A while back I added some whale inner ear bones to my fossil collection. When I first tell people what they are, I get a lot of incredulous looks. Whales don’t have ears, right? Well, actually they do (although it’s all internal). In fact they have a wonderful sense of hearing even though it differs a little from ours.
Let me sidetrack for a moment and tell a quick story that happened last week. Natalia, my middle child, was worried about going back to school after the holiday break. She has always had a tough time transitioning back and the other night she was really upset. She came down right before bed and was sitting by me on the couch and getting more upset by the minute.
We talked for a few minutes and I tried to calm her down and then we just stopped, kneeled down, and prayed together. It was a simple prayer. We just prayed that Heavenly Father would help her to have a good day at school and not be so worried about things. I tucked her into bed and pretty much forgot about it by the next day.
When she got home from school the first thing she told me was that Heavenly Father had answered her prayer and comforted her when she got nervous. She told me what a great day she had and how it was all thanks to the prayer we had said the night before.
Sometimes I worry that my kids can’t hear anything at all (they do seem to have selective hearing at times), but this experience reminded me that just like with whales, looks can be deceiving. Her spiritual hearing may not be obvious to the naked eye, but it’s far better than mine.
I’ve been trying to make my prayers more meaningful. There are times when I rush through a prayer because I’m running late or I zone out because it’s early (or late) and I’m falling asleep. There are also times when I pray, but my mind is on other things. The good thing is that at least I’m praying, but I know that I’m missing out on the full blessings that come with prayer.
There have been other times when my prayers have been thoughtful and sincere. I’ve never been one for flowery language and sometimes I struggle to find the words to express what I’m feeling. But looking back, the most meaningful prayers in my life have been those that involve very few words at all. Instead it’s when I simply pour out my heart directly to Him. Those are the times when I feel closest to Him, those are the times that I feel transformed.
It’s a bit like ferrofluids. Ferrofluids are liquids that become magnetized whenever they are near a magnet. A quick google search will show you some amazing videos. They tend to be a bit messy (like my life sometimes) and so I have a special sealed display tube to keep mine in (the ferrofluid, not my life).
Without the presence of a magnet, the ferrofluid looks like a shapeless blob like this:
But as soon as you bring it into the presence of a magnetic field it changes to something amazing:
I think of myself as the ferrofluid – shapeless and dull. But when my prayers are truly sincere I feel myself being drawn into His presence and suddenly I am transformed.
I always feel a bit of a letdown after Christmas. I guess it’s because Christmas is the one time that most people slow down and think a little more about Christ. December 26th rolls around and suddenly it’s back to business as usual.
The other day I pulled out a small bronze coin called a drachma. It’s from the reign of Azes II, king of Bactria around the time of the birth of Christ. Some scholars believe that one of the wise men was sent by Azes II. At the least, the wise men would probably have passed through Bactria and most likely carried a few of these drachma with them as they sought out the Christ child.
It makes me think: What do I carry with me as I seek after Him?
Being a little OCD, I decided to make a quick list. Just as the wise men surely didn’t focus on material goods, I decided to do the same.
-Faith and hope – this is what started me on the path and it’s what keeps me going when things get rough
-Family – I’ve been so blessed to have an amazing family. Not only to teach me about the Savior, but to accompany me on the journey.
-Friends – during this life, I’ve crossed paths with so many wonderful people on their own journeys. Some have been brief encounters and some have been lifelong, but I’m grateful for each one.
-Scriptures – I haven’t always been the best at studying the scriptures, but I’ve found so many answers as well as comfort when the path gets rocky
-Prayer – on this journey I have fallen down time and time again. I’m so thankful for a direct line of communication to a loving Heavenly Father.