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Oh, the despair. My heart’s desire to attend BYU had been granted. Nothing could be more exciting or wonderful to be a freshman at BYU in 1972, but within hours … make that MOMENTS … I knew it was all a terrible mistake.
The outfits my Mom and I had had so much fun making and buying seemed totally out of place and frumpy. The campus was huge and the maps for how to get around didn’t make much sense to me. I was often lost and miles out of my way, trying hard not to cry, even as I smiled and pretended to be having a ball. Surrounded by homecoming queens and cheerleaders (or so it seemed), my braces were barely off as the lifetime challenges of being very short with a weight problem continued. The California high school friends that understood me and my quirky humor were all elsewhere. My roommate from Boise in Deseret Towers seemed strange, sad and very depressed. (She did indeed attempt suicide several times that semester.)
After four years of playing the flute in my high school marching band, I was ready for something new, so I did not join the Cougar Marching Band. This was a big mistake as I immediately missed what I had loved so much about band in high school: It was “something to do and someone to be with” where you don’t have to be a beauty queen to have a great time. Not a serious enough musician for the orchestra, I somehow ended up in an embarrassing beginning orchestra class, although I’d played in Honor Bands in high school. Not good. I tried out for some of the dance performance groups, but was quickly thanked for coming and dismissed. Most of my General Ed classes were rudimentary, feeling more like my freshman year in high school than college.
Most of all, after years of being a very busy high school student with lots going on, I had way too much free time, no real friends and no place to go that felt comfortable at all.
By the end of the first two weeks of school, I was not in a good place when my married sister Dixie who lived an hour away in Salt Lake City, invited me to spend the weekend with them. My brother-in-law Bill picked me up on Friday afternoon in their little old VW Bug. We’d always been good friends and as I poured out my first two weeks to him over the next day or so, he listened and even helped me see some humor in my reports.
At last he said with wisdom that I had no idea would be a lifetime mantra … “Just wait three months! In most new situations like this I’ve learned you don’t know anything about anything for 90 days. Don’t worry about it and try to decide now if it’s a good fit or if you even like it — or especially if you’re happy! Just do what you need to do with an open mind, and decide how you feel … in three months.”
Over the next couple of weeks, I watched as a couple of girls on our floor, overwhelmed with homesickness and discouragement, headed home. My roommate literally attempted suicide more than once. But I hung tightly to my Heavenly Father and Bill’s advice.
By the end of the three months when it was time to head home to California for Thanksgiving, I was astonished! Bill was RIGHT! I had made some wonderful new friends in my dorm. Without the demands of Cougar Band, I’d had time to audition and be cast in a play where I made life-time friends. My sad roommate had gotten some professional help and was on her way. I had established a reputation as a fun-loving, enthusiastic and capable person in my ward that could be counted on in a pinch. I had learned my way around campus, and was eager and ready to take on more serious classes for the next semester.
Though there were many ups and downs, I cherish my four years at BYU (1972-1976) as some of the richest chapters of my entire eternal existence. I am blessed daily by the experiences and people I met there (including finding my husband), and the temporal skills that I was able to develop with my classes, along with the opportunity to develop spiritually in many ways. Leadership positions came with their lifetime blessings and lessons.
What if I had quit before those first three months bore their fruit? What truly fine, even beloved, counsel that has been for me in the 40 years since it was first given to me: “Just wait three months!”
And now I find myself at another juncture of a three-month adventure. Last August I received some business communication about a new product that I might want to share with my readers: “reflexology power socks” that were supposed to address both pain, flexibility and athletic performance. I was impressed with the idea and product, but not the business or the time it would take. I politely declined his invitation from this non-LDS business colleague.
Three months later, however, I found myself feeling some spiritual nudges to go back and read it all again. I’ve learned to trust that voice and recognize it as something outside myself. Intrigued, but without any real personal need for the socks, my husband and I ordered a pair “just to see.”
They arrived when Bob was facing some hernia surgery. He put them on and immediately they became a great boon to managing the associated pain until surgery-time. I had no aches or pains, but loved how they felt, with a zip of energy and found myself standing straighter and taller. (At barely five feet, and with osteoporosis in my spine, this is significant.) Now we were really interested!
The more I read, the more I thought of dear people around me who needed support for age-related aches and pains, and those who are suffering with chronic conditions. I put my thoughts into research, and then wrote an article about the foundational principle of reflexology which is the science behind these socks. That was published on Meridian two weeks ago, CLICK HERE.
We had invested in 100 pairs of socks after confirming a dozen times that we could return them if they didn’t sell. then set up a little website so that Meridian readers wouldn’t have to wade through the big company website just to order a trial pair to see if anyone was even interested! We have been managing our other health product for many years on our own. If there were any orders, we were in a position to take care of them
Would it be worth our while as the earnings per pair of socks was meager??
