Tag Archives: prayer

Making the General Specific

image from ldsmediatalk.com

I have spent every hour since the concluding hymn contemplating last weekend’s General Conference, chewing over the words and welcomes we received. Elder Robert D. Hales, who was the first speaker at the Saturday morning session reminded us of two vital aspects in benefiting from General Conference.

First, he said, (quoting President Kimball), “What is said is not as important as what we hear and what we feel.”

Elder Hales also said, “The greatest blessings of general conference come to us after the conference is over. Remember the pattern recorded frequently in scripture: we gather to hear the words of the Lord, and we return to our homes to live them.”

Post-conference, I found myself hearing and feeling all sorts of things – a yin and yang chatter fest. I decided that one good way I could process conference beneficially was to go through each talk sussing out my own uplifting take-aways from each message. Continue reading

A Trifling Thing—But Not Necessarily a Cake Walk

My sophomore year of college, I decided to take piano as a class. Breaks from school spent at my parents’ house and around their piano reminded me how much I missed it, so I registered with a teacher and took my piano books from high school back with me, on the plane.

My first lesson was spent playing for the teacher songs that I knew, and we made our way through the books flipping pages and playing until the page turns began to reveal songs I hadn’t learned yet, and it was as simple as that flick of a wrist that introduced me to Golliwog’s Cake Walk. From the Debussy Children’s Corner book. Alfred Edition. Page 28.

Ugh.

The pianos were located off the gym in a bank of small side-by-side rooms that from the outside looked like a long hallway of doors in a row. As I settled in to practice one early morning, I was innocent of the frustration before me, hurrying to fit a run and breakfast and a few minutes at the piano with time enough left over to intercept a kiss from my beau while he crossed the campus to his first class. I had thrown frayed jeans on over my shorts, a thermal with a big hole in the shoulder (college poverty and not a fashion statement) over my tank, my flustered-hair was sticking 45 ways out of an elastic, and as the flaccid banana peel I had dropped in the tray next to my music started to brown and turn, I attempted to play.

It was apparent immediately that I might not make it out of there in time for that kiss. The counting was too much, the song too odd. It was apparent a few minutes after that, that I realized the good chance of not mastering this song EVER on the ivories. I paused, hopeless, just long enough to think a mishmash of “please” and “now what,” when suddenly, in the practice room next door, someone played the entire piece of Golliwog’s Cake Walk, beginning to end, in perfection.

I listened, agape. I listened in a dawn of relief and realization. I listened to the foreign melody of it and committed that to memory.

As the piece was finished in a perfect flourish of thirty second notes and staccato and flats, I came back to the reality of what had just happened and felt a wave of embarrassment that someone else—someone TALENTED—had heard my flailing and failing and knew I needed an intervention. I waited a good 10 minutes in silence just to not “accidentally” bump into the maestro in the hall.

But as I waited I started to think beyond the reality of it. I thought of the fantastic—the disembodied actualization of a need I hadn’t even uttered, the need of a frame of reference, an example, something to go on. I needed to hear, and I heard. And the gift of the right song from places unseen, at that moment, was nothing short of a miracle.

My God is a god of small things. He’s in the details. He knows who I am and he knows exactly what I need, when I need it. And He showed me that, by revealing himself outside a holy place, in a asylum-like room that smelled sweetly of bananas, to a sweaty, distracted girl, who wasn’t necessarily ready to meet him that morning, but met him nonetheless.

A New Beginning

Bonnie 2010Today’s guest post comes from Bonnie, a working mom of five kids who just celebrated her 15th anniversary with her soul mate.  You will always find a book nearby and at least two on her night stand.  She loves discussing all life has to offer with her book club friends, and staying up to all hours in the morning playing games with as many of her seven brothers as possible.  Her current goal is to achieve balance spiritually and temporally.

I love new beginnings.  To the point, that I create them even when not necessary.  It drives my husband mad!  But there is one new beginning that I share often because it was so powerful and so……defining.

The one that stands out to me is after the birth of our fifth child, a girl.  We had a hard time accepting that we were pregnant, yet again.  The timing was all wrong and we were just starting to get our feet under us.  Our job situation was bleak – working opposite shifts and four boys under age six to keep us busy.  We never saw each other.  Our marriage was on the rocks, our activity in the church was almost nil, and our home was ripped up because we thought we could remodel during this time.  Then to find out we were bringing another child into this chaotic life.

During this pregnancy, after several nights of crying, and lots of thoughts of “how in the world are we going to do this”, I had a quiet moment of peace.  And the Spirit whispered to me, “When this child comes, she will touch your lives and they will change for the better.”  Such a sweet peace came over me and allowed me to continue my pregnancy without fear and worry about the effect a fifth child will have on our lives.  Continue reading

On Forgiveness and Syphilis

Roughly ten years and several eons ago, I read in Matthew that we are required to forgive “even seven times seventy times”. Some quick mental arithmetic and I realised that meant we’re expected to forgive four hundred and ninety times. That’s a sizable number, especially when it’s relating to someone who has hurt or offended you. At the time, I was trying to come to terms with abandonment by not one but three fathers in my life, and the effort was exactly like trying to swim butterfly stroke through custard. In short, it wasn’t pretty, it was messy, and obviously wasn’t working.

Then, I read the following from Jeanne Ray’s ‘Eat Cake’:

The truth of the matter is that I didn’t bear my father any particular ill will. I had for a short time when I was young. I thought he was a terrible man. But as I got older it occurred to me that just because someone isn’t cut out to be a husband or a father doesn’t make him terrible, only terribly disappointing. (p. 54)

In the fey, curious workings of my brain, I could somehow accept the grief and hurt my fathers had caused by changing my definitions. My Dads weren’t terrible, just (simply, awfully) terribly disappointing. It was much easier to forgive them for being so disappointing and then step over the hurdle which had (just one page earlier) seemed as impossible and painful as burrowing through the planet using my head as a shovel. Suddenly I could – and did – forgive them, and moved on.

Fast forward ten years. Ten years of life, and friends, and no-longer-friends, family spats and silences, ten years of working out just what my mother-in-law meant during the last conversation, practicing and failing patience, and thinking that forgiving people was mostly a matter of rearranging words to make the taste less awful. Ha! I thought. This forgiveness thing is EASY!

Then my husband left my sons and me. For the first counsellor in my sons’ Primary. Continue reading