Stay in the Boat

Our lesson in church today was about the talk Stay in the Boat and Hold On! by Elder M. Russell Ballard.

  1. Stay in the boat

Drifting down the river,
I see the calm stretches, but
Warned of the rapids ahead
I stay in the boat.

  1. Always wear a life jacket

Rowing in sync over white water,
Gratitude hits me at the lack of fear,
From having the safety of a team, and
The reassurance of a life jacket.

  1. Hold on with both hands.

When others take a turn at the oars
And the river bounces the boat,
It’s holding on with both hands
That turns the fear to joy.

Dont forget to stay in the boat!

When the rapids end and the boat pulls in,
I will be glad, with my crewmates and guide,
To have sailed through life’s rough river
And to end in joy and peace.

The more you know

The more you know

The more you know
        Of the rough journey,
        Of the struggles few see,
        Of the refiner’s bright heat,
        Of the scars from rough times,
        Of the sadness that smiles conceal,
        Of the traumas and unjust treatments,
        Of the disappointments and discouragements,
        Of the hopes and dreams and secret wishes,
        Of the love in hearts not often shared,
        Of the good deeds and promises,
        Of the true joy of sweet smiles,
        Of the planted seeds of faith,
        Of the sacrifices of love,
        Of the hearts touched,
The more you forgive.

With Tears of Joy

With Tears of Joy

I look up at the narrow road to heaven,
And look at my feet, wand’ring from the way.
I look back at the gospel path, where true joy can be found,
And wish that I could make it back to stay.

CHORUS: I stray from him, I fall away, I wander,
This covenant path seems too hard to complete.
But if He lets me try again to reach Him,
With tears of joy, I’ll wet His blessed feet.

I thought this gospel road would be so easy,
And trials would be small bumps on the way
But seeing all the mountains and the cliffs I’ve yet to climb,
I want to turn around and walk away.

CHORUS

I stumbled on the road again, exhausted
Unable to move on through my despair.
A hand reached down and wiped away a desperate, pleading tear.
Then I looked up and saw my Savior there.

CHORUS

My Measuring Stick

During church today, the high councilor made the observation that “When I’m looking at others, I don’t see the average person, and think, ‘I’m doing pretty well compared to that.’ No, I look at the very best person around me, and I see how far I fall short of them.” After some reflection on that, I wrote this.

My Measuring Stick

Jealous of him for how smart that he is,
Ignoring the talents I’ve got,
Distainful of those who just can’t understand,
Ignoring how I lack a lot.

Jealous of her for how social she is,
Ignoring the friends that I have.
Distainful of him for his social mistakes,
Ignoring my faux pas and gaffs.

Jealous of all of the good in the world,
Ignoring the good in my life.
Distainful of those who are worse off than me,
Ignoring my personal strife.

Jealous of early saints, who personally knew Joseph
Ignoring the modern Prophet’s calls.
Distainful of those who won’t follow Christ,
Ignoring the times my faith falls.

Jealous of Peter for walking on water,
Ignoring the miracles I’ve felt.
Distainful of Thomas for his lack of faith,
Ignoring all the doubts in myself.

Will you let Him in?

I wrote this on my mission. To make our house (well, apartment) feel homier, I hung up a lot of gospel art pictures, and on our bathroom door hangs the picture of the Savior knocking on a door. As I was walking by right before personal study, I saw the picture and the line “Will you let Him in?” came into my head, so I wrote a poem about it.

Originally written July 02, 2018

Will you let Him in?

Standing at the door and knocking firmly always stands
With piercing eyes and loving words and open arms, a man.
He waits for you to hear Him there and open wide the door
And when you let Him in, He’ll do as He has done before.

CHORUS: Will you let Him in, into your heart?
Will you let Him in, into your life?
Will you let Him in?
Will you let your Savior in?

Will you let the master Healer lift you off the ground?
Will you let Him take you home, where warmth and love abound?
Will you set your heart free from the sins that hold it down,
And offer up your life to Him, the King with Calvary’s crown?

CHORUS

Will you let the Savior have a place within your heart?
If you let Him in, then He can heal you, He can start
To change your life and make you fit to live with Him again,
So open up the door, and choose to let your Savior in.

CHORUS

Jesus at the Door (Jesus Knocking at the Door), by Del Parson

Gratitude Day 5: The Plan of Salvation

One of my favorite verses in the Book of Mormon, as well as one we are studying this week for Come Follow Me, is Ether 12:4. In that verse, Moroni teaches that “whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” In short, our faith in God leads us to hope for and seek something better, His plan is for us to become like and return to Him. I want to #GiveThanks for the Plan of Salvation and it’s impact on my life.

This poem is kind of based off of one of my favorite poems, Choose Something Like a Star, by Robert Frost; and one of my favorite quotes, which I first heard from President Thomas S. Monson, in his devotional Decisions Determine Destiny: “Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But . . . you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny.”

The Plan of Salvation

I walk along life’s paths,
with many blind corners,
many unknowns ahead,
and few road signs —
I often get lost.

The only things constant are
the world changing around me,
and the ever unchanging stars.

Some travelers I’ve met on my journey
have told me that the stars should be guides —
“You can’t walk far enough to reach them,
but they’ll always lead you true.”

Others say — “Stars are useless,
all that matters is the path.”
Though if you don’t know where you’re going,
there are so many paths to take,
and I don’t know where to go.

I try to follow the stars.
They remind me that, in the chaos of the universe,
something is eternally true,
eternally pointing
to a final destination
where God knows I belong.

The Jerusalem News

I was reading through my old mission notebook and found this fun little poem. I thought it was a cool way of saying that if we aren’t willing to open ourselves up to Christ, no amount of evidence will change that.

