Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Familial Reception

Before I move on from Elder Holland's talk, I want to point out something that Elder Holland mentioned almost in passing that stood out to me as a confirmation of something that many people I know had already believed:
Now, I am absolutely certain that upon his passing, his mother received my friend with open, loving arms; that is what parents do.
It is my opinion that, when an Apostle says, over the pulpit during General Conference, that he is "absolutely certain" of something, we can pretty much take it as gospel truth, and this particular truth is a pretty cool one. Judging by this, the mother of Elder Holland's friend was met and embraced by his mother at or very shortly after the moment of his death. Assuming that this occurrence wasn't exceptional, we might expect that our beloved family members will be right there with us when we die, that when we pass on, those who have already done so will be there to welcome us to the other side of the veil.

This is a pretty awesome idea, and it's especially comforting for those who have lost people they deeply care about. Thankfully, we now know that this isn't just wishful thinking or something that people hope is true. If the Apostles are to be believed, and I personally believe that they are, this has happened before. We now know that at least one person has gotten a familial reception into heaven. I imagine that most people do.

Blogging at Night Isn't Working

Maybe it wasn't just that one General Conference talk, and maybe the problem wasn't just that I wanted to wait until I could do it justice. Maybe the problem, or at least part of the problem, is that I don't blog in the mornings like I should (and often don't have time to), so I end up blogging at night, before and/or after doing homework, when I'm suffering from a severe lack of inspiration. Maybe that's part of the reason why I haven't had many really interesting blog posts lately.

Unfortunately, I don't think there's much I can do about that problem. I could try to blog in the mornings, but I often don't have time to. I could try to blog as soon as I get home from school. That might work. But there will always be the question of inspiration. My daily life experiences haven't been very blogworthy, and I haven't been able to focus on the things that are. You can't force inspiration to come, so I end up spending hours trying to stimulate it or simulate it. Often, I don't do a very good job. In the future, I'll try to do better.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Blessing of the Love of a Mother

As promised, tonight I'm going to blog about Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's talk, Behold Thy Mother, and as predicted, my blog post won't be anywhere near as good as the talk itself is or as my mother deserves it to be. I would have loved to have written something about the love of mothers and how Christlike it is, drawing many detailed comparisons, but I just haven't been able to find the right words. So instead, I'll use some of Elder Holland's: "no love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child."

To illustrate this, Elder Holland shared the example of a young man who was struggling with a very difficult, deeply personal challenge. The young man eventually overcame many of his struggles, and when he did, he knew exactly who he had to thank for that.
He knows he owes much to many, but he knows he owes the most to two messianic figures in his life, two who bore him and carried him, labored with him and delivered him—his Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, and his determined, redemptive, absolutely saintly mother.
I have not yet been delivered from all my ills, and I still need frequent help from both God and others. However, I've discovered that the one thing that gives me the most strength is the love and support I get from my Heavenly Father and my earthly, but still heavenly, mother. Though she may doubt it sometimes, she is a powerfully positive influence in my life and a wonderfully Christlike woman. Everyone that knows her knows that she is a good person. I am blessed to have a mother like her.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hidden Blessings

As I gave my lesson this afternoon, the conversation around the classroom seemed to focus on the unexpected blessings that President Uchtdorf received from having worked so hard as a laundry delivery boy. When he was hauling a heavy cart around on his bike, he didn't know that the fresh air and exercise he was getting was helping him stave off a lung disease, or that he would need to have strong lungs to pass the medical exams he'd need to take to become a pilot. He later remarked that if he had known that the work he was doing would bring great blessings into his life, it would have made the work a lot easier.

As a class, we figured that probably most of the work we do has blessings hidden in it, largely because God blesses people for doing good and He helps them use their experiences to improve their lives. Much of the work we have to do seems like drudgery, but with either a focus on the blessings we know will come from that work, or at least faith in the fact that unknown blessings will come into our lives as a result of the work we do, we can motivate ourselves to push forward in doing work that we otherwise might not be motivated enough to do. As we look for hidden blessings, or at least have faith that such blessings will come, we can increase our motivation to do what's right.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Why Work Is Important

The given subject of my lesson is "Why is work an important gospel principle?" and while I plan to spend much of my time talking about how we can make work more enjoyable, or at least more tolerable, I should probably spend at least a few moments answering the actual question. So, why is work important?

