Monday, November 8, 2010

A Rock, a Hard Place, and Moving on

The concept of a halfway rock is something that I learned about in scouting on hikes.  Most of what I remember about scouting hikes is walking up and down hills in the dirt, mostly staring at my shoes as I was too tired to lift my head, getting in trouble every time I tried to go off the path (something about preserving nature, which I never really understood), and all with a backpack which was too heavy and filled mostly with things I wouldn’t need.  Inevitably, as the hike would progress the fun would quickly fade to be replaced with fatigue and exhaustion.  I am sure it must have been equally tiresome for the leaders who had to listen to the “How much further?” every 100 feet after the first half a mile.  A combination of these circumstances is what I assume gave birth to the halfway rock idea.

The basic concept is as we would be walking; one of the scout leaders would point to a rock off of the side of the trail, and declare they knew it was the halfway rock.  I think many times this proved to be effective, as we were able to judge the distance we had already gone, and then continue the last 5/6ths of the hike with a feeling we were almost there.  The more hikes I went on, I eventually was able to learn what qualified as a halfway rock—pretty much any rock halfway between two things.  While this rock was usually found near the beginning of the hike, it was able to provide motivation to endure through the majority of the hike.  The feeling of accomplishment seemed more tangible, and the end goal seemed more real.  I think there would have been many times we would have simply given up if we had an idea of the totality of the hike.  The concept of the halfway rock was able to provide a growing sense of assurance and hope as it made the end seem nearer then what it actually was.

In any endeavor or race we embark I think we seldom anticipate all of the obstacles we will encounter.  The more difficult the course we pursue, the more our motives are challenged.  The idea of a half-way rock was sufficient to help through a scout hike, but in our adventures in life, we need a more solid foundation to help us persevere.  We need a higher purpose to accomplish the goal we have.

 I recently had somewhat of a privilege to be a part of a marathon.  The marathon was not run by me, but by Kristin Hatch, a friend of mine and teacher here at the MTC.  Kristin did the Marathon as a part of Team in Training.   As a part of the Team in Training, Kristin was able to find a higher purpose outside of her to run the marathon.  Kristin’s goal was to raise awareness and money to help support those who have been through leukemia or lymphoma.  In recognition of what those cancer patients have to endure in their treatments, Kristin had the goal to similarly endure through a marathon. 

Not all of us in life will have the opportunity or desire to run a marathon.  But we can follow Kristin’s example in anything we venture on or find placed in our lives.  We can find motivation outside of ourselves and seek for a higher purpose.  Just as with every cancer patient, they will many times face unforeseen obstacles that will arise and try to prevent us from succeeding.  I know Kristin also had a similar obstacle as she had injury to her knee soon before the race.  But as she had found motivation outside of herself, she also was able to overcome that obstacle to finish the race.  While I know only a little about the preparation and work that Kristin put into the race, I do know it was something which was no easy feat.

In many ways, I feel the marathon that Kristin ran has been a tender mercy from God in my life.  I am grateful for more than just the souvenirs.  I feel blessed to know there are people like her willing to put forth the effort and work into bringing awareness and support for the things that I have been through.  Through her efforts, I know God is aware of me and the things which have happened in my life.  I feel God, in many ways, works through other people to bring us His love and comfort in our lives.

In the Doctrine and Covenants 88: 63 we read, “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”  The more we look for God in our lives, the more we are able to find Him.  The more we trust Him, the more we are able to see the help He gives us.  We can show our trust for God by following His commandments.  We commit to follow Him even when we can’t see the end or understand how He is there for us in our lives. 

As we follow God in our lives, He is there to support and help us in everything we do.  As we look, we can see His tender mercies in our lives which help give us the motivation to go a little farther.  He has sent us His Son, Jesus Christ, to provide the perfect example of looking beyond ourselves.  As Christ was able to come to earth and focus on helping others, we too can lose our lives to Him in serving others.  Obstacles will come into our lives, but we find our way through and around them as we rely on Jesus Christ.  I do know He is our Savior and Redeemer.  I know He is there for us in our lives, and I am grateful for the opportunity I have to be here as a missionary. 

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