Maybe it’s because I am the product of many generations of dairy farmers.
Maybe it’s because milk is my choice of drink with any meal.
Or maybe it’s just because I needed to learn a lesson.
But there is a story told by Elder L. Tom Perry that is often present in my mind.
As a young executive, Elder Perry’s job required many dinners followed by social hours. Because drinking was not part of his life, he often tried to avoid these events and felt out of place.
In his own words, “I felt awkward visiting in groups where I was the only one without a drink in my hand. I kept wondering what to do with my hands. –
Finally I went over to the bartender and asked him if he had any drink that was distinctively different in appearance from an alcoholic beverage. He went into the kitchen and came back with a half gallon of milk and poured me a glass.
It soon became a practice at the social hours in that community to always have a carton of milk on the bar. I was amazed, as time passed, by how many of my associates were joining me for a glass of milk during the hour that we spent together.”
I often picture him holding a glass of milk in a room full of others drinking alcohol. The stark white in his cup noticeably different from those around him.
His example inspires me to be in the world but not of the world.
It reminds me to act in what I believe and not just follow the trends set by others.
It refocuses my life on the fact that doing the right thing, even when not popular, will always make me feel better.
One of my favorite country songs has the lyrics:
You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything
You’ve got to be your own man, not a puppet on a string
Never compromise what’s right
So in the crowded dark world, I will hold my “cup of milk” proudly.