Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Plans and Patience

Life doesn't always go to plan. I learned that yesterday. It was a beautiful, sunny day and we decided we would go to Hadleigh Castle for our Family Home Evening. It's a ruined castle only five minutes' drive from our home, and has a wonderful view across the Thames estuary and for miles around. There's plenty of space for the children to run and play, and it gets some good wind, so it's great for kite flying and Frisbee losing once they get bored of pretending to be medieval princesses. It's also conveniently a two minute walk from McDonald's, so once we had enjoyed an hour of fun at the castle we could tuck into Happy Meals before heading home for bed. We were all looking forward to it all day.

We stepped out of the door to get into the car - and it started raining. So much for that plan. With nothing else planned for Family Home Evening we just ate tea as normal, and I put the children to bed, our spirits as damp as the ground outside.

Before going downstairs to do my usual routine - wash school uniforms, make lunches, pack book bags - I picked up the conference issue of the Ensign. I'm never sure whether I'm supposed to read the Priesthood session reports, but I make it my policy to read the Ensign cover to cover each month, and I don't make an exception for conference editions, so I found myself reading President Uchtdorf's talk about patience. You remember it - the one about the children and the marshmallows.

It was so good that I got the children out of bed, and we all sat on our bed as I read sections of the talk to them. "Would you have waited for two marshmallows?" I asked them in turn. Then we talked about all the things we all wanted, and how we could learn to be patient. With all the cuts in spending and rises in taxes the government is having to make to drag the country out of debt, it was a timely lesson. More and more we are going to find that our plans - for a holiday, or a new tumble drier, or a big birthday party, or a curry with friends - are going to have to be put on hold, and we are going to need to be patient. The impromptu lesson hit home. It was a magical moment and we all learned something important.

I love how inspired and timely the lessons from our Church leaders are. I love knowing that just because things don't go to plan, doesn't mean they can't still be wonderful. And I'm patiently looking forward to a lovely evening at Hadleigh Castle next Monday.

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