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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Learning the Meaning of Life in a Public Bathroom

Learning the Meaning of Life in a Public Bathroom

          Several years ago, my wife and I were at a big move theater complex in a neighboring town.  I completely forget what movie we watched that night, but learned an incredible lesson about the meaning of life, while spending a few minutes in the public bathroom.

          In my clumsiness, I had spilled some soda pop on myself at some point during the evening, and had gone into the bathroom to try to clean up and dry off to some extent.

          While engaged in my hygienic task, a young father entered the restroom holding hands with his son, who couldn’t have been more than 3 years old.  They turned and headed down the row of stalls, and as they did, the little boy let loose and ran excitedly toward the first open door he saw yelling in excitement, “I’m a big boy daddy, I can do it all by myself.”

          “Okay, son.” The father affectionately replied with a big grin. “I will be right here if you need anything.”

          “It’s okay dad, I can do it by myself.” Responded the optimistic voice from within.

          The door to the stall closed and for a few moments there was silence as the young boy, must have been engaged in his task.  His father stepped a few feet away and leaned against a nearby wall.

          Then from within the stall came a tender little voice which now beheld a world closed in by tall obscuring walls and which was filled with strange odors and sounds he was not familiar with. It was almost laced with an edge of panic at the realization that he could no longer see or hear his father.  “Daddy, are you there?”

          “Yes, son.  I am here.  I will not leave you.  Are you doing alright?” Came the father’s patient reply as he leaned against the outside wall.

          Reassured, the little boy, then launched into a long and detailed description of how things were going within his new environment and the successes he was having in his task.  His father listened, smiling outside the stall (as did I by the sink at the far end of the room), as the child’s play by play account rang out and reverberated off the tiled walls.      Occasionally boy would ask questions and the father would direct him where the toilet paper roll would be located and to make sure he did a thorough job as best he could.

          As the young boy finished his description and paused, the silence again fell across the room.  His tones of confidence once again warped into one of worry and concern, “Daddy, are you still there?”

          “Yes son.  I am still here.  I won’t leave you I promise.  I will always be right here.”

          Reassured, the youthful excitement returned once again as the boy launched into how he was both struggling and succeeding finishing his task and donning his clothing once again.  His story was culminated with a flush and moments later the young child came bursting through the doorway and ran excitedly into his father’s waiting an open arms, “I did it daddy, I did it!”

          His father scooped him up and gave him a loving embrace and showered praise upon him, “I knew you could do it!  You are such a good son and I am so proud of you!”

          They joined me at the row of sinks as they washed together and enjoyed each other’s company and then left to bathroom to return to the rest of their waiting family members.

          But as I stood at the sink drying spilled soda off my shirt, the simple yet profound message of that moment sunk deep into my soul, about the significance and meaning of life and our purpose here upon this mortal globe.

          All of us are children of a loving Heavenly Father, who prepared us and guided us into this life of mortality.  I am sure that under his supportive reassurance, we all approached coming into this life, with the innocent and naive optimism of that young child saying, “I can do it Daddy, I am a big boy/girl.  I can do it on my own.”

          Once here in mortality, with a veil of forgetfulness upon us, we find ourselves in an environment closed off from the presence of Deity, which is filled with unfamiliar sights, sounds and experiences.  Life and its challenges has a way of making us realize our solitary and inexperienced state at times, and compels our spirits to cry out toward heaven, “Father, are you still there?”

          As we call upon God in prayer, His loving and patient answer is always, “Yes child, I am still here.  I will never leave you!”

          Prayer is such a wonderful and often overlooked priceless lifeline to higher power and experience, which can direct us to the answers we are seeking for but cannot find on our own.  Our loving Father will never force His will upon us, but will constantly and lovingly guide us through our difficulties so that we can learn from experience and grow into something better than what we once were.

          As we become successful at times, the world will often distract us from that lifeline and we will take pride in ourselves and our accomplishments and can easily weaken our resolve until we realize that beyond the veiled stall of life is a source of ultimate wisdom, and we are drawn back to Him once again.

          If we maintain this link and line of communication, we will find the guidance and reassurance we need, as well as discover that all the tools we need to be successful have been placed within our grasp if we will listen to His guidance and know where to find them.  With the guidance of his father, the boy in the bathroom found a roll of paper.

          Our loving Heavenly Father will also guide us through the words of His prophets which are found in the scriptures.  They contain the words of wisdom and instruction to help us be successful in our tasks and know how to cleanse us, through the power of the atonement of our Savior from the filth of this world and become clean again through His loving grace.

          In due time, we will all face the end of our time in the stall of mortality, and if we have been faithful, we will pass beyond the door of death and see before us, the open and waiting arms of a Father who is eagerly waiting to scoop us up in His loving embrace.

          I am sure that we will run to him with cries of, “I did it, Daddy!  I did it!”

          To which he will respond, “I knew you could do it!  I am so proud of you!”

          May we always remember that we are never alone!  Our loving Father is there just beyond our mortal sight, and we can always reach out to Him through prayer!  If we do, He will guide us through life’s struggles and back into waiting embrace, much better for the experience!
          I’m grateful for life’s lessons and Heaven’s constant call, even when it comes through spilling a soda on your shirt and learning it in a public bathroom.