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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Enveloped and Embraced

Enveloped and Embraced

A few days ago, I happened to have a few days off work, and because of some car trouble, we weren’t able to make a long road trip to visit some of our kids for the weekend.  But after a long hard day of doing some much needed fall clean-up work in the yard, my wife came up with the brilliant idea that at least we could take a shorter trip to a nearby Hot Springs for a relaxing time together.

It was cool and rainy, and after a long, hard day of yard work the prior day, a warm soak in a mineral hot springs seemed just like the ticket to recovery.  It was still early in the morning when we arrived, and it wasn’t very crowded yet, so I decided to just find a remote area of one of the soaking pools to just relax and meditate for a few minutes.

As I closed my eyes, and tried to clear my mind of my worries, it soon became apparent that there was more noise and distractions than I had anticipated:  The pattering of the rain on the canopy above me, and on the open water nearby, splashes and conversations of other visitors in other areas of the pools, cars and semi-trucks rumbling by on the highway nearby, and countless other interferences were still bombarding my senses.  I momentarily felt myself wishing I just had the place all to myself for a period of time.

In this temporary state of diversion, while focusing on trying to block out everything around me, the profound thought suddenly hit me, that despite all of these commotions, I had almost neglected to realize that I was still completely surrounded by the warm, enveloping embrace of the hot springs.

Taking a moment to instead concentrate on how wonderfully those mineral waters felt, I quickly felt the tension and stress begin to leave me.  And when I opened my eyes, instead of seeing or noticing all of the distractions, I noticed how peaceful my surrounding actually were:  The steam rising gently upward through the cool downfall of rain, the beautiful landscaping of the rocks and bushes around me.

The mountain hillsides rising upward with a full display of fall colors.

And most importantly, my wonderful wife was right there beside me to enjoy the experience with me!

In this life, ALL of it is part of the experience.  There are countless interruptions, noises and the rainy days of life that threaten to distract and disrupt us from the plans we may have for ourselves.  And if we focus solely on those things, then we will come to think that our experience is one of only frustration.

But through all of these experiences, if we pause to notice it, there is actually the constant, warm and loving embrace of Heaven, which literally surrounds us at all times.

It is simply just always there whether we recognize it or not.  But when we shift our perspective to focus upon that enveloping embrace, we begin instead to see the beauty of all that surrounds us.

And that perspective and realization makes all the difference in what we experience!

“Wherever we are in life, there are times when all of us have challenges and struggles. Although they are different for each, they are common to all.  …Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there.” – President Thomas S. Monson