thank you, dear gardner.

I'm supposed to be writing a case report and studying, but I needed to take ten minutes to write this before it left my mind. 

Today was a very cold and stressful day. I won't start every blog post like this, because truly, life is looking like it will be that way most days. 

And it definitely was a very cold (even though the sun was out, it was about 50-55 degrees) and stressful day.

I felt completely overwhelmed. 

School...trying to figure out if I can work while doing school and clinic rotations...trying to decide whether to do a thesis or not...trying to decide whether I will be doing my CFY in Washington or Utah or somewhere else in two years...I'm starting with a client on Monday...I seriously need to brush up on my neuroanatomy and phonetics something awful, our whole cohort could barely answer our professors' questions in our classes today...and I had a TB placement as well as flu shot yesterday and I always get super achey/a bad migraine after flu shots...and I'm simply just trying to figure out a few other things on top of all of that.

I came home and called my mom for a bit to hear about her day. She told me I should rest, work on homework, and try to get feeling better. When I hung up with her, I decided to not listen to her...oops. 

I changed into my Sunday best and drove to the Temple. 

While I drove there, I saw the sky change colors from blue to pink to deep purple and the sunset shining on the water while the sailboats floated across Lake Union and Lake Washington. The golden clouds were brushing the tops of the Cascades and they seemed to somehow be illuminated within. For the first time since I moved here, the clouds weren't covering Mount Rainier (I mean, I've seen it before, but not in the past two weeks) and it was the most majestic, beautiful sight. I instantly knew Heavenly Father wanted me to be on my way to the Temple and not sitting in my basement napping or studying at that moment, so I would not miss this beautiful night in my new surroundings. It seriously was so gorgeous. If I hadn't been navigating the terrifying freeways, I would've tried to take pictures of every angle and detail. All while this was occurring, I was praying out loud {like I talked about here last year} and this talk was softly playing in the background through my stereo. It's the talk that is so near and dear to my heart {remember this experience?} and I know I've already shared this probably too many times to count on my blog, I'm going to share this part again:

"This parable—like all parables—is not really about laborers or wages any more than the others are about sheep and goats. This is a story about God’s goodness, His patience and forgiveness, and the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a story about generosity and compassion. It is a story about grace. It underscores the thought I heard many years ago that surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it.
I do not know who in this vast audience today may need to hear the message of forgiveness inherent in this parable, but however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.
Whether you are not yet of our faith or were with us once and have not remained, there is nothing in either case that you have done that cannot be undone. There is no problem which you cannot overcome. There is no dream that in the unfolding of time and eternity cannot yet be realized. Even if you feel you are the lost and last laborer of the eleventh hour, the Lord of the vineyard still stands beckoning. “Come boldly [to] the throne of grace,”and fall at the feet of the Holy One of Israel. Come and feast “without money and without price” at the table of the Lord."
-Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "The Laborers in the Vineyard"
The experience at the Temple was amazing, as it always is. Within an hour and fifteen minutes, I was back in my car on my way back to my house and feeling so much gratitude. The worries from earlier in the day did not disappear, but I felt an immense increase of love and strength to help me accomplish what's before me. I  was listening to some classical music as I approached the city and drove home; it looked so beautiful lit up at night and I thought of this talk for some reason, especially this part:
"As Elder Paul V. Johnson said this morning, we should take care not to resent the very things that help us put on the divine nature.

The followers of Alma established a Zion community in Helam but then were brought into bondage. They did not deserve their suffering—quite the contrary—but the record says:
“Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.
“Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people” (Mosiah 23:21–22).
The Lord strengthened them and lightened their burdens to the point they could hardly feel them upon their backs and then in due course delivered them (see Mosiah 24:8–22). Their faith was immeasurably strengthened by their experience, and ever after they enjoyed a special bond with the Lord.
God uses another form of chastening or correction to guide us to a future we do not or cannot now envision but which He knows is the better way for us. President Hugh B. Brown, formerly a member of the Twelve and a counselor in the First Presidency, provided a personal experience. He told of purchasing a rundown farm in Canada many years ago. As he went about cleaning up and repairing his property, he came across a currant bush that had grown over six feet (1.8 m) high and was yielding no berries, so he pruned it back drastically, leaving only small stumps. Then he saw a drop like a tear on the top of each of these little stumps, as if the currant bush were crying, and thought he heard it say:
“How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. … And now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me. … How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.”
President Brown replied, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and someday, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down.’”
Years later, President Brown was a field officer in the Canadian Army serving in England. When a superior officer became a battle casualty, President Brown was in line to be promoted to general, and he was summoned to London. But even though he was fully qualified for the promotion, it was denied him because he was a Mormon. The commanding general said in essence, “You deserve the appointment, but I cannot give it to you.” What President Brown had spent 10 years hoping, praying, and preparing for slipped through his fingers in that moment because of blatant discrimination. Continuing his story, President Brown remembered:
“I got on the train and started back … with a broken heart, with bitterness in my soul. … When I got to my tent, … I threw my cap on the cot. I clenched my fists, and I shook them at heaven. I said, ‘How could you do this to me, God? I have done everything I could do to measure up. There is nothing that I could have done—that I should have done—that I haven’t done. How could you do this to me?’ I was as bitter as gall.
“And then I heard a voice, and I recognized the tone of this voice. It was my own voice, and the voice said, ‘I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do.’ The bitterness went out of my soul, and I fell on my knees by the cot to ask forgiveness for my ungratefulness. …
“… And now, almost 50 years later, I look up to [God] and say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me.’”
God knew what Hugh B. Brown was to become and what was needed for that to happen, and He redirected his course to prepare him for the holy apostleship."
-Elder D. Todd Christofferson, "As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and I Chasten"
While thinking of that story and quote, I found myself saying out loud, "Thank you, dear gardner." and I thought of the quote in the above picture. I truly am so grateful. I'm glad the experience here hasn't all been sunshine and roses, so I have the opportunity to find the beauty in each day and trust in the Lord. I'm so grateful to have a loving Heavenly Father looking out for me and pruning me to become a better person, a better instrument in His hands. I have so much gratitude in my heart for days like today, the ones that unexpectedly turn from bad to good. 
Now back to the case report, the pint of ice cream, the stack of books and flashcards and notes, the room of twinkle lights upstairs, and "You've Got Mail" playing in the background. 

1 comment:

Thanks for making my day!

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