Sunday, January 22, 2012

Finding Paradise: A Video and some Thoughts

This is a fabulous video (and so much better than the original Cold Play one - in my opinion) taking a lovely song and making it inspiring.

A week ago, our congregation was challenged to look at our own lives and see if we could not do a little better. I knew it was something I needed to do. However, just as I felt inspired this week, I had several moments of feeling overwhelmed. How can I do all that I have committed to do for my self, my family, my church family and work. There doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day.

But a discussion with a good friend, Wally Goddard ( at one of his "Friday night Family Firesides, a good reading in my scriptures and the talks presented at church this morning have all given me this one thought:

God is in the business of saving souls. That is his work and his glory.

If, the best way for him to do that is to ask me to do more than I can possibly do alone, then I will turn to him and ask for his help. Then, he can bless me doubly. Firstly, I will draw closer to him and rely on him, making our relationship better. And secondly, my efforts to do good will be magnified, helping others more than I could if I had only relied upon my own natural strength.

When I first watched this video, my boys came into the room about halfway through. They thought the music was cool and the costumes as well, but what had them glued to the screen was the question, "How did they get the piano up there?" They were amazed and impressed.

As I replayed the video, they saw the opening few moments, showing the grand piano being lifted by a helicopter and deposited on the mesa where they filmed.

"Oh!" They understood the method behind the magic, but it was still pretty impressive.

I had a little lightbulb go off in my mind. There have been times when I have looked at others with great admiration and even a bit of envy. They are wonderful, spiritual people who are able to manage their home, their children, a church responsibility and then have time to other amazing things. "How do they do it?" I have wondered.

The answer is this: They haven't done it on their own. They had help. They were lifted and assisted and blessed beyond their natural ability.

In a portion of the Book of Mormon that I was reading recently, Nephi and his brothers heard their father tell of his great vision of the tree of life. Nephi wanted to understand it for himself. He went off to a solitary place, prayed to understand and sat pondering the things his father had taught. It was then that the vision was opened to his eyes, an angelic guide explained the various objects and their symbolism and further visions open to show the fate of his people and others who settle in the promised land. Quite a lot of information. More than he had even asked for.

After he recovered from the vision and rejoined his family, he finds his brothers disputing about the things his father had envisioned. Nephi admits that the things his father had told them were hard to understand, unless the Lord had enlightened them. He then asked them if they had inquired of the Lord. His brothers admit that they have not.

Nephi then gives them/us steps to receive inspiration from the Lord. (1 Nephi 15:11) First we must not harden our hearts. From other readings of the scriptures, I interpret this to mean being humble, open to ideas and instruction. In the case of the piano, I would say this would be having ourselves open to ideas other than carrying the piano up the mountain on our own backs.

Second, we are told we must ask in faith, believing that we shall receive. This would mean perhaps calling up the helicopter chartering service and making arrangements.

Third, we must be diligent in keeping the Lord's commandments. I see this as two parts in the case of this video. One must pay, probably a fat fee, for a helicopter to hoist a piano onto (and later, after filming, off of) a high mesa out in the middle of nowhere. This would be in our own personal cases, living morally, righteously, day in and day out. If we've not made that commitment before, as in baptism, perhaps that would be a change we would start making in our life.

The second part would be doing everything we can so that the operation can be successful. Did you notice in the film that the piano was wrapped securely in the harness and with (what looked like) plastic wrap? Whatever was used, I'm sure all the people involved wanted to be sure the piano was as safe as they could make it as it was lifted to the top of the table of rock. Nobody wants a beautiful, expensive piano falling from the sky and smashing to bits. So, in the case of asking for divine help, if we have been given instruction, in scripture or through inspiration on how to solve our difficulty, would we not follow the advice we are given.

Even if uncomfortable? Even if inconvenient? Even if we feel a little silly?

I can think of a lot of advice from prophets that could fall into those categories.

"Hold a Family Home Evening weekly."
"Thrust your staff into the Red Sea."
"Share the gospel with others."
"Walk seven times around the city Jericho."
"Serve a full-time mission for two years"
"Brush lamb's blood on the door frame of your house."
"Attend church for three hours every Sunday, and additional meetings as provided."
"Wash seven times in the River Jordan."
"Study the scriptures daily individually and as a family."

Yet, as we have faith and trust in the Lord and obey his instructions, we are lifted to heights we never could have achieved on our own. We could never have seen miracles in our own lives or the lives of those we love. We could not stand on a mountain top and glory in the paradise that God has promised to all who trust in him.

God is in the business of saving souls. You are his work and his glory. Let him do an extreme makeover on your soul and relish in the promise of paradise.

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