The Builders

Prologue

          And now I, Abdiel, the last of the scribes, finish this
record and admonish all who read this account to
remember those who went before you. Remember that they
were once a prosperous and a happy people, living in
harmony with truth and united in purpose. Yet they fell,
because they chose to be right rather than the right, to have
more rather than be more, apathy over action, fear over
faith.

          To satisfy their pride and selfishness, people became
tools to be used or obstacles to be removed, not the end but a                                                     means to an end. Disconnected, disunited, each walking in
his own way. On their own, they became lost, wandering in
their own world of lies and illusions, full of hungering and                                                               craving but never filled. One by one, they destroyed
themselves.

          O remember, remember, one can only achieve happiness
if one lives in accordance with the nature of happiness. Life
is not about finding your truth but finding the truth, and
then making it your own. Do this and you will be happy. You                                                     will be free.

          Let men judge this record as they may. I do not write
for them. I do not write for myself. I write for the Gatekeeper.

Abdiel closed the book and leaned back with a sigh, running his long, deft fingers through his thick silvered black hair, then dragging his hand slowly down a tired but ageless face. It was done. Thousands of years of history condensed onto a thousand pages. The rise and fall of a great people, a people who had been blessed with power, freedom, a beautiful world. Abdiel shook his head and moved to stand next to the window of the towering alabaster library. He stood there, a tall, lean figure draped in a thick deep blue robe, and looked down at the streets below. And now look at them, he thought bitterly. This is what they did with what they had. The air was filled with smoke, the city only one burning corner of a world in ruins, the people—the few that remained—wandered the streets, driven only by greed and fear.

Abdiel’s heart ached for them and for what had been, what they had been. He had been there, hundreds of years ago, when the tide first began to change, when they gave their power to the Evil One. Abdiel had tried to warn them, but they would not listen. More Lights came, but they would not listen. So, the Gatekeeper had taken the Lights.

Soon, they would all be gone. Only three Lights, including himself, remained. Abdiel knew that now that he had finished the book, his time was drawing to a close. And after the last two Lights led the people to the place of refuge prepared for them and taught them the old ways, they would be taken as well.

Suddenly, the air around Abdiel began to shimmer and become increasingly brighter until there was only a brilliant light—everywhere.

When the light faded, Abdiel moved the book to the back corner of the library where it would be found centuries later. He walked to the front of the library, past the many rows of bookcases and the tall, imposing alabaster columns. He stopped under the entry arch and lovingly caressed the smooth granite doorway. This was his library. His place of refuge. His home. Ahh… but it was time to move on. It was time for everyone to move on. Abdiel did not look back as he stepped out into the bright sunlight. He sighed in pleasure as he drew a deep breath of fresh air. It had been a long time since he had breathed fresh, clean air. He surveyed the land about him. The library had been deposited on another mountain, clear blue skies above, untouched green meadows below. Abdiel looked across the expanse and watched as the last two Lights guided a small group of men, women, and children through an opening into the large, grassy hollow surrounded by mountains. The opening closed after the last person stepped into the enclosure. Abdiel smiled, grateful that the Gatekeeper let him see this before he was taken and just as he began to flicker, he couldn’t help but think that this would be the perfect place, the perfect place to start over, the perfect place for new beginnings…

Today I watched “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

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A good reminder that life is about people,

about drawing close enough

and looking deep enough 

and opening up enough

that we can truly find and understand and  

L O V E

one another.

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My beautiful little niece.

“Wait! What?! I am my biggest obstacle! We (me, myself, and I) need to talk…”

14985374-small-tree-on-a-large-hill

Today, I went to the temple.  I didn’t have a very specific question in mind, but I was hoping for some general advice about how to improve my life.  Well, kind of.  The thing is… on this visit, I didn’t really need God to tell me what to do.  I already know what I should be doing.  He’s already made that, in a general sense at least, quite clear.  But lately, I’ve been in this place, an unmoving, unmotivated, lazy place.  I’ve just been sitting there, bored, ALL the time.  I always thought that I hated being bored more than anything else.  But I despise looking for–Actually, now that I think of it, perhaps that’s still true, because applying for jobs is both work and boring.  Anyway, the point is, when you stop moving, the longer you remain still, the more immovable you become.  It becomes harder and harder to get yourself moving again.  Your willpower wanes.  If you stay in a place long enough, it will become your reality.  You become comfortable; you settle in.  You begin to think that it’s not so bad.

