Yes, the trip was beyond anything we could have expected and we are blessed to know many wonderful people, but once the dust settled upon our return and Eric went back to work, things suddenly got very quiet.
And I was reminded...Quiet is a really good thing when Life hasn't been quiet for a while.
In the midst of the quiet I've had time to reflect and take a personal and spiritual inventory. What matters and what doesn't? What are the best uses of my time? And finally...which things have eternal consequences?
I almost added "what do I believe?" But then I realized, I already know what I believe. That hasn't changed. But putting certain things I believe into practice on a day-to-day basis sometimes depends on how much I allow other, less important things, to interfere.
Of course, there are probably little subgroups and sub-subgroups within those "deep"questions above, but I'm trying not to worry about those.
Actually, I'm trying not to worry, period. Recently I heard this: "Worrying is negatively anticipating that something bad will happen" Or the humorous version, "You can't tell me worrying doesn't help. The things I worry about never happen."
That last quote came from a 1977 talk by Pres. Boyd K. Packer called Balm of Gilead. A talk I listened to this morning for the very first time and haven't stopped thinking about. I'm adding a link because you should watch it. Yes, you, reading this blog post. Well, after you finish the post.
Anyone who knows about Pres. Packer, who just passed away 2 days ago, knows that he did not mince words. He was very direct. In fact, he often forced the listener to hold a mirror up in front of him/herself.
What happens when we do that? Sometimes we like what we see and sometimes we don't.
He talks about the "vacant lot" we all have in our minds. You know...that part of ourselves that is where the uncertainties, the rationalizations, the doubts, and the "gray" areas live like little weeds. We can pick them and throw them out. We can put up a mental "No Dumping" sign. Or we can let those weeds fester.
(If I want to get really metaphorical, I could talk about those weeds that start springing little flowers and convince us that they shouldn't be picked. I've had those too.)
I wouldn't say I've reached a big festering point in my vacant lot, but I was definitely letting weeds grow there. Most of those weeds were just unimportant things that I was allowing to become too important.
One way I've been trying to combat the weeds is by reading the Scriptures more often, more fervently, and with more thought. The Scriptures are a great "weed killer."
Another way is by eliminating, or cutting back, on things that don't matter. For me, a lot of this is device, media, and social-media based. Wow, those things are powerful and time-consuming! I have come to 2 conclusions: 1. I control my phone, not the other way around. 2. The media and social media don't get to decide what's important and what's true.
I must tell you...Reminding myself of these things and taking some personal steps to implement them has really made a difference these last few days. The noise of the world has lessened and inner peace has grown. When I start to get worked up or negatively anticipate something that hasn't happened yet I find my saner side saying "It doesn't matter," or "It's only..."
There was a time when the world was quieter. Now it seems like the only way we can have quiet is to actively seek it.
Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
Life as a haven full of gladness. Doesn't that sound wonderful? How often have I allowed weeds to grow and prevented this?
Seeking the quiet. This is my new goal. To remind myself what really matters, and to put my energies there.