I did it! I finally started this post. I have had notes in my scriptures for months about this and I've been thinking about it even longer. What held me back you ask? Oh...I was weary in well-doing.
This post incorporates ideas from not one but two of my "Top 5 Talks". You've got to know one of them by now. "However Long and Hard the Road" by Elder Holland and the other is "A Law of Increasing Returns" by President Eyring. I listen to both of these talks frequently and often have stories from them come to my mind.
The other day, I kept thinking about the first and how Elder Holland discusses Doctrine and Covenants 64:33-34 which includes "...be not weary in well-doing, for you are laying the foundation of a great work..." As he expands on that scripture, he states, "That 'great work' is you". There are countless times that I have felt that line being whispered in my ear. Whether I'm feeling weary or just down, I hear this little whisper of "Keep at it! That 'great work' is you!" (Along with the "Don't you quit" line from another Elder Holland talk, I think he is my personal cheerleader.) It has helped me to get through difficult times and to keep my priorities in line with the priorities of heaven.
I think one thing that is interesting is that it doesn't just say "be not weary". Thank goodness, because I wouldn't be able to follow that counsel. My life is pretty slow-paced compared to most but even with the demands I have, I definitely feel weary at times. However, adding the "in well-doing" caveat doesn't exactly make it easy.
As a mom, I've also had the idea come to my mind of, "That 'great work' is LJ", "That 'great work' is 'The Lion'". Because, really, they are the "great work" of my life.
Have you ever tried to gather kids for family prayer at the end of a long day (or even at the beginning of the day)? I'd say that is "well-doing" and oh-my-goodness it can be so easy to be weary doing that. I have a doctorate degree and am very good at taking tests, but I cannot get straight A's on the exams the boys give me. I was one of those lucky people that didn't need to study all that much and things came pretty easy. As a parent though, sheesh, I feel like I'm always 4 chapters behind and don't have any answers. But, I try and I study more of the counsel that is there and I keep trying and that is all I can do and that is enough. At times, I definitely grow weary in my parenting but I do not ever grow weary in loving them or caring about their future and their salvation.
In "A Law of Increasing Returns", President Eyring discusses short crops, (where you see the fruits of your efforts quickly), and late crops, (where it takes a long time - even a lifetime to see the results of your work). Work in the home is usually of the late crop variety. You can put in years and years of blood, sweat, tears, faith and hope but it doesn't guarantee a great harvest. I do feel that every once and a while you do get a little dividend on your investment. Frequently in the last few days, LJ has surprised us by his go-get-it attitude in helping around the house and both boys have demonstrated amazing manners (for their age) and consideration for others' feelings. It seems like they are on the right track to growing up to be good gentlemen. (Now just to keep them on the right track...)
When dealing with late crops, it is easy to become weary. Thank heavens, (literally), for those little dividends to keep us going. In October 2009, Elder Bednar gave a talk entitled, "More Diligent and Concerned at Home". (And, wow, I didn't even realize that the talk also references D&C 64:33. Maybe my random tangential thoughts do make sense!) Diligence seems like the antidote for weariness if you ask me. He states, "Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable ... our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results." It is those small things that matter. You know, those things that are so easy to push aside because, in times of weariness, we think, "Oh, we don't have time for that today. The boys never listen anyway. We'll just put it off til next week." I know that as we are consistent in those little things we will see the blessings, even if it is not until a future time.
Have you ever compared the effort that Adam and Eve had to put into eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil vs the effort it takes to get to the Tree of Life in Lehi's vision? Of course, Adam and Eve had a bit of help. Satan was all, "Hey...do you want to eat some of this fruit? Oh, let me just go get it for you. Do you need me to peel it for you? Yes, here you go, all ready to eat. Dig in!" In contrast, getting to the Tree of Life is somewhat akin to American Ninja Warrior. Here's this rod of iron to hold onto while you go along this filthy river of water, (symbolizing the depths of hell!), through a mist of darkness and get mocked by a bunch of people. I don't think I could even handle the first 2 obstacles of the American Ninja Warrior course without feeling a bit weary, much less struggle through Lehi's vision in real life. I don't like heights as it is but if the cliff face goes to a river representing hell, I may be a bit paralyzed with fear.
Living in such a way as to lead one (and one's family) to the Tree of Life definitely may cause at least thoughts of feeling weary and overwhelmed. Thankfully, we have the Holy Ghost to comfort us and strengthen us. (More on that in a future post.) We are blessed with insights and help in those times of need as long as we seek it out. As we work to not be weary we are given extra strength and an extra spiritual boost. I find that when I am being diligent in prayer and scripture study that those things become easier for me.
I know that we are up for the task at hand. I know that He who designed the task has ensured that we will succeed with his help. Be not weary in well doing. When you feel weary and too tired to pray, just pray. When you are exasperated with your kids, (do your best to) continue to lay that foundation that will help them become the "great work" of your life. My boys will be the first to tell you that I am far from perfect in this but I try and I do my best and that is enough. The same goes for you.