The famous C.S. Lewis quote about "mansion building" comes to mind:
"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what he is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised.
But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is he up to? The explanation is that he is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.
You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but he is building up a palace. He intends to come and live in it himself."
With all this as preface, I'm been having the following discoveries of late, among many others, as I undergo a much-needed "renovation." I'm thus trying to say, to myself or to others, rather than "I'm having a hard time," but instead that "I'm having a spiritual experience." In no particular order, here are a few wooden nickels worth...
- Prayer - as never before, I am coming to understand what the LDS Bible Dictionary means when it says that "Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings." Work indeed. And perhaps as never before, I am trying much harder to be still when I pray and listen more than I speak, and to thank more than I request.
- Meetings - it has been fascinating to sit in church meetings these last several months. There is just an intensity in those settings that I've never felt before, as if the combined yearnings of everyone present for hope, for assurance, and for enlightenment is literally being converted into tangible energy. Or maybe I'm just becoming more aware of what has been there all along...
- Music - I've noticed that the music I choose to listen to is more contemplative and less "noisy." Also, I am paying more attention to the music that is sung in the various meetings that I attend. Again, could just be me, but there seems to be an added dimension to the meaning of the words as well as the ardor with which they are sung.
- Time - how I spend it and how I think about how to use it has been changing. I am less likely to be casual about how I work and especially in how I spend time with my family. As with all of these things, I am in the infant stages of needed change, and I worry about whether such changes in perspective will stick.
- Money - regarding the thing on everyone's mind, I find it fascinating that I long as never before to spend no time thinking about or caring about money. It truly is the symbol of the god of this world. I'm also changing the way I view what I do earn, and have become more grateful for every penny I earn. And I'm even grateful for my job, something I've taken for granted for forever.
- Temple - what to say about the temple? Living literally one mile away from one has made making excuses for not going harder, but still I seem to have found ways to justify not making my way there more often. Although sad to admit once again that this is a circumstance of being compelled to be humble, I gratefully acknowledge the profound power found in the House of the Lord. In the scriptures, the word "consecrate" is sometimes as setting something apart, or to make sacred and holy. Thus, when I read the words "Holiness to the Lord" on the walls of the temple, instead of thinking of the building as consecrated, I am instead trying to make myself an instrument of "holiness" or "consecration" the Lord. SO MUCH work yet to do, but they it starts with knowing you're in trouble...and needing help. The temple is the ultimate power transformer.
- Reading - I read lots. Have for as long as I can remember. It's more habit than anything else. I sometimes read too much, and sometimes read that which is trivial or of little nutritional value. However, I'm noticing that my reading has become more focused on meaningful, enriching content. The scriptures especially, but also other books and articles. And it's not just what I read, but how. I am trying to spend more time processing what I've read and in turn to work harder at applying concepts and principles that will yield a better me.