Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Remembering the past

After reading recent posts, it shouldn't be hard to figure out that I've been feeling not quite up to par spiritually for some time now. However, quite unexpectedly, this blog has provided me with a rather clear manifestation of the workings of God in my life.

Last week my sister Laura sent me an e-mail. It seems she was preparing for a lesson she was going to teach in Relief Society about temple work. She had read some of the posts on this blog and remembered a short tribute I wrote to my Grandpa Miller. She wanted me to send her the link to my blog so she could find that post as I had expressed some of the feelings and memories that we apparently shared, but felt that I had expressed them in a way that she could not. I forwarded her the link and didn't really think much of it. 

Fast forward about a week, and this morning my mom called and wanted to thank me for writing the post. She was in tears as she recounted how grateful she was for what I had written and how grateful she was to now know, because she had never realized before, how great an impact her father had on my life.

What in the heck was going on here? I remember having written the post, but didn't remember much about the specific content - it simply cannot have been that good. So, it was time to find the post and re-read it. It turns out it was the first post I wrote for this blog, and you know what? It was pretty good. More importantly, it meant something to me again. Re-reading the post I was able to remember why I wrote it and what I felt when I wrote it and to feel again those same memories that mean so much to me. I could instantly feel and see the hand of the Lord - he knew my struggles, knew my weakness and helped to transport my mind back to times of strength. He had brought back precious memories of strong examples of faith and service and remembered experiences of joyful relationships strengthened by shared love of the Lord. 

Living in the immediate present can be wonderful at times: paying attention and being mindful of what is around you and those you love, but the past can be a powerful tool and we forget it at our peril. I am grateful to the Lord for the gift of the Spirit which can "bring all things to your remembrance" (John 14:26) and has brought these precious memories and feelings back to my heart.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Righting the ship

In the last few months I've been struggling quite a bit with being consistent in my daily routine of faith. I have pondered over the reasons for why it has been so difficult. I'm not claiming a crisis of faith or a lack of belief, I'm merely saying that I haven't felt a real need to engage in all the daily acts of faith that should accompany a life of devotion to God.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that my conclusion is that I simply need to be more grateful in recognizing the source of my blessings. Oh, I know all of that already and I recognize it readily, but I need to make that gratitude more deeply felt and more personally expressed. If others are struggling in the same way, this may or may not be an answer that fits your needs, but it works for me.

To that end I have also begun thinking about this blog. As originally intended I was planning on following the model set forth by President Eyring in his conference address ("O Remember, Remember" - General Conference, Oct. 2007), wherein this blog would be a record of how I had seen the hand of the Lord in my life or the life of my family. Initially it began that way but quickly morphed into a record of simple gratitude for things that were meaningful to me. I was pleased to be able to record those feelings, and I don't believe that a gratitude journal is anything other than a very good thing and a worthy endeavor, but for me....it apparently wasn't enough.

For this blog to have meaning for me it needs to focus my attention and my thoughts in another direction. I need to not be simply grateful for what I have (although that helps), I need to actively seek out and recognize the moments when I receive blessings from the Lord in whatever form they take.

The explanation for why this is necessary in my life is fairly basic: I am independent. I don't like relying on the service or help of others, I feel like I can do it all myself using my own industry and intelligence. I don't like feeling that I need to rely on anyone else. Some might consider this a strength, but I have found that the more I swing over to the "independence" side of my personality, the less I like who I become. As I am able to allow the help and love of other people into my life, the opposite effect occurs and I enjoy who I have become.

It's a terrible catch 22: be myself, and feel strong but unhappy, or reject my innate tendencies and feel vulnerable but happy.

So, while my posts may not be consistent yet in frequency, I will be dedicating them to be more consistent thematically, and hopefully I can return to being a less independent, but happier, individual.