This morning as I sat down to write this blog, a parable came to mind I read a few years ago. I am not sure who wrote this parable, but I appreciate its message. I remember the first time I read it, I felt a great kinship with the "cracked pot."
The Parable of the Cracked Pot
"A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on one end of the pole he carried across the back of his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream, the cracked pot arrived only half full. This went on every day for two years, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to his master’s house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishment and saw itself as perfectly suited for the purpose for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived as bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”
“For the past two years, I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws you have to work without getting the full value of your efforts,” the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and out of compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the wildflowers on the side of the path. The pot felt cheered.
But at the end of the trail, the pot still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and again it apologized for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I knew about your flaw and took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them for me. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. If you were not just the way you are, he would not have such beauty to grace his house."
I appreciate the message shared that what we may perceive as imperfections can actually be invaluable tools our Master, Jesus Christ, can use to bless the life of another. Sometimes I get caught up in feelings of discouragement. I feel bad because I am not everything I perceive I am "supposed" to be. When those moments come, I realize I must take a step back and allow the Savior to define who I am. Often my discouragement is self-imposed because I forget to look to the purposes of Jesus Christ and ask Him what role He desires me to fulfill.
My good friend Cate atBella Love Letters made this for me. Isn't she talented!?! I love it!
I recently had a friend do a project for my niece (it's honestly the cutest/coolest/hippest thing to ever grace a nursery wall - ask me and I will show you :) ). I decided to think of a quote I wanted to put up on my own wall and have my friend Cate make it all fancy. After thinking on it - I decided on "Come What May, and Love It."
I love General Conference talks. If we are being honest - most times it is easier for me to read/study them, than it is to read/study the scriptures. One of my most favorite talks EVER was given by Joseph B. Wirthlin and is entitled, "Come What May, and Love it." I really loved Elder Wirthlin - he was so funny and such a cute old guy :) And when I found out he played football when he was younger and I liked him even more! I would highly recommend this talk - and if you don't want to read the talk - watch this brief clip that summarizes it :
I have thought a lot lately about how much influence we have over our own happiness. Situations can be forced upon us, but our reaction is always our choice. No one forces you to be happy or sad or any emotion, really. Those times when life-induced emotions seem to be too much to handle are when you can rely on the Savior to stand by your side and help you find happiness.
Often times, people can struggle with loving the present, because they are too caught up in the past. They want to return to something idyllic that has come and gone, whether that be high school, or college, or a past relationship or even living at home and having a mom cook you delicious food :) I think we could all do well to remember that what was has already happened, and there is no way of changing it. However, we can (and should) make sure to learn all we can from past experiences. For example, instead of mourning yet another failed relationship (womp womp I'm not married), we can be happy that we had the chance to feel and give love, an experience that is both instructive and beautiful.
One of my own greatest struggles is "looking beyond the mark." I am naturally inclined to want to plan out my life, as I think many of us are. This inclination will sometimes lead to me over thinking and over extending the rest of my life in a career, at a location, in a relationship far beyond what is happening right now.
Why can't I be happy with what is happening right now? I think it is good to have hope in the future, but not to be so caught up in that hope that you forget the blessings of today.
So! Here are some things that I do that I think help me to apply this principle in my life:
1) Show and feel gratitude for what is happening in my life right now. I live in a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL area of the country. Most mornings when I go out to my car to travel to work, I thank God that I am blessed to live in such a beautiful place. I think it's a good way to start my day and keeps me more grounded and able to handle any situation. I am grateful to be, and I am grateful to be here.
2) Laugh. Elder Wirthlin even talks about this one too. Let me tell you a story - I was at a meeting in Seattle the other week around University Village. As I was coming out of an elevator, some very good looking brown men who also happened to play football started talking to me. Have to admit - not mad about it. So here I was, feeling so great and happy about life. And then when I was pulling out of my parking space in that crazy parking garage, a pillar literally jumped into the middle of the road and hit my side view mirror. And all I could do was laugh. And laugh hard. I even remember thinking, "God - thanks for making sure I was so happy before that happened so I could just laugh it off instead of getting upset." We need to be able to laugh at things that are funny. And many of the situations that make us upset (like ripping off a side view mirror) also happen to be inherently funny. So let them be funny.
