Visiting Teaching Message August 2017
I was exceptionally touched by the Visiting Teaching Lesson this month. As I read through the message I couldn't help but think of our Sharing Time Theme in Primary; "I Choose to Fill My Life with Things That Invite the Spirit". It's always amazing to me how material constructed for children 3-11 years in age, can have such an impact in our lives if we are truly digesting its' meaning. For this reason I have come to the conclusion, that there is no such thing as a "little lesson" when it comes to our Savior's Gospel.
I then spoke of the one gift I would never want to live without -- the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We went on to discuss that just as an apple can nourish our bodies -- inappropriate books, music and media can weaken our spirits. However, we live in such a time that the innocent act of turning on the radio, can bombard us with sounds that are destructive to our souls. With so many media platforms it is startling how often we find inappropriate programs packaged in pretty little PG boxes. If we're not careful, we can find ourselves being enticed into bad choices, eating dirt so to speak, and binging on things that will eventually lead us to a world of inconvenience and discomfort -- and distancing ourselves from the power and influence of the Holy Ghost.
This took me back to a time in my early 20s when I was learning how to Rock Climb. I was in Joshua Tree, California on a hot afternoon finding myself repelling down an overhanging cliff. My climbing partner starred down as I carefully eased a little rope out. Suddenly the rope was stuck, and as I looked at the carabiners connected to my harnesss, I discovered my 'untucked' t-shirt had somehow threaded it's way through the path, blocking the movement of rope. I tried using my teeth to pull my shirt out, because if I let go of the rope for just a second (as I was taught in repelling) it would slip though and I would fall and die (and one wouldn't want to take the chance even if it appeared stuck).
As my partner shouted down and learned of the problem, his face turned stern and as hard as the rough rocks we were climbing. I was in trouble. I was hanging in mid air and though he tried to pull me up, he just couldn't. I began to panic. I mean, really panic. Instantly my thoughts were, "Oh no. I'm going to die, I'm going to die, I'm going to die." Almost as instantly as those alarming thoughts had entered, a peaceful wind blew straight into my heart and whispered, "Not today. You're not going to die today. Just breathe and calm down. Everything will be okay." Within moments two men appeared from the back of the jutted rock -- and within 10 minutes I was pulled up safely.
I shall always remember that near catastrophe. It was a time in my life when I was not making the best choices -- yet in that flash, Heavenly Father reminded me that he was always there, He was aware of my life and cared very much for me.
As I began to make time for sincere prayer and scripture study, I was able to feel the companionship of the Holy Ghost often. I was strengthened with wisdom and insight throughout my day. Yes, I was also tested, but I learned to keep myself 'tucked in' and prepared for each day's adventure. Climbing can be an exhilarating exercise. Reaching the top of a very large piece of granite can give us views only seen by few. Yet, sometimes the hardest climb can be in the occasion that we kneel down and truly rededicate our lives to Christ. I found that point in time difficult, but then I remembered these words; "Just breathe and calm down. Everything will be okay."
Our Savior loves us through every phase of our life. He is always there, and with His companionship it is my testimony that the best adventures are found.