Letter to Dave

Letter to Dave

Dear Dave,

You are now, and will always be, one of the best friends I could have ever hoped to have. True friends are a blessing. I love you very much. I cherish our past memories, the time that we spent together, and our past association. We definitely forged an unbreakable bond of friendship. I also love Jill, Scottie, Mason, and Tanna. I wish the very best for all of you.

Dave I am sending this letter, as written by my own hand, very much on purpose. There is just something much more personal about a hand written note or letter.

I must confess, I was prompted to send this letter as a response to your Bucket list E-mail, and because the nature of, our last couple of phone conversations.

Everybody wants friends. Everybody needs friends. No one wishes to be without them. But never lose sight of the fact that it is your friends who will lead you along the paths that you will follow. While you should be friendly with all people, select with great care those whom you wish to have close to you. They will be your safeguards in situations where you may vacillate between choices, and you in turn may save them

my dad gave me this quote before he died in 2004

I love you and your family very much Dave. It is my sincere prayer that god may give me the abilities to be the best friend I can be, and (God willing) the friend you need.

Through the years from time to time, I must confess, I have looked at you and your situation with a great deal of envy. I suppose that it is human nature, being the sinners that we are, to look at our neighbor with coveting eyes from time to time. However if we allow our thoughts to regress in that direction to the extent that it becomes a habitual way of thinking, I suppose we would be forever bound by our own thoughts. Always looking outside of ourselves, for some source or key to happiness, never knowing that the key to happiness doesn't lye without us, but within us all. The key to happiness is in each of us, and we are shackled or bound by virtue of our habits, in action, and in thought.

Thoughts always precede action, and we live in our circumstances witch are the fruits of our past action. We are all, right where we are, because we so chose to be there as a result of our past choices.

You Dave truly are a blessed man. You have an awesome woman for a wife and have been given three great kids.

I confess, I was surprised that your bucket list had only one item on it as it pertained to life. However I am not surprised that you chose such a noble goal.

It takes a great deal of courage to memorialize and put to paper a Dream, or your life's wishes and desires. You chose a whopper. It is a worthy goal, and one that will surly take much time and effort.

Over 95% of all people who die, don’t possess the necessary funds to even pay for their own burial, let alone the funds to leave a legacy that would support their family in their absence. When you accomplish your goal you will definitely be a part of an elite group.

Dave another one of my prayers is that as a friend I am given the wisdom to be persuasive without being heavy handed or offensive.

I believe that individual thoughts are so deeply rooted, and conditions of happiness vary so greatly from one person to the next, that another mans circumstantial state of well being, or entire soul condition (although it may be known to himself) cannot be judged by another from an external perspective.

I pray that any statement I may memorialize to paper here, not be misconstrued as judgmental.

I love you and want the best for you. I desire to see you achieve your ambitions.

I revel in the moments that haven’t happened yet!

I visualize it in my minds eye, with a big smile on my face, what it will look like as you achieve your goals. I can also see in my minds eye, the future journey to come. I see you making all of the slight adjustments in your daily routine. Day by day, one step at a time, I see you making these required changes that will allow you to liberate yourself from past habitual thoughts and actions.

I see your chest welling up with gratitude and thankfulness for your new found freedom. You revel in the way your children look at you as you are becoming the example for them that you always wanted to be.

I can see the way Jill looks at you, with gratitude and gratefulness in her heart. I see Jill softening her defenses. I see her heart opening up to you in ways you never thought possible.

I see an ever growing and blossoming sense of connection between the two of you. I see this tree of connection becoming so deeply rooted that the both of you will find yourselves starry eyed, and even physically weakened, in total awe of gods good graces. I see you looking at each other in total and utter disbelief that god has allowed the two of you to experience levels of joy on earth such as you thought not even possible in the heavens.

With every breath the two of you take, you feel stronger, more powerful, more grounded, more peace, more love, and more connection with one another.

Gods grace, joy, love, and happiness flow through your veins and roll off of your tongue, and out of your mouth effortlessly. It has become a habit. You can’t help it. Small but significant phrases of encouragement spill out of you. You have become a light that reflects in a dark world. Your uplifting words of encouragement truly do make a difference in peoples lives. People feel better when they are around you. They are attracted to you. You and Jill are in awe. Your cups truly do spilleth over.

I see welling up inside of you a sense of value and self worth greater than you ever thought possible.

This ever growing reservoir of value inside of you, is by Godly design becoming a overwhelming sense, of the value of charity. You are beginning to understand how much you truly do have to offer, your family, your community, the world!

As you extend your hand out to others, a deepening sense of empathy rapidly grows inside of you. You feel a deepening sense of responsibility to share these rules of living a successful life, what some may call principals or habits.

