I feel that I can do better in recording spiritual experiences.
I’ve felt a bit of writer’s block since the pandemic started. I think that it might be because of the many things weighing on my mind; from the health of my mother who lives in Utah and who’s had some health challenges during the past few months, to the safety of my two college-age daughters who live in different parts of Utah, to my in-laws here in Port Angeles who have health challenges, to my family at home here, to my business which has taken a big hit through the shutdown, and to the uncertainty of everything going on in the world. I just haven’t felt the direction on what to write.
Spiritually, it has been a really fascinating time. Our regular worship services stopped back in March. We began doing our weekly worship service, or sacrament meeting, at home since the churches were all closed. It has become a really neat experience as we do this together as a family. I have felt spiritually strengthened during the past few months even though we physically could not go into the church and worship or go to the temple in Seattle, which members of my faith call the “House of the Lord.” The temple is a special place where we can feel the Spirit of God strongly, and I do miss going there.
Nephi was asked by the resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ, where the record was of Samuel the Lamanite? Nephi had forgotten to write it down. That’s like me. I need to do better at writing down everything that is going on right now. We live in unique times. We are having experiences which I will want to remember. It needs to be written down. (See https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/23?lang=eng)
This weekend is General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Every 6 months this conference happens where the leaders of the Church share messages they have prepared as they have sought the Lord to guide them. It is a time which I cherish and love. I listen carefully and take notes. I relisten and reread these talks multiple times and try to glean all that I can from them and apply them to my life and personal challenges. (See: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference?lang=eng)
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in the April 2020 conference, “Along with the peaceful direction we receive from the Holy Ghost, from time to time, God powerfully and very personally assures each of us that He knows us and loves us and that He is blessing us specifically and openly. Then, in our moments of difficulty, the Savior brings these experiences back into our mind.” Elder Andersen goes on to say, “These spiritually defining moments come at different times and in different ways, individualized for each of us…. Embrace your sacred memories. Believe them. Write them down. Share them with your family. Trust that they come to you from your Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son.” (See the full talk here: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2020/04/15andersen?lang=eng )
So, yes, I need to do better at writing down my spiritual experiences.
We recently returned to Sunday worship services at the church building, albeit with a smaller group and with all the COVID0-19 precautions of masks, sanitizer, and distancing. This is now a new era. The era of staying home and having just our family together for our Sunday worship is coming to a close.
I don’t want to forget the feelings that I’ve felt as I’ve knelt and offered the sacrament prayer in the quiet of our front room, kneeling next to my family seated on the couch. dressed in or Sunday best, having Gavin pass the sacrament to us with the water in little medicine cups.
We often have the sacrament with my wife’s parents. That has been a neat experience to have her father bless the sacrament with me. I’ve felt the Spirit and have listened closely to the sacrament prayers. I’ve soaked in the image of my family taking the sacrament together. I’ve soaked up the image of my 17-year-old daughter, Emma, teaching the younger kids in “home primary”. I have joked that I called her to be the “home primary president.” For us, in a slightly remote area of the United States here in Port Angeles, Washington, a lot of this quarantine time over the past 6 months has been good. Sundays especially have been a sweet blessing and I hope to always remember this time.