The Ponderin’ Chair

Rocking Chair on Porch

To some it was just an old dilapidated glider/rocking chair and ottoman, but to my son Dallin, it was his “Ponderin’ Chair.”  At an age when typical teenage boys spend most of their time playing ball, chasing cute girls or conquering video games, Dallin would spend hours sitting in his chair pondering life with all of its complexities and mysteries. He loved thinking deeply. Although we never really talked about, in detail, all the things he thought about while sitting there, I’m pretty sure he pondered about his family, not just collectively but individually. He pondered about his relationship to and with his Heavenly Father. He pondered the scriptures and how they could be applied to his life and the lives of those he loved.  He pondered about someday becoming a husband and father. He pondered about the needs of others and how he could meet those needs. He pondered about the advice given to him by his dad, his mom, his sisters and brother, his teachers and leaders. He pondered a lot about choices and consequences. I know these are some of the things Dallin pondered because . . .  his thoughts became his actions. He was actively involved in the lives of his parents, both sets of grandparents and each of his siblings. He loved spending time and playing with his nieces and nephews.  They affectionately called him “Uncle Buddy.” He loved hanging out with his aunts, uncles and cousins and they loved him. After serving a 2-year LDS mission, he fell in love with a beautiful, spunky, country girl who became his best friend, wife and mother of their son. Dallin especially loved the Lord and His words. Dallin was wise beyond his years when it came to understanding the Gospel. He had a gift for sharing and explaining the principles he learned as he pondered the scriptures. He was an instrument for good in the Lord’s hands. Despite his young age, he often took on the role of counselor and mentor. He had the unique ability to interact with people of all ages. It didn’t matter if you were a toddler, a young child, a fellow teenager, an adult or an elderly person, a complete stranger or trusted friend, Dallin always made you feel like you were a priority in his life.  He looked for opportunities to serve others and did so, with a willing heart and happy smile. Most of us have to stumble through life, learning hard lessons as we pick ourselves back up and try to mend our bumps and bruises but Dallin was able to observe, learn from and avoid the mistakes made by others.  I’ve often thought that on some kind of intrinsic level, Dallin’s spirit knew his time here on earth was going to be short, that somehow 80 years of life would have to be crammed into 24. When Dallin was unexpectedly called “home” he left behind a huge hole in the lives of all who knew him. I believe this hole is a beautiful yet sometimes painful reminder of how intricately connected his life was to our lives. It is proof that he pondered about us, served us and loved us.  On days when I am missing him worse than others, I like to picture Dallin sitting in his ponderin’ chair and imagine a light-infused conduit streaming from Heaven, filling his mind and heart with great bits of knowledge, insights and direction, helping him to live an elevated and accelerated life, while preparing him for the next step in his eternal journey.  I see him rocking back and forth, staring far away, with that famous, knowing Dallin smile, and I find myself yearning to follow his example. I want to slow down and take the time to ponder about the important things in life. I want to open my mind and heart up to divine direction and then, like Dallin, have the courage to act upon it. An amused smile spreads across my face, as one of the first things I find myself pondering about is how the world would be a much better place if everyone had . . . a ponderin’ chair.