Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Journey Through The Clouds

Several years ago I was on a flight from home to college. We had taken off in cloudy weather with thunderstorms in the forecast. As we flew across the country we on the airplane enjoyed a bright, sunny cloudscape. There were mounds of thick puffy white as far as the eye could see. Occasionally there was a break in the clouds and I could see the ground far below.

This scene was very different. I could see that from the ground the weather was bleak. Everything looked drenched by heavy rain. The thick cloud-cover blocked out much of the light from the sun. Raising my eyes I was nearly blinded by the radiance of the sun reflecting off the pure white clouds.

What a contrast! I imagined what it was like down there on the ground. I knew that it would be dreary and dark, miserable, wet, maybe even cold. It was no doubt the kind of day that makes you want to stay indoors. If you have to go out, you are tense and hunched over.

It occurred to me that during those dark days it seems that the sun has abandoned us. We might feel that the sun has gone and will never return. We may say things like "When will the sun come back?!" That day, as I flew above those stormy clouds, I realized that the sun is never gone. It is always there, a steady constant in this dreary, storm-tossed world.

Of course I knew this logically. I understood basic astro-physics. But for the first time I really understood it. You might say I gained a testimony of this truth. That might sound silly. But it went much deeper than the physical solar realities. I suddenly realized another, more significant truth; that our Heavenly Father is always there for us, too. Even when we are being tossed about by the storms of life we are not abandoned. He is as constant as the sun.

I wrote a poem about this experience. It wasn't horrible but I realized that it needed work. Years later, when I was married with kids and living in a foreign country, I started rewriting the poem as a song. Over the next few years I refined the wording and wrote down the melody. More years passed. Without regular access to a piano I struggled with an accompaniment. I finally decided to send what I had composed to my friend, D. She added a perfect accompaniment. We submitted the song to the yearly church music submission program.

This week I got the letter saying that it was not being awarded recognition. I was disappointed, of course. At the same time, I am very pleased with the song. I have had a number of uplifting experiences because of it. One of the most profound has been with my children.

I had been raised to believe that my primary role in life was to become a mother. Growing up it seemed that “career” was a dirty word. In college I began to feel discouraged. I had struggled to understand why Heavenly Father would give his daughters such amazing talents and ambitions if we were not meant to use them. I began to feel that I was wasting my time.

During the years that I was refining the song I sang it often to my children. I came to realize that I was sharing my testimony with them through those words. I came to understand that all of our talents and abilities can be used to improve those around us, especially our families. The gifts I have been given are not just for me and not necessarily for the whole world. My talents may very well be customized to improve my family and help them all grow closer to our Father in Heaven.

This experience has helped me appreciate the talents I have been blessed with. I also see the talents of others differently. I have come to realize that all our talents can be used to help the work of the Lord move forward.

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