Thursday, March 28, 2013

To See the Face of God

I know that there is a higher power that loves and watches over me.

To most Americans, God is our higher power.  For others, that power is Krishna, Buddha, Zeus, the list goes on.  Reading this knowing that God is my higher power, imagine whatever is your higher power.

Because of the great example of unconditional love that my earthly father sets for me, I am certain that my Heavenly Father is guiding my paths and protecting me daily.  My center, my constant, is knowing there is a higher power in the universe.  Several personal events have occurred in my life that leave me with no question as to the existence of higher power – the impossible has been made possible, the warmth of comfort has spread over me like a blanket in times of cold despair. 

Gymnastics changed my life.  More importantly, my gymnastics coach, Pastor Brian Anderson, changed my life.   I sometimes feel I use the analogy of the gymnastics coach too often, but I can’t stop seeing everything crystal clearly in these terms.  Imagine God as your gymnastics coach.  He teaches you strength-building conditioning, flexibility exercises, drills for form and stamina all before teaching you actual gymnastics skills because you need a foundation to build upon.  Once he teaches you a skill, he will stand there, spotting you with all the strength he has to help you successfully complete the task at hand without falling.  Once he knows in his gut you can do it on your own, he steps away.  What happens then?  Well, most often what happens at least once is that our faces, hineys, or bellies end up on the floor in a heap.  For our own betterment, the coach watches us fall.  He is there to scoop us up in his arms in times of true, desperate injury, however most often we are merely bumped or bruised.  In my own experiences as a coach, this was the most difficult thing for me, yet I knew if I didn’t step back and let the gymnasts try the skills on their own, they would never learn to succeed.  What I wanted more than anything was to step in and protect them!  But what brought me joy unlike any other was watching those moments the gymnasts succeeded!  The look on someone’s face as they complete their first handspring vault and you both run towards each other squealing and jumping up and down is pure bliss.      

I imagine my father in heaven much the same way – teaching us the foundation principles, giving us guidance and help, yet stepping back so we can truly learn what this life is all about.  Will we fall?  Absolutely.  The key is to get back up and keep trying instead of laying there in that miserable lump cursing the coach who let us fall.   Much like the coach who watches us stand on the end of the balance beam, hesitant to try a back-tuck dismount for the first time, God is empathetic and understanding of each decision we make and why…he knows our hesitancies, our discomforts, our strengths. 

Some of you out there wonder how God could let children be harmed, how He could let loving parents die in car accidents, how He could let pure evil like Hitler reign.  I do not have answers for that.  I wish I did.     

What I can say is that I have a divinity inside of me.  Many times I have been pulled aside and hugged in a tearful embrace as someone shares with me how grateful they are for the influence of the goodness and light that radiate from me.  When I was 17, a man who appeared to be ancient to me placed his arms upon my shoulders, piercingly looked into my eyes and said, “The eyes are the gateway to the soul.  You have beautiful eyes.  You have a beautiful soul.”  This light is a gift, a blessing.  Again, I cannot answer as to why my life has been gifted this and not gifted to an afflicted child in a third-world country.  The answer is beyond my comprehension. 

I share this with you because the events of the world have left me torn and confused for many years.  There are ideas and principles in the LDS church that I don’t understand or agree with.  I have a desire of knowledge, although I am far from a knowledge in most things.  But above all else, I firmly know my Heavenly Father loves me.  I know he loves every single one of us in a way that is absolutely incomprehensible to us.  I know my life is wonderfully blessed because of the principles and guidelines I have followed as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  There is a place for everyone in the Church if they want it.  Whether in 100% agreement or not, I know this is where I need to be.  I know that we fumble around on this earth and as long as we are trying to, wanting to be good people, the Lord will understand.  To love another person is truly to see the face of God.  To love another person is the divine higher power in each of us.