Luckily, I have roommates and friends and pretty much everyone but myself who are actually living lives right now.  Being around them, talking about their day, seeing them come back from work, etc. keeps putting me in an uncomfortable position.  Since they live in a world where things are happening, I have a continuous reminder that in actuality my life is not that cool. I feel lame and unfulfilled.  But thank goodness, right?  Because I should (feel unfulfilled not lame, because I’m not lame… just living lamely).  And yet… still lacking the motivation… so…

I went to the temple.  At the temple, I had a conversation with God which went something like this…

Me:  Heavenly Father, please help me do what I need to so that I can better serve Thee.

God:  Just do it.

Me:  Come again?

And then… clarity.  Just serve Thee.  Just think kinder thoughts about this person.  Just choose not to feel bad about things I shouldn’t.  When I worry about what people think when there’s no good reason to, stop.  Just get on the computer and apply for jobs.  Just do it.  

I looked up D&C 58:26-28,

26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

God:  You don’t need to wait for me to give you anything to do these things.  For the power is in them…

Me:  Oh.  Oh, I see.  Well, ha, :) ok.

You know, I’ve loved these scriptures for a very long time.  And I do believe I’ve learned this lesson several times.  But, apparently, it was time to learn it again.  It was time to believe it again.  To apply it again.  (And that’s the beauty of God, prayer, temple attendance, scriptures, the Spirit bringing revelation and things to our remembrance, repetition*, agency, etc.)

I know it seems too simple to make a difference, like those people who tell someone who’s feeling sad, “Just choose to be happy.”  A lot of people don’t like those people or at least don’t like when they say that… because it can sound simplified, misunderstanding, naive, belittling, impossible, false, cliché.  But, ya know, I always liked those cliché sayings, because I think most of them are true.  (There are some exceptions.  ie.  Someone with clinical depression may need medication to treat chemical imbalances.)  Maybe not easy, but maybe not as hard as we sometimes make it out to be.  What I mean by that is that if we go into something with an internal script of:

This is the hardest thing in the world.

I’ll never be able to do that.

I always try and fail.

There’s no hope.

Then it will at least be harder than for someone who is thinking:

I can do it.

I can visualize it.

I believe.

It’s a pretty age old story that we hear at different times from different people.  People who didn’t believe they could do something until someone believed in them, in their power to progress and change (someone who changed the unbeliever’s internal script through persistently replacing it with their own).  For example, 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX9FSZJu448  

Sometimes, always eventually, that person has to be you.  You must believe that you have the power to change a lot of things in your life.  And even those few things you can’t change on your own, there are things connected to it–particularly in your relationship to it–that you can change, whether dealing with big things that seem impossible to the world or in things that just seem impossibly big to ourselves.

Anyway, I know I only relearned my lesson about 9 hours ago.  However, when I remember, it has worked.  When I wanted to feel, think, or do something, I just did.  God has given us the power to do that which is in our ability to do**; He has given us a Savior for the rest.  Satan attempts to make sometimes even the smallest things seem undoable.  He says,  “That hill is a mountain.”  And we shrink to the ground as it rises, looming over us, casting us in shadow.  But God says, “Stand up.  That hill is a hill.  Get going then.”  And if we stand straighter and survey it in the light, suddenly we see that it really is a hill.  Well… unless in reality it is a mountain… but that’s another post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ___________________________________________________________________________________

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            *Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart. (Enos 1:3, emphasis added)

**You cannot bring prosperity by discouraging thrift.  You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.  You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.  You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.  You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.  You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.  You cannot further brotherhood of men by inciting class hatred.  You cannot establish security on borrowed money.  You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.  You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.  (Rev. William J. H. Boetcker, emphasis added)