Thursday, May 31, 2012
Dear Sister W-L,
Hope you are doing well. Your mom makes it sound like you are having an amazing time! It is nice that we get to visit teach you both. We get to hear all the good stores every month and see pictures!!
I am excited that I get to teach the lesson this month because the May visiting teaching message comes from General Conference. I loved and really identified with Elder Holland's talk on "the Laborers in the Vineyard".
I have always believed that one of the most important life lessons we need to learn is that life isn't fair. It is funny how many movies have that line in it. I have watched several this week alone...Labyrinth, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and My Neighbor Totoro. I have even told my children that they were right when they yelled out that phrase. It seemed harsh even at the time, but necessary. Necessary because otherwise we would go through life comparing ourselves to everyone else and be miserable as a result, (insert entitlement complex here). I have always looked at it as once we accept this concept that we free ourselves to be content with what we have. Nice, but still a little disappointing.
Elder Holland's talk took this concept for me to the next level. (I will spare you the retelling of the parable of the wealthy landowner, even though I love it because I am sure you know it well enough...) He broke down the day into different parts and showed us that while at the end of the day it appears that the workers who had only been there an hour were the lucky ones, they spent their whole day up to that last hour worrying about how they would feed their families that day. And while the workers that worked all day for the same wage seem to have gotten the short end of the stick really were the most fortunate. They were lucky enough to be picked first and didn't have to worry about how they would feed their family that day. We all have a tendency to compare our worst to other people's best, when we should be grateful for our own bests.
In the talk he paraphrases, "My friends, I am not being unfair to you. You agreed on the wage for the day, a good wage. You were very happy to get the work, and I am very happy with the way you served. Your are paid in full. Take your pay and enjoy the blessings. As for the others, surely I am free to do what I like with my own money." Then this piercing question to anyone then or now who needs to hear it: "Why should you be jealous because I choose to be kind?" He goes on to say "We are not diminished when someone else is added upon.... God really is both just and merciful, giving to all who stand with Him "all that he hath."
God is just. He knows our individual needs and blesses us accordingly. Finding $10 might be a huge blessing for someone but it would mean much less to someone else who really needed a friend to talk to or a hug. (a little cheesy, sorry...)
This talk was like a spoonful of sugar for the bitter medicine that I have been trying to swallow. (Mary Poppins's songs are always fun to have suck in your head, don't you agree?...) Life isn't fair, but it is just. We all have different trials and challenges in our lives and we all receive different blessings. Heavenly father loves us all equally, differently but equally.
Gratitude is a powerful thing.
Now from what I know of you, my dear Sister, you are probably one of the last people on the earth that needs to hear this message. But I find it so beautiful and have thought of it so often over the weeks since conference I can't help but share it with you.
Just so you know, this was my first letter to a missionary!!! I am very grateful for your service. It was a little missionary that lead the way for my family to receive the Gospel. We are so grateful for him. I know that you are doing Heavenly Father's work and that you will be eternally blessed for your sacrifice and service.
Much love and prayers,