3) Go to the temple. When we go to the temple (or I would also suggest meditation for those who cannot go to LDS temples) we are unworried about the cares of the present, because we feel happiness in who we are. We know we are children of God. We know that God loves us. We know that God wants us to be happy. So why spend any more time being unhappy than we need to :)
Well! I am sure that there are many more things that you are doing that help you to love life. I would love to hear if you have suggestions. I know that the most essential part of loving life and being happy is relying on the Savior and abiding by the commandments. I hope that you can all find some way to LOVE your life today! Love you too much!
A few weeks ago a friend shared a quote with me. The quote is by Thomas Paine and was written in an article called, “The Crisis,” during the American Revolutionary War. While it may seem appropriate to share this weekend in honor of Memorial Day, it is actually something that has been on my mind for weeks now.
Paine said: "THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated."
Of course, Paine speaks of the price of freedom. However, the man who shared this quote with me spoke of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and I have since found that this quote is applicable in many different aspects of life.
“These are the times that try men’s souls.”
Have you felt your soul being tried?
Recently, I have struggled to feel adequate and a few weeks ago I found myself lower than I had ever felt before. I have always loved going to church. Since I was a little girl, I looked forward to Sunday but a few weeks ago for the first time ever I didn’t feel like going and I almost didn’t. But I went and as I sat there I felt the overwhelming love of God. I couldn’t stop crying as I realized that my soul was being tried.
We may ask why God allows us to pass through hard things. Why does he let us feel depressed or lonely? Even the Savior himself asked if it was possible to accomplish the atonement without going through so much pain. But it wasn’t. The pain was part of the necessary experience.
You see, this passing through hard things is part of what we signed up for before coming to this earth and I believe that we knew then what we were getting ourselves into. We knew then that “the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” We knew that “what we obtain too cheap, we esteem too light” and we understood that “it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.”
But here we are and we go through extremely hard things. Really crappy things and it hurts. Sometimes it doesn’t seem to make sense. We are doing the best we can. We are good people and sometimes it seems that just when we’ve gotten back on our feet we get knocked down again.
It is in these moments that we must remember that “heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods.”
At a time, I believe we understood this price perfectly and that is why we agreed to Heavenly Father’s plan.
So if you are waiting for a blessing that doesn’t seem to be coming or if your path back to Heavenly Father seems thorn-ridden or rocky, don’t give up.
Believe that for the difficulty of the path, there is a greater blessing in store. Just as hiking to a higher point is more difficult but offers a better view from the top, so it will be with you.
Trust that Heavenly Father wants to bless you with the righteous desires of your heart but he also wants you to appreciate those blessings once they come.
This weekend we honor those soldiers who fought to give us that liberty when it wasn’t easy. Each Sunday we remember the sacrifice of a Savior who paid the ultimate price so that we can be eternally happy. Each day may we try to remember that the best things in life don’t come free. They never have. But those blessings do come to those who pay the price and keep the faith.
When I left on my mission I took a picture on my Macbook like the picture directly to the left. It was in essence saying goodbye to a stage of life and hello to a new place of learning and growth. This is a picture of me today, saying goodbye to the city of Chicago.
It has been two years full of growth, it has stretched my faith, and I feel it has made my family grow stronger. The lessons learned are so numerous, but the main lesson we have come away learning is that when we are obedient to God's will He will never
I know that God hears our prayers, that He has a personal plan for everyone. We came to Chicago because of a still-small voice that whispered it was the right place for our family. I believe that God sent us here, to this exact location, to meet exact people, to learn exact things, and to experience something integral to whom we need to become in this life. Through obedience to His will we found strength and unity as a family. By keeping the commandments of God we were kept safe, fortified, and happy amongst sacrifice.
We are not going far, just an hour away, but it will be a world away from this Chicago life. I look forward to the future, understanding that no matter where our family lives we will still be the same people, living the same commandments, and following the same God. I know that He will never leave us.
