Monday, October 19, 2009

Hope Floats

It does, you know. No matter how hard it is held under, hope will always float to the top. I suspect the reason for that is, hope is lighter than the opposite which is gloomy despair, or painful discouragement.

Last night I attended an auxiliary training for our stake. There I experienced both ends of the spectrum. We were introduced to next year's YW theme, taken from Joshua 1:9. This new favorite scripture of mine says the following:

"Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee, whithersoever thou goest."

To me, this scripture speaks of peace of heart and mind. It says in essence, that no matter what the days ahead may bring, we are not alone and things will be okay. True, we have to live up to our part of the deal--obeying the commandments is a solid guarantee that we will have the help of heaven to survive our challenges. It doesn't mean that there won't be any trials, for that is how we learn, grow, and prove ourselves while in mortal mode. What it does mean is that we shouldn't go around wringing our hands in fear. The Lord is with us, no matter where we are, or what we're facing.

So as I sat basking in the glowing warmth of the inspired scripture above, someone tried to pop my proverbial balloon. One of our stake leaders stressed that we need to be honest with our YW and tell them that the days ahead will be horrible. "These girls need to know what they will be facing, so they can be strong enough to do so. They need to know that things will keep getting worse and worse and that they need to be prepared."

Wow. Where did that come from? I'll admit, we live during a difficult time. Has it ever been otherwise? Has there ever been a time when there weren't challenges? Has the adversary ever crawled into a hole and left people alone for any amount of extended time? Nope.

I'm sure during both World Wars and the Great Depression, people weren't always dancing in the street for joy. Nor were they when the world's population waded through the dreary times known as the Dark Ages. So on and so forth.

In today's world, we enjoy more blessings than in any previous age. The number of temples now in operation should be reason enough to keep us rejoicing for a very long time. Despite the news stories that fill TV screens and computer screens alike, good things are happening in the world.

While I do plan to help our YW prepare for the challenges that lie ahead, I refuse to convince them that their future will "inhale" and it will be filled with terrible things. I've survived enough of those kind of trials to know that despite the very darkest day ever, there will be other days when the sun will shine brightly and hearts will fill with peace. It is my own opinion that we need to instill calming faith, not despairing fear inside the hearts of our vulnerable youth. Yes, there are a lot of trials currently taking place in the world, but dwelling on the negative things isn't what I think our Father in heaven would like for us to do.

During these turbulent latter days, we need to be a positive light in an ever-darkening world. Our balloons of hope need to be visible, dancing in the sunlight of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

That said, know that I didn't cause any problems during last night's meeting. I kept my thoughts to myself, but I did silently reflect on a phrase from the priesthood blessing I received the afternoon I was set apart as the fearless leader for our ward's YW nearly 3 years ago: "You will bring hope into the lives of these girls." I suspect that is an important thing. Am I wrong?

P.S. Now that I've stepped off my soapbox, I just wanted to let you know that I've posted a review for Jennie Hansen's newest book, "Shudder," on my personal blog something that you can find here: Cheri Crane's Blog


Anna Buttimore said...

Nicely said Cheri! I sometimes think that we don't know we're born these days. We are living longer, healthier, more comfortable lives than at any point in history and we have every reason to be insanely happy. OK, so things are acceptable now which were anathema or illegal fifty years ago, but we still have great spiritual guidance and leaders to keep us safe. We have every reason to be hopeful and happy.

Jennie said...

As long as our testimonies are strong, there are plenty of things to bring us hope and cheer. That's the nice thing about faith, it gives us hope.