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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--The Scholarship (A Parable from My Life)

Today I was thinking back...way, way back to an experience I had in college. It's funny that I had never seen the spiritual parallel in this experience until today while I was reading an address by Randall K. Bennett of the Seventy, entitled "Choosing Eternal Life." (You can read this AWESOME talk here: http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/choose-eternal-life?lang=eng&media=video)

Anyway, I was contemplating how my everyday choices, like it or not, lead me towards either eternal life or eternal damnation. As I was thinking about whether or not it was really fair for God to NOT grant someone like me, who has done many righteous things in my life, eternal life and all its blessings, because I am still somewhat imperfect, with just a few sins here and there, I recalled an experience from my Freshman year of college.

I attended Weber State University on a leadership scholarship. Along with the academic requirements for this scholarship, I was required to attend leadership meetings with fellow scholarship recipients. We got together on a regular basis for planning meetings, leadership training, and to socialize with one another. Now, as a side note, for whatever reason, my freshman year of college was a very awkward and uncomfortable time for me. In high school, I had been popular, outgoing, enthusiastic, and bubbly. In college, I had no friends, I had just sent my boyfriend on a mission, and I was experiencing the uncomfortable "new kid on the block" feeling. As I attended my leadership meetings and training sessions, this feeling of discomfort and even shyness became more pronounced. These other students were all past student body officers, head cheerleaders, and all of them were beautiful, well-dressed, outgoing, confident people! I felt that I didn't belong in this group at ALL and I allowed these feelings of misplacement and inadequacy perpetuate. With each gathering, I found myself withdrawing more and more from the group, pulling further away from my responsibilities, and eventually, I stopped going to the meetings all together. At this point, the discomfort was too much; I simply couldn't face another uncomfortable, lonely minute at the meetings. It wasn't that the students were unkind to me; I simply felt that I had nothing in common with them. I didn't belong. After several weeks of skipping meetings and training sessions, I received a call from my leadership council advisor, Nancy. She wanted to meet with me. As I walked to her office, I thought about the conversation that we would have there: she would remind me of the importance of the meetings and ask me to start coming back to them. I would then muster up the courage to agree with her, start attending the meetings once more, then move forward with my responsibilities. Nancy, however, surprised me by quickly taking away my scholarship. She explained to me that with the school year already more than a quarter of the year complete, I would not have time to make up the missed meetings. She continued by telling me that it simply wasn't fair for me to enjoy the benefits of my scholarship since I had not been doing the same amount of work that my fellow students had been doing. I probably could have argued my case and begged for another chance, for more time, or for some compassion from the administration. I could have explained to Nancy why I felt uncomfortable in the meetings, but deep down, I knew that she was right. I chose to accept her decision and I left the office that day, stripped of my much-needed scholarship. To say the least, it was an extremely humbling experience.

I find that there is a parallel here between my desire for an inheritance in the celestial kingdom and my desire for a prestigious scholarship at a university. On my way to exaltation, I will encounter discomfort, and at times, I'm sure I will make mistakes in judgement, or feel that I simply don't belong or that I'm not good enough. But with each decision I make, I am choosing whether or not I will wind up in good standing with the administration (Heavenly Father), or whether I will forfeit my scholarship (inheritance) by shirking my responsibilities and divine duties here on earth. Nancy wasn't a mean, cold-hearted person. She was kind, approachable, and fair. I really could have gone to her at any time and expressed my concerns. I am confident that she would've worked with me, talked me through my difficulties, and helped me to succeed in any way that she could have. But I never approached her. I never explained the struggles I was having. Likewise, our Heavenly Father LONGS to be involved in our lives, to help alleviate our pain, guide us during our hard times, but he cannot do it until we ask for help. It's still such a shame to me that I lost this scholarship. It was such a needless thing to have happened, and a mistake that ultimately ended up costing me thousands of dollars. But how much greater would be my regret if I forfeited my eternal salvation by turning away from my responsibilities, neglecting to ask for help along the way, and by allowing the discomfort of repentance and growth to halt my progress? I hope that I can have the spiritual maturity and wisdom to ASK for help, to COMMUNICATE with my Advisor, the Savior, and that I will be able to find great joy in spending eternity with my Father in Heaven and my family. I pray that I will be able to seek valiance over convenience, humility over pride, and hope over discouragement.


Tamaran said...

Beautiful analogy. Thanks for posting the details. And thanks for the pic! I'm so proud of you and the progress you have made (it totally motivates me!).

K Walton said...

Thanks! I'm so glad you're still reading my blog! I am trying to resolve to write more often, especially now that I'm seeing more success with my weight loss. Keep posted!

Unknown said...

Love this parallel. Thank you! Your picture is BEAUTIFUL! You are an inspiration to us all!!

K Walton said...

Thanks for your comment, Unknown! And thanks for visiting my blog...your comments really keep me going. You all inspire ME!