For starters, it's necessary. We need to work to make money to survive. For our temporal welfare, and that of our families, we need to work to maintain an income.

Secondly, it takes a good deal of work to progress toward our divine potential. We have to work to develop Christlike attributes and to overcome faults and weaknesses. In order for us to be successful in that endeavor, we need to be willing to work on self-improvement, not only during our lifetime, but throughout the eternities.

And thirdly, on the subject of our divine potential, I'm sure it takes a lot of work to be God. My Mom and I said the other day, not all work is physical. Work includes mental work, social work, and emotional work as well. God's job may not be physically demanding, but I'm sure it takes a lot out of Him, mentally and emotionally. If we're ever going to realize that potential, we're going to need to be willing to put in the work to make it to that point and to continue to work hard when we get there.

Developing a tolerance and a habit of working hard will help us not only succeed in life, but also succeed in our eternal endeavors. To achieve any goal takes work, and that's true for both temporal goals and for goals of a more eternal nature.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Just Write It

While studying for my lesson, I came across a portion of this quoted from President Thomas S. Monson's talk, A Royal Priesthood:
It is not enough to want to make the effort and to say we’ll make the effort. We must actually make the effort. It’s in the doing, not just the thinking, that we accomplish our goals. If we constantly put our goals off, we will never see them fulfilled. Someone put it this way: Live only for tomorrow, and you will have a lot of empty yesterdays today.
 By the way, he was quoting, or at least paraphrasing Professor Harold Hill from The Music Man.

This quote reminded me of a story I read for my literature class, in which a dying character regrets having put off his own writing because he didn't feel like he could write it well enough, only for him to die having not written it at all.

I feel that I needed to hear this lesson. The next Conference talk I wanted to blog about, Elder Holland's talk from this last General Conference, I haven't blogged about because it's about motherhood, and I have an awesome Mom, so I wanted to make sure my blog post about Elder Holland's talk was a good one. Out of my desire to blog about it well, I haven't blogged about it at all. It's time that I changed that.

Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, I'm going to need to finalize my lesson plans, so I'm probably going to blog about that on those days, but by Monday, at the latest, I will blog about Elder Holland's talk. No more putting it off until I feel ready. I'm just going to go for it, and if it ends up being a terrible blog post, at least I'll have written something. Writing about mothers and motherhood, even if the blog post isn't terrific, is better than not blogging about them at all. In this case, something is better than nothing, and I promise that you will have something about Elder Holland's talk by Monday night.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Exericising Mental Work

I think that part of my problem with work is how long it takes and how tired it makes me. I spend so much time and energy working that I get fed up with the whole idea of work.

It's strange that I get tired of school work, but I don't similarly tired of physical work. When I run, climb, clean, or even shovel dirt or rocks, sure I get tired, but I don't get tired of the idea of doing those things. I have to stop to rest sometimes, but I never feel like quitting.

Perhaps that's because I've had enough physical exercise that I can do physical work without getting as tired as social or mental work makes me. I'm strong enough, physically, to do physical work efficiently, which means that it takes me less time and energy to do physical work, so I don't get tired of it as quickly.

It may be that all I need to do to make mental work less taxing for me is to practice it, to exercise it. If I approach mental work the same way I might approach physical exercise, maybe I'll become mentally stronger and faster, so I can do mental work faster and with less effort, giving me more time, and less need, to rest from it.

While I had thought I had been over-working myself, or that I had bitten off more than I could chew, it's possible that I had just burned myself out from a strong mental workout and needed time to let my mental muscles rest. If that's the case, then I don't really need to look forward to a time when I can rest forever. As I grow stronger, mentally, my school work will become less taxing for me, and I'll be able to do it without burning myself out or taking all night and feeling like I want to quit.