I flipped through my grandfather's journal the other day and came across a copy of his dad's patriarchal blessing. As I read it, I thought it was pretty neat and had some cool things mentioned. Then I turned the page and read what my grandfather wrote about it. Here's what he had to say:
In the blessing it states that Dad would be called upon a mission to his native land. As Dad was born in Utah, it appears to me that the state of Utah is his native land, even though his parents were born in Denmark and Sweden. At any rate, Dad never filled a mission in the native lands of his parents during his life in mortality.
It also mentioned that Dad's greatest desire would be to work for the dead. One would naturally assume that searching out genealogy and working in the temples for the dead is what is meant. However, Dad never did take the initiative in seeking for the dead, nor did he ever do any temple work for the dead.
A question might be raised as to whether Dad did not take advantage of his opportunities, or if the patriarch became too zealous and promised things which should not have been promised. Then again, were these blessings intended for the time after Dad's departure from this life?
As I think back over the past, it appears to me that these blessings could have been Dad's in this life if he had so desired. As fine and as good a man as he was, he did not put forth any efforts towards accomplishing the work mentioned. This is an example and a lesson for us all. If the blessings and promises given us are to materialize, we must put forth a great deal of effort ourselves so as to bring these things to pass.
Grandfather is so wise. Patriarchal blessings are conditional upon our obedience. We can't just sit around and wait for the blessings and promises to materialize; we need to be actively working towards them. I hope I always remember that lesson!