Sunday, December 19, 2010

Assignment Papers

Do you ever feel like you work really hard at a writing assignment, or that you are happy with your final product? Do you then turn it in and no one ever reads it besides your professor? Just Real Quick, this is one such paper:

Do you know what it feels like to wake up after dreaming your cat has e-coli? Have you ever been thankful for potassium? Normally I would answer those questions with the response, “Not that I can remember.” Although these questions are interesting, one might be wondering, “What does this have to do with reading The Book of Mormon?” Allow me to explain. One day I read about when Alma gives his son Helaman the record (Alma 37:2) and Alma says to his son, “...I also command you that ye keep a record of this people, according as I have done, upon the plates of Nephi, and keep all these things sacred which I have kept... for itis for a wise purpose that they are kept.” That verse helped me realize that I should be better at keeping a regular journal.I made a commitment to do so. I tried throughout this semester to keep up in that commitment. I did not keep my journal as well as I originally hoped However, I did keep one, and I did learn and grow a lot from the experience. I feel I am a better record keeper than when I started the semester and I think that is one of the “wise purpose[s]” that God had in mind when His Spirit touched me as I read Alma 37:2.
This goal to start writing in my journal started as (in my own words) a “hope to have a greater understanding of God's hand in my day to day life, as well as remember those experiences and be able to thank him for them.” I found it hard to write in my journal daily. I wanted meaningful entries and some of my entries show exactly how difficult it was and how at times I had little time to write. I did try to catch up regularly. I was able to write on almost every Sunday and express my thoughts about the week, something I had stopped doing after my return from my mission. My entries ranged from small entries (i.e.-“I love Heavenly Father even though I got an 80 on my ECON Exam”-Nov. 2nd) to a poem I decided to write on a whim and a long entry about a volunteer experience I had at the ER. I had a hard time figuring out a way to write entries that were meaningful, rather than boring tracking logs, but over time I felt my entries improved.
Here are a few of the entries where I saw the hand of God in my life. I would have forgotten about them if I had not kept a written record of it. This entry was on November 16th (about the previous week), and it taught me how much Heavenly Father really knows and loves me. “Last Monday night I had a dream it was the second coming. ...I remember seeing Jesus surrounded by children, my heart was so full of joy and I loved being a part of it. I then remember getting close to Him and Him saying, 'I don't remember your name' and [He turned] away. I was crushed, my heart had fallen. I woke sad and lonely. That [same day] at devotional the subject was God doesn't forget about you and He knows your name. It was very timely and I felt overwhelmed and knew that God does not forget about me.” Although the dream hurt I knew that the talk had more power in my life because of my dream. I then recorded how I thanked the devotional speaker and was reminded that Heavenly Father has a very special and unique plan. I realized that His ways are higher than mine and that I shouldn't be saddened by set backs. Truth is truth, never worn out or changed. God will always know me.

Another experience involving God and his role in my life was the first day that I volunteered at the emergency room. October 22nd-”...It started when I got lost in the hospital on the way back from the place we clock was taking me awhile to get back. Someone then asked...if I was lost. I said, 'I'm just heading back to Triage.' the lady then said, 'Are you mormon?'...'Would you be able to assist in administering a blessing to someone?'. What a wonderful feeling it was to say felt very humbling to be able to be a part of... [The lady who needed the blessing and I] talked for awhile after and I found out she [grew up with my mom.]” I have learned Heavenly Father does not misplace his children, including his children in college. My many journal entries of volunteering at the hospital have taught me to be thankful that “I am grateful to not need a chest tube put in me” and “I think it would be okay not to be a X-ray tech.”
My entries got less and less boring throughout the semester, and I started doing something else to “be able to thank [God] for [my experiences where I saw His hand in my life.]” One day (September 19th) I realized a way that my entries could be more unique, meaningful and full of gratitude. I saw my sister write in her journal a list of one through five, and at the top of the list was the line “5 things I am grateful for today.” I decided to write weekly lists, and explain the reasons why I was grateful. I also included thoughts or neat/funny stories that made me especially grateful. These “Five things I am grateful for” lists are very helpful to look back on. I smile and thank God over and over again each time I read that I am thankful for New Zealand, sleep, my education, living prophets who have authority, spontaneous awesomeness, ovens, the U.S. Constitution, repentance and the Atonement, photosynthesis (because then I can eat my fruits and veggies—especially broccoli), classical music, fake glasses, months that have thirty one days (that way I don't have to mess around with my watch to fix the day), faithful conversations with God through prayer, getting a 90% on an exam right after getting an 80% on the one before, the end of daylight savings, hair (one day I might not have it), oxygen, 100 grand candy bars, and the protecting power of temple covenants. This list only names a few of the things for which I am grateful, but I have learned to recognize more fully those things. I record them for the wise purpose of remembering them.

I give thanks to God for helping me learn to be grateful. I acted on a small prompting to be better at writing in my journal. I learned a lot from my experience in journal writing. I hope to continue to write meaningful stories about my life experiences. I do know what it feels like to wake up after dreaming my cat has e-coli (I felt sick to my stomach and felt that “I didn't want to get out of bed, because I thought I would throw up, but got up anyway.”) I also apparently was grateful for potassium during the week of October 17th because “my eye was twitching and I recently learned that potassium makes that stop, so I ate a banana.” Those experiences are in my journal. I am grateful to God that I have the Book of Mormon. I feel closer to Him as I live the principles found therein. I know that the Book of Mormon came forth at this time for a wise purpose. I feel that keeping a journal has helped me see the wise purpose that God's plan has for me. I can look back, see my growth, and give thanks for record keepers and the things they write.