Little did we know that our 100 pairs of socks would sell out in less than 24 hours. Little did we know how many Meridian readers have pain in their feet and legs, neuropathy, pinched nerves etc. who are seeking relief without drugs and doctor visits.
Little did we know that we needed at least three times the inventory to manage that first week of orders.
More importantly … little did we know that people would be telling us how they are helping with sinus headaches and neuropathy, in a matter of hours, and ordering more socks.
Little did we know that my days and the acquired skills of being an elementary school cafeteria manager – placing orders and managing an inventory – would spring into life with a completely different product and set-up to manage than our herbal detox business. Bob’s organizational talents that made him a successful small businessman for many years took center stage in an even bigger way. We hired a new assistant.
As the orders poured in, (and we ourselves continued to order more and more product from the company to meet the need) we asked ourselves: ‘Do we even want to do this? We’re plenty busy with many other things!” Soon, of course, our pondering led to “What would the Lord have us do?” There were prayers, and a special Priesthood blessing.
After that blessing, my daily reading in Jesus The Christ led me to the Parable of the Talents. The Savior actually taught this Parable twice: once publicly and then privately 2-3 days before his Crucifixion to just the Apostles. To me, it means, that in public and in private, He is our Lord, who knows us, our needs, desires and intents uniquely.
14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
What a chilling reminder is the entire Parable, and especially the last two verses. Overall it is a clarion call to be diligent with whatever He has given to us for our spiritual and temporal welfare. The talents and whatever we do with them is for not our glory, but His. He is the Master to whom all talents belong, which, when given, are to be developed and improved upon for the good of all, and ultimately reported.
The scriptures themselves tell the story very well, keeping in mind that the original definition of a talent is that of a weight or mass of precious metal, usually gold. The parable has come to define a talent as a gift, skill, or opportunity. AsI read James E. Talmage’s discourse on this parable in Jesus the Christ since Bob’s blessing, there have been more lessons anew:
Elder Talmage elaborates: “The talents bestowed upon each were the gift of his Lord, who knew well whether that servant was capable of using to better advantage one, two or five. Let no one conclude that good work of relatively small scope is less necessary or acceptable than like service of wider range.
Many a man who has succeeded well in business with small capital would have failed in the administration of vast sums; so also in spiritual achievements … of the man endowed with many talents, greater returns were expected; of the one-talented man, the least he could have delivered the money to the bank, through which it would have been kept in circulation to the benefit of the community, and would have earned interest meanwhile.
At the time of reckoning, the servants who had done well, the one with his five talents, the other with his two, reported gladly, conscious as they were of having at least striven to do their best.
Talents are not given to be buried, and then to be dug up and offered back unimproved, reeking with the smell of earth and dulled by the corrosion of disuse. The unused talent was justly taken from him who had counted it as of so little worth, and was given to one, who, although possessing much, would use the additional gift to his own profit, to the betterment of his fellows, and to the glory of his Lord.”
(Jesus the Christ, pages 581-583.)
Someone once told me the definition of Hell: ”It’s the last day you have on earth, when the person you became will meet the person you could have become.” What will Bob and I answer if we choose to bury something that often easily helps others with pain and discomfort? What will we answer if their lives could have been simplified or improved if we had been willing to share the information and product? Something that they can easily share with others in pain as well? Would that not be akin to burying a talent?
And when is our time of reckoning? How long should we test this to see if it’s truly all that it seems to be?
After the phenomenal response from Meridian readers two weeks ago, we have decided that the time of reckoning for our socks business is my dear brother-in-law Bill’s counsel: three months. I can hear him saying “Three months from now is May 1. You don’t know anything about this for three months. Just do what you need to and move forward with an open mind and no decisions.”
So no decisions, but many questions, i.e. Do the socks work as well for the greater majority of those who try them as they do for us? Will people love them and reorder, or will we face a boatload of returns? Are we having fun or is it a burden? Do they help us and those who wear the socks fill the measure of our creations? Is the company that provides the socks honorable so that we will be proud to associate with them long-term? Yes, indeed, we have questions, and are willing to do it long enough to get the answers: three months.
Our reckoning day is May, and until then, you can check it all out at GetTheSocks.com
Here’s to hoping that developing our talent will bless your health and strength as you develop yours!
Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life. She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She and her husband, Bob, are the parents of five children and grandparents of eleven. They are now happy empty nesters in Jackson, Tennessee, close to Memphis, where they center their online business for an amazing herbal detox. CLICK HERE.