By Kari Diane Pike
I can hardly believe that today is the first (oops, 2nd...I started writing this yesterday!) of June. And not just because snow fell less than forty-eight (ummm...72) hours ago. (Really, truly it did!) What happened to January through May? I feel like an old VHS tape stuck on fast forward. The problem with being on fast forward, however, is that eventually you run out of tape and depending on how fast you are moving, the abrupt halt can make you snap.
A number of weeks ago I opened my calendar and started writing down the new and exciting things that are happening this summer: a new grandbaby, graduations, our missionary coming home, having all my children and grandbabies together at the same time, finishing a college course, working, putting in the garden, far away friends coming to visit, oh, and did I mention grandbabies? I planned each day of May through August almost to the minute. Sunday morning, May 1st, I overslept and spent the little time I had to get ready for church rushing around, worrying about what to wear, and how and what I needed to prepare for dinner. By the time I walked into the chapel, my thoughts had hyperdrived through the week, planning out a research paper and figuring out how to get everyone to soccer games, play practices and orthodontist appointments.
I always look forward to the first Sunday of the month. I love to listen as friends and neighbors bear their testimonies of the Savior and share their stories of receiving tender mercies. I love the growth experienced through bearing my own testimony and the deep burning feeling that can come as that testimony builds inside until you feel that if you do not walk up to that microphone you just might explode. Since my husband and daughter were out of town, and my deacon son was preparing to serve the Sacrament, I found myself sitting alone for the first time ever. I quieted my thoughts and tried to listen to the prelude music. I waited for the tingling of anticipation and inspiration of testimony to build in my heart. Nothing happened. No burning desire. No urge to express words of gratitude or anything else. A brother in the ward stepped up quickly and bore the first testimony of the morning. When he concluded his remarks I expected other members to flock to the podium. Silence. No one moved. I stared at the empty podium and wondered why I couldn't feel a desire to bear my testimony. The answer carried by that moment of silence pushed my pause button.
"Because you weren't remembering."
A sharp pain took my breath away as an understanding of those words penetrated my heart. I shifted uncomfortably on the bench. Shame, then more pain, then humility and a desire for repentance passed through me. I felt a loving chastisement as I recalled how earlier that morning I had focused on everything except for the true meaning of the Sabbath day. I had forgotten to stop and ponder on the meaning of renewing my covenants with the Lord through partaking of the sacrament. By the end of the meeting, my heart overflowed with love and testimony.
While the ensuing days proved to be more challenging than I had anticipated in the planning stages, I felt the strength and assurance of knowing that I didn't have to run faster than I was able. Operating on fast forward all the time blurs the view and creates unnecessary stress. Being present in the moment cleared my vision and created beautiful memories as we blessed that new grandbaby and saw our seventh child graduate from high school. Instead of feeling stretched and ready to snap, I feel joy and peace.
As I savor each moment of today, I can't help but look a little bit forward to this first Sunday coming up. How do you prepare yourself for the Sabbath?