“These are my Days …”
By Carolyn Allen
One seldom turns to the Book of Mormon for a good laugh. Although I know we could each fill a precious volume of why it is so personally important, until just last week, humor was not one of the reasons I depend on it so.
However, a few days ago while I was reading in Helaman 6, I found myself chuckling right out loud as Nephi, the son of Helaman (and the father of the Nephi who would witness the signs of the Savior’s birth in the Promised Land in just 20 years), lamented in justified distress at the quick descent of his people. They’d had an exceptionally joyful five year span of peace, prosperity, righteousness and many baptisms. And then Gadianton and greed took over again.
“Oh, that I could have had my days in the days when my father Nephi first came out of the land of Jerusalem; that I could have joyed with him in the Promised Land; then were his people easy to be entreated, firm to keep the commandments of God, and slow to be led to do iniquity; and they were quick to hearken unto the words of the Lord –
“Yea, if my days could have been in those days … then would my soul have had joy …” (Helaman 7: 7-8)
I shook my head and read it again with a wry smile: I asked myself, “Is he talking about the Nephi whose brothers relentlessy tried to murder him from the time they were teenagers? The Nephi who camped in the wilderness for eight years with difficult family members and many small children? Is he talking about the really fun days when, among other things, Nephi was divinely guided to murder, then steal from Laban’s home? And later called to build (with no ship building experience) a sea-worthy vessel that would carry several large families across the ocean, while his older brothers fought, bickered and tied him up in ropes? Then after the miraculous voyage, when it was time to start life and enjoy civilization in a new land, the same crazed brothers became so evil they had to permanently separate?”
See what I mean? It is a paradox worthy of a very good chuckle indeed to imagine that Nephi of old had an easier time than anyone! Including the discouraging time of Nephi, the son of Helaman.
Truly one of my favorite parts of the Book of Mormon is the undisputed evidence, no different than archeological proof, that regardless of time or station, human nature doesn’t change too much. In this case, it confirms for me that even prophets, at certain times, would love to trade places with someone else. Even for them, the grass sometimes looks greener on the other side.
Who among us hasn’t wished for a different lot than our own lives? It’s somehow comforting to know that all of us, even prophets, feel that way sometimes!
After voicing his wish, Nephi must have heaved a heavy sigh as he inscribed the following words on to the plates:
“But behold, I am consigned that these are my days, and that my soul shall be filled with sorrow”… (Helaman 7:9)
Things dramatically turned from bad to worse in the next chapters of Helaman.
Nevertheless, Nephi, as his hero Nephi had done 600 years before, pressed forward, leaving a righteous heritage and many good works.
That’s inspiring to me. Times are difficult for each of us, and there is no promise, other than the eternal ones, that things will improve. There is precious little that we can control. The disarray in world affairs, the economy and the terrible natural calamities are bad enough, but even the systems that govern our food supply and the nutrition therein is filled with bad news. Even with healthy, natural foods, things simply are not as they were in the not too distant past.
To learn more, go to two fascinating recent Meridian articles:
You Are What You Ingest by Dr. Stan Gardner and
The Signs Around Us: You Are Free to Choose by Carolyn Nicolyasen
In addition, the things many of us struggle with weight and health increase exponentially with the appetizing, delicious, empty-calorie foods that simply weren’t even available 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago when you consider the evolution of food preservatives. food processing and the fast food/snack industry. In another almost laughable paradox, we are programmed to believe that these foods bring comfort, peace and happiness.
I don’t know about you, but like Nephi, I’d like to go back in time! I’m yearning for the good old days when the earth yielded better food, and when physical exercise in the form of physical labor and walking for basic transportation was a routine part of life. When a sugar-filled treat was truly a rare and exceptional delicacy.
Another reason to pine for the old days is that our bodies change as we age. The metabolism of the aging adult body drops, meaning that the same amount of calories from the amount of food we are used to enjoying and consuming, are simply not burned up, resulting in extra pounds for almost everyone every year, if we’re not careful, after age 45 or so.
How depressing! Time to get back to our true comfort and guide, the Book of Mormon.
Nephi used the word “consigned” to re-focus himself.
Read it again: But behold, I am consigned that these are my days, and that my soul shall be filled with sorrow … (Helaman 7:9)
It’s an interesting choice of words, nor “resigned” which sounds logical, but “consigned.” When you think of the word “consign” you may think of a consignment shop, where goods are turned over for keeping until they are sold, but in this case, “consign” means “to set apart for a special use or purpose, to assign.
Could it be that part of our birthright with being born in these latter days is to consign ourselves, as Nephi did to the fact that the food industry, popular bad habits and unhealthy foods that are so prevalent in American eating are part of the signs of the times? And that we can rise above them?
“These are my days …” he said, and he wasn’t very happy about it at the time, even as we may not be happy about the truths of our health and weight.
Yet, no matter that it wasn’t easy or fun, and that he would have traded places with Nephi in a heartbeat, he faced his days with courage and applied himself in every way possible to his life, his duties, and his responsibilities. I’m sure there is an incredible eternal reward for those who hold such a place in history.
Fortunately we don’t have to wait nearly that long. When we decide to take control of our health, we can trade places into a new life with remarkable speed! Days, weeks and months yield incredible and noticeable improvements, as I will share with you in my next article featuring Judy Jensen, down 66 pounds.
But only we can take control and make the decisions and choices that bring progress. It is our Heavenly Father’s plan for it to be a CHOICE.
Years ago I became well-acquainted with a lovely woman who had lost 100 pounds.
Her family (with older teens and young single adults) had experienced many problems for a very long time as she continued to gain weight. In one revealing and devastating summer, she learned that one of the biggest family problems was HER trying to control every one and everything. As she let go of her children’s problems, and concentrated on becoming healthy physically and being a resource rather than the control center for the rest of the family, life improved for everyone. They were all grateful and took on their own lives, solving their own problems with surprising ability.
Slim and trim in pair of fitted jeans and a pretty, tucked in top, she told me: “I’ve learned that there is precious little we can control in this life: Of them, there are two I’m learning to master: ONE: What goes into my mouth (food) and TWO: what comes out of my mouth (words).”
I’ve never forgotten that. And looking and feeling as wonderful as she did, she certainly wasn’t wishing to trade places with anyone!
And neither will we as we consign ourselves, with purpose and conviction to the principles and laws that bring health and peace. “And these are my days …” we will say with gratitude for the body that we have learned to govern, and the day in which to make a difference for ourselves and those we love.
* P.S. As a little thought, one of the things we’ve traded with the start of the new year is how we do our shopping. I recently learned about discount online grocery shopping and have put up a new website about it: SuperCheapGroceries.com The prices are steeply discounted for absolutely all non-perishables. It’s great for whole grain products and many healthy products. The neat thing is that you can easily avoid all the tempting things in the store, simply because you’re NOT there. It is saving us money and time to spend more of our important food dollar on fresh produce and the supplements recommended by Dr. Gardner. . The time savings is fabulous too, as you can shop at any time of the day or night, and it comes right to your door with free delivery.
We have been VERY pleased with every order, and look forward to sharing it with family, friends and you. You can check it at www.SuperCheapGroceries.com. Or give me a call to talk about it 571/643-9295.
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