My mind is decidedly random and you can never guess what is going on inside by what’s being said outside. Anyone else like that?
Well, today at church was definitely such a moment. The missionaries were speaking about missionary work and even though that is my favorite topic I found my mind wondering. I think I was hungry but I remembered a talk given by Elder Perry in 2001 (and yet still fresh in my mind. I’m like that. I can tell you all about the lectures from my favorite classes in school and its been 11 years since I graduated…yet I can’t remember where my keys are half the time. Strange!)
Anyway, the talk is called ‘A Community of Saints’ and the main purpose is to discuss how we as members of the church can take the trappings of the church for granted because we are so used to it, but I find that slippery slope to exist with almost anything in life. Familiarity leads to cavalier attitudes and we can sometimes lose what is really most important because we think we are bored or it isn’t living up to our standards.
Elder Perry gives an example that I love. Please forgive the long quote but I think any of us with Moms can relate to a moment when we think our family is so ‘uncool’ but everyone else thinks it’s great:
We all have life events that, when we recall them years later, acquire new and important meaning. When I was in junior high, I was honored by the school administration when I was asked to become a member of the student hall patrol. On the days we were assigned to be on hall patrol, we were instructed to bring our lunch to school and eat it together. It was always a special treat, and there was always a lot of competition to see whose mother had prepared the most desirable lunch. Often we traded lunch items among ourselves.
One day when I was assigned to be on hall patrol, I forgot to tell Mother that I needed a lunch until I was almost ready to leave for school. An expression of concern came over Mother’s face when I requested a lunch. She told me that she had just used up her last loaf of bread for breakfast and would not be baking until that afternoon. All she had in the house to make a lunch was a large sweet roll left over from the previous night’s supper.
Mother made delicious sweet rolls.She always arranged them in a pan so there was one large one across the top of the pan and then rows of smaller ones down the length of the pan. Only the large one remained. It was about the size of a loaf of bread in length but, of course, not in thickness. I was embarrassed to take just a sweet roll for lunch when I imagined what the other patrol members would have, but I decided it was better to go with the sweet roll than go without lunch.
When it came time to eat lunch, I went to a far-off corner so I wouldn’t be noticed. When the trading of lunches started, my friends wanted to know what I had. I explained what had happened that morning, and to my dismay, everyone wanted to see the sweet roll. But my friends surprised me—instead of making fun of me, they all wanted to have a piece of the sweet roll! It turned out to be my best lunch trading day of the entire year! The sweet roll that I thought would be an embarrassment to me turned out to be the hit of our lunch hour.
As I have reflected on this experience, it has occurred to me that it is often part of human nature to attach less value to familiar things simply because they are so common to us. One of these familiar things could be our membership in the restored Church.
I love that last quote “often part of human nature to attach less value to familiar things simply because they are common to us”. Could this not be a problem with Thanksgiving and the entire holiday season? Because the traditions are so repetitive and seemingly ordinary do we forget to remember how special those moments truly are?
For example, most of us expect to have turkey on thanksgiving but usually it is not until it is our turn to cook the bird that we realize how much work it is to make the ordinary turkey!
I’m going to try and keep this in mind during my Thanksgiving with my family and the Christmas season to come- appreciate the ordinary and the common because it will not always be here. I challenge you all to do the same!
So, my brain wandered off somewhere pretty interesting today and I’m glad it did!