My baby sister is getting married this week. Eeek! We have had a busy last few weeks, and this next week will be even busier. One of the things I have done, along with my other sister, to prepare, is practice singing a song that we will sing at the wedding luncheon. The song is called "I Will Never Leave You" and is from the musical Sideshow, which is about siamese twin sisters. It has been a tradition in our family to sing this song at wedding luncheons. My youngest sister and I sang it at our other sister's wedding, and my sisters sang it at mine. I've loved the song for many years because my sisters truly are my best friends, so the sentiment in it is very real to me. They have always been there for me. But this time as I've been practicing, it's taken on a new meaning. I began to look at it from the perspective of how the Lord never leaves us alone--in times of happiness, nor in times of sorrow. He is always near.
The chorus of the song goes like this:
"I will never leave you.
I will never go away.
We were meant to share each moment.
Beside you is where I will stay.
Ever more and always, we'll be one, though we're two.
For I will never leave you."
When I look at this song from a different perspective, I can just imagine that this is what the Lord would say to each one of us if we would listen. He will never leave us. In fact, he says just that in the scriptures (See John 14:18). He desires that we become one with Him (See John 17:20-25) and that we one day join Him where He is. I know that to be true. He is with us always.
The 2nd verse of the song says:
"When the day is filled with shadows
That stretch into the night,
I am filled with your sweet comfort,
Like morning fills with light."
There have been many times in my life when this has been true for me. I have felt alone, abandoned, heartbroken, etc., and, having sought divine comfort, I have received it. The light has returned.
Now, the other important thing to consider is whether or not we would say these things to our Savior. Can I honestly say that I will never leave Him? That I will never go away? That I long to be one with Him? That I desire to join Him where He is? We know where the Savior stands, but where do we stand?
One of my favorite stories in the New Testament takes place after Jesus has given the sermon of the Bread of Life. After He boldly proclaimed that He was the Bread of Life, many of His disciples "walked no more with Him." How sad that must have been to Him. He alone really understood what these people were missing out on. And so, in what I am sure must have been akin to despair, the Savior asked the twelve, "Will ye also go away?" Simon Peter, who had already had his doubts, and who would again have them, said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." (John 6:66-68)
I stand with Simon Peter. I have not always been as stalwart and faithful as I should have been. I have made mistakes. And I'm sure I will make them again in the future. But I do know that Jesus Christ has the words of eternal life. I know that He is "the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6) I know that if we choose to follow Him, and to never leave Him, our sorrows can be swept away and our joy can be made more glorious. I choose to stay with Him.
See above for the link to the original Broadway cast recording of "I Will Never Leave You." For some reason it won't let me upload the actual video on here...
Yesterday was the last day I’ll see my youngest brother for the next two years. Why, you ask? Because he’s chosen to spend two years of his life serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Our only communication these next two years will be weekly emails and phone calls twice per year – on Mother’s Day and Christmas.
As I’ve talked with many not of the LDS faith about my brother’s missionary opportunity, questions have surfaced about why we as members of the LDS faith serve missions and fully consecrate 18 months or 2 years of our lives to serve. To answer this question, I would like to pose a series of “What if” questions to those seeking to understand why we choose to serve…
What if you believed that we – all of us here on this earth – were spiritually created by a Supreme Being? And what if you believed we lived with Him before we came to earth. In addition, what if you believed our ultimate goal as children of God, the Supreme Being, was to return and live with Him again, and what if you believed that doing so would bring us the greatest joy imaginable?
What if you realized that while many people around you didn’t believe in God, they too were created by Him and would one day experience the greatest joy by living with Him again? Would you feel the need to share this message with those around you if you believed that no matter how happy they seem right now, their greatest joy will come from returning and living with God again?
I think the answer to the above question is yes, you would feel the need to share this message. I believe this is the case because everyday my life is touched by people of many different faiths and ideologies who want me to be truly happy. I believe the world is full of genuinely good people. And I believe that the vast majority (if not all) of you reading this blog post would absolutely say, “If I believed these things to be true, I would share this message because I want those around me to have joy.”
We as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that what I’ve shared above is true. We are spirit children of God. We came to earth to receive bodies and to learn to walk by faith. Our greatest joy will come from living with God again. It is through Jesus Christ that this is all possible. For this reason, we choose to serve missions.
