slatted wood pathway between trees

You have to start somewhere. Photo by Amanda Klamrowski

If today you have been struggling,
Tomorrow you will again—
With faith and hope, trust and love,
With doubt and fear and sin.

For life is full of opposite
And contradictory views,
And sometimes there’s confusion
On which path you should choose.

And for the fear of failing,
You never take faith’s leap,
Thus blessings come and pass you
In your symbolistic sleep.

For action forges victory,
All totaled the grand sum—
The quest of life turns out to be
The quest to overcome.

So ever put your trust in God,
He’ll lead you not astray,
But with a loving hand correct
And open up your way.

And yet you ask in starting,
“Will I fail or will I win?”
The only way to ever know,
Is simply to begin.

Writing this poem was difficult.  I had some thoughts about it in July and wrote down the first and last stanzas.  But there was no body and I was not sure what it should be, so I set it aside.  Over the months I came back to it several times to try and flush it out but with no success.  Finally, I sat down one Sunday afternoon and it came together.

Life is hard.  Father Lehi said there must be opposition in all things for us to learn and grow.  That is part of the plan.  But sometimes we let the opposition use opposition to stop our growth.  Let me explain.  Sometimes we are faced with difficult choices and don’t know what to do.  We fast and pray and seek answers.  Sometimes we get them and sometimes we don’t (at least not right away).  Either way, for fear of the unknown or for fear of failure we clam up.  We stop.  We curl up in the fetal position and refuse to go any further.  We say that because we cannot see how it will all turn out we won’t take that next step into the darkness.  We forget that only God can see the end from the beginning and that we are to act in faith. 

Men are to “act for themselves and not to be acted upon” (2 Nephi 2:26).  If we refuse to move forward, we are refusing to act; and, therefore, we allow ourselves to be acted upon by fear or doubt or whatever it may be.  We need to put our trust in God and progress.  We have the promise that as we strive to live close to the spirit, God will not let us get far off track.  Elder Richard G Scott said, “When you are living righteously and are acting with trust, God will not let you proceed too far without a warning impression if you have made the wrong decision” (April 2007 General Conference).

Let me share an example.  My dad loves teaching the gospel.  At the beginning of his working career he really wanted to be a seminary teacher.  Things did not work out at that time, and he chose a different occupation.  Years passed and eventually another opportunity came for him to teach seminary and he went for it. 

Part of the path to becoming a seminary teacher was student teaching.  Where everything had initially looked so promising and had been going so well, he had several teaching experiences that told him this was not the path he should follow.  In summary, he started out with a plan that he felt good about; he acted; it wasn’t right; and because he was striving to be guided by God, he understood the course corrections and redirected his path.  The key to getting on the right path and arriving at your destination is starting where you are and being willing to move.

In short, you must begin.

Written: July 2016 through January 2017

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