BY T.F. STERN
Several years ago, Lucy helped stage Preparedness Workshops, a chance for folks to learn about various aspects of becoming prepared. She lined up booths to show off how to make bread, sharpen chain saws and keep them in good repair, gardening tips from experts, and so on.
One of my functions prior to these events was to make duplicate CDs that included essays on these subjects that could be handed out and placed in give-away bags. I suggested we include a few General Conference Talks on the CDs, a means of adding spiritual helps since folks would be planning for those times when things were tough.
That idea is as good today as it was then; well, except that the younger generation might have to be educated as to what a CD is, their being technically up to date with digital sharing. As a side note, I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d refer to CDs as ancient technology.
We have a huge collection of CDs containing all manner of classical music from Beethoven, the Beatles to Zubin Meta leading the orchestra in the Hungarian Rhapsodies. This past year my daughter taught me how to transfer all that music onto the hard-drive of my laptop and then make a back-up on a thumb-drive.
What has this to do with becoming spiritually prepared?
While contemplating what to share, regarding the topic of being spiritually prepared, several thoughts came to mind. Fortunately, I have a file system full of old articles and talks given by some of the greatest minds.
But one individual kept surfacing over and over, Elder Douglas Callister, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy. He gave a talk many years ago, Your Refined Heavenly Home, wherein he shared important insight as to what we should be storing away in our hearts and minds.
“If we could peek behind the heavenly veil we would likely be inspired by the music of heaven, perhaps more glorious than any music we have heard on this earth.
When some music has passed the tests of time and been cherished by the noble and refined, our failure to appreciate it is not an indictment of the grand music. The omission is within. If a young person grows up on a steady diet of hamburgers and French Fries, he is not likely to become a gourmet. But the fault is not with fine food. He just grew up on something less. Some have grown up on a steady diet of musical French Fries.”
While preparing for that day in the future when we’ll be tried and tested to our limits, let us not lose sight of where we wish to go as we plot that course and store away important items that will get us home.
There used to be a radio program by Dr. John Lienhard, The Engines of Our Ingenuity, that had wonderful topics to present each afternoon. One such program was on Numismatics, explaining that our preoccupation with coins had a two-fold purpose. Clearly coins have a monetary value; but beyond that they are a reflection of who we are and what is important to our culture.
“Money, after all, represents the works of our hands – our technology. Our interest in money has a component that’s far more honorable than greed. Money represents what we do. And what we do is what we are. A curious biblical remark tells us that our heart will be where are treasure is. It sounds cynical at first, but it makes more sense when we see money as a kind of condensed representation of ourselves. In the end, it’s not surprising that we reveal our hearts in this most peculiar art form. We say who we are, and what we value, when we coin money.”
I remember a quote from Britain’s Ben Jonson, “Language most shows a man: Speak, that I may see thee.”
Elder Callister continued that thought…
“The images to which our minds are exposed are held in store, seemingly forgotten, even for years. But at the crucial moment they re-present themselves to influence our thoughts and lives. And so it is with the music, literature, art, media, and other images which we are exposed.”
It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to include stamps in the same thought process; after all, stamps have a monetary value and in past times have been used as a form of exchange when coinage was absent. Beyond the value of the actual stamp would be the art form incorporated within the limited area for printing.
While perusing social media you’ll see entries from individuals, photographs showing exquisite sunsets or other natural beauty. The same is true for paintings from various artists that have been shared. I keep a file for these, a chance to re-visit them or use them as wallpaper on my laptop monitor. Isn’t this a form of becoming spiritually prepared?
By expressing gratitude we’re adding oil to our spiritual lamps. Each time we address our Heavenly Father in prayer to thank Him for the beauty that is all around us we take another step towards our Refined Heavenly Home. If you had a chance to read a good book, listen to music that touched your heart and mind, then you are on the right path.
Before closing there is one last item worth mentioning. I’ve used the phrase, touching your heart and mind. While listening to this past week’s Come Follow Me lesson as presented by Tyler and Taylor, that phrase was highlighted. Tyler mentioned that a good friend pointed to the word ‘and’, saying it was the most important of the three words.
It’s not enough for a message to touch your heart or your mind; but when that message touches both your heart and mind you recognize that it was delivered by the Spirit. I hope I related that message as well as it sounded when I heard it the other evening.
As we travel down the covenant path, keeping the commandments, living our lives with joy knowing the promise of returning to our Father in Heaven, remember to stock up on the spiritual gifts which touch our hearts and minds.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Self-Educated American, Senior Editor, T.F. Stern is both a retired City of Houston police officer and, most recently, a retired self-employed locksmith (after serving that industry for 40 plus years). He is also a gifted political and social commentator. His popular and insightful blog, T.F. Sterns Rantings, has been up and at it since January of 2005.