I see a heightened sense of awareness growing within you. I see a charismatic sense of confidence begin to sprout within you to the extent you never thought possible. I see you beginning to develop a true understanding of the source of your new found confidence.

You begin each day by taking some time out for yourself. Time to be still, time to meditate, time to truly listen to your own inner voice, what some may call the still small voice. You begin to understand God truly does have his hands of grace on your life.

You now are beginning to develop an acute sense of those things that are truly important. You are beginning to put first things first. You no longer subordinate the important tasks in life to the unimportant and frivolous.

Although there are hundreds of good principals, your heightened and acute sense is allowing you to isolate those universal laws, or principals of God, that are truly important, or at least most important. Those principals, that are the driving force, of lasting, deep, personal change for the better.

You are developing an ever increasing personal need to learn and grow, at a very rapid pace. You are absorbing books like a sponge through a daily reading habit.

You are becoming acutely aware of the world around you. You are becoming laser focused in subject matter, and areas of concern, of your own choosing.

You are now developing a sense of being ON GUARD Your mind, your self image, and your capacity to direct them toward a worth while end, toward areas of service are considered by you to be your greatest asset. You are ON GUARD and protect this asset with your life.

You believe, you believe in yourself as a child of god, you believe in your capacity to do good in the world, to spread light, and truth, and understanding, to reach out to those in distress and need, and to help and bless them.

my dad gave me this quote before he died in 2004

You are gaining a true sense of what is really going on in the world. The truth no longer evades you, and you are motivated by it. You are motivated by the nightmare of quiet desperation that the masses are living in.

They call themselves “good person” and label themselves with all manner of platitudes. Indeed they are good people, with tremendous talents and capacity to do good in the world.

They want to stand up and be witness for that which is right. They want to do the right thing. But they are troubled by fears. So they sit back, and the world drifts about them, and society increasingly adopts standards of behavior that most do not approve of.

my dad gave me this quote before he died in 2004

Your sense of control over your mind, your thoughts and to what end they are directed, grows rapidly.

All the water in the world, however hard it tried, couldn’t sink the smallest ship, unless it got inside. And all the evil in the world, the darkest kind of sin, cant hurt you the least little bit, unless you let it in

(A poem my dad wrote before he died in 2004)

Your ON GUARD status is allowing you to effectively filter the subject matter allowed to harbor in your mind. You are no longer allowing your mind to drift aimlessly. The Doom and Gloom media no longer choose what topics to direct your attention to. You are now choosing the direction and to what end your attention moves. You choose what seeds to plant in your own mind.

At this point I can see an appreciation in both of your hearts for the deep love that you feel for one another. This intensely close bond shows its evidence, and is apparent to all who know you. Your children see it too, and feed off of it. They love seeing Mommy and Daddy in love. Even though they might say Oooooohhhh!! Harmony surrounds your home.

I see you both growing very rapidly. Your sense of empathy for others and your ability to see through the looking glass, or paradigm of others is apparent, and is becoming very sharp.

You see sense and deeply feel for the countless thousands who are trying to play the game of life, as so many do, without taking the time to learn the rules.

You see the evidence of these countless thousands everywhere paying the price for their ignorance. Heartbreak, tragedy, financial embarrassment, love lost, loss of employment, divorce rates of 53% in a past good economy, that are now nearing 68%-70%, defeat, lack of education, feeling of inferiority, drug use , and the list goes on.

You hear about increasing rates of acts of desperation, from criminal activity to the suicide rate.

These things you hear of become little more than glimpses in your rear view mirror, for reference only. You quit living out of your rear view mirror and your past, what seem to be a long time ago.

I see both of you with a deep sense of your ON GUARD filter attitude. This allows you to choose what is important to focus on. You both know that the past is over and gone. You cant change it. So you choose to focus on today, and your bright future ahead.

Your deepening sense of charity, empathy, and your need to reach out to others often causes you to wonder. Who of the countless thousands out there might be in a low place, or a valley of life that you could help. Who out there, might be preparing to give up on their marriage, or delete their future by taking their own life. Sadly it happens each day in this awesome and beautiful country of ours.

People every day lose hope in a tomorrow that once held so much promise. Not to mention the countless thousands who don’t take their lives but give up anyway. They quit on themselves. They let all of their hopes and dreams fade quietly away. They stop trying and just exist, leading what Thereou called

quiet lives of desperation.

They don’t know the rules. They have no sense of the tremendous potential that lies dormant inside of them. For all practical purposes, while living this life of quiet desperation. They are already dead, at 25, 35, or 50 years of age, even though they may not get buried for many years. 98% of their potential lies dormant locked in a vault of fear, and most of the time sits perched up on a lazy boy recliner. They have no sense of their most valuable asset in life, which is time, and the mental capacity to use that time to do good and serve others.

