Making an Impact

If you dig deep enough anywhere on the planet you’ll eventually hit a thin layer of clay called the K-T boundary (a few pieces of which are shown the in the photo).  This band was laid down about 66 million years ago and marks the end of the Mesozoic Era.  It has been found at over 100 different locations on earth.

So how did a layer of sediment end up covering the entire planet, including the oceans?  The answer is Chicxulub.

You may not know the name, but Chicxulub had a huge impact on the planet earth (pun intended).  Chicxulub was an asteroid about 6 miles wide that impacted the Yucatan Peninsula.  It hit with the force of a billion atomic bombs.  It triggered firestorms that raged across the planet and tsunamis that were thousands of feet high.  The dust that it ejected into the atmosphere (which later became the K-T boundary) would have blocked sunlight for years.  And since the asteroid hit a bed of gypsum, this caused massive amounts of sulfur trioxide to enter the atmosphere.  Once it the atmosphere the sulfur trioxide reacted with water to become sulfuric acid – triggering acid rain storms that blanketed the planet.

There are few things more powerful than Chixulub, but one of those things happens to be my dad.

He may not be famous, but the impact that he has had on my life cannot be measured.  Since before my birth he has loved me unconditionally.  From my earliest years I have tried to mimic him.  I remember snuggling up to him as a very young child and trying to make my breathing perfectly mirror his.  I worked hard in school because I wanted to be as smart as he is and I always knew that no matter how tricky my homework was it always seemed so easy to him.  Even my goofy sense of humor is my dad’s fault.

Chicxulub was a major force of destruction while my dad has done nothing but build me up.  But they do have one thing in common: Chicxulub happened to contain extremely high levels of iridium, the rarest of all the precious metals (about 12 times rarer than gold).  It also happens to be the most corrosion-resistant metal on the planet.  So when you are digging and eventually hit the K-T boundary you can be sure that it contains iridium.

Oftentimes I feel like a complete mess and pretty clueless as a dad, but I know that if I dig deep enough I’ll find that layer of iridium – and I’ll know that it came from my dad.

Looking for Gold

A while back my kids decided that they wanted to collect a coin from every country on the planet.  It seemed like a fun activity, especially because we could learn a little geography together.  We headed off to the local coin shop and each kid would pay a quarter to pick a world coin from a bucket.  We’d go home, figure out where the coin was from and put a little star on our map.  But after a few trips I realized that this would end up requiring a lot of time and money if we were actually going to achieve our goal of world domination… I mean world coin collecting.

So I did what any good parent would do – I turned to eBay for help.  I ordered a 10-pound box of “cull coins” for $50.  Then I stopped by the library and checked out a massive catalog of world coins.  The kids and I embarked on an exciting voyage of discovery as we slowly (actually, very slowly) figured out where each and every coin was from.

At one point, my daughter asked if she could have the shiny coin (shown in the center of the photo above) that looked a bit like a Chucky Cheese token.  I told her that we needed to figure out where it was from, but that I couldn’t seem to find it in the coin catalog.  I ended up doing a little Google-fu and found out that it wasn’t a coin at all, it was a medal from Israel in the 1950’s.

Oh, and it was made of gold.

I couldn’t believe it, so I figured I should test it in the chemistry lab to make sure.  I checked the density and sure enough it matched the density of gold.  Then I dipped it into a beaker of nitric acid.  If it was anything other than gold it would be destroyed immediately.  But it didn’t dissolve.

I took it to a jeweler and they said it was solid gold and tried to buy it from me for $200.  I knew that it was worth far more than that so I took it to a coin show and sold it for quite a bit more.

Gold 2

The moral of the story is this: sometimes in our lives we come across something that just might be extremely valuable.  It could be a gold coin or it might be something infinitely more valuable, such as the gospel of Jesus Christ.  When we come across something like this, we can dismiss it as too good to be true or we can try to find out for ourselves if it is real.

It’s easy to test for gold and it’s also easy to test the truthfulness of the gospel.  Do a little research – read and study about it.  Pray and ask God to confirm through the Holy Spirit that what you are studying is true.

And live it.  Don’t just live the commandments when times are easy, live them even when times are tough.  I didn’t gain a testimony of tithing until a time when money was so tight that I didn’t think my little family would make it.  But we paid our tithing and things worked out.  It was one of those defining moments, like putting the coin into nitric acid – either the law of tithing was true or it wasn’t.  At that moment I knew it was true and that the Lord always follows through on His promises.

I am so grateful that our Heavenly Father sees fit to give us each a lifetime of opportunities to either recognize and accept the truths of His gospel or to cast them off as dross – like wasting a gold coin in a Chucky Cheese arcade machine.