This week my husband and I discussed our financial outlook, and he referenced this story of a family on a journey of faith long ago. They are in the wilderness and need food. The men go to hunt and only come back with a broken bow. He related this story to our own “broken bow” circumstances, and his comment pointed me to study it, again. We all have broken bows to face in our families. How do we react? Tomorrow, I’ll tell you what I’ve learned. Read it, and discover what you might do:
And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord spake unto my father by night, and commanded him that on the morrow he should take his journey into the wilderness. And it came to pass that as my father arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness.
And it came to pass that we did gather together whatsoever things we should carry into the wilderness, and all the remainder of our provisions which the Lord had given unto us; and we did take seed of every kind that we might carry into the wilderness. And it came to pass that we did take our tents and depart into the wilderness, across the river Laman. And it came to pass that we traveled for the space of four days, nearly a south-southeast direction, and we did pitch our tents again; and we did call the name of the place Shazer.
And it came to pass that we did take our bows and our arrows, and go forth into the wilderness to slay food for our families; and after we had slain food for our families we did return again to our families in the wilderness, to the place of Shazer. And we did go forth again in the wilderness, following the same direction, keeping in the most fertile parts of the wilderness, which were in the borders near the Red Sea. And it came to pass that we did travel for the space of many days, slaying food by the way, with our bows and our arrows and our stones and our slings.
And we did follow the directions of the ball, which led us in the more fertile parts of the wilderness. And after we had traveled for the space of many days, we did pitch our tents for the space of a time, that we might again rest ourselves and obtain food for our families. And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.
And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food. And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael did begin to murmur exceedingly, because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness; and also my father began to murmur against the Lord his God; yea, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against the Lord.
Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, having been afflicted with my brethren because of the loss of my bow, and their bows having lost their springs, it began to be exceedingly difficult, yea, insomuch that we could obtain no food. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did speak much unto my brethren, because they had hardened their hearts again, even unto complaining against the Lord their God.
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?
And it came to pass that he did inquire of the Lord, for they had humbled themselves because of my words; for I did say many things unto them in the energy of my soul. And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father; and he was truly chastened because of his murmuring against the Lord, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow. And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord said unto him: Look upon the ball, and behold the things which are written.
And it came to pass that when my father beheld the things which were written upon the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly, and also my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and our wives. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them. And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by bsmall means the Lord can bring about great things.
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain, according to the directions which were given upon the ball. And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families. And it came to pass that I did return to our tents, bearing the beasts which I had slain; and now when they beheld that I had obtained food, how great was their joy! And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord, and did give thanks unto him.
I stepped onto my elliptical this week after a two-week break and chose the Interval program instead of the usual Fat Burning one. Interval training in running or other exercise is a brief period of high-intensity exertion, followed by periods of lower-intensity activity.
I worked hard to get back to those higher levels, but relished the lower levels when they came. Then, it went up, again, and I zoned out at the screen and saw the intervals of experiences from the last year stare back at me in place of those little round lights. Health and wellness, productive work and relaxation, times of plenty and times without, alone or socially engaged, spiritually filled or drawing from my reserves.
The ironic part of this picture was that I wasn’t sure which were the intense periods of exertion and which were the lower intensity ones. I’ve always seen the high-pressure times of life as the high-intensity time and the opposite lower-intensity period as a break. With my go-getter approach to life, I’ve viewed the high-intensity productive experiences as positive, and consequently, I’ve spent much time in the less desirable experiences figuring out how to get back to the other.
The cardiovascular benefit of interval training comes from the shift from high to low and back again. The interval training of life—high intensity experiences and low-intensity ones—both work together to build my character.
Years ago, these words influenced my own life plan:
You cannot eat all of the pastries in the bakery at once. You will get a tummyache. You cannot be a 100-percent wife, a 100-percent mother, a 100-percent Church worker, a 100-percent career person, and a 100-percent public-service person at the same time. How can all of these roles be coordinated? I suggest that you can have it sequentially. Sequentially means to do things one at a time at different times.
My current transition into my next sequence has me resting from giving my 100-percents to one particular role; yet, life’s intervals continue to train me.Read More
To the person in our house who would rather ignore, not celebrate, his BIG birthday this week, I say:
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”
Excerpt from Rabbi Ben Ezra by Robert Browning; read the rest here.
Jeffrey R. Holland quoted this poem at Brigham Young University on Jan. 13. Listen to Remember Lot’s Wife to hear what he said about looking forward and not back.Read More
In celebration of one year of writing at tjhirst. com, I’m republishing some of my favorite posts from the archives this year.
Thank you to all you who come by to read and discuss ideas with me. Do you have a favorite post?
Today, we’re taking down our Christmas tree to make room for teenagers at our New Year’s Eve party. This post, Melancholy is More, originally published January 2, ’08, seems appropriate. Hope you think so, too.
melancholy: n. 1. Sadness or depression of the spirits, gloom. 2. pensive reflection or contemplation.
The high of the holidays came down with the Christmas tree and decorations today. One by one, each carefully chosen and thoughtfully placed ornament returned to its 11-month home of bubble-wrapped packaging. If setting these out a month ago brought anticipation, putting them away brought melancholy. The contrast crashed upon me.
Year round, our modern home is not decorated. It is furnished. It is designed. But it is not decorated. (Less is more!) Today, though, the hallways stripped of garland and the living room bared of a nearly 10-foot tree felt empty. Why was this? I thought. Usually, I am cleaning up before the party, vacation, or cooking is even complete, and I am enthused by the task.
Rather than pressing forward, I settled back on the couch and gave into the sadness and depression of spirit by allowing myself to thoroughly feel the loss of the holidays being finished. As I did this, my mind moved through the sadness (definition #1) into pensive reflection and contemplation (definition #2). Rather than jumping over the inevitable emotions, I experienced them, and in a natural way began to focus on marking those holiday moments as memories in my mind.
I continued remembering the family games (some fun and some teaching moments), the quiet moments of pondering the symbols of the season, the one-on-one time with my husband, and the comfort food. Other memories of the past year began to come to mind: special events, cherished friendships, and lessons learned. My mind was not blank nor was my heart longing anymore. All these moments filled the void.
When my children returned home, they barely noticed the change of decor. I asked, “What’s missing?”
They looked around, confused, until I pointed out that the tree was gone. My son said just what I would have once focused on in my youthful post-holiday moments. “You took that big tree out of this place and replaced it with this small chair. It looks refreshed.”
Melancholy can be more, which is a lesson I could only learn in middle age.Read More
The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit,
the greater your capacity to create.
And the Promise:
As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Happiness, Your Heritage