Monday, December 17, 2012

Be Anxiously Engaged

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Be Anxiously Engaged, by M. Russell Ballard
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

My wife and I celebrated our eleventh anniversary this weekend (our children called it our family's birthday). This is probably why when I read the title of this talk, "Be Anxiously Engaged," I thought of my life eleven years and one week ago when I was looking forward to something wonderfully amazing: I was anxiously engaged... to be married!

What does a couple or family do on an eleventh anniversary? Wikipedia says that the eleventh is the Steel Anniversary (link), but we didn't do anything steely; our family plans were for gleaning. We learned that each year, our local church congregation goes to a corn field and hand-harvests corn that is delivered to a local service organization to provide food for needy individuals/families to consume that very weekend. We were all set to do something as a family to serve others.

However, due to recent rain and the wet season, our gleaning activity was cancelled because the roads to the fields were soggy. With no Saturday morning plans, we didn't just lie around, though, with the help of my children, I dug up and maintained or replaced old sprinkler heads in the yard. I traded one service for another!

Friends did tend our children in the evening while we escaped to enjoy Indian food together as an anniversary dinner, but their service was consistent with our service-oriented anniversary.

In his talk, Elder Ballard spoke of honeybees.

In addition to saying that "honey contains all of the substances necessary to sustain mortal life," he told of how in its short life, each bee will only contribute one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey to the hive collective. I don't know how many drops that would be (if even one drop), but it does illustrate the idea of collective hard work to achieve great things.

How do we become like the service-minded honeybee? Here's the "one simple practice" that Elder Ballard recommends:

In your morning prayer each new day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children. Then go throughout the day with your heart full of faith and love, looking for someone to help. Stay focused, just like the honeybees focus on the flowers from which to gather nectar and pollen.

Earlier I mentioned that when our service trip was cancelled, I nobly went to the yard to do work on our sprinklers. What I probably should have used as an example of the principle is the never-ending prayers and result-of-prayers service that my wife lovingly gives to our family and others. When I'm feeling particularly Christ-like, I'll remember to pray for opportunities to bless or serve others; I imagine, though, that my wife never forgets to do this—she acts like blessing the lives of others is her sole-purpose, much like a honeybee and its pollen-collecting.

I'm grateful for the past eleven years of bliss I've enjoyed with my wife. She lovingly reminds me, through her example, that lives are blessed through loving service given day after day after day!

I might try to make comparisons between conference talks and my life, but my sweet wife's whole life is a living example of everything good we hear and feel each conference. With how hard-working and sweet she is, you might think she's a lot like a honeybee. She's not, though; she's more like a whole hive of honeybees! (Only she probably won't sting you if you get too close.)

Instead of steel, it sounds like our eleventh anniversary theme should have been honey!

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