Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'll Untie The Knot

With thoughtless and impatient hands
We tangle up the plans
The Lord hath wrought.
And when we cry in pain He saith,
“Be quiet, man, while I untie the knot.

cited by Pres. Packer

Monday, March 22, 2010

You Don't Have To Read This

As I was reading Elder Christofferson's recent conference talk on Moral Discipline, it occurred to me that we often say that we "have" to do things, when the reality is that we choose to do them because we want the benefits or are unwilling to accept the alternatives.

I don't HAVE to put gas my car (no one is standing there forcing my hand to swipe my credit card), but I do it because I want to quickly and easily transport my family. I don't HAVE to get out of bed when my kids wake up, but I do it because I want them to be safe, fed, and happy. I don't HAVE to read the scriptures, but I do it because I need the strength and direction they offer. You get the idea.

I suppose this is all rather obvious, but I mention it because I find that my feelings toward an activity improve when I think about the positive reasons I CHOOSE to do it rather than the sense of obligation that I "have" to do it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Celestial Fire

"Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience." --George Washington

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Basket of Water

I attended a conference in my parents' stake yesterday, and one of the speakers shared a story I really related to:

One day a young boy asked his grandfather what good it did to read the scriptures, since he didn't understand them very well and usually forgot what he'd read shortly after he closed the book. The grandfather responded by asking the boy to take his dirty coal basket down to the river and bring back a basket of water.

The boy tried to do as his grandfather asked, but all the water leaked out of the basket long before he reached the doorstep. The grandfather suggested he go faster the next time, but although the grandson ran as fast as he could, the basket was still empty before he made it back to the cabin. He exclaimed that the task was futile, and declared he would use the bucket instead, but the grandfather insisted that he wanted a basket of water, so the grandson went one more time, just to demonstrate the impossibility of his task.

When he returned with an empty basket yet again, the boy said, "You see--the water leaks out of this basket every time!" The grandfather replied, "Yes, but do you notice anything different about the basket now?" The boy glanced down, and saw that the filthy coal basket had been washed clean. "Scripture study works the same way," said his grandfather. "We may not retain everything we read, but the act of studying cleans us from the inside out."

I try to remember and apply what I study each day, but most of the time I feel like my mind is a leaky basket rather than a watertight bucket. The same is true of temple worship--I've learned many beautiful truths there, but there is still so much more that I don't fully understand. Still, I find that the act of studying scriptures and worshiping in the temple brings me peace and recalibrates my moral compass. Bit by bit it makes me a better person. Thank Heaven for that.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Danged If You Do . . .

Humans like to think we are rational creatures, but most of the time we really aren't. For example, when I stopped blogging a few months ago, I pined for that opportunity to share my thoughts and participate in the worldwide conversation. I thought of countless things I wanted to write, and it seemed cruel to deprive myself of the opportunity to share them.

Now I'm back, and I can't think of a dang thing to write.