Running is a perfect metaphor of life. You have to make the decision that you want to do it. You sign up for the race. You have to prepare. You have to learn how to do it right to prevent injury and have the best outcome. You need the right shoes. You need the right training & information about the benefits & results. You need a road map to your destination. A charted course. When you start it can be rough going. It can hurt. It can be really miserable if you are in pain. Making it all the more difficult. You may trip or fall down but, you are on a path that you must complete so; you HAVE to pick yourself up to get back home. You could sit there on the path. Maybe someone will come by and give you a hand. Pick you up and carry you part of the way. Maybe after a while you realize you have to keep moving, you have to get up, so you dust yourself off, and go. You must. There might be storms, thorns, rocks, brush, hills, potholes, rain, blocks or detours, floods, insects, hail, snow, heat, darkness, predators, any sort of stumbling block or resistance and LOTS of temptation to stop or get off the path. There might be others along the way telling you to quit, showing you “easier” alternative routes, promising short cuts. It may be appealing and maybe you might stop and think about it for a while…But you must keep going on the path that leads to your ultimate destination. Where you really want to be. You can only run as fast as you can. At your own pace. Some are fast and others are slow. But it matters not as long as you keep going. It REALLY helps when you run with others who want to go where you’re going. It strengthens you and helps you know that you’re not alone. Having a hopeful, happy attitude makes all the difference. You will see that running becomes easier, you become stronger and faster. It becomes joyful! It REALLY helps to look at the beauty all around you. The sunlight, the trees, feeling the wind, listening to the birds, smiling at others along the way, Encouraging them to not give up, giving high-fives, thumbs up, being an example and inspiration to others, shouting, “Good job! You can do it! Don’t give up! You’re almost there!” Focusing on your goal. Focusing on your progress, how far you have come. Focusing on how wonderful it is to be able to run. How wonderful the path is and how wonderful you will feel when you cross that finish line….. and your loved ones, who are cheering you, who’ve been waiting for you, will say, “Well done!!! You did it! You did awesome!! We’re so proud of you!” In the end you realize that it was WORTH IT! All you went through & keeping at it was WORTH IT! I know that life isn’t always what we want it to be. I know that life doesn’t always turn out the way we had planned it would. But what I also know is that when we become Disciples of Christ & turn our lives over to Him He becomes the one who directs our lives to do what He would have us do & become what He would have us become. We only have to be willing & obedient. What we then discover is that His plans are what bring us the greatest joys. He knows what’s best for us. He knows the end from the beginning and if we continue faithful, enduring to the end, every righteous desire will be ours. Life is Eternal! There is plenty of time for all of our dreams to come true! Eventually... We just need to keep on the path that leads to our final destination! Eternal life, with our Savior, loved ones & Heavenly family! Keep focusing on the destination with a grateful, hopeful, faithful heart full of love, helping others along the way and enjoy the journey! You can do it!! We can do it!! I KNOW God lives! I KNOW He adores us! He hears & answers prayers! I KNOW He wants what’s BEST for us! I KNOW that this Church is His Church. I KNOW that what happens in the Temple is of God. I KNOW the Book of Mormon is true scripture & I LOVE reading it along with the Bible & General Conference talks. I KNOW we are led by His prophet Thomas S. Monson. I am grateful for the Priesthood & a husband & now sons, who honor it. I LOVE the Lord & am grateful for all He does & has done for me & my family. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.