Sunday, October 28, 2012

I See… How to Master the Essence of Hope


(WARNING: OF ALL THE “HOW TO” INSTRUCTIONS ISSUED BY THE MORMON THIRD EYE, THIS WILL BE THE MOST MOTIVATIONAL; YOU’RE GOING TO WANT TO GET UP AND DO SOMETHING-  LAZY PEOPLE, TURN AWAY- DO NOT READ THIS!!)

I’m lying here in bed on a Sunday morning, not where I should or want to be. The cure dispensed for my severe sinus infection, an unpronounceable antibiotic loaded with x’s and y’s and strings of vowels that normally do not appear next to each other, has proven to be worse than the illness (is this too much information?). I’d rather be with my boys in priesthood meeting. Furthermore, the storm to end all storms, according to the latest weather bunnies, will be visiting us the next day or so. And, I’ve got to blog.  I’ve only missed one Sunday in the past five years,and that was intentional.  So, I have every reason to be somewhat depressed, and I am. However, that won’t last for long. Why?  Because I have mastered the essence of hope… and so can you.

Here is how it works.  The essence of hope is the firm belief that while present circumstances are terrible, life will get better. The essence of hope is that there is always something good in your life to look forward to. Sometimes it can be something as minor as a candy bar you plan to consume later on this evening, or something more long-term, such as the temple marriage and family promised to you in your patriarchal blessing.  In any case, there is always something good to look forward to, and it is this anticipation of goodness that makes the distress of the present more palatable.

It is critical to note that I am not advocating that you lie to yourself and enjoy whatever current trial you’re facing.  Sometimes life stinks, and to deny that is to deny the reality of life itself.  The key is to admit that “while I hate my circumstances now, sometime later on my circumstances will improve and I will feel better.”
This process of mastering the essence of hope runs through the scriptures like a new river, but my favorite is the account of Alma and his visit to the people of Ammonihah.  In Alma  chapter 8, we learn that his first visit to Ammonihah did not go very well.  He was “weighed down with sorrow, wading through much tribulation and anguish of soul.”   At his moment of great despair, an angel appeared and told him “Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore, lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice; for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou receivedst thy first message from him.”  Alma would later be made to watch those who believed in God burn to death, and then get chained naked and thirsty and hungry for several days in jail.  While I’m sure he didn’t enjoy any of these events at the moment they happened, he endured because he believed that life would get better. And it did.

There was a time in my life when I young, lonely, and broke.  I had no money for anything.  A wise father taught me this principle, and sent me just enough money to buy a candy bar every day.  Every day I would come home from work, walk to the library to read books (which was free), and end my day with a candy bar. Every day I would wake up and look forward to the candy bar moment. It was the anticipation of looking forward to a brighter future that got me through a dismal day without money and friends.

The candy bar moment is the essence of hope.  When will you have your candy bar moment?

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