Sunday, August 29, 2010

Search, Ponder, and Pray

I fell asleep on the sofa yesterday afternoon for about 3 hours.  Yeah, I know what that does to I really do try to avoid it.  It makes me unable to go to sleep that night.  And so it happened last night.  I began working on the church programs/bulletins around 9:30 p.m. and for some reason it just took me a while to get them to "feel" right, get them printed, and then folded.  It was 1 a.m. when I was done!  Too long....

Well, by that time, I still was not tired so I popped some popcorn and went into the living room and watched Rubicon.  I'm really starting to like that show.  It's still quite slow, but it's very intriguing and really makes me wonder just how much our government really knows about each of us.  Anyhow, I finally fell asleep about 5 minutes into the show and that's where I stayed the rest of the night!  I never actually went and got into bed...I just slept in the recliner on the sofa.  Both dogs laid right there by me too.  Melon Man was at work.

I woke up this morning at 6:45 and almost freaked out because I couldn't read my watch very well and I thought it said 8:45.  I was immediately upset that Melon Man had come home from work and hadn't woken me up to go to church....but, then I realized that it was only 6:45 and so I scrabbled to hurry and get ready to go.  In fact, I left for church before he was finished getting ready so I could get the programs there on time.

The talks today were really good.  The first one was about prayer - the purpose - to talk with our Heavenly Father - to give him thanks for all that we have been given - and to ask him for those things we need.  We were reminded that we should always speak to our Heavenly Father using thee, thine, and thou instead of you and your out of honor and respect.  It really made me think about our own prayer situation in our home.  Because of Melon Man's and my schedules, we rarely see each other during the week.  Trying to have family prayer is a little difficult because my brain is so stuck in a box regarding family prayer.  When I was growing up, family prayer was difficult as well because of schedules.  But, we did try to have it either in the morning before we all left for school and work, or we tried to have it in the evening before we all went to bed - although that one didn't work all that well either.  So, for Melon Man and I, we need to think outside of the box to find a time to have kneel-down family prayer together.  I've been thinking...maybe we will do it just before he leaves for work at night.  Mornings will be harder because he's still at work and I'm at home getting ready or I'm already at work for the day.  Is family prayer by phone sacrilegious?  If not, maybe we could do that.

I thought about personal prayer and how I need to improve in this area.  Since we had our wood floors put in, I've discovered that way too often, I just crawl into bed and go to sleep.  Sometimes I realize that I haven't said my prayers and so I'll lay there and say them.  But most of the time, when I do that, I fall asleep while praying.  Morning prayer - doesn't happen - and that's the one that I likely need to do the most.  It would probably help my day go much better.

So, overall, I really learned a lot from this talk and how I need to improve.  I think before Melon Man leaves tonight, I'll be the one who brings up having prayer each night before he goes.  I'll have work at making it a habit for us.

The second talk was about scripture study.  I SO do not have the desire to do this....well, wait...I do have the DESIRE...I just don't like to do it.  Why?!?!?  I chalk it up to not liking to read.  I really don't like to read at all.  It takes a certain type of book or piece of literature to make me like to read.  Melon Man kind of gets on me about liking to read books like "The Work and the Glory" or "A Banner is Unfurled" but to me, those are people and stories I can relate to - in regular English - with characters that either are related to me or have had significance in my life through one means or another.  The scriptures though, they are a different story.  I just struggle with the different type of language in them and understanding the underlying stories in the metaphors and parables.  I have always had a problem with this.  Take for example, Lehi's dream.  All the symbols in the dream...yeah, I just didn't get it until people have explained them to me.  So, because of these reasons, I just really don't like to read my scriptures.

A few months back, our Bishop was here doing his home teaching and somehow we got on the subject that the majority of my testimony is based purely on faith because I hadn't ever read the entire Bible and Book of Mormon.  He was a little shocked.  He challenged me to read the entire Book of Mormon by the end of the year.  I really started off well - I listened to it on my iTunes as I drove to work.  I read some in my actual scriptures.  I felt like I was doing pretty well.  But then, something (I don't remember what) happened and I "fell off the wagon."  I stopped reading and listening and now here I am, four months from the end of the year and I am still somewhere in Alma.  I think I'm going to actually have to start the whole book of Alma over again since it's been so long.  I HAVE to do this this time.  I HAVE to meet his challenge.  And, I HAVE to know for myself that the Book of Mormon is true - from reading it, not just having a strong faith that it is.

I wish we would have time together to do scripture study as well.  Melon Man is just so smart at understanding the scriptures and I really need his leadership in this area to help me.  I'd love it if he would get up 30 minutes earlier in the evening so we can study together and pray together.  I'll have to discuss this with him and see what we can do.  I REALLY do want to meet the Bishop's challenge - but I want to do it while understanding what I read, not just "reading the chapter headers" like Cliff's notes and hoping to get everything out of them.  In the talk today, Brother Massenburg said there are different approaches to reading the scriptures which use an ocean based metaphor.  I looked it up online and found it along with a little more detail from a Young Women's leader:

Feet Wet: Reading the occasional verse. I think this is a great way to invite revelation. Opening the scriptures at random, reading what you come across, and meditating upon that message.

Swimming: Reading a chapter or so a night. Develops a habit of time with the scriptures, using the footnotes and topical guide, allows you to become more familiar with them.

Snorkeling: Spending even more time with the scriptures, becoming familiar with the stories and broader arcs present in them.

Scuba Diving: Delving deeply into research of one topic at a time. I think scuba diving is an apt metaphor: reading deeply instead of broadly, examining closely, going off on a spiritual quest.

Each approach has it's own pros and cons:  if the only acceptable outcome is to snorkel, then very few of us would achieve daily scripture study. And if all we ever did was swim, then we would miss out on a deeper understanding of doctrinal truths.
I really thought about these "paths" as he continued talking.  I WANT to snorkel.  I WANT to scuba dive.  But...I have to progress past sticking my feet in the water.  I have to start swimming before I will ever be able to snorkel, let alone scuba dive.

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