Some things don’t go as planned. Sometimes there are misunderstandings.
Take for instance the mother who took her three year old to church for the first time. Lights went down, and a choir came walking down the aisle carrying lighted candles. All was quiet until the little three year old burst into song, in her loudest and sweetest voice, Happy Birthday to you…!”
Besides a mother who probably wanted to crawl under a pew, there are lessons to learn from this cute example.
- How many times have you communicated in your best way, yet haven’t been understood by the one you’re speaking to? And vice versa?
- How many theoretical truths have you learned’ only to realize you know little or nothing of it in real life’… until going through an experience where it must come to life?
- How many times have you explained something of great importance to someone you care about, only to learn that it was clear as mud? Or that their personal take’ was different than you imagined? [Certainly that is the case with the mom and her singing child!].
The laboratory of life gives us roll-up-our-sleeves experience, and chances to open our eyes to more and more truths. To more and more understanding. And more opportunities to truly teach and be taught.
I’ve come to realize that only with the Holy Spirit can I hear as I need to hear. Listening just doesn’t cut it, unless I am listening wholly and fully. Even then, my puny understandings may not grasp what the speaker intends. So, if I’m wise, I rely on the Holy Spirit to teach me and translate for me, in order to benefit the one speaking as well as myself.
In Doctrine and Covenants 19:23, we learn that we should, “Learn of me and listen to my words; walk in meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.”
Peace. What a wonderful word. And principle. And feeling. As we listen – really – to His words, take them into our minds to roll them around and allow them to assimilate in our souls, we learn great things. Being humble enough to walk with the Spirit, waiting on that gift to teach us and direct us, we find more peace.
The miscommunications may still occur. They do for me. But, the resolution of conflict is easier. We may hasten to correct our mistakes and more fully determine to assume to best of people, and their intentions.
Just as surely as that sweet three-year-old burst into song, most of us don’t mean harm. We simply misunderstand.
President Gordon B. Hinckley taught us clearly about not taking offense where none was meant. Just perfecting that one principle may bring a lot of joy and greater peace.
Slowly, we grow in goodness and in the ability to communicate better. But only because we learn that we, of ourselves, are nothing. Our words fall short and our explanations are not full enough to teach as we’d like. But the Holy Spirit can fill in all the gaps.
This gift allows us to have joy when our laboratory seems to temporarily blow up. It gives insight so that we better explain ourselves, and blesses us to comprehend, when otherwise it just wouldn’t happen.
As a bonus, we find more grace in more deeply loving others, giving them more latitude when we may otherwise take offense, and offer ourselves true peace as we continue learning of the Savior and better listening to His words, letting them grow in us. What joy!
Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, and grandmother who joined the LDS Church as a teenager. She is a songwriter, author, and public speaker. Her website is www.goodnessmatters.com, where she offers an online spot to share goodness, faith, and hope in simple ways. Her undergraduate study was in Musical Theater, and has a Masters degree in communications.
She has taught Church youth & family programs for more than 25 years, has written books, hundreds of columns, & created hundreds of songs all with the intent of growing goodness and pointing people to Christ. She also writes for the website www.nauvootimes.com .
Vickey loves nature, going on drives with her hubby, laughter, brownies and tootsie rolls. She teaches Gospel Doctrine in her ward. Her husband, Dean, serves in the bishopric. They are the parents of eight children and have seven grandchildren.