Friday, September 14, 2012

The Race of Life

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

The Race of Life, by Thomas S. Monson
President, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

I looked forward to pinewood derby and raingutter regatta races When I was a cub scout. I remember one race in particular where my younger brother and I were close enough in age that we would potentially compete against each other.

*not actual picture of our race

We worked on our raingutter regatta kits under the direction of our dad and had them painted, waxed, and looking ship-shape. The time of competition came and we never faced off against each other, as I remember, but both did very well. I think this is because the organizers were timing the races instead of using a more conventional bracket system.

In my final race, I made the mistake of looking back at my opponent. Seeing that I was well ahead, I coasted to the finish to not make the other boy feel bad, and unlike the hare in the tortoise and the hare story, I won. However, when it came time to announce the overall winners, I was surprised to hear that I ultimately won only second place (so much for showing compassion). You likely have guessed who won overall first place: my younger brother!

There were laughs and congratulations that the younger brother beat the older, and I admit that I was upset at first, but when I saw how happy he was, I couldn't maintain my disappointment and I was genuinely happy for him. We both received trophies—his was understandably larger than mine—and when I would see mine displayed on a shelf in my room later one, I would smile as I remembered that smile on my brother's face.

Doesn't this sound like a great plot for a short story or short film? And it really happened to me! (So far as I remember)

President Monson spoke of making toy boats as a child and racing them in a river. His story reminded me of my experience, but the conclusion of his was toy boats coming to "an uneasy rest amid the flotsam and jetsam. . . held fast by the tentacles of the grasping green moss." My story didn't include such peril, but lessons can be learned from each. From his story, President Monson taught and expounded:

The toy boats of childhood had no keel for stability, no rudder to provide direction, and no source of power. Inevitably, their destination was downstream—the path of least resistance.

Unlike toy boats, we have been provided divine attributes to guide our journey. We enter mortality not to float with the moving currents of life but with the power to think, to reason, and to achieve.

What have we been given to assist us in our mortal voyage to make it home to safe harbors? We have:
  • Prayer
  • The guidance of the Holy Ghost, and
  • The holy scriptures

I'm grateful for the help that's available so I don't spend my life adrift and alone in uncharted waters.

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