Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
 -Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Without any prior warning at all, Elder Christoffel Golden Jr. of the Seventy appeared on the stand at the Island of Misfit Toys today and ended up spending the entire block of meetings with us. It was a very unexpected but nevertheless a pleasant surprise. Accompanied by his wife, Diane, they instructed us over the course of a two-hour block that normally would have been taken up by Sunday School and then elders quorum/Relief Society meetings.

"Don't put this on your blog," Elder Golden instructed more than once. (He actually uttered those words three times, to my count.)

Well, no. I'm not sharing any of the three teachings he specifically instructed us not to share. But I will say that it was an uplifting, spiritual, unique experience that you just don't get every Sunday here in Utah. "Don't give up on yourselves," he taught us. "God will bless you according to your righteous desires." Also, "Once we are cleansed by the blood of Christ, our whole desire is to be merciful toward others."

In spite of what my friends in foreign countries believethat we regularly get visited by General Authorities here in our meetings in Utah—it just doesn't happen very often at all.

From that spiritual high, I got in my car and drove most of the way up to my brother's house in Layton for bimonthly family dinner. Passing through the final stoplight on the way up there, my car began to poop out, made several loud and unsettling noises, and moved very slowly in exactly the same way it had twice before—something which, I had been told, had been fixed twice before by my auto mechanic.

If I can just make it to my brother's, I thought, I'll be okay.

Then, a few blocks after that, my car stalled and died. Right there on the freeway. A man behind me angrily blared on his horn for me to turn before he realized that I physically couldn't move. At the same time, three good Samaritans got out of their car, right there on the highway, and pushed me to safety. They then walked back across the highway, got into their car, drove over to where I was, and offered me a ride to my destination to make sure I got there okay.

Thank heavens for the kindness of strangers. They could have been the Three Nephites, for all I know. Even so, the spiritual high I had been at just an hour earlier became a depressing, frustrating spiritual low. I felt like pushing the old bucket of bolts over a cliff or taking off the parking brake and letting it roll the rest of the way down the hill.

I finally made it to family dinner, and one of my siblings chided me for being late. Then I told them all the story. They understood.

The Aluminum Falcon's days, I fear, are numbered. The first and only car I have ever owned may soon be headed to the junkyard. I literally don't know what I'm going to do with it tomorrow. As I type this, it sits there on the side of that road, 16 or so miles from where I live.

The best of times, and the worst of times, indeed. Sometimes, they can happen within the same day, or within a very short time of each other. Such is our mortal journey. It's all part of the deal, I had to remind myself tonight.

Who knows? Tomorrow may be just a little bit better.

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