Small & Simple Things
The following is a talk that I gave in church in February 2016
In contrast to the world in which we live. This crazy busy big, loud, complex and complicated life.. is the sweet peace living the gospel brings. The simple truths, the consistent, gentle commands. The quiet promptings of the Spirit, and the tender mercies of the Lord.
In the Old Testament The Prophet Elijah writes Kings 19: 11
“And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice”
We all know that the happiness we seek is not in the chaos of the world, it is not in the crazy busy; it wasn’t in the powerball either– it is by living each day in accordance with principles of the Gospel
In our day, our challenges are not the elements, or pulling a handcarts, or being tarred and feathered – it is the very speed of life, the crazy business that places demands on our time, distracts us from what matters most.
Words to an old county song by Joe Diffy “Cause and effect, chain of events, all of this chaos makes perfect sense, when the world is spinning round, things come undone – welcome to earth third rock from the sun.”
Maybe it is just my age, but life seems to go faster and faster –always in constant chaos, crazy busy. The adversary has literally turned up the volume, increased the speed. Our lives these days are complicated and noisy. And all too often, we get caught up in the busy – miss the important.
Corrie Ten Boom quote “If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.”
Dallin H Oaks “We do not improve our position in eternity just by flying farther and faster in mortality, but only by moving knowledgeably in the right direction.”
If we don’t slow down, and be mindful, we might miss a prompting to serve another with a small act of kindness, we might miss simple opportunities for growth, we may miss some of the small blessings our Father has in store for us.
I have been given a special warning in my patriarchal blessing. “Calm yourself and wait and all good things will come to you.”
Implies that I am in charge of that!
A lesson I am learning…
The speed of life these days is one of our greatest challenges. The world often seems spinning out of control. Information flies faster and faster, requiring our constant response to keep up. Faster and faster we go, sometimes unaware of why we are hurrying and missing so much along the way.
In a favorite scene in the Star Trek Movie “Insurrection,” a woman friend of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Anij appears to slow down time. A waterfall becomes a magical display of beauty, a hummingbird’s wings flap so slowly one can count the beats, and pollen blown from a flower floats softly in mid-air for the longest time. What an inspiring scene depicting what life would be like if we could control time. Of course, we can’t. We can however, control ourselves, the speed in which we live our lives, and what we choose to do with our time.
I agree with these words from Mormon Apostle, Dieter F. Uchtdorf.
“One of the characteristics of modern life seems to be that we are moving at an ever-increasing rate, regardless of turbulence or obstacles. Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. We all can think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules. Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list. “The wise resist the temptation to get caught up in the frantic rush of everyday life.”
They follow the advice from Mahatma Gandhi. ‘There is more to life than increasing its speed.’ In short, they focus on the things that matter most.”
Many of life’s meaningful moments are so easily missed in the busy of our daily routines. Dr. Seuss “Sometimes you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory”
I want to embrace more of those simple moments, don’t you?
It is helpful to recognize that we are ultimately in control. We are the creators of this “chaos.” We have both the responsibility and opportunity to choose what we do with our time. We have all been invited to live in the eye of the storm where we find the calm assurance that He lives, that he loves us.
The great thing is each of us gets to decide how often we choose to truly experience and embrace the small and simple things.
On the banks of the Mississippi River, this grateful man sang with heart and soul. It was both inspiring and humbling. It was a moment that mattered to me and to him, and we embraced it. It is a memory I will forever hold dear. This was one of those moments that Maya Angelou was talking about when she said, “Life is not measured by the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.” To think what I might have missed had I not stopped my crazy-busy life for just a moment to listen to his story, hear his song, and connect in such a powerful way.
As I have reflected back on this experience, I wonder if I should have snapped a quick selfie with him, or tweeted #homeless #Katrina #survivor. Maybe I should have recorded a video for YouTube, blogged the experience, or posted it on Facebook. I could have even created a “GoFundMe” page for him. At the very least, I could have sent an email or text to my colleagues who were attending the same conference to come and hear him play. I did none of those things.
What I have recognized since is that any one of these things would have detracted from that very special moment in time. I would have been worried about how I might look in the picture. Was the lighting right? Would the video sound be okay? Would it go viral? Would I misspell something in my blog or would my text interrupt friends? Instead, I chose to simply live life and be fully present in the moment. To relish the connection, to really soak it in and to wholeheartedly embrace a moment that mattered. I am so grateful that I did.
I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. I know He loves all of his children just like we love our children. He wants only the best for us, only our eternal happiness. He sent his son, Jesus Christ to earth to teach us; to lead us and to provide the necessary atoning sacrifice for our mistakes.
I know the Joseph Smith was called to fulfill his mission on this earth to translate the Book of Mormon and restore essential truths. To provide greater clarity and understanding of our who we are and our Heavenly Father’s plan for us.
Our Savior said,
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27.)
“When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives.”
“Honor the space between no longer and not yet” Nancy Levin