Remember ten or fifteen years ago when things were new? You’d just gotten married or maybe graduated from college. Or, if you’re a youngster, just graduated from high school (if you’re even younger than that, please keep it to yourself). Maybe you were starting your career or, if you’re like me, giving one up because you had a brand new baby.
Things were pretty good, weren’t they? The world–as they say–was your oyster (can someone please explain to me what the heck that means. Why would I want to live in an oyster?).
So how’d that turn out for you? Has life met all your expectations? Are you right where you thought you’d be, lo those many years ago?
Yeah, me neither.
But, you know what? That’s okay. Because I’ve learned a few things along the way. And I’m pretty sure I’ve got a few more to learn. One thing I know for sure, though, is that prayers are answered. We just have to recognize the answer and accept it. That’s the part I’m still learning.
I came across a quote this week from Leonard Arrington about Joseph Smith that’s had me thinking a lot about my expectations of life. It comes from a lecture he gave at BYU where he described Joseph as a spiritual man, but not a sanctimonious one. He was as comfortable preaching the doctrines of Christ as he was wrestling with his children and one was not more important to him than the other.
This principle of relaxed enjoyment and acceptance of life, rather than tense struggle to achieve perfection, fits in with the design of the Lord’s purpose, “Man is that he might have joy.” This, it seems to me, is one of the things the Prophet was trying to get across. And this principle is particularly important to those of us who are a little older, for it is at this time that we are likely to discover the gap between our earlier aspirations and our abilities. We all have some exaggerated expectations of life, and sooner or later we discover that we are less clever than we had thought or that we have to be satisfied with less income, less popularity, even a less ideal marriage than we had hoped for. In an unhealthy situation this leads to resentment, projection of blame, distress, and maladjustment. The Latter-day Saint has an ideal background for coping with this situation as he adjusts his ambitions to the place in life that the Lord has in store for him.
My ambitions are currently undergoing some adjustments. It’s a little bit scary, but I’m sort of curious about what the Lord’s got in store for me. Whatever it is, it will require some prayer.
And nacho cheese. Lots of chips and nacho cheese.