Friday, February 4, 2011

Of Things That Matter Most

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Of Things That Matter Most, by Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency

The focus of President Uchtdorf's message was to "slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials."

Today was a snow day for the elementary school and the university. It would have been the perfect opportunity to slow down and enjoy life, but I was at work! I usually go to work quite early (3 a.m. this morning), and I was at work when the officials decided to close the schools for the day.

Imagine my excitement upon hearing this, because I had the perfect opportunity to be shut up in my office without any distraction; I had the perfect chance to speed up and get loads of work done! And this is what I did.

Fast-forward a few hours: after a colleague came in (a likewise crazy person who works on canceled days). While catching up and looking out at the rare snow on the ground, we decided to take a walk to investigate an unusually white tree some distance away. I was going to resist the distraction from work, but decided to take a break anyway (and a few pictures, too).

We found that the tree was in the direct line of a combination of recent wind paths and water dripping off of a water tower, resulting in a frozen tree. As we stood in the cold, examining the effects of winter, the desire to rush and the detailed tasks melted away (strange as it sounds for something to melt in below-freezing temperatures).

There is a beauty and clarity that comes from simplicity that we sometimes do not appreciate in our thirst for intricate solutions.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Leonardo da Vinci

The call to take a break is accompanied with a return to the basics. President Uchtdorf lists "the basics" as four key relationships: our relationship with God, our relationship with our families, our relationship with our fellowmen, and our relationship with ourselves. While we may ask, "What other interpersonal relationships are there," it's hard to deny the importance of these key relationships.

Let us simplify our lives a little. Let us make the changes necessary to refocus our lives on the sublime beauty of the simple, humble path of Christian discipleship—the path that leads always toward a life of meaning, gladness, and peace.

After sharing a moment of simplicity and peace with a friend and a frozen tree today, I returned to my work tasks and seemed to see them through new eyes. Somehow, slowing down helped me find a clarity and purpose I had been missing in the frantic rushed hours before the change of pace.

I hope I can find peace and remember what matters most as I take time to slow down.

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