Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Midnight Thoughts: Isla Mujeres

I wasn't planning on posting again.  As you may have seen, I already did my day summary blog.  But after reading my scriptures tonight, I began to chew on my experience at Isla Mujeres.  It wasn't long before an analogy came to mind, one I felt strongly impressed to share.

For those of you who read my Isla Mujeres blog, you may recall the final snorkeling activity where our group went and saw the underwater statue garden.  But for the sake of those who may not have read that post, and for the sake of the analogy, I'm going to take a step back and recap.

It was near evening and we were headed towards our final snorkel destination.  I felt absolutely terrified.  The first experience had been beautiful, but terrifying.  I was not eager to get back in that water, not at all.

Nevertheless, as we neared the snorkel spot, I got my life jacket on (not in the traditional sense.  It was tied around my waist like a floatie) and grabbed my snorkeling gear (minus the fins).  The a few minutes later, the moment arrived.  It was time to get out of the boat.

Clenching my hands tightly in my lap, I watched as my fellow students and professor hopped into the water one by one.  The captain continually telling me, "you can go in now" to which I only shook my head.  But, knowing I did not want my fears to keep me from a good experience, I eventually stood up and headed to the side of the boat.

Shaking, I climbed onto the side of the boat, and sat.  With one look at the people in the water and after the captain's "one, two, three, go!" I forced myself off the wall and into the water.  I was not expecting myself to go all the way under.  Fear swelled within me.  I had never been so grateful for a life jacket in my life.  Needles to say, I did not drown, but was saved by my life jacket, which pulled me up and out of the water.  Shaking my head and spitting out sea water, I swam over to my group of peers.  Still shaking and frightened, I was happy when Marcello asked, "Are you scared?" then, at the shake of my head, said, "then I will stay with you.  There's no need to be afraid!  It'll be all right."

Now for my analogy.

Imagine for one second that the boat is your comfort zone.  The life jacket the Savior.  Then imagine that jumping out of the boat is the action required to follow spiritual promptings, answers to prayers, or to do what the Lord has asked you to do.  The fear I felt is the fear you feel because of the unknown.

Often in life we are called upon to jump out of that boat.  To leave our comfort zone.  Sometimes the experience which follows is good.  Using my analogy, sometimes you jump out of that boat and you stay above that water.  But often times, you don't.  Often times, you follow the Lord's promptings and you don't know why.  Often times you jump out of that boat, into that water, and begin to sink.  It is easy then, to fear.  To ask, "Why is this happening to me??  I followed Your prompting!"  To wonder if you are going to make it out of that situation.  To become angered or disheartened by the situation you now find yourself in.

It can be easy then, in the midst of frustration, to turn away from the Lord.  But, turning back to my story, let me ask you - if you were sinking, would you pull off your life jacket in frustration?  Or would you cling to it with all your might?  I would hope that you would choose the latter.

There are many things to be learned with this analogy.  But I hope that what you can take away today is the knowledge that the Lord loves you.  Unlike a life jacket, you can never dismiss the presence of the Lord.  Why?  Simply because He is always there.  No matter what you've done.  No matter how lost you feel.  No matter how deep that water is.  The Lord is always there.  He loves you.  He is grateful for your actions.  For following His promptings despite the fears and trials that may arise because of it.  And He will never ask you to do anything that you cannot accomplish.

Remember, also, that the Lord often works through the hands of others to give us the help we need.  Such was the case with Marcello that day (who I am very grateful for).  So always be open to the sincere help and concern of others (let the spirit be your guide).

I hope you think on experiences you have had and try to see the hand of the Lord in your life.  Because I can promise you, He is there.

In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

R J Carr

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