We Don’t Know What the Next World Will Be Like

It is early afternoon. The man sits on a kitchen chair next to his father. His father pushes a button, and the train begins to run around the long oval track.

“I love trains. Your mother got this for me as a very early Christmas present so I could enjoy it longer.”

It has been six months since the man blessed his father to be healed. A month after that blessing, his father’s PSA soared, revealing that the experimental treatment was no longer working.

“You know, there are some things I just don’t get.”

“Yeah?”

“I went back through years and years of my billing records, and I realize I’ve been underemployed my whole time in Corpus Christi. I never billed enough hours.”

“You did fine for us, Dad. We had good lives growing up.”

“That’s not what I’m talking about, though, Son. I’ve been a good lawyer, but I was a lousy businessman at the business of the law.”

“I don’t think that matters that much. I don’t think the Lord cares that much as long as you were honest and did your best.”

“I don’t think I did my best. I believed that the quality of our practice would keep clients coming back. That’s what my partners said and I just believed it.”

“No, it doesn’t work like that.”

“See, you understand that already, Son. That’s to your advantage. I didn’t get it. In fact, I don’t know that I made the right decision when I moved to private practice.”

“Why do you say that?”

“You remember that I had two job offers twenty years ago, one in San Antonio and one here.”

“Yeah.”

“You remember that the one in San Antonio wouldn’t make me a partner for three years while the one here would do it in a year.”

“Yeah.”

“I thought that was a better deal, but I realize now that wasn’t good for me at all. It’s nearly impossible to grow your own clientele in one year. That first year, when I was an associate, the partners fed me so much work I could hardly see straight. I could barely do anything to seek out my own clients. Then, when I hit my year mark, I suddenly had very little to do. Now that a partner couldn’t bill me out and I had to pay my own way, no one shared work and suddenly I needed to find my own.”

“I hadn’t thought of it like that.”

“I didn’t either, but it’s obvious. One of the name partners had died, and they wanted another partner as fast as possible who would carry his own weight. I came from the US Attorney’s office and had no clients of my own. I actually needed time to build up my own clients. I was just too dumb to know better. The first-year salary was the same, but the offer in San Antonio might have been a better offer. I could have had a better chance at succeeding.”

“Dad, you and mom prayed about this. You felt impressed to move here. Who knows how our lives would have gone if we hadn’t. I mean, is that firm still even in existence?”

“No. It dissolved about five years after they offered me.”

“Well, see.”

“That’s not the point, Son. I’m telling you, I never knew how to think as a businessman. Anything from that offer to our compensation split to how actively employed I was, I just did it all wrong and now I just figured it out.”

“Ok.”

“Well, what’s the point of figuring it all out? I can’t do anything about it now. I’m gonna take that knowledge to the grave.”

“I don’t know. I mean, Joseph Smith said all the intelligence we gain in this life rises with us in the resurrection.”

“I know he said that. But really, what’s the point? There aren’t any lawyers in Heaven except Jesus, our advocate with the Father. What possible good could learning it now be?”

“I don’t know, Dad. We don’t know what the next world will be like. You’ve learned something about stewardship. We will always have stewardships, especially in the hereafter.”

“I should have been a better lawyer and businessman. I should be leaving you kids and your mother in a lot better spot financially. And instead, I’m going out as a mediocre lawyer and a lousy businessman, and I learned something. But I don’t see any point in having learned it.”

“You’ve been a great husband and father. You served faithfully in the Church. I think you’ve done everything that really mattered.”

His father pats his arm. “Well, that’s nice of you at least.”

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