. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart connection of love and faith. Blessings dear friend.

  3. Thank you Glenna for coming here and sharing what I wrote and for your comments. I love you!

    Thank you Maria? Is this you? :) Thank you for coming here and sharing with us your beautiful heart.


  4. A glimpse of a sacred understanding that your soul came to, guided by Jesse. Thank you for sharing~~I KNOW what these moments mean to you. Thank you for being so unselfish, Jesse! And, bless you, Elizabeth...I see where he got it from.

  5. The gum wrapper----it all makes sense now. I'm crying. This was very touching to read. You have a very good son in Jesse and all around GOOD children. I LOVE YOU!!!!

  6. How a simple gum wrapper can become so deeply significant and connect you all beyond this earthly level ... beautiful and tender offering, dear Elizabeth. Poignant and so revealing of Jesse's heart and soul.

    Love and hugs.

  7. What a beautiful post Elizabeth. As I read it, I sat next to you and Dennis in the pew and went through the scriptures with you. As I cried with you, it caused me to reflect on the small and simple things in my daily life with my family, and think about all the "little things" that might invoke such meaningful sentiment. What a great reminder to notice things that I might take for granted otherwise.
    I love you

  8. Dear loved friends -- All your comments mean so much. How wonderful to be able to share with you here. I have a hard time coming here to my computer especially after Jesse's death. I'm not sure why, but when we can share this way it makes it a rich place to be, a place where we can share our hearts and souls. I love you all so much!

    Thank you for coming here to share.