Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Speaking with God

Inner Struggle Essay

Photo by Natalie Cherie Campbell
Standing on a sidewalk I was stopped at a fork in the path. Instinctively I looked down the right path to my apartment window. My friends would be waiting, including the man I was dating. Without hesitation, I began to walk down the left path. Soon enough, as I’d felt to be true, Spencer ran up behind me, holding my hand. Through his eyes I saw his soul sigh, and we kept walking.

Opening my eyes, I waited for the dreams to seep from my memory. I was accustomed to feeling forgotten dreams flee the daylight because I never remembered my dreams. But this morning was different: the dream didn’t leave. I had known Spencer for six months. We were folk dancers, and I lived for the moments when we danced together, talked together, laughed together, my feet burning with energy. But I also knew that he loved me and that I could easily love him if I let myself. So I didn’t let myself, instead choosing to spare with my conscious in an endless dance of self-denial as I remembered a priesthood blessing that told me "I'd know my future husband when I met him." Sometimes I decided that if Spencer was "the one" then he’d just have to wait. Sometimes I decided that God would have to fix my fear of marriage before I did anything. And sometimes I would dream. In the quiet moments of night, when fear had gone to sleep, I began to dream honestly, and refusing to let me forget, my dreams started to become a reality.

Scripture Essay

Photo by Dee West
In the summer of 2012 I would often sit on my roof, gazing up at God through speckled sunlight and leafy boughs. We would often talk, God and I; I would ask the questions and He would give answers. One day I climbed up onto roof from the side porch gap and lowered my head, shoulders sagging with repetitive weariness. I felt inadequate, frightened. I had received an email from Jerusalem, it was Spencer’s day to write, and he’s told me of his plans to work for the CIA. So I’d fled to my roof instead of arguing with mom over the wisdom of me loving a boy with such dangerous career goals. Feeling the warm shingles with my toes, I laid on my back, stared at God and began to speak:

“How is it done?” I paused as a bird flew from its nest. “God, how is it done, that you take such small people, move us so far, and use only those two actions to fuel your work? How?”

I sat quietly, waited, and began to speak. True to form, His answer emerged, simultaneous with the sound of my vocal cords. “By small and simple things, are great things brought to pass . . .”

Bombs bloom and poppies litter,
In realities where children shiver
From breath of hate and strain of woe
To such places my trusted go.
The small and simple are infinite,
When bringing with them the Omnipotent.

Wilderness Essay

Photo by Natalie Cherie Campbell
We were lost and it was my fault. I had gotten 25 people lost in a lush green wilderness of English footpaths. I’d spent the past month hiking through different parts of the United Kingdom with my study abroad group. On this particular day, we were trying to get to the London Temple because having gotten my endowments a month earlier, I had requested we go. Doing my best to book rail tickets, plan bus trips, and minimize walking, since my director didn’t want to, I thought I’d done a pretty good job until the bus didn’t arrive and we were left stranded in a small town a few miles away from the temple, ignorant of which way the temple even was.

“We could have been visiting tourist spots.”
“This is such a waste.”
“I didn’t want to come anyway.”
“So much for that plan.”

The words swirled around me like bee stings. Tears began to coat the stingers as each drop slid down my chin. “Heavenly Father,” I prayed, “please just help me find the Temple.” The gravel near my feet crunched as a tire filled my peripheral vision. Looking up, a silver passenger van had filled the road in front of our pathetic band of walkers, and a man in a white shirt and tie with silver tipped hair got out.

“Are you people looking for the temple?” he asked casually.

I was dumbfounded. As our director arranged to have our group driven to the temple in shifts, I got into the car. I was silent as everyone filled the air with thanks. The gentleman simply replied,
“Don’t thank me, I was just working in the temple when I was prompted that a group of lost brothers and sisters was looking for our temple and wouldn’t find it if I didn’t go and find them.”

As we drove away from our wilderness of English footpaths, I bowed my head once again, “Thank you for finding me Heavenly Father.” 

1 comment:

  1. Ya know, you rarely tell all of your stories when you tell them in person, but that is understandable when they are painful stories.

    I like the connections of being found. Sometimes we are lost and need to be found. We know we need help and God knows it, so we pray and are helped. But sometimes we are not necessarily lost; we don't want to keep moving. Even then I think we need to be found, like in your first story, by someone who is willing to walk with us.
    Being found by someone is a nice way to feel loved. Finding out that someone was looking for us (or even if they were just looking and found us) means someone cares even when we aren't in immediate proximity. We are not out of sight, out of mind, and that means we are loved.