Monday, August 31, 2009

What would I say to Brenda?

This morning when I logged on to Facebook I found that my friend, Brenda, had added this image as her profile picture. After I read it, I started thinking about what I'd say to Brenda if I thought she was willing to hear it...

I'd like to tell her that God loves her enough to give her the choice to believe whatever she chooses. And that we should all thank Jesus, our Lord and Savior, for His willingness to preserve that ability to choose because there was another who wanted to deny all choice and force us back to Heavenly Father's presence.

I'd like Brenda to understand that choice is a key principle to our existence. And that good and evil have to coexist in order for there to be choice. If you've never known evil, how do you even recognize what is good? This idea is so universal that it's a "law" of physics... For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

I wish Brenda knew that God doesn't choose evil for us, we quite readily choose it for ourselves. And we do it despite His ever present invitation to choose good... to choose light... to choose Him. He doesn't force us to do, say, think or choose anything. We choose whether to live according to the precepts the world or to accept His plan leading to life everlasting. Christ "stands at the door and knocks;" he doesn't come at it with a battering ram. Have you ever noticed that illustrations of this scripture from Revelations 3:20 show a door with no knob? He waits on someone on the other side to choose to open it to Him.

How she doesn't know all of this, I'm not sure. Brenda is intelligent, capable, curious, passionate and kind. After I think about it more and carefully choose my words, I think I'll say all of this to her. Even if she won't hear it now, I don't want to be in the position of someday having her come to me and say "You knew. Why didn't you tell me?"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Garden Observations

This past spring, I planted a garden (at least as much of a garden as I did) specifically because Bishop Lewis asked everyone in the ward who could to do it and promised there would be blessings for doing so. I knew and accepted that there would be considerable work in planting, cultivating and harvesting. For the most part, I've kept up with all of that pretty well.

What I didn't count on, and what's got me feeling a little burned out right now, is that I've actually put in more work in giving away the excess (and not always sucessfully) than combined in the planting, cultivating and harvesting. I can't say that I'm willing to do this again next year.

I've gone all around my block begging people to take some of the fruit and vegetables from the garden. I've taken it to church and given it to the Senior Center. I've taken it to people at work. And if you go by the price at the grocery store, the value would run in the hundreds of dollars. And then what I couldn't give away has fallen on the ground and gone to waste. It could lead you to believe that people aren't as needy as the economy suggests.

And yet I don't want to become hard-hearted and cynical about it. I really want to be generous and giving. I see it as a blessing that I get to live in an amazing home on a huge lot with all kinds of fun stuff to play with. I really feel a responsibility to share those blessings with others as a way of radiating Christ's love for all mankind.

Maybe it's that tonight I'm feeling a little like I've been made a fool. A family in my ward who by all appearances seems to to qualify as "the least among you" was offered a big bag of fresh vegetables. It included green beans, cucumbers, zucchini, onions and tomatoes as all of those are ready to harvest in abundance right now. They agreed and seemed to have some excitement about it. They even promised to come help harvest... and yet no one showed. I called a second time and left a message telling them it was all ready; all they had to do was stop and pick it up and that I needed to be gone for a few minutes so I'd leave the bag out on the lawn near the driveway. When I came in for bed, I moved it up on the porch and if it's still there in the morning when I leave for work -- and I fully expect it will be -- I'm taking it to someone there who I know will use it.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring a fresh perspective and renewed hope that even this little thing is bringing some good into the world. I'm working too darned hard for it to all amount to nothing!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Looks like Bud Light

On Saturday, a couple of my younger friends were playing at the house and drinking their favorite apple punch. It's one of Walmart's knock-offs of Crystal Light. And it does smell and taste very much like real apple juice. With a few ice cubes floating in the glass, one of them observed, "It's the same color as Bud Light." Then after a few seconds added, "But it tastes a lot better." That he knows this at age 10 makes me very sad.

But then, many things about this little boy's life leave me feeling sad. Mostly I'm sad because it seems I have no ability to effect any change that will make things better for him. The best thing I can do is to keep him in my daily prayers and trust that Heavenly Father has a reason for letting the bad things happen in this young life and a plan for it to all work out. I can just stand ready, waiting and anxious to do whatever He would ask of me.

And actually, that's a pretty good spot to be in... standing ready to do whatever the Master asks.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ice and Sun

Today I came across a little quotation that really struck a chord in my heart. It was included in an article in a daily ezine written by the editors' daughter who is studying at the BYU Jerusalem Center this semester. She didn't include a citation, so I have no idea where it originated. I even tried googling it but still came up empty-handed. Here it is anyway.

"Write your hatred on ice and then wait for the sun to come out."

I loved the imagery of problems melting away and the analogy of bringing all of our sins and other burdens to Christ who will wipe us clean from them if we allow it.

As I pondered on that thought most of the day, I realized I've been holding on to a lot of my worries instead of turning them over to the Master. And that's really a dumb thing to do! It takes my focus off radiating His love to all mankind and strengthening my personal relationship with Him and puts it solidly onto what I can't solve on my own anyway. I'm going to work on this... I pledge to do my best and then stop worrying about if it's enough.