"That Time I Never Gave Up"
We sat in front of a retired Parowan Elementary School teacher at a basketball game a few seasons ago.
He told us some stories about past students and filled us in on what it’s like to live the retired life.
I was impressed by the length of his term as a teacher and about how happy he was as he spoke of his career.
He even told us a story about a rough class he couldn’t leave alone for more than a few minutes. My father-in-law Dave was in the class.
One day the teacher left for a few moments to answer a phone call. The principal came to sit with the kids, but even he couldn’t handle them. When the teacher got back to his class, Dave and another boy were fighting.
After he broke up the fight Dave explained that they were just pretending. They just wanted to see what would happen!
I love the innocence of children.
Elementary schools are special places where kids learn beautiful things for the first time.
I walked the halls of Parowan Elementary a few years ago. One display outside a classroom caught my eye.
The painted sign read, “That Time I Never Gave Up”.
The sweet title stopped me in my tracks. I examined the explanations written and illustrated with second grade hands.
Some showed soccer games or math tests. Others depicted chores or piano lessons.
As I examined the responses, I tried to think of my own.
I got a little discouraged as I looked back on life for one aspect where I could absolutely say, “That Time I Never Gave Up”.
I couldn’t think of one I could honestly draw or write about.
As we get older I think it gets harder to draw that picture. It’s more difficult to write that story.
In 1830 the Lord called Emma Smith to “make a collection of sacred hymns” (D&C 25:11). The 1835 edition of the hymnal came because of Emma and others' efforts to keep that commandment. In her revelation the Lord promised that hymns would be “given” to her by Him.
Twenty-seven of the sacred hymns included in the 1835 hymnal are still in the hymnbook we use today.
One is a favorite of mine- “How Firm a Foundation”.
In Emma’s edition of the hymnal, quotation marks were placed around the last five verses. The hymn writer wrote the verses as if the Savior were speaking.
He based the Savior’s words on clear and bold promises He makes to each of us in the scriptures, through prophets, and through personal revelation.
Our current hymnal no longer includes the quotation marks, but I added them to mine.
Those little pencil marks remind me that it is Jesus, and not me that says,
“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, I’ll never, no never,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!”
So maybe it’s not about “That Time I Never Gave Up”.
Maybe it’s about the One who never gave up on me.
Maybe in heaven we’ll have an elementary school hall.
Maybe we’ll have a painted sign that says, “That Time I Never Gave Up”.
I think the Savior might hang a picture of us there.
Or maybe we’ll just look at the palms of His hands.
“But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” (Isaiah 49:14-16)
Jesus Christ is always the answer.
He will never, no never, no never forsake.
He will never give up.
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My name is Maddie Townsend Topham and I am a happy wife!