The Jerusalem News

Originally written 9/19/2018

The daughter ran home excitedly,
“Dad, I saw up on the road
a man who healed the sick
and cast out devils from the poor!”

The father looked up at his girl
from his morning Jerusalem News
and said “Sweetie, I’m sure it’s false
and a scam, it isn’t true.”

She came back another day,
“Dad, the man I talked about,
raised his friend from up the dead,
he stood and walked around!”

The dad sat, unimpressed,
with the morning paper and said,
“It’s all a fake, I’m sure of it.
I know what I’ve read.”

The daughter trudged in sad one day,
“That wondrous man of miracles —
they took him, now he’s dead.
It’s just so unbelievable.”

“Serves him right,” the father said,
“He taught odd, new things.
He said he was the Son of God,
he said he was our King.”

A few days later, she ran inside,
bursting through the door:
“He came back! He’s risen!
He came to life once more!”

The father shook his head.
“He can’t even stay dead right.”
He turned back to his newspaper
and read in the morning light.

Those who look and come to Christ
see the miracles He’s done,
see Him as who he really is —
God’s miraculous son.

But those who look no further
than the things they read or hear
Never get the wonderful blessing
of having their Savior near.

Take my hand

This last week, I had an experience helping a friend who wanted to self-harm. Some of my thoughts about that experience developed into the first stanza in this poem, and the rest of the poem followed. 
I don’t personally struggle with temptations to self-harm. If you’re reading this and you do struggle with those thoughts, please know that you are loved. 

Take my hand 

“I cut my wrists,
So I know I won’t feel comfortable in heaven.”
Christ said, “my wrists were cut for you, 
Take my hand and you will be comfortable with me.”

“I’m different, I’m made fun of, 
So I know I’ll feel alone in heaven.”
He said, “I was mocked for being different, 
Take my hand, you belong with me.”

“My friends say I’m not good enough, and they left me,
So I know I’ll feel alone in heaven.”
He said, “in my darkest hour, my friends abandoned me, 
Take my hand, and I’ll always be your friend.” 

“I fail, and fail, and fail, and fail to choose the right, 
So I know I’m not worthy to be in heaven.”
He said, “I know how hard it is to choose to drink the bitter cup,
Take my hand, I can make you worthy.”

“The world has taken from me, and abused me, 
So I know there’s not enough of me left to go to heaven.”
He said, “the world abused and hurt me, too. 
Take my hand, I know you are enough.”

“Others are so much more righteous than I 
So I know I’ll never make it into heaven.”
He said “there’s room for everyone who wants, 
Take my hand, and you’ll make it with me.”

“I doubt myself, I doubt in you sometimes,
So I know I won’t hold on all the way to heaven.”
He said, “I will come back to you as many times as you need. 
Take my hand for this next step.”

“I’m a terrible person, I’ll never be worthy of love
So I know I’m not worth your help.”
He said, “Take my hand, and follow me.
Heaven wouldn’t be heaven without you there.”

Believers at the edge

This is a slightly different style than the poems I usually write, but I wanted to try something new. I was listening to a talk by Hank Smith about believing, and he used the example of Charles Blondin crossing Niagara falls on a tightrope. I love this example and sent home a poem about it from my mission. I liked the point he made, though, and tried to get that across in this poem.

Believers at the edge

10,000 gathered on the American edge,
10,000 gathered on the Canadian edge,
To see the Great Blondin
Cross Niagara on a tightrope.

Cheers rose as he crossed once,
Louder as he crossed back,
Then he grabbed a wheelbarrow,
And shouted to the crowd:

“Do you believe that I can walk
And roll this wheelbarrow along, too?”
They all shouted, “We believe!”
And cheered him on to go.

“That’s good that all of you believe,
But I only need one volunteer.
Who will sit in the wheelbarrow,
As I walk across the falls?”

Silence fell. The crowd grew still.
Nobody raised a hand.
“What?” the Great Blondin cried,
“I thought you said you believed?”

Who’s a believer?
The person who stands
And dares to tell the whole ward
They believe?

That is truly wonderful,
But to be a believer
Does what you choose to do
When not in church matter, too?

“I’m so glad,”
Says God,
“That you believe in me,
Will you get up and leave this movie?”

Or “I’m happy,”
Says He,
“That you have such a testimony.
Will you share it with your friends?”

Daniel was a believer,
Praying when he knew of the lion’s den,
David was a believer,
Facing goliath with only a sling in his hand.

Nephi was a believer,
Going back for the plates when he once again failed,
Joseph was a believer,
Leading Christ’s church though hell and earth assailed

Christ was a believer,
Drinking the bitter cup he wished could pass.
Am I a believer,
Living up to what my Redeemer asks?

I don’t know if, today, I’d answer yes,
That I’d hop in the Great Jesus’ wheelbarrow.
I don’t have perfect faith,
Or perfect trust in my Perfect God,

But I’m an idealist falling far short
Of ideals I yearn, someday, to live.
I’ll let Him carry me across smaller waterfalls,
I’ll build my trust in Him.

I’ll show my faith in little things,
And my faith, like a seed, will grow.
Until I, a believer at the edge,
Will choose unhesitatingly to trust Him.

For the hard times

For the hard times

When the night falls, 
Or the power goes out, 
When the alarm feels heavy 
With the morning’s weight

When the sadness comes 
And won’t go away 
Or the overwhelming world
Drowns all hope

When all the future
Seems empty and black
When the hard times come, 
Remember:

Night isn’t forever 
Day will always come,
Hold on to hope’s spider-silk thread 
And take one step forward