This Is Not a Dress Rehearsal

One of my classes always begins with a hymn, a prayer and then a Relief Society-esque "Good News Minute."  I don't think that I have ever shared a single item in any Good News Minute.  Ever.  I just never have anything "Wow!" worthy.  When it comes to Relief Society, usually the big bombs are marriage, mission or baby–having had none of the above, I always sit quietly during the time allotted.  In this class, however, the professor randomly calls on people to share whatever item–big or small–has been good in the past day or week.  This always forces me into a mini-anxiety attack, frantically searching my mind for the one ultimate good thing from all of the amazingly miraculous things that have happened in the past little while.

Not this week.  I started down the same path as always, scanning my mind for the most impressive event of the past few days, and then I felt the Spirit halt me in my tracks.  And BOOM!, there it was.  When she called on me my answer was clear:  Life.  Is.  Just.  Amazing.  Isn't that the best answer to the Good News Minute?  Isn't it the best answer to every minute of our lives?

I recently wrote about suffering in a post accurately entitled "We Were Promised Sufferings."  I have had this nagging feeling that it is important that I examine the other side of the coin...because that is where the real exaltation comes into play.

Sometimes I worry about how closely we are tied to the hard parts of the Gospel message; about how much we focus on pain, suffering, sins.  What of the miracle of joy?  What about the absolute bliss to which we are entitled?

There is real value in recognizing and incorporating the "hard stuff" in our lives.  Without doing so, we can't properly come unto the Lord in repentance.  Without it, we cannot become like Christ in having broken hearts and contrite spirits–both essential to our salvation.

But can't there be joy in the humility?  Happiness in the repentance process?  My experience would scream "Yes!"

Even more importantly, I think, is this idea:  for exaltation, are we not required to be like Christ in every way?  When we focus so myopically on His sufferings, do we ignore that we are commanded to know–and live–His joy?  Without partaking of the divine joy our Heavenly Parents have imparted unto us, can we become Deity ourselves?

Think about it:  Christ's suffering in Gethsemane may have been the capstone to His atonement, but He lived it every day.  And each day was filled with joy in the journey and joy from the Father.  In the diversity of His experiences, He always found peace and joy.

He didn't just die for our sins, He lived for our joy.

At very least we know that Christ does not take joy in our pain, but He does in our rejoicing.

Why don't we recognize that more often than we do?  If we did, would we look at ourselves as responsible for actively cultivating joy in our lives?

Almost every day, on my walk from the Wilkinson Center to the JFSB, I see a carving on the side of the HBLL building.  It says, "Truth is obeyed if it is loved."  It makes me smile because it makes me think.  Maybe here, for this topic, we could adapt it a bit.  Could we say that finding real, tangible, palpable joy in this life is tantamount to the difference between knowing of Christ and knowing Him personally?  Maybe the pain of repentance opens the door, but finding joy is taking Christ by the hand?

Regardless, here is my advice:  Enjoy life.  This is not a dress rehearsal.  


Lilianne said...

Lo, this is an awesome post. I'm loving this blog - and my apologies for not commenting on all of them - because they all are so fantastic! You're totally right about all the stated above. It makes me think of President Monson's talk about gratitude. It's such an important part of enjoying life. Anyway, I just think you're fantastic and I'm tickled pink that you are so happy! I hope to see you soon! We are coming to UT in May (end of) and if you're around, we'd love to see you!! xoxo

Lauren Kay said...

Thanks, Lil-meister! I will TOTALLY be in town! Anything to see you, Jason and the babes! I actually still have your Christmas present under my tree (yes, the tree is still up!)...I'll send it this week!

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