Monday, May 21, 2012

Indirect Answers

I mentioned earlier this month that if a certain theme keeps intruding itself into my life, it feels like I didn't pay enough attention to it the first time around. And I'd better get with the program. Right away. That happened again this past weekend. I have a degree in art, but for some unknown reason, the David O. McKay School of Education seems to have adopted me--I receive their quarterly magazine. The spring edition recently arrived and I was intrigued with a manufactured conversation by Russell T. Osguthorpe found in Agency and the Pursuit of Learning (which, by the way, reminded me quite a bit of Elder Bednar's book, Increase in Learning, --yet another topic hitting me on the head recently!)

Where you see quotation marks, Osguthorpe has incorporated direct excerpts from The Abundance of the Heart by Arthur Henry King. The last sentence is the crowning jewel of the exchange:

Arthur: “One of the mistakes we make over and over again in life is to go directly for the things we think are important.”
Russ: Are you saying that we should not pursue knowledge we think is important?
Arthur: I said not to go directly for things we think are important.
Russ: You mean like setting our hearts on riches?
Arthur: Yes, but more. “If we aim at self-fulfillment, we shall never be fulfilled.”
Russ: Are you saying happiness is a by-product of something else?
Arthur: Yes, but I don’t like the word by-product. People talk about getting an education, but “if we aim at education, we shall never become educated.”
Russ: Education seems like a fairly important goal to aim for, but you’re saying that we should not go for it directly.
Arthur: Yes. Even “if we aim at salvation, we shall never be saved. These things are indirect, supreme results of doing something else; and the something else is service, it is righteousness, it is trying to do the right thing, the thing that needs to be done at each moment.”

This was strongly on my mind when yesterday, my wonderful VT said something to the effect that feeling the love of Christ helps our testimonies to grow stronger. If we want stronger testimonies, serving others, which develops charity, the pure love of Christ, can do it. (Again, an indirect approach through service...)

Then, today, I came across this quote shared in the March 1995 Ensign article, "Learning to Cherish Visiting Teaching."

"I no longer tried to be the “perfect” visiting teacher—I was too busy being Ann’s friend."

 If you read the whole article, you'll find the same message. It appears that whatever it is that you want to improve in, including visiting teaching, concentrate on serving, on doing the right thing at the moment. The results might not be obvious at first, but almost like the photo at the top that eventually comes into focus as a rose window, miracles can happen.

Thanks for visiting today!


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