I know that right now we are facing some trying times; really we are in the midst of trying times. But, I wanted to share some thoughts on perspective. I'd like to do so by relating some personal experiences.
I’ve gone hiking a few times. When I go it seems like I come away with a good story. Like the hike up Camelback Mountain in Phoenix when couple of police snipers joined us on top. They were on the lookout for a murderer from an incident the previous night. But, as I so commonly do, I digress. One of my favorite mountain stories is when I got to climb up Mount Sinai in Egypt.
It started at 2:00 in the morning. The reason we had to hike it at night is because it gets too hot during the day. It was a class field trip, but I decided to spend the majority of the time on my own. It was me, the mountain, the stars, a weak little flashlight and God. As I hiked I had a lot of time to ponder and pray.
Mount Sinai is a fairly decent climb. There are lots of switch backs for several hours. The last bit is a series of steps. Not normal steps, just rocks here and there of different shapes and sizes. My weak little flashlight did not last very long. So, there was plenty of time that I had to shut it off and tripped myself up. But, I was grateful for the stars, and the light others around me had. When I got to the top I realized what a great experience the whole thing had been. I also thought that the climb was definitely worth it.
How much like life is climbing a mountain? Life a lot of times is an uphill climb. Sometimes we even do it in the dark. But, we remember that darkness is rarely complete. We have our lights, even if sometime the light seems weak. And remember that the sun rules the day, the moon rules the night and even when the moon is not present we have the stars. Light rules no matter how dark seems. We have truth to guide. Most of all we have God, the source of truth and light.
As I climbed that mountain I thought a lot about some of the difficult experiences that I had already been through. I recognized that what really got me through those, what I describe as dark times, was The Savior. His light and love is very real. There on the mountain I thanked God for His Son, for His light. I also talked with God about how I was willing to go through difficult things again knowing that at the top of life’s mountain it would all be worth it. The difficult things always are.
I also have spent some time around seas. I love the water. There are a few good stories about the water too :) One of my favorite places on the planet is the Galilee region in Israel. Being in Israel was such a great experience for me. Some of the spiritual experiences I had were expected. But, my experience in Galilee was an unexpected blessing.
Galilee is where the Savior spent much of His mortal ministry. It is a beautiful area especially in the spring. I got to spend several weeks there. The Sea of Galilee is actually a lake, but a beautiful one. We got to live write next to the beach. It is hard to describe why the experience was such an important one for me. But, I felt really close to God. I had, like I said before, experienced some difficult things in my life and had felt the healing power of the The Atonement of Jesus Christ. There in the land that He had performed so many miracles I felt that the very land testified that He is the Healer, and I felt I could testify with the land of that truth. It was touching for me to be able to read the Scriptures there on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and it felt like God was talking directly to me through His word. Every night I would take a lawn chair and sit on the shores of the Sea and talk to Him. It was a sweet communion that I will never forget and always be grateful.
So, why the heck am I waxing on about these experiences? They have been in my mind lately. Right now I think we are heading for some really difficult times. We are going to be climbing a big ol’ mountain in trying to restore principles of freedom in this nation. We are going to be mocked by the media. We are going to feel like we don’t see the next step sometimes. But, remember we have truth. Remember we have each other and we have God. We must continually seek His guidance. We need to acknowledge His mercy and guidance and pray to put ourselves in a position to receive the blessings He wants to give. We need to remember that at the top it will be worth it.
We are all blessed with experiences of sweet communion. That can be with family, with nature, with God etc. Those experiences sustain us when times get rough. I still recall with gratitude my experiences in Galilee when I face difficult things. Right now I think it is so important for each of us to spend time in sweet communion. Cherish your loved ones, and cherish your times to ponder study and pray. These experiences will sustain as times get more difficult.
I’m grateful to be on this journey. I’m so excited to go to D.C. for the march on 9/12. I’m excited about some other things I’m getting more involved in. But, I’m also really grateful for perspective. The climb is worth it, and God loves all of us.