Saturday, January 3, 2009

Looking Up 1/3/09

Looking Up 

Sky-sunny, clear skies
Wind 2-3 mph
Temp -14c

I don't know why I want to tell these stories on myself, but I just think they are funny; at least to me. Sometimes I wonder how I get both shoes on in the morning. Maybe it is my link to the rest of humanity in that, from time-to-time, we are all do things that afterwards make us shake our heads.

The last few weeks I have had a pain in my left hip, probably a sciatic nerve pinched, and I have slept with a pillow under my knees, along with the two pillows under my head that Sister Cindy insists I use because she says it helps prevent my snoring. (She is convinced that if my forehead is higher than my chin I snore less.)

Last week when I was folding the wash (remember I am in charge of cleaning everything from the vegetables to the laundry, and world peace) I could not find the third pillowcase. I looked in the sheets, under the bed where the drying rack in sitting, on the floor, under OUR bed, in the cupboards; everywhere, but no pillowcase. In my usual problem-solving manner I decided it would show up sometime, put the extra pillow in the linen cupboard, and did without it.

Today, Saturday, is laundry day (the third this week) and general cleaning day. I had done a couple of loads last night and was folding them by the drying rack and thinking how I was going to hang the sheets today. (Now, for you women, you are asking yourself, why is he deciding this again. He has washed the sheets presumably, hopefully, every week for 6 months. Why does he have to DECIDE how to handle them this time. In answer to that I must confess that routine is not one of my strong suits. For me, every day, every decision, involves every possibility, every time, and I have to sort through them. This drives Sister Cindy absolutely bonkers. She LOVES routine and lives primarily by routines. To change a behavior, she must begin and anchor a new routine while I, on the other hand, I have only to make another choice as I thumb through them in my mind. It is very exciting and enlivening to know that I can choose almost any alternative for every task in my day.)

Where was I, oh yes, I was folding the garments and socks when I looked up where the clothes line passes through the window frame into the "ice house" (formerly the Cabo Room) and there in the corner by the window was the missing pillow case. I had searched everywhere below my head, but had never looked up. (Look-out, I feel a moral coming on.)

Yes indeed, there is a lesson here. When my own skills run short of the mark, where do I turn? The encyclopedia? The internet? My roommate? Why not go to the source, but if you are not a believer you have no source because you will not accept that there is a source. It is like dying of thirst, but not being willing to push down on the pump handle because you know there is no water in the well.

On the other hand, if you are a believer in God, however you define God, you have a source of knowledge beyond your own, greater than the encyclopedia because he inspired the knowledge in it, greater than the internet for the same reason, and even greater than your roommate. The problem is, where is the pump handle?

The pivotal pin of that handle is faith; one must believe. We learned that in Star Wars, right? You have to believe in the Force before you can use it. The handle itself is prayer; earnest, honest, heartfelt prayer. It also helps to know whether you pull-up the handle or push it down and that comes from practice. So, where are we, I got a little lost in the analogy. Oh, of course, look up! When your own strength or resources fail you, look up. Look to the source of all knowledge, and love, and compassion, and look to the source of everything for your strength and for answers.

The final part is to listen. I know of people who say, "I prayed, but God didn't answer." We have to be still and listen for the answer. We have to meditate with prayer, ponder, search, listen. The promise is "Seek and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened to you." With faith, sincere prayer, and meditation (listening) we can and do receive answers to our prayers.

There once was a man who prayed daily for safety, peace, and protection and felt comfort in that prayer. One day he was warned by the local sheriff that a flood was approaching and he should move to higher ground. He responded that he prays daily for protection and God will surely protect him from the flood. As the water began to rise, the fire department came out in their big truck and offered to take him to high ground through the rising water, but he responded the same, "God will protect me". As the water rose past his home's first story, out of his window he greeted the offer of the National Guard rescue team the same way, "God will protect me". As he sat on his roof with the water rising over the eves, he responded to the Coast Guard helicopter pilot the same way, "God will protect me".

The man drowned and came before Saint Peter at the gates of Heaven with a heart-felt question. "What happened? Why did God not answer my prayer and protect me?" St. Peter frowned and replied, "He did, four times. He sent the Sheriff, the firemen, the National Guard, and the Coast Guard, but you refused His help each time. My friend, you were just not listening."

I need to keep reminding myself that lost things are not lost to God, the unsolvable is solvable to God. He knows. He is the source and I can go to him for what I need. If it is good for me, He will give me the answers. I just have to listen for them. If it is not right for me, He will cause me to forget the question. That is what makes this place so dark. The people have forgotten from whom their answers come. They knew it when we all lived together in His world, but their minds have been clouded and they have forgotten. Our task, as missionaries, is to remind them.

What a country.


Emily said...

Nice post! Just what I needed today.

Shannon Simmons said...

Thanks Elder Simmons. I really enjoyed your "moral." I just love your writing and inspiration!

Marilyn said...

Leave it to you, Doug, to turn the lost pillowcase incident into a lesson in regards to faith and prayer! We miss you here telling us similar stories/lessons. Great thoughts. Marilyn