Your talent of looking for the good in people is becoming very sharp. You honor people by talking to them about the things they are good at. Your talent attracts and draws many people to you. So many people living lives of quiet desperation are starved for attention and appreciation for those things that they are good at.

You words of encouragement lift all those with whom you associate. You help direct the mental focus of all the people you associate with to the positive aspects of their lives and away from the negative.

The valleys of discouragement make more beautiful the peaks of achievement you can’t plow a field by turning it over and over in your mind, you must take action.

my dad gave me this quote before he died in 2004

Dave, I thank God every day for the valleys of discouragement. I have been in some deep valleys.

Whenever you make a mistake or get knocked down by life, dont look back too long. Mistakes are lifes way of teaching you. Your capacity for the occasional blunder is inseparable from you capacity to reach your goals. No one wins them all, and your failures when they happen are just part of your growth. Shake off your blunders. How will you know your limits without an occasional failure? Never quit, your turn will come.

Og Mandino

Dave I see you and Jill developing a keen sense, that in every failure or temporary setback, lies a seed of equivalent or greater value. You are accepting no setbacks as permanent. You always know where to go to start again.

You have developed a strong understanding that all personal growth starts in the same place, with a personal admission that areas of your life-- career, marriage, goals, finances self-esteem, happiness, children, just to name a few-- could certainly stand some improvement.

Knowing that you can always make a new start from where ever you are gives you great solace and comfort. Your children feed off of this. They have been watching you very close. They see mommy and daddy freely talk about goals, and dreams, and the direction for the family. Your children too are developing a great deal of confidence as they see Mommy and Daddy move forward toward their stated goals, freely admitting their mistakes and blunders, but always getting back up and pressing forward. Your children’s pride for their parents is evident.

Dave and Jill, It is now Christmas eve 2013. The bright light on the top of your Christmas tree represents your future. The confidence in a bright future, and peace fills your home. After you stuffed the last stocking for little Tanna who is 7 years old by now, you take one last look at the bright light on your Christmas tree before retiring for a long winters nap. And all through your house, not a creature is stirring not even a mouse.

I love you guys.

Dave and Jill, this is my wish for your Family this Christmas Season

Love, the Arnold family, Dar, Melanie, and Kyliauna

  1. Dave,

I want to thank you for some small words of encouragement that you imparted to me once. They really meant the world to me.

In mid spring 2007, I was driving a grove national Crane from Salt Lake City to St. George UT. If you remember correctly I had secured a temporary job for a few weeks, operating crane on a large warehouse building project in St. George before I was to continue my move to Boise, from Idaho Falls.

I had called you and we arranged to meet at the Lehi exit on I-15 by the old Mill. I believe we ate lunch.

I was in a very low place in my life. I tried to hide my heart ache. I put on the best happy face I could. You were able to sense the low state of mind that I was in. You shared a story or two of some low times for yourself after your divorce from Michael.

If you remember correctly I was already divorced, however it was prior to what effectively turned out to be an ego decimating, or more like obliterating child custody battle over my daughter.

I was heart broken, and you could tell. You walked me over to the vacant lot where I had parked the crane. Before I climbed up the short ladder, and into the helm of that amazing machine, you hugged me and told me, this too shall pass, and to remember Dar, you always end up on top. You even let me know that you had a basement and there was always room for me at your place.

I was heart broken, and so much in my life was sliding backwards or hanging in the limbo of uncertainty.

However, as I drove the crane onto the freeway on-ramp I started saying to myself, you know Dave is right. I do always end up on top. Here I am, sitting 10 feet in the air in the helm of this awesome machine. How many people could operate one of these?

And for a Brief moment, I started thinking about all the things, I was good at, instead of all the things I was dumb at. You helped direct my mind to a positive end in that moment.

I remember you telling me, I was your best friend, that you loved me, and would always be there for me. Wow!!!

I can’t imagine, you fully understanding the magical effect those seemingly insignificant kind words had. In an effort to illustrate this point I want to tell you a short story. Bear with me Dave . This is critical.

This is an actual story of a guy I once knew in Idaho Falls. Although now, my association with him seems like such a distant memory. Now picture this scene for me if you will.

All evidence indicates that this seemingly normal summer evening, will soon turn gray and dismal. Despite it being late August, there is a slight chill in the air. As dusk sets in, to the west there is a beautiful sunset forming. Shades of orange and pink from opposite ends of the color spectrum, jet across the sky. The ever changing light spectrum reflects off of distant clouds in the far off horizon.

To the east, over the rolling foothills, dark shades of black to light grey, roll together into what seems to be, ever enlarging cloud formations. Faint flashes of light and a distant rumble give evidence of a threatening thunder storm.

