Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Are we willing to receive more?

The following is a quote taken from Sheri Dew’s book, If Life were Easy, it Wouldn’t be Hard:

"C.S. Lewis believed that 'we are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.'
"One scriptural passage in the Doctrine and Covenants seems to speak precisely about those of us who are happy making mud pies rather than accepting the offer to vacation at the seashore. Describing those who will not receive a celestial glory, the Lord declared, 'They shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received. For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift' (D&C 88:32-33)." (The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, 2).

Then Sheri says “Ugh!”  I agree.  Ugh.

Why do we let stubbornness impede our progress? Why do we let it interfere with the joy that can be ours for the taking? I have been doing some thinking about the idea of stubbornness. Of course its root is in our pride. Oh, how I hate that millstone called pride which we all allow to weigh us down, to mire us in the murkiness of arrogance. I heard a quote from the movie “Young Victoria”.  In essence it was this:  Don’t confuse stubbornness with strength. We want to appear strong in the face of challenge, adversity, difficulty. Yet if we are wise, we will make certain that our strength has roots in diligence, knowledge, and perseverance and not merely be a result of our stubbornness to give in to the offer of help, the offer of counsel and advice from others with more experience and wisdom. Why must we always try to muddle through things, entirely left to our own devices? Particularly when it is rarely necessary?

Are we overlooking the bright spots of life, offered to us for our diligence and obedience, like a holiday at the sea because we won’t lift our eyes from the mud pies we are content to be making in the slums? Are we allowing ourselves to suffer needlessly alone with our trials because we are too stubborn to offer them up to the Lord who has offered to bear our burdens and make them light?

I am convinced that most of our misery is brought about by our own refusal to lift our eyes to see the possibility of something better. I hate the idea of status quo. I think we should continually be asking ourselves if we need to be content with how things are, or if they can, indeed, be changed and improved. I vote for change. I vote for improvement. Just because “that’s that way we’ve always done it”, it need not be the way it continues. The change lies within us. Not a new idea perhaps, but a needed mantra for our new day.

Our new day will begin as we begin to heighten our awareness of the miracles at every hand. Perhaps it is as simple as seeing with fresh eyes the ideas the Lord has built into every creation He put upon this earth.

I have a garden. Oh, the lessons that exist in a garden only if we shed the pessimism of the world to look with a new perspective. How many of us have not weeded a garden and had the parable of the wheat and the tares become ever so clear to us? Or as we prepare the ground for new plantings, do we not consider the parable of the seed and the importance of seedlings being placed in well-prepared ground to insure their success? Would we plant daisies in rocky soil? Or wouldn’t we take care to give them every advantage, as we would our children, to insure that they will thrive throughout the long hot summer days, with rich, ample soil that will sufficiently hold the moisture necessary to thrive?

I am awestruck by the numerous lessons I learn from my garden. There is even a lesson to be found in the care of the garden. When it is young and new, it requires constant work to assure its success. Then as it matures, less day-to-day effort is required. It is possible to simply bask in its beauty with only minor maintenance. Oh, it can’t be left to tend itself entirely, but it doesn’t require the same degree of hard work, and the blessings certainly outweigh the effort involved.

So it is with our children.  Today in the Stateman Journal newspaper the death of one Robert Haws was reported as the result of a fight with a fellow inmate at the State prison. Though our own son, Robert Brent Haws, is no longer in our constant care, I thankfully believe that he is headed down a completely different road than that other unfortunate man because of our diligence as parents to make sure he was "planted" in fertile soil, was nourished with the good word of God, and continues to receive the warmth of our love for him.

There are great blessings that come as a result of our diligence.  Wherever we put our love, concern, and sacrifice, that is where our progress will be and ultimately will dictate which rewards we enjoy.  Perhaps we need to ask ourselves if our efforts are going toward making mud pies in the slums, ...and if we are content with that.


Kim said...

This is definitely a reminder I need to have!

Laura said...

GREAT post - I'll be pondering!