Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home:
Ode on Intimations of Immortality William Wordsworth 1770-1850
John Barry: Somewhere in Time Soundtrack
Funeral: Paul E Felt
Heaven is an extension of the ideal home. Because we understand this, I expect that in place of sorrow and weeping at my funeral there will be joy and peace. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t anticipate joyfully the idea of returning to live with my Heavenly Father. As a child and youth, it was always so good to arrive home and find Mom’s fresh baked bread and share in the peace and love that abided in our home. Since my marriage to Afton, the pattern has been the same–I have always look forward to arriving back home.
Paul E. Felt
Like our children who would call out, “Mom, where are you?” I have done the same throughout these many years. Each time I walk in the door I call out, “Afton, where are you?” whereupon we enjoy a sweet embrace and kiss. This is the same joy and anticipation that I feel as I look forward to returning to my heavenly home.
Paul E Felt
I Have No Greater Joy – Martha Afton Harris Felt
In Honor of Paul E. Felt 15 Feb 1999
Our dear friends, how rich our life has been made by the overwhelming kindness and sympathy you have extended to our family over these past several days. Your calls and visits, your thoughts and prayers on our behalf have buoyed us up and have done much to help us through this time of such great loss. The outpouring of love and generosity that we have witnessed from so many are great a tribute to Paul and a living testament to a life that was spent in the service of his family and his fellow man.
We treasure your friendship more than we can say and we thank you for sharing this day with us. In standing before you to share my thoughts and impressions, I am actually fulfilling a request that Paul made some time ago when, writing in his journal, he “insisted” that I speak at his funeral service. I am pleased to be able to do so and hope, more than anything else, that I might succeed in conveying to you a sense of the abiding faith that he had in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Over and over, Paul spoke of the three great loves of his life: His family, the temple and BYU.
To these, he devoted his life.
The strength of his devotion was derived more than anything else from the common thread that bound his family, his temple service and his association with BYU together, namely, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He knew with all his heart, mind and strength that the Gospel was true and lived each day with this knowledge and conviction. He never wavered and was like Helaman’s warriors in keeping the faith. We shared fifty-five wonderful years together and as we looked back over the years, we marveled at how richly we had been blessed. Through the twists and turns that life presents, the overriding theme of our years together has been joy, peace and a deep abiding love for one another.
As sure as I was about anything, I always knew of Paul’s love but, as our children will attest, just to make sure that there was no mistaking, he made a point of telling me of his love every day.
We will always recall how he would say, three times over, “I love you. I love you. I love you.” We wanted a large family and the Lord blessed us with wonderful faithful children who are following in his footsteps. It has indeed been a wonderful life together. His greatest desire was and is that there would be no empty chairs when we again gather as a family and to be with him in the presence of our Heavenly Father. This theme was borne out often when at our family gatherings he would quote the apostle John saying, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 1:4
Our grandchildren, now numbering fifty-one, knew how dearly he loved each of them. He loved to be with them and they with him. Hugs and kisses were always unrestrained. His greatest desire for each of them was that they could grow strong in their faith in the Lord. In this spirit, I have compiled a variety of the messages that Paul constantly shared with his loved one and have entitled it,
“A Letter to my Grandchildren”
Today I want to visit with each of you and encourage you to live the Gospel in the anticipation that we can all be together as a family in the presence of our Heavenly Father. The Lord has given us the blessing of coming to the earth to be tested and to learn and to make choices. How blessed we are to have the gospel and the teachings of Christ to help us make the right choices.
Your Grandma and I went to the Salt Lake Temple to be sealed for time and all eternity fifty-five years ago. We were so happy when your parents chose to be married and sealed in the temple as well. As the years have passed, each of you have brought such joy and happiness into our lives. Knowing your parents would understand, we have displayed a message on our car that expressed how much we enjoyed your company. It says, “If we knew how fun grandchildren were, we would of had them first.”
How we love having you visit us in our home! We have taken walks over to the park, gone on outings to the museum and read stories on the rocking chair. Of course, all of your visits have included a dish of ice cream with toppings of all kinds.
Now I have been called to another place, a place that I have prepared for and looked forward to knowing that I would be in the presence of our Heavenly Father. It may be a long time before I get to hold you and hug you, but I will be close to you. I want you to come and be with me when it is your time to return to our Heavenly father.
Knowing what we do know about life before mortality, life through mortality and life after mortality, and because of our faith and testimony in the Lord Jesus Christ, neither Grandma nor I fear death. For us, it will be just like going from one room to another. For that reason, we want our passing to be a time of rejoicing and of recalling the wonderful joy and happiness that we’ve experienced as a family.
As you grow up there will be many temptations and choices you will have to make. Heavenly Father planned it this way to give each of us the ability to choose. Ponder these choices and choose carefully. Hold to the iron rod of the Gospel and it will give you the strength to choose the right. Sometimes the right choice will not be the popular choice, but if you follow and hold tight to this rod, you will have the conviction and the strength to choose the way that will bring us together again.
Heavenly Father is very close and he knows each of us. We can be in close contact with him if we will pray to him. Share your hopes and your dreams with him. Talk to him each morning and night. There will be times throughout the day you will need help and you can pray by saying a silent prayer. He will hear you and you will be strengthened. Show gratitude to him, express thanks to him for all he has given you. Let him know of your appreciation for the blessings and guidance he has given you. Let him know that you recognize these impressions and feelings are from him. Gratitude is a virtue, express it often as you pray.
My dearest Grandchildren, remember that we love you and want you to know that we have a firm testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is true. God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and the Lord restored the Gospel to the Earth making it possible for each of us to have his word and the blessing of the Gospel in our lives. Follow the living prophet and live worthy of the companionship of the Holy Spirit. If you do these things you will be blessed and you will be able to know and understand Heavenly Father’s great love for you.
May I now quote from Paul’s journal:
“Heaven is an extension of the ideal home. Because we understand this, I expect that in place of sorrow and weeping at my funeral there will be joy and peace. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t anticipate joyfully the idea of returning to live with my Heavenly Father. As a child and youth it was always so good to arrive home and find Mom’s fresh baked bread and share in the peace and love that abided in our home. Since my marriage to Afton the pattern has been the same–I have always look forward to arriving back home. Like our children who would call out, “Mom, where are you?” I have done the same throughout these many years. Each time I walk in the door I call out, “Afton, where are you?” whereupon we enjoy a sweet embrace and kiss. This is the same joy and anticipation that I feel as I look forward to returning to my heavenly home.”