Monday, June 10, 2013

Analogies, Parables, and Teaching Stories- Part 7

I've always had a thing for analogies, parables, and the like. As teaching tools, they use every-day situations and ideas to explain complex principles, making those complex ideas a whole lot easier to understand. Often, they can explain ideas that would otherwise be nigh impossible to explain accurately.

Jesus Himself used parables all the time in His teaching. Sometimes this was to make the teaching of a certain principle easier. But often He didn't give an explanation. He simply allowed people to take from the "nice story" what they would- an act of mercy, given that we are each held accountable for following the doctrines we understand.

The first in this series was about ducks. The second one was about medicine.. and salvation. The third was about math class. The fourth was about engines and society. The fifth was about dirt. Number six was about my grandma's puzzles.

There once was a man who traveled for work, coming home each Friday evening. One weekend, a storm rolled in along with the man. Because of the storm, he was later than usual and particularly eager to get home. In his hurry, he hadn't kept track of the fuel gauge on his car and ran out of gas just a couple miles from the station near his home.

Taking advantage of the occasional lightning, he would run as far as he dared, and then he would slow and stumble in the dark, waiting for the next flash of light. It took much of the night to get to the gas station.

He finally got there, filled his gas can, and paid the attendant. As he was about to leave, the attendant handed the man a flashlight. While nowhere near as bright as the lightning, the flashlight gave constant light and the man was back to his car soon.

Like the lighting, the "light of Christ" is given and available to all mankind. It's not constant, not consistent. Its light is only occasional, lighting for just short times. On the other hand, the gift of the Holy Ghost may not be flashy and blindingly brilliant, but it's constant. So long as we keep ourselves worthy, this light will be our constant guide, making progress easier and faster.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Broken Communication

My baby brother's engagement coincided with some less-than pleasant circumstances in my own life. I was definitely not at my best and as a result, his fiance did not get a very pleasant first impression of me... or second.

It took a long time for things to get better between my sister-in-law and me.

I started with a friend request that she didn't accept. I didn't know exactly why, so I asked.

I thank her for what she did next- she sent me an email that explained what I'd done and how she felt about it. I don't know if she realizes, but this was a wonderful gift. It gave me a place to start, something to work with. Before that email, I had no idea that I'd hurt her so badly and in so many ways!

I apologized as best I could and got an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner in return! My apology, incomplete as it had been, had been accepted! I had the opportunity to be in their home, to get to know this new member of our family and some of her many talents. I got to see my brother as a dad, got to know a little about my awesome new nephew. It was wonderful. And I'm thankful for a forgiving sister-in-law who made it possible.

The reality is that lines of communication get broken all the time. But they can be repaired. It takes humility and a willingness to ask what the hurt is. It takes love and a desire to repair the relationship. It requires a willingness to apologize for a lot of things- things you don't remember doing, things you had good reason for doing, and for things you didn't understand. And it takes a willingness to forgive for those same kinds of things, even when you don't understand or agree with or like the reasons that drove those hurtful choices.