We all get hurt by the thoughtless and even spiteful acts of others. This can bring tremendous heartache to our lives as we deal with the injustices of mortality. But we have not been sent here to wallow in the pain of life’s unfairness. I love the words of Elder Kevin Duncan from a recent conference. Speaking of the Savior, he said: “He has taught us that we can forgive! Even though we may be a victim once, we need not be a victim twice by carrying the burden of hate, bitterness, pain, resentment, or even revenge. We can forgive, and we can be free!” May we allow the healing balm of the Savior’s atonement to heal not only those of us who repent, but also those of us who forgive. We can see the bright and beautiful world around us even in the face of serious unjustness in our lives.
Our modern-day lives are fast-paced and over-programmed. We feel guilty if we are not filling every single moment with “meaningful” activity. We multi-task throughout the day, trying to check off a few more items on our “To Do” lists. In this whirlwind of tasks and duties, we can miss the most beautiful and renovating moments of life as we push toward our well-meaning goals. The beautiful sunset over the Las Vegas valley tonight was amazing. Early on the clouds were interesting, but only after waiting patiently did the vibrant, heaven-sent colors make their debut. What a reward for those willing to pause from life’s pressing responsibilities, thus allowing God’s beauty to envelop them!
Much of life can seem routine and even tedious. We may feel like we are on a merry-go-round, spinning quickly, only to repetitively find ourselves back where we started. But if we seek God and His will for us as we journey through life, He will give each of us a customized agenda that will allow improvement and perfection. Spiritual improvement is slow by mortal standards and requires patience and an eye of faith to appreciate this important growth for each of us. As with the assent of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse stairs, we do go around and around but we also slowly climb upward, incrementally becoming more Christlike in our character and in our actions.
I love this peaceful little scene from Southern Utah. I don’t need to know the origin of this stream or its final destination to be able to appreciate the serenity and beautiful colors that are before me. In such simple, everyday settings, God teaches us to enjoy that which is before us now. It is spiritually unhealthy for us to ruminate over where we have been in the past and it is equally damaging for us to worry excessively about future concerns over which we have little control. We must trust the Lord in all things pertaining to the past and the future. He has provided the way through His atonement for us to put past issues behind us and He has provided the way for the future to work out for our good as we trust Him and follow Him. It is only in the present that we can actively feel God’s love and His influence through His Spirit. We must enjoy the present time, those things that are before us right now. It is in today that we will find joy.
We all want it. We all need it. But our fast-paced, demanding schedules make it very hard to come by. It takes planning and a concerted effort to bring moments of solitude to our souls. Yet, it is well-worth the effort, a treasure beyond monetary value. Out of solitude is born reflection, meditation, prayer, and peace. What more could we want?