The Watchman

The Watchman

Thursday, September 5, 2013


I have been thinking a lot about choices lately.  Everyday we make choices; good or bad.  I think for most people, making choices is easy.  In fact, there are many choices we make every day without even thinking.  The hard part comes after the choice is made when we are asked to be accountable for those choices.  When a good choice is made, it is easy to take the credit and reap the rewards.  When the choice was a poor one, too often we look for justification that includes trying to deflect the attention on to someone else.

In my life I have made what I feel are good choices.  These choices have brought me much joy.  I feel overall I am a good person and I try to think through my actions and let my faith guide me.  But because I am human, I have also made poor choices.  Unfortunately at times those poor choices have hurt others and I have had to work to repair the damage I have caused.  But even as I have had to accept responsibility for my choices and where necessary work through the process of repentance, I know that I am the person I am today because of the lessons I learned and the growth I have experienced.  Real growth is only experienced when we accept responsibility for our choices, both good and bad.

Now I sit here as a parent with children that I can no longer control and direct as I once did.  This is a good thing.  This is what I wanted.  Rick and I have worked hard to raise responsible adults who can take care of themselves and be a benefit to the community where they reside.  I thrill when I read letters from my son telling me of the service he is providing the people in California.  I am overjoyed when my son calls and asks my opinion on a project or activity he is planning for the dorm he supervises.  I am in awe at the change in priorities my son has experienced as he has chosen to put God first in his life.  I still face trepidation as I watch my daughters begin to spread their wings and take their first steps on the road to independence.

For me, the hardest part of this shift is watching these precious children that I love more than anything make poor choices and face the resulting consequences.  In my heart, I know that these are what will help build their character.  They need to face their own struggles, but I still want to pick them up, hold them, and kiss them till it is all better.  I know I can't don my armor and fight the dragon for them anymore.  I will not be there with them forever, they need to stand on their own.  So this is the lesson I am learning now: I need to let my children grow on their own.  Hopefully I have provided them the skills and the foundation of faith they need to lead happy, productive and righteous lives.

One of my sons shared with me that this is one of his favorite paintings of the Savior.  I find myself being drawn to it again and again trying to figure out why this picture has had such an impact on my son.  As I have pondered how it has touched his soul, it has found meaning for me in my life.

Christ Walking on Water - Julius von Klever
I have thought how calm Jesus appears as He walks.  Even as the waves toss and tumble around Him, throwing the boat to and fro, there is no sense of panic, just an image of quiet contemplation.  I have thought of the account of this scene from the scriptures and how the apostles in the boat at first thought they were seeing a ghost and were afraid.  When they realized it was the Master, Peter began to go out across the waves to meet Him.  But Peter soon let the tumultuous seas cause him to falter and he began to sink.  It was only when the Lord took Peter by the hand that Peter's faith returned and he was able to complete the journey.

As I have continued to ponder how this story applies to my life, I think back to choices.  Everyday I make choices.  When I look to the principles of my faith for direction in my choices, they are inevitably good.  It is when I try to rely on myself and my own understanding that I struggle in my choices.  Just as I do not want my children to fail, my Heavenly Father does not want me to fail.  This is why He provided a Savior for His children.  I know that it is only through applying His example and His teachings to guide my choices that I will be able to be at peace as the storms of life rage around me.

1 comment:

  1. From Mary Jo Anhalt (posted on the link on my Facebook page): Thank you Ann. I've been struggling with so many of the same challenges. I love the picture, too. It's intriguing that Christ could have calmed the sea, but he invited Peter (and me) to wade in, endure the raging waters, testing my faith, before he grants me peace. I've given my children roots and wings. They will make many wrong choices, but many good ones too. I hope they know I'll always love them.