Sunday, January 15, 2012


in my sunday school lesson today, i managed to talk about the tree of life, the tree of life, and the artist. thank you. : )

this morning, someone on facebook posted about a talk by elder scott, adding the question, "in your life, what are the experiences and truths you have learned that make up principles you live by that govern your life?"

i've talked about this a few times before here, but i think it's a very good question. for me, a sort of paradigm shift happened when i heard elder maxwell's final's conference talk, where he shared stories from his life. his lesson of "never go back to the hotel" is a defining characteristic of who i am, and i began to realize that i could find such principles and lessons from stories in my own life. that summer i learned to "just keep clapping."

it seemed i was recently talking with someone about this subject, about looking in our own lives for examples and lessons. but rather than share another personal experience that i've learned from, i want to share two simple stories that have stuck with me, that i have continually mulled over as i've walked the long and winding road.

the first comes from, i think, a book of stories that my brother had when we were younger. i remember that he often had a lot of books that made you think, such as the eleventh hour. this story may have come from a book that was a collection of riddles, although i don't remember for certain.

two coal miners were returning home from work on day. one's face was black with soot, while the other's face was clean. the looked at each other, then the one with the clean face went and washed his face, while the miner with the dirty face did not.

the answer to the puzzle here is that the miner with the clean face looked at his friend and assumed that, since his friend's face was dirty, his must be, too. likewise, the man with the dirty face presumed that his face was clean, just like his friend's. but the lesson is one that has echoed with me as i've gone through life, trying to see where my faults are and working to improve them. sometimes i've wondered if i'm trying to clean areas of my life that are already clean, yet missing the messier spots. it gets bigger the more you think about it.

the second story is one that my mother told to me one night when she and i were sitting at the table. it was an seemingly mundane moment, but, again, the lesson of the story has taken root in me.

a man and a woman had been married for many years. each night before they went to sleep, they would each have a slice of bread. and each night, the man would pull the crust from his slice and give it to his wife. 
one night, after having had enough of this, the wife asked in frustration, "why do you keep giving me the crusts? i can't stand the crusts!"
in hurt surprise, the man softly replied, "i give you the crusts because it's my favorite part."

as i continue learn about how to work with people, particularly those closest to me, i try to remember this story.


The Former 786 said...

I really enjoyed both of those short stories, as well as the talks. Good stuff, Jeff.

By the way, you've got to some coal on your face.

Jack said...

thnaks. i like to think and i like to think about thinking. and i think you are cool like a mule.