The air is still, but experience tells the man that it will not remain that way for long. He is wearing little to protect himself from the elements. He has no jacket, only a ratty, oil stained, short sleeved T-shirt, and denim jeans, also showing signs of hard labor and excessive wear.

The man walks aimlessly on a dirt path along the river. He is chain smoking cigarettes and is frustrated by the lack of liquid in the bottle he is holding wrapped in a brown paper bag. Dark puffy circles surround his bloodshot eyes. Water lines on the man’s face show evidence that his tear ducts have been milked dry. The man is grimacing with pain, seemingly unbearable pain. He is wallowing in his own failure and self pitty.

The man reaches a spectator deck. It is suspended just beyond the edge of a cliff overlooking a deep gorge on the backside, of one of the many, hydroelectric dams. Water rushes over the spillway with a velvety smoothness, effortlessly gaining speed until it explodes into a violent turbulent crash with the rocks and boulders below. In the bottom of the gorge, the man notices every detail. The water below is so aerated, it appears to be white as snow.

The thunder storm rolls ever closer. There is only a few seconds between the lightning flash, and the ever increasing in decibel thunderous roars. Very cold rain drops begin to drop, and then increase in frequency. The man can also feel the occasional sting of what appears to be small hail stones. Goosebumps are forming on the mans arms. His hands firmly grasp the top rail of the metal safety railing. The metal is wet and cold, and a slight shiver begins to run up his arms. The man has carelessly perched himself on the top rail while resting his feet on the middle rung of the safety railing.

Visibility grows dim as the cover of clouds and darkness rolls in. The bottom of the gorge is only faintly visible. However, flashes of lightning continue to reveal the violent dance of the whitewater below, even if only for split seconds at a time.

The man had been here for many minutes, overlooking what to many is a very beautiful site. But the man sees no beauty. He has allowed his mind to regress into the depths of self pity.

And with a flash of lightning and in a moment of hopelessness, in a split second the man crystallized a thought in his head. That’s it, that’s the answer, all my problems will be gone. I can cast myself into the violent dance below and never, never again will I have to face the complete and utter failure in the mirror.

This man suffered from addiction problems and by all evidence was a complete and utter failure. He had managed in just a short period of time to lose all those things in his life that he held most precious and dear--a loving wife, a beautiful daughter, an awesome home, his job, his faith, his pride, his self image and self worth.

He was one who tried to play the game of life without taking the time to learn the rules, and now he was about to pay the ultimate price for his ignorance.

He sat there on that miserable night in a lightning storm, about to throw his life away. Considering pressing the delete button forever. What a pathetic, pitiful, and selfish person.

Thankfully, that pathetic sorry loser sitting on that railing , on that chilly stormy night chose not to press the delete button on his life. If he had, I wouldn’t be here writing you this letter.

Instead, with a flash of lightning, a confident thought Dar you always end up on top. a sliver of hope in a moment of hopelessness.

I remember like it was yesterday when you first coined the term for me. you always end up on top. We were both still single room mates living in our American Fork apartment. I was broke, and castigating myself over some financial problem I was having with my First Security credit card. You told me, don’t worry about it, one day your broke, and the next your running around with a couple of grand in your pocket. Dar you always end up on top. You will figure it out. Dave I remember when you first coined the term. I bought into it then, and I still believe it!!

Friends truly do save one another from time to time.

That night was right after my child custody trial. Nothing seemed to be going my way. It was a dark time for me. For a moment I saw myself as such a loser.

Before I go. One last thought. This is something my mother gave me shortly before she died in 1987. I was 16. I am now 41. I only recently found it in an old box while cleaning the garage. It is written out in my mothers own hand writing. It is a priceless possession. Originally written by Virginia Myers, it is more than just a poem or saying. My mother referred to it often and considered it a creed to live by. A life's affirmation if you will.

I believe that God created me to be happy, to enjoy the blessings of life, to be useful to my fellow beings, and to honor my country.

I believe that the trials that beset me today, are but fiery tests by which character is strengthened, ennobled, and made worthy, to enjoy the higher things in life, which I believe are in store for me.

I believe that I am the architect of my own fate. Therefore I will be master of circumstances and surroundings and not their slaves.

I will not yield to discouragements. I will trample them under my feet, and make them serve as stepping stones to success. I will conquer my obstacles and turn them into opportunities. My failures of today will but help me onto victory on the morrow. The morrow will bring new strength, new hope, new opportunities, and new beginnings. I will be ready to face them with a brave heart, a calm mind, and an undaunted spirit. In all things I will do my best an leave the rest to the infinite. I will not waste my mental energy with useless worry. I will learn to dominate my restless thoughts, and look on the bright side of things. I will face the world bravely. I will not be a coward. I will assert my God given birthright as a man. For I am immortal and nothing can overcome me.


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