The Poetic Corner: The Man on the Bench

The Man on the Bench

 

i sat down on a bench the other day
too tired to stand anymore
life it seemed had lost the dream
and i was losing my count of the score

then a man walking by sat next to me
and said “you look like a sight for sore eyes.”
i said “i’m sure I do and to tell the truth
i’m a bigger mess inside.”

he shook his head and smiled and told me “life is no big deal.
it’s the little things that count and build the love and hope we feel.”
i said “i haven’t any hope left and my love is thin as air.
so save your breath and take the rest of this to someone who cares.”

he just stared and said

“oh, faithless child, how often would i have helped you,
but you were busy with anything apart from the truth.
so many witnesses have shown you why you came to this Earth.
just take a notice and you’ll see what your life’s really worth.
it has worth.”

i blinked and took a breath hoping to block out what he said
but the words he spoke kept ringing notes familiar in my head
i said “i don’t know who you are but what makes you think you can change
the story of my life with just a simple word or phrase?”

he looked amazed and said

“oh, faithless child, how often would i have helped you.
i’ve been calling but the times that you’ve listened were few.
all the moments you had thought you were left to yourself,
i was holding you but you were too numb to have felt.”

my heart swelled as i closed my eyes to try and stop the tears
before me fell my life and all the wasted years
regret stung my heart
as i turned to face this Man
only to find he wasn’t near

with a bit of swallowed pride i stood up straight and realized
a newfound strength had just replaced the emptiness inside
silently i thanked the Man for giving me that day
to live my life
to be alive
to give up sight and walk by faith
to walk by faith

 

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matthew 23:37)

From this verse, we can make a simple analogy. How often do we ignore the voice of the Good Shepherd? How often do we not hearken to the counsel of His prophets and His word in the Bible and the Book of Mormon? When life finds us in a bind, and we feel like we are far from the Savior, who do you think has moved? Certainly not Christ. His arms are always outstretched, ready to receive all who will come unto Him. As He says here, He is always willing to gather us as a hen gathers its chickens.

He is constantly supporting us from one moment to the next. In the Book of Mormon, a wise ruler named King Benjamin stated,

I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. (Mosiah 2:21)

We live and do according to our will because Christ is our support. Even when we feel abandoned by everyone and everything, His light and life is still within us, keeping us alive and giving us breath. He is never gone, but sometimes we have been removed too far or become too numb to see the brightness and feel the warmth of His light.

Let’s shake off the numbness and draw closer to our Savior. I know He is ready to receive anyone and everyone, so long as we come unto Him with full purpose of heart, willing to obey Him and His gospel. Christ lives and loves us. No trial is too great for His power, and no darkness is too thick for His light to disperse. This is my testimony.

 

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Searching, Seeking, Reaching, Always

So if we keep seeking out what is right,
moving on after being set back,
searching out what keeps us strong.
Searching out, and always building up the things that we lack.
This path we choose is not the easiest to walk upon
And knowing that, I am more eager to continue on
because I know that when I reach the end
I’ll be better than before

Searching, Seeking, Reaching, Always” by We Came As Romans

Life is a process. Whether it’s literally moving from one place to another or wanting to achieve something, it must be done in steps. I’m not always a patient person. … Actually… I’m often not a patient person. I’m present-minded, and it’s hard for me to wait for things to happen, because for whatever reason it’s difficult for me to grasp how something can come about if I’m not presently seeing it in motion. Understanding that life isn’t meant to be instantaneous can help us to work through our goals in life.

The prophet Joseph Smith once counseled,

“When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them”

We don’t know much. We may struggle comprehending God or Christ’s gospel. We might be frustrated at our lack of spiritual progress. Why does it seem I have no faith? Why can I never learn from my mistakes? Maybe we’re trying to repent and wish it could be done in an instant. Perhaps we’re trying to become more patient, or more obedient. Perhaps we’re trying to become better at our relationships. A better friend. A better sibling. A better son or daughter. A better parent. A better spouse. A better disciple of Christ.

As Joseph Smith said, the principles of Christ’s gospel are like a ladder. They must be taken one step at a time. Learning how to better ourselves comes through mastering each step. You don’t take the next step up if your foot isn’t securely on the one below. Yes, occasionally a slip-up occurs. It’s inevitable. But we simply work harder to plant our feet on that step, making sure we’re immovable, and then we can continue to ascend in whatever we’re trying to achieve, be it something specific or something general.

I know this to be true, and I second Paul’s words in Romans 5:3-4,

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

And patience, experience; and experience, hope

It’s not easy having to go through the process, and the obstacles are sometimes constantly in our way. But hardship helps us to be patient. Being patient gives us the knowledge that enduring works, and when that happens we have a better hope. A hope the next step is possible to make, and that in due time we’ll have made it to the top of the ladder.

Remember that as you ascend to the next step in the ladder, you are better than before.