There’s a saying I love: “We can’t pioneer new worlds from old trails.” So true.
We each have a personal path to walk during the mortal journey. In a unified marriage, we walk it together – but there are still personal insights to be gained, and learning that must take place. We get to follow others’ examples, and joy in the guidance we receive, but it is ours to walk the path.
There are a few things that may get in the way of our successful course. I’ve made note of a few of them over the years, as I’ve worked at (there’s the rub.. working at…even when I have felt I stepped forward only to back step double, at times) moving forward. Here are three that seem to help:
1. Old Habits Die Hard
But they do die! If we keep doing things the same old way, it is hard – it is impossible – to get new and better results. To be ‘steadfast and immoveable, always abounding in good works’ is pretty much out of the realm of possibility if we are bound down with bad habits.
So we re-define! We take it to the Lord and seek for better, new, and different ways of acting and reacting. (Actually, reacting never really works. That we are to ‘Act and not be acted upon’ is a sermon in itself. For here and now, let’s just say that when we ACT we are in control of ourselves. When we REACT, emotions may take over and stir the pot in unhealthy ways.)
Old dogs can be taught new tricks. I continue to put the pieces together of gospel goodness and eternal principles. It’s actually fun and amazing to see with new eyes – to feel with a new heart – as the pieces come together. The picture is more clear. There is more and more incentive to discard the old ways and pick up new ones.
Then, the path is easier to walk.
2. Look Back Only to Note Where We Came From
Lot and his family learned a few lessons about looking back. Figuratively- symbolically- there are novels of wisdom in that story. If we use our rearview mirror to occasionally check where we’ve come from, but keep our eyes mostly focused on what is ahead, we travel more safely.
So it goes in our lives. Wrenching heartache comes to us all. Mistakes and missteps are part of the walk. But to keep focusing on that stuff that is back behind us? It prevents us from moving forward. It prevents us from current joy. It disallows the blessings and comfort of repentance, of quiet peace, and of better steps ahead!
3. There are worlds of information and understanding to gain.
No matter how ‘learned’ we think we are, how many degrees we have, or what our status seems in this world, the Lord’s field is a level one. There is no ladder. There is no pinnacle from which we can say, “Ah! I’ve made it! I ‘get it’! I have learned and come to understand it all! That sounds silly, right?
Humility- that friend allowing us to continually seek and learn – shows us that there is always a new door to open, and a new path of understanding to wander.
“If ye are not one, ye are not mine.” This resonates with me. As we walk a wise path of following the Savior, we learn more about unification. It helps us sort out the dross for the refuse. The foolishness from the wisdom. The best from the good and better.
With each new event – a birth, death, illness, heartache, job, disagreement, birthday… on and on…. – there is a chance to gain more information – about ourselves, our family, our friends, the world in which we live, our God. We get to figure out – if only a tiny drop more- how we can become better people. How to lose the darkness and accept the light. How to let go of negativity and chains of wrong behaviors as we plead for better ways to be.
I say ‘be’ purposefully. There is so much about ‘doing’ in this world. Little wonder that Gordon B. Hinckley wrote a little book called “Way To Be”. Though it is small in pages, it is huge in message. We are about being.
Our walk teaches us this. As we daily trod the trail of a disciple of Christ, we start to better grasp the blessing of being. There are miles to go for each of us. Step by careful step, we figure out that we can do more than we ever thought we could. We step off those old trails – and leave behind the trials that went with them – taking our new found courage and learning as we pioneer new ways. What a blessing!
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 websitewww.goodnessmatters.com, is an online spot to share goodness, faith, and hope in simple, personal ways. Her undergraduate study was in Musical Theater, and has a Masters degree in communications.
She has taught for the Church’s 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 her expanding family, going on drives with her hubby, laughter, growing herbs & veggies, 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 eight grandchildren.