Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Alone in the Water

By Sarah Albrecht

Two simultaneous classes ran during a recent session at my preschool daughter’s swim school: hers, and a mom and tots class. The last day of the session, only my daughter and one little boy that looked about two came to their respective classes. The little boy had cried through every class.

Today was no different; in fact, it was worse. For this final class, and according to normal procedure, his mother didn’t come into the water with him so that he could experience working through the various activities with someone else. He hated it. He hated it so much she had to leave in order to not be a distraction.

Near the end of class, as the little boy wailed, I stepped into the small adjacent office to fetch a tissue for my daughter. The boy’s mother sat on a white resin chair just inside the door, a lovely woman with long dark hair and sculpted cheekbones, her hands clasped tightly between her legs. She was carefully monitoring her son while just as carefully staying out of sight because his progress in the essential skill of swimming depended on her absence.

Most parents have experienced similar situations. Since I witnessed rather than participated in this one, though, I could see the big picture more objectively. In fact, it reminded me sharply of our loving Father, sitting just out of sight to monitor our progress in essential growth while we, not understanding the trial in the larger scheme of life, feel alone in the water.

I like to picture Him there.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Overcoming The Weeds Of Life

Valerie J. Steimle

I had the chance to get outside and do some yard-work today. After some weeding in the front flower bed and edging with the weed eater on the side of the house, I had to tackle the weeding of a rose bush I had planted a few years ago.

I hadn’t realized the time had gotten away from me and those weeds had grown so fast over my low growing bush that I could barely see the bush itself. During the blossom season, there were beautiful pink blooms popping everywhere. Now the weeds had over taken it and I had to save it from the invasion.

After pulling the weeds away, it was amazing to find how well my rose bush did. I was very pleasantly surprised how my struggling rose bush was growing so well even with those fast growing weeds all around and over it. It was just growing like crazy. I thought this would hinder the growth. The bush looked as if it wouldn’t have grown at all. It looked as if it would have been smothered. But it flourished and grew anyway. New shoots had grown all over and I actually had to cut it back.

I had to reflect on this idea because humans are so very vulnerable to trials and challenges. We meet bumps in the road or very fast growing weeds and it discourages us from going any farther. How many times have we had the weeds of life come upon us and try to smother us and we just keep growing? How many times do we let those challenges in our life overtake our attitude of “we can get through this” and do it with a smile? Many times we let unimportant setbacks ruin our day of other wonderful accomplishments. I’m guilty as well and need to take a lesson from my own rose bush. Don’t let the weeds of life pull you down so much you don’t follow through on your goals in life. Don’t let the weeds of life over come your worthwhile life of family, friends and the gospel.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Loaves and Fishes

by Sarah Albrecht

I love to read the story of the loaves and fishes from the New Testament and to imagine the multitude being taught and then fed by the Savior. I love the often-heard interpretation for our own time, that the Savior is merciful, and if we come, He will feed us bountifully.

At a time when I felt utterly inadequate in almost every aspect of my life, as if whatever I had to offer was not enough, another application flashed into my mind.

It came as I sat bent over a children’s version of the story with my little daughter. When I saw the picture of a plate with a loaf of bread and a few small fishes, I suddenly thought of who had supplied the Savior with the food with which he fed the masses: not a merchant or a fisherman; not a baker or an innkeeper accustomed to feeding groups, but a boy. He probably brought the Savior his own lunch, or maybe he’d been out getting dinner for his family. In any case, it wasn’t much, and certainly not enough to feed everyone.

But here’s the key: he offered what he had, and with the Lord’s help, it was enough. The realization swept through me like a sudden breeze, cleansing the stagnant despair and leaving a brightness of hope and a confidence rooted on the surest foundation.

If I offer all I have, with the Lord’s help, it will be enough.