image via pinterest.
i love sunday afternoons when all is calm. after my church meetings, i get into my comfs and settle in. i read, i write, i bake, fold laundry and try to tackle last minute tasks before monday approaches with its weekly weight of obligations. i love how the sabbath is all about rest and restoring and renewal. in a peaceful, refined way religion feels mighty and holy and expresses the good in all. it encircles everyone.
today we discussed the concept of opposition in all things. the teacher had us write down (on a personal sheet of paper, not for sharing aloud) a difficult trial we've had to face or are currently facing in life. then she had two lines underneath it for us to write down what good had come from that hardship. at first my mind stumbled with wonder. and then seconds later it opened up and i realized, truly, so much good that has come from the hardship i'd listed. surprisingly, my writings filled up and slanted off the two lines and i was learning all the different ways that specific trial has benefitted me. having a little perspective helps me see the stumbling stones as invaluable life lessons and not as grueling obstacles that slow me down. and again, i felt thankful for the experience. among other things, i realized how experiencing that trial has strengthened my faith, helped me grow and most of all, opened my heart a lot wider. i think of a tightened flower bud loosening, allowing the rains to hit the fragile petals. gradually it opens up to full bloom, feeling the sunshine and becoming even more beautiful and fragrant than before. i know more now that the storms of life are for our good and for our growth.
during the lesson, a teenager shared with us a visual aid which her seminary teacher had showed in class. he held up a large jar of rice. he told them what they didn't see was a ping pong ball buried beneath the rice. he described the grains of rice as problems, temptations, afflictions, sins and trials that feel heavy and unbearable (we, being the ping pong ball). we often feel entitled to our depressed state, knowing the burdens we are carrying. we often give up, forgetting the choice to rise above them. she told us how her teacher shook the jar until the ping pong ball reached the top and sat upon the grains of rice. it was free and rolling about. what joy can come to us if we choose to be happy and live a good life; choosing to rise above it and reach our potential.
when i go to church i understand things more clearly, even personal silly problems that arise in life. not only do i gather strength from gospel doctrine and parables of Jesus, but i am full of thankfulness for the life i lead and the people in my life. i remember my strengths, feel remorse for my mistakes and make goals to become better. i feel newly hopeful about meeting my potential, or in the least, trying my best. one day at a time. i also have new compassion for others. i love how simple and yet so sublime a testimony of Christ can be. i rarely blog about religion, but i want you to know that it is what keeps me standing. it is the mortar between my bricks. it is so very important to me.