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What’s Going on Back There

By Jennie LaFortune

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Most days are just days.

I thought of these words as I darted out of work, late to my book group that evening. I heard them in a talk or conversation chattering from my iPhone earlier that week, and for some reason amidst all the other words and songs I heard, they stuck. As I clip-clopped my way down the sidewalk I wondered if that saying or observation was meant to be comforting or just glumly realistic.

See, Latter-day Saints share a common language and belief about meaning and purpose. It’s like the back of a rug or tapestry. Life looks like the back – a lot of messy strings and threads, but on the other side, a distinct pattern of color and value is revealed in a perfect combination of art and function. To many this narrative gives hope. But to others the seemingly meaningless heartaches, tragedies, or lack-luster days remain a mess of color and strings – the picture yet to be seen. I continued to my car, looked up the address of where I was to meet my book group and drove.

We were meeting downtown, and I was supposed to park on South Temple. Unable to find a parking spot I huffed, turned left, and drove up a street to pull over. As I prepared to back up and flip around, I checked for cars in the side-mirror. My breath caught, and I froze as the glowing Salt Lake Temple stared at me through my mirror. I let the meaning of this moment wash over me. I chose to stop for a few breaths and be still. A bit distant from those soft deep conversations, I let the Spirit in, and thought – you’re looking and asking for things right to the side and behind you. Literally in your rear view mirror! Just turn around and look.

In the perpetual hustle of days, the story I was telling myself and choosing to believe was one of flatness. If my heart asked for tender mercies and great things to be brought to pass, I felt that moment remind me that sometimes we have to slow our days down and try to find seeds of meaning to receive and get a glimpse of the potential picture we are breezing past and not even noticing.

After I got home that night I watched the end of a movie. The girl in the movie commented on what a beautiful night it was. The man next to her asked what that even meant. After thinking, she looked over at him and said that it meant it was completely comfortable, but that there’s also something deeply moving about it. I liked that. I felt that way about the temple and had felt that way about my day-to-day life at one time too. Seeking beauty in our days doesn’t mean big huge picture perfect moments, but trying to find beauty and purpose in the small and simple scenic mess of our day-to-day lives.

As mathematician Georg Cantor famously said, “my beautiful proof lies all in ruins,” and so too do most of our days.

How to do you find God, meaning, and small moments of joy in your day to day lives?

About Jennie LaFortune

(Prose Board) is from Salt Lake. Figuring life out one book, beach, road trip, museum, and front porch conversation at a time. Perpetually on the search for the best dark chocolate, finest pen, and greenest field. When she's not teaching high school, she loves to spend time with friends and family, the shore of any ocean, holding her friends' babies, or taking long neighborhood walks.

5 thoughts on “What’s Going on Back There”

  1. I am like you, and like that Mary Engelbreit saying "Life is Just So Daily". What brings me back to center is God's words. I have been "pondering" over favorite and familiar verses of scripture and I am always blessed with a "glimmer of light" inviting me to dig deep into His words and I am always rewarded.
    Lately I have been challenged to take stock of my life, and like Paul look at the trials and snares and sins that constantly try to trip us up. I have been impressed to continue forward in my walk with the Savior, and whatever comes, sins, trials, weakness's he is not letting go. We have so much to do in this life for Him, it's a shame that our to do list doesn't include lines dedicated to his service.
    Not ranting, just what has been revealed to me.

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  2. Thank you for a beautiful post that touches my heart and makes me take some time to look at the magnificent Fall Display going on outside my window.

    Your post also reminds me of the Jenkin Lloyd Jones quote Pres Hinckley shared:

    "Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey…delays…sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling burst of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”

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  3. Thank you Kim! And now I have looked outside at the beautiful leaves. I love that quote, but always forget about it. This time I am writing it down! Thank you for sharing.

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  4. The answer for me has been following the counsel of President Eyring and that is to ask myself at the end of the day: "Have I seen the hand of God in the life of my family" (and I also have added " in my life") today? And then write it down.

    Its completely changed my view of "ordinary days" – He is always there in so many ways and in so many places. So the challenge is: am I seeing Him?

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