You know the song, Choose the Right? I had a revelation on Sunday when singing the second verse at church about “let no spirit of digression overcome you in …the evil hour…” The evil hour. Do you know what that is? I think I’ve got it. It’s that time when it’s dark with lightning bolts and thunder crashes when everyone is tired and hungry and dinner is still not ready yet. It’s that time between 5 and 6 o’clock pm (give or take).
Recently, during that evil hour, I was trying to listen to an LDS general conference talk. Chaos whizzed between me and the desktop but it all hushed long enough for me to hear Elder Hales calmly say, “above all, don’t lose patience.” Why? Why did the sound waves have to part for me to hear that particular phrase at that particular moment?
I am a looong shot from never losing patience with my kids. First of all, I have to have a supply of patience before I can possibly lose it. Hmmm, maybe I’m off the hook. If I never have it, I can’t lose it! And secondly, if I were to follow his counsel to never lose patience with my children, I may have to qualify my efforts like “never before breakfast” or “never at bedtime” or “never on a full-stomach.” Eventually maybe my baby steps will get me to, above all, never lose patience.
But, it did catch my attention. I realized I had become more impatient than I’d like to be. It reminded me of my new-mothering years when I found myself feeling frustrated and discouraged most of the time. I didn’t want to live that way and had to step back to see how I could experience my situation differently. That parting-of-the-sound-waves moment made me realize I could and should be experiencing my current situation differently. He wouldn’t teach patience if it was impossible.
Usually when sticky situations arise, all I want is deliverance. Often I pray in my head, repeating myself over and over. Sometimes I am given semi-instant direction. Most times I am left to remember and apply what I already know. That takes effort. humph. John 13:35
I devised a plan. Monday morning I was going to focus only on the the positive and be more patient. But, I needed something besides good intentions to help me accomplish this. I needed Studio C. They served as inspiration for my plan.
I needed a shoulder angel. So Monday morning I started the day with my resolve and with my own personal shoulder angel. I pinned a small stuffed bear to my shirt and pretended that I hadn’t seen Peaches (the dog) chewing on it recently. The morning proceeded normally without even much of an eye-brow raise from my kids. I swear this is the first time I’ve worn a stuffed animal on my shirt.
As the week progressed, the kids’ curiosity grew and so did my appreciation for physical things that help me remember. They are why I set alarms, hang pictures and write lists. I learned this week that remembering my goal for the day with a reminder, lengthened my reaction times. I didn’t get carried along with the emotion of the moment as easily. I found myself loving “the one” in each of my kids and sensing that time allowed for this, that’s probably thanks to the spirit that stayed instead of left with my frustrated bemoanings.
By Wednesday I was able to tie the shoulder angel into our lesson about excellence when studying Antonio Stratavari and his infamous stratavarius violins. We learned that scientists have used microscopes and spectroscopes to uncover the secret to his success only to find he used wood, chemicals and varnish common to other violins but was masterful in how he used them.
We likened this to people. We all have bodies, personalities, and emotions common to all humans but, but like Stratavari, we can be masterful in how we use them.
Each of my kids chose a shoulder angel and wrote their goal for the day on a cape for their shoulder angel wear.
Thursday they wore a treat on their shoulder with their goal written on it and Friday the treat and goal went in their pocket. The treat to be eaten if they improved.
“…if we have not fully done so yet, let us turn more toward forgiveness, kindness, and love. Let us renounce the war that so often rages in the heart of the natural man and proclaim Christ’s caring, love, and peace 17 …That we may love our Heavenly Father and His Son more, and suffer less is my prayer…”Elder Hales. I am glad his message reached me.
By being more like Him, my situation will improve. Physical work and reminders will be my means to an end as I change from the inside. By knowing Jesus better, Christ-like actions will be more automatic instead of me pleading to be a changed person amidst conflict big or small.
My answer to “above all, don’t lose patience” isn’t a new quick-fix. It is in the tried and true invitation to come unto Him. “No training class or manual (and I’ll add will power) is as helpful as personally studying our scriptures, praying, pondering, and seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will lead you along” Elder Hales. For me, this week, I was led along to be proactive about helping myself be more positive and gentle. I was led along to remember. Thanks, shoulder angel.
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