We choose to serve because we believe that you are our spiritual brother or sister, and we want you to feel our Heavenly Father’s love. We choose to serve because we know that life here on earth can be dark and sad, and that true light and hope come through Jesus Christ. We choose to serve because we know that through service we can better understand the Master Servant, Jesus Christ, who’s life and love we seek to emulate. We choose to serve because we recognize that all our strength and blessings come from God, and we can make nothing of ourselves without Him. We choose to serve because we believe that is what God would want us to do.
I am grateful for those of all faiths who have shared their beliefs with me. I am thankful for these courageous individuals who open up and invite me to experience the happiness they’ve found.
The next time an LDS missionary knocks on your door, I hope you’ll realize they are there because they love you. They wouldn’t give years of theirs lives to share this message if they didn’t love you. They wouldn’t go without seeing their family for many, many months if they didn’t believe that the message they are sharing would benefit your family for eternity and bring you the greatest joy imaginable.
For these reasons, and so many others, we choose to serve.
p.s. Watch this great video and you can learn from missionaries in their own words why they choose serve.
One of my favorite bands is Coldplay. One of my favorite songs is "Swallowed in the Sea". I only mention this to tell you why I became fascinated with how many times in the scriptures the phrase "swallowed" shows up. And not just the time when Jonah is swallowed by a whale.
My favorite description is when the scriptures speak of the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father. (Mosiah 15:7) A talk given by Neal A. Maxwell (found here) teaches that by fully consecrating our lives to the Savior, our will can be "swallowed up" in His. The word consecrate means to make sacred. We make our lives sacred when we become more like the Savior by allowing His will to become our will. And this will continue our whole Until we reach a point where our will is His will, or our will has been "swallowed up."
At different times in my life, I have decided to become more "consecrated." Especially when I was younger, the conversation I had with God usually went along these lines, "Well- I want to do what you want me to do. So, I guess just clue me into what that is. And I'll just sit here being fully consecrated because if I am only going to be about your will, then I don't really have to do anything other than say "Thy will be done" right? Right." :) However! That is not how these things work. I love this quote from Elder Maxwell's talk that highlights how NOT to go about giving our will to God.
"Consecration ... is not shoulder-shrugging acceptance, but, instead, shoulder-squaring to better bear the yoke."
When we are consecrated, we aren't deciding to just "go with the flow." We are deciding that we are willing, and ready, and prepared to do God's will, whatever that might be.
I don't know of any better way to end this than with one of my best number one favorite Maxwell quotes (which is saying a lot, I love most everything that man ever said).
"In conclusion, the submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we “give,” brothers and sisters, are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give! Consecration thus constitutes the only unconditional surrender which is also a total victory!"
I personally will continue to try and daily, hourly, (by the minute!) make decisions that will choose God's will above my own. I hope that we can all decide to more fully allow our will to be swallowed up in the will of the Father. Thanks for being my friend and reading this- love you too much!
I should start by saying I'm not a mother. I do have a mother (arguably the greatest mom of all-time) and two wonderful grandmothers. Some of my best friends are terrific mothers and my life has been impacted by many other "mothers." Whether you honor a birthmother or an adopted mother of any variety, today is the day to remember mothers everywhere because in reality, we are all here because of a woman.
Motherhood has been called "the highest, holiest service ... assumed by mankind." In no other capacity does one sacrifice so much without asking for anything in return. A mom's wage comes in the form of pure joy as they watch their children grow up and make positive contributions to society but that joy comes after years of unacknowledged service and small seemingly invisible successes.
Jeffrey R. Holland spoke directly to young mothers in his April 1997 General Conference address:
"The work of a mother is hard, too often unheralded work. The young years are often those when either husband or wife—or both—may still be in school or in those earliest and leanest stages of developing the husband’s breadwinning capacities. Finances fluctuate daily between low and nonexistent. The apartment is usually decorated in one of two smart designs—Deseret Industries provincial or early Mother Hubbard. The car, if there is one, runs on smooth tires and an empty tank. But with night feedings and night teethings, often the greatest challenge of all for a young mother is simply fatigue. Through these years, mothers go longer on less sleep and give more to others with less personal renewal for themselves than any other group I know at any other time in life. It is not surprising when the shadows under their eyes sometimes vaguely resemble the state of Rhode Island."
