Sometimes What We Really Need Is a Story
Quite out of the blue, sitting in a cozy sunbeam on a comfy couch soaking luxuriously in Saturdayishness, I found myself with an answer and an overwhelming feeling of God’s love for my second son.
I was reading Consider the Blessings, the 50th anniversary celebration of Pres. Monson’s service as an apostle, compiled as a slim volume of 50 stories told by the sweet storyteller.
Just stories, I expected no windows of heaven, no startling understanding, no widening views. I’m still overwhelmed.
My son has been through a difficult experience in which his sense of safety in the world has been shaken and his faith in people to do what they are supposed to do has been shattered. With all the feelings of a tender parent, I have quieted him and quieted myself and reached for heaven. I thought our experience was about overcoming our tendency to react to external threats with defensiveness and we’ve genuinely tried to do that.
Instead, as I read a story Pres. Monson told about a father and a son, I realized that my son needs his father.
It has always been a hallmark of Pres. Monson’s ministry to tell stories. We are engaged by a spirit of charity as we witness acts of charity performed by others, as almost all of his stories so focus. We are encouraged and we are mollified as we see with his eyes. And, truly, his stories are sweet and simple enough that we could ignore them as the tender ramblings of an old man.
I was halted in that opinion several years ago when Elder Hales visited our stake. He told us to pay special attention to Pres. Monson’s stories because they are all parables. As I refocused myself the next time he spoke, I was amazed to see how right Elder Hales was. Pres. Monson’s way is always to go to the most elemental human level to teach a principle of power. He is the quintessential example of living in the present moment, undistracted. As I have gotten older and appreciate more the incredibly slow pace of my paternal grandmother, who has now been gone for over 25 years, I see more and more value in living in a perfect present aware of the most elemental human forces at work in that moment.
You may not find yourself a fan of simple, old-fashioned stories. But there is value in a prophet’s way. The Lord uses prophets to open our eyes. You might like this little volume for reasons entirely different than you might expect.