Saturday, June 4, 2016

Shifting Tides

This morning it was rainy and cold, so we decided to stay in and do some much needed organizing in our flat.   We have traveled so much lately that we have not taken the time to do any true deep cleaning for a while.  The place is easy to keep picked up, but today we did those other chores - sorting out the closets and scrubbing floors and walls. We cleaned out the refrigerator and took inventory of the pantry as well.   We took every single can, box and package of food out of the shelves, wiped everything down, then took inventory of what we had so we could plan meals based on what we have on hand.

We know all this effort won't last. Within a few days of making meals and living life, all the lovely order in our pantry will get muddled and laundry will pile up again. Cleaning is one of those things that you don't get to keep. We will need to do it again and again.  But for the moment, it feels really good to have the place tidy and organized..

I am mindful of the scripture in D&C 119 that says:

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God; 

When we got it all done there was a break in the weather, so we went down to Takapuna Beach and played in the sand, making a sand castle.

When we started, we began building quite a ways away from the edge of the water.  However, we were there just as the tide was shifting.   Before we knew it, the waves were lapping the walls of our little structure.   In  no time at all, it was washed out to sea.

It made me think of the impermanance of so many things.  As our mission winds down, I can't help but wonder what sort of difference all our hard work will have made.  Will we be completely forgotten after we leave, with no sign we were ever here - like our sand castle that washed away?

But there was something I noticed as we were building that dorky little castle.  Nearly everyone who walked past us on the beach, whether they were in groups or alone, families or couples - all of them seemed to take notice of what we were doing and smile.  A few made comments.  Some told us "good job!"    Silly as it may seem,  what we were doing there on that beach seemed to spread happiness to those who saw us.  Then, as we left the beach after our castle washed away, we saw a little boy digging in the sand further up from where we had been - building a castle of his own.  Was that because he had seen us building ours?  Perhaps.

In our own tiny way, we made a difference for good by making people smile, by setting the example of two people loving each other, having fun, enjoying time together playing in the sand.

That's no big deal.

But in this mission,   we have set a far bigger example.  We have taught principles of eternal familys that really do matter.   And in so doing, we really have made a difference.   Maybe we will be forgotten over time as other missionaries come and go.   But the skill sets we leave behind will matter.   The testimonies we strengthened will matter.  The friendships we've built will matter.

Our pantry will get messed up again, no doubt.

Some projects we work on will definitely be forgotten.

But the Gospel is eternal.  Family ties sealed in the temple continue.

No ocean will wash that away.

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