Friday, May 20, 2011

A child, a hymnbook, and me

It is not unusual to have an "aha" moment in church.  However, mine did not come from the pulpit, it came from the small grandson sitting next to me.  It was one of the greatest learning moments of my life.

Nate, wanted his own hymnbook, even though he cannot read.  I watched as he traced his little finger carefully along the stanzas. 

When a new verse began, he was right there, at the top, in the right place.  He never lost his concentration.  At the end of the song he proudly told me that he had been able to trace all the words plus the title and the page number!

What was so unusual or "aha" about a child and a hymnbook?  I found the answer to a decades-old question I have had.  How can I keep the commandment "Be ye therefore perfect"?  Why did the Savior ask us to do something, command us to do something He knew we could not do?  Why?  I know. I know.  It was a long-range goal for us.  For me, though, it was downright frustrating.  But, here was little Nate intent, focused, and still not able to read a word.  Was he reading?  Not by my standards, but in his time and place he was reading perfectly.  I had been confusing perfection and performance.

I have a new favorite word, thanks to Nate.  The word is "willing."  The scriptures are full of the Lord pleading with us to be "willing."  He understands willingness.  In the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."  Feeling weak was not imperfection.  His willingness was a hallmark of his perfection.  The Lord can help willing hearts.  He can make them better, more, and eventually...perfect.

Nate started to squirm so I handed him a pencil and paper.  He wrote very carefully and asked, "Grandma, do you know what this says?" 
  "What does it say, Natey?"

he grinned, "Nate is GREAT!"
Yes, he is. 
He wrote it perfectly.


Carrie said...

Nate IS great. And i love that picture! What a great little lesson.

Crystalin Dunn said...

Jeanie, you know what you do so well? Noticing those small moments in life when light and joy are waiting to shine through, but that are too often not big enough to register on our results-driven, task-oriented, hard-to-see-the-woods-for-the-trees radars. Thank you for reminding me of the greatness of small things.

Katie Call said...

Wow, Jeanie! You truly have a gift. I've spent the last little while reading this blog, and I'm so glad I finally found it! Turns out, I was spelling your name wrong all this time. :) Thank you for sharing your wisdom with me. You'll never know how much I need it!

Derek & Naomi said...

That is truly beautiful. What a beautiful picture too! So pure, so perfect. Willingness. Yes, that is what the Lord requires. How wonderful!! It makes me tear up. It makes me think of my sweet husband. He was exercising this morning, a really tough exercise program and maybe he was not doing everything perfect but boy was his heart into it. He gave it HIS all. Makes me love him so much. He does this with everything he goes for. He is such a GREAT example to me of one who is willing to be perfect.