Thursday, November 27, 2014

Many Things to Be Thankful for But Here is Just One

Last Sunday our Sunday School lesson was entitled:  "The Shepherds of Israel."  It compared the difference between a sheepherder and a shepherd.  The one  drives the flock and cares more for him/herself than those 'sheep' in his/her care, versus the one who leads the flock with kindness, concern and gentle persuasion.  One who cares more about 'the one' than him/her self.

There was a question in the manual, one the teacher did not ask, but one which I read and pondered on for a good long time.  It was:

How have you been blessed by true shepherds who have done these things? 
My mind went back to the year 1970/1971, when I was 18 and 19 years of age.  I was young, I was thin and I was prone to wear very short skirts.  I mean very short skirts!  Even though I had not been raised in the L.D.S. church I had been baptized.  At this point in life I was somewhat of a lost lamb.  But I was blessed with a most wonderful shepherd who entered my life for only a year.  His name was Larry Cook, Bishop Larry Cook.  He was married to Rosemarie and they had 3 small children, Rosemary, Andrea and Christopher.  The first thing this fine Bishop did was extend  a calling to me. Sunday School Teacher (this was in the day and age when Sunday School was Sunday morning and Sacrament meeting was late Sunday night)!   I was to teach the 3 and 4 year olds, or was it 4 and 5 year olds?  Whatever age it was his two daughters were in my class.  He actually trusted me with his most prized possessions!  I know this calling displeased some members, especially one lady who was quite vocal about it... even to myself!  With my personality she just made me chuckle and I made certain to wear the shortest skirt on Sunday just for her!  Okay, so I was somewhat naughty!

Bishop Cook never discussed my attire with me.  In the spring of 1971 I applied for entrance to B.Y.U,. (at my mothers insistence).  I was not a full tithe payer at the time, I did not dress modestly.   I had my interview with Bishop Cook and I was not terribly concerned about it.  You see I had back up plans....I was planning on attending Adams State College in Colorado.  I had my acceptance, I had a grant, I was set to go.  I was just appeasing my mother.  Imagine my surprise when I was accepted to B.Y.U.!  Better yet, imagine the surprise of some Rangely Ward members!!!  I have often felt Bishop Cook was an instrumental player in that acceptance.

I am deeply indebted to this man and his family.  He will always be near and dear to my heart.  I sent him a thank you note years ago.  About two years after I sent the note I received a phone call from this wonderful man.  We had a most delightful conversation.  Laughing over the short skirts I then wore and the fact that he never made it an issue with me!  Now Larry Cook was a true shepherd.  I feel he was instrumental in the path my life took.  Which has been a most wonderful path to take.

On this day of Thanksgiving I am grateful for oh so many things, but I am especially grateful for the kindness, compassion and loving acceptance of one mortal man who followed in the footsteps of the True Shepherd.  I am very grateful for Bishop Larry Cook.  May the Lord pour out His choicest blessings on this wonderful man and his family!  Happy Thanksgiving Bishop Cook!