A Friday Morning message from Lehi and Samuel the Lamanite
And a Bee.
Do you believe in the ministering of angels? Can you let go and believe?
I believe that angels minister to me daily. Friday morning my eyes were opened, and I saw their ministering in a delightful way. I think I will write here the story so that it doesn't grow in the telling. I may use what I write here to share in other places. I won't try to economize words here. I will tell everything that comes to my mind, so this will be the long version with all the gory details (My! How glorious is my Spirit Balm Radio station on Pandora. Every few months at a special time of life I rediscover it, and I have done that yesterday, and when I opened my sleeping computer to write to you this morning, my "little music box" began to play to my surprise and delight. It really is Spirit Balm radio. It is playing now.)
We live in a wonderful time. I think the internet may be instrumental in bringing peace and harmony to humanity. But the internet and the PC and the ubiquity of video screens is a brand new challenge that our parents didn't have to manage. In the 30s and 40s there were the movies; in the 50s, 60s, and 70s there was TV; in the 80s there was video; in the 90s there was the PC and the handheld game, in the 00s there was the internet, the cell phone and the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game and its analogs MySpace succeeded by Facebook; and so far in the 10s there is the smart phone in addition to all of the preceding. I don't claim to know what to do with all that as a parent.
Our broken family isn't the picture of functionality, but we are always experimenting with positive approaches to managing video time for our minor children. (Starting Saturday, we are experimenting with a new approach that doesn't require my reactive and active daily management.) Most recently, we've had the TV's and handheld games all put away for a long time, and the computer set up to run only in a 4-hour daily window for the two boys. But there's always an emergency or a complication, it seems. 18-year-old Sarabeth insists she must have unscheduled access to the same account on the same computer to synchronize her iPod. So outside the 4-hour open window, I have left other larger open windows. And on many afternoons when 14-year-old Michael and 12-year-old Matthew want to use the computer, there is nobody at home to inspect their pre-flight checklist of jobs, behavior, and schoolwork then enter the password to open the computer for them for 4 hours. So they have been calling me at work and patiently convincing me their checklist is done so I will give them the password. And that leaves me needing to change the password again for the next day, which I sometimes neglect.
I neglected to change the password on Thursday night. Friday was Veterans Day; no school. On Friday morning when I wandered into the family room to get fresh garments and socks out of the huge dresser that's still out there since we moved from the apartment in June, I heard the family room computer fan humming as I padded down the hall. And when I glanced to the right as I emerged into the family room, sure enough, my boys were on their MMORPG Roblox already.
The boys sprang off the computer. I sat down silently and began shutting down the computer. After several seconds of silent observation, 12-year-old Matthew began to wail and cry out in pain. I didn't finish changing the password and shutting down the computer before he disconnected the power strip.
One of the most powerful lessons I learned from my marriage is that "Leaving is Helpful". Thank heaven I recalled this. I went to get a drink and shave.
When I went to take my pants and shirt into the bathroom to shower, my pants were not laid out where I had left them Thursday night. I said out loud in bemusement, "My pants are gone." 14-year-old Michael heard me and said, "Maybe Matthew took your pants." I found Matthew and he said, "I took your computer." So, he had taken my work laptop and my pants with phone and wallet in the pockets as retaliation.
I recalled that I had no hard commitments that morning. I recalled that "Stopping is Helpful". So I took another pair of pants and showered. Then I got a cup of water and reclined on my bed to sip and swish and rest.
In a moment Lehi and Samuel the Lamanite appeared in the air at the foot of my bed, with their feet about 4 feet above the ground. They were dancing gaily. "Look what I found in the dresser! Lehi and Samuel the Lamanite!" 14-year-old Michael was whimsically reminiscing with his old Book of Mormon action figures.
Suddenly Lehi began to speak. "We're going to the promised land." Then he broke out in a Veggie Tales song of the ancient exodus.
And then Lehi and Samuel the Lamanite withdrew from me. All the while as they were withdrawing, Lehi was singing and dancing. I was left on my bed to wonder what was the meaning of the scene.Lehi wrote:In the Promised Land
It will be so grand.
Yeah, we're going to the Promised Land.
"But of course!", I realized. "Lehi came to tell me I can flee from Jerusalem or Egypt or Babylon to the Promised Land." And Samuel the Lamanite? "Well, he must have come to tell me I can stand on the wall and proclaim to the Nephites that 'if they don't repent, a sure destruction awaits them'. But if they repent, they can have joy forever in the Promised Land."
As a practice of keeping my heart open to all humanity, I've been leaving my keys in my two little $1300 Chevy Metro cars lately. And a recent regular client has given me an open invitation to come in at any time and use a cubicle and their computer (and internet) to make myself obviously available for work. So I knew I could "go to work" without my pants and my laptop. With a last sip and swish of water, I picked myself up off the bed and went into the master closet, where I found Matthew still alone. I spoke to him in a tone of gentleness, "If you don't repent, you will surely be destroyed with a terrible destruction. But if you repent, you will have joy forever in the Promised Land. This is the word of the Lord to you." Weird. But it was short, and it was gentle. And it was the message of Samuel the Lamanite. Then I went out to my car.
As I started the engine, Matthew ran out to the car, and at that moment I yielded to the evil spirit, to the ego, to the fear within myself, and for a few seconds as Matthew grasped and clung to the car, I dragged him forward. Then his shouts stung my heart and rebuked me to repentance, "I'll give you your computer!" I put the car into reverse and backed into the driveway. I recalled that "Gratitude is Helpful", and I said to Matthew, "Thank you so much, Matthew. Bless you. I know you are blessed of the Lord." (Lehi taught me that fatherly phrase, too, in my dozens of readings of the Book of Mormon.)
As I turned my head forward, there was on the outside of the windshield in the cold morning air directly in front of me, a bee who could barely move. "And what does this bee have to tell me today?" I wondered. But of course, "Bees are good, but they can sting. We must show them mercy." A gentle rebuke for my harsh dragging of Matthew. I lifted the bee with a piece of paper and moved it to a safer place before I left for the day. Postscript: This morning I gave Matthew a tearfully sincere apology for abusively dragging him with the car.
On the way to work on the freeway and in the parking lot, I told this story to my brother, Rick.
So on Friday morning before I left for work, Lehi and Samuel the Lamanite from the Book of Mormon appeared to me, a bee spoke the word of the Lord to me, and I had three revelations from the Holy Spirit (Leaving is Helpful. Stopping is Helpful. Gratitude is Helpful.) If that isn't "many revelations daily" I don't know what is. And if that isn't all the wonders and blessings of the prophets of old, I sure don't know what would be. I guess the gods, the angels, the Holy Ones, the ancestors, the Father, the Mother, the Higher Power work through the traditions of all people.
Life is good. Notice it.