When we are little girls we idolize our own mothers. We think they are the most beautiful girls in the world (I still think my mom is), not even noticing the bags under their eyes. We follow them all around the house and want to do the same things they do. Then the teenage years strike and all of the sudden we begin talking back and rolling our eyes. We don't want to tell our moms anything and we don't want them to tell us anything either. On the back cover of her book, "I am a Mother," Jane Clayson Johnson says, "Every little girl knows that mothers matter." I think this is so true but when we're little girls we don't think to say thank you. Our "following mom around all day" was supposed to let her know we thought she was the best thing ever and before we realize that it might be nice to actually tell her how great we think she is the teenage fog sets in.
A few years ago I was a counselor for EFY and each week I had the opportunity to teach girls ages 14-18 about the importance of motherhood. I wanted them to appreciate their moms more and I wanted them to actually want to be mothers because while it may be a thankless job at times, it is "the highest, holiest service ... assumed by mankind." There is a story that I would always share with them at the end of my class that I think illustrates really well the importance of motherhood.
The Invisible Mother by Mary Lynn Plaisance:
“It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.
Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'
Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
I'm invisible - The invisible Mom.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more.
"Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?"
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?'
I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?'
I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.
It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
· No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
· These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
· They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
· The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.'
And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.”
One of the things I love most about my mother is how much values her role as a mother, even if many of the things she has done for her children have gone seemingly unnoticed. I don't know how but she seems to completely "get it." She understands her role and why it is so important and she does it so well. I don't think this is something that just happened on June 12, 1989 when I was born and she suddenly became a mother at the tender age of 24. I think she had been preparing herself for years, just as one would prepare for any kind of important occupation.
She is a mother in every sense of the word and she loves it. She would do anything for her children and I think God knew he could count on her. She hasn't let Him down and she has never let me down. I know I don't say thank you enough so to my mama and to mothers everywhere, thank you for all you do when you think no one is watching. Thank you for showing up to every event you think is important in our lives, thank you for loving us even after we rolled our eyes and talked back. Thank you for teaching us by example and for quietly showing us how to be disciples of Jesus Christ. We thank God for you every day but sometimes we just forget to tell you personally...so thank you and 'Happy Mother's Day!'
Recently I returned from a long trip, coming home I felt a changed person. This was not a humanitarian trip or by any means meant to be a life- changing excursion, it was just me and my family away from the normal day to day. I am amazed at the perspective it brought to change my living circumstances and to have time to be in a different environment. In many ways our trip was a recharge, but in other ways it was a returning to self.
I didn't know I had ever left. Myself that is. Yet in the hustle and bustle of city life, of which I have become accustomed, I found that I had stopped smiling at strangers, saying "Hi" to neighbors, helping before someone asks (instead of avoidance).
While away I found that I can be patient and calm in the busiest of cities, and just because others around me aren't calm (Chicago) doesn't mean I need to forgo that virtue. I found that things that are "cool" are actually just really lame and immature, true happiness is not found in trends but in who we are becoming.
My husband made fun of me that I looked like Julia Roberts and was having an "Eat, Pray, Love" moment but the flowing skirt and wide brim hat aside, I did come away more in-touch with what matters. Returning home felt awkward, it felt like I had uncovered Chicago, like a celebrity on Diane Sawyer, there was nothing more to hide or put up with.
One of my favorite verses in the bible is one that deals with the prodigal son. It says "and then he came to himself", it doesn't say he was enlightened away from himself but seems to imply that true enlightenment is a returning to oneself, to something we already know deep within our souls. Part of this return to myself I believe encompasses people who matter in my life, bringing old friends back and seeing the value in staying true to our deepest self while expanding and moving forward.
The entire plan of our creation is to return to that God who sent us, and the ability to return rests solely on our relationship with Jesus Christ. It is only through the atonement of Jesus Christ that man and woman can return to God.
This idea of returning isn't new, I bet somewhere in your own soul you also feel and believe one day we will return to where we came from, or that we will return to those we have lost through death. Returning is a part of living, and we do it over and over and over again. The Lord tells us "Return unto me and I will return unto you" Malachi 3:7. It is in that process we are found.
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