Two conversations with two different people on two different days this week both ended up on the topic of repentance. I did not bring up the subject either time. Is the universe trying to tell me something? I was reflecting on it this morning and had a good chuckle to myself as I recalled the two conversations.
Last Thursday my friend Remi and I were chatting at tennis. She was telling me about some opportunities she had had to share the gospel on her mission and with friends throughout her life. She suggested that sometimes when investigators were introduced to the topic of repentance and they were trying to overcome some sins in their lives so they could get baptized (some sins that would keep you from baptism include smoking, drinking, pornography, sex outside of marriage) would get discouraged when they slipped up. They would want to give up. Haven't we all felt this way at some time? She would tell them that repentance was like brushing your teeth. If you forgot to brush your teeth one night would you throw in the towel? If you skipped for three or five days would you totally give up and say you're not worthy and you'll never try to brush again? NO! No, you wouldn't give up. You would pick up your toothbrush and brush your teeth. You would make yourself a little chart or buy yourself some better tasting toothpaste or ask someone to remind you to brush your teeth before leaving the house. Repentance is the same way, she said. We need to do it everyday and if we forget sometimes then that's OK, we just pick up the brush and start all over again.
On Sunday my friend Teresa and I were talking about kids preparing for missions. She has a daughter out now and a son that finished his mission about 18 months ago. She was talking about how important it is not to judge kids who take a little longer to go on their mission or who come back for a bit to prepare a little more before returning to the field. She said that sometimes people really judge those kids during that repentance process but really there should be no judgement. She went on, "Repentance is like having a good BM". After I laughed and regained composure she continued. It needs to happen daily and sometimes when it doesn't, perhaps we've had too much cheese or something else that clogs us up (she said this with a totally straight face) we need a little help to get things moving again. We might need extra water or some extra fiber or maybe even some laxatives. With repentance we may need to take some time to do some extra fasting and praying and visit with our bishop. There should be no judging in that, she told me, it is a process that we all have to go through at one time or another.
I am so grateful for my dear friends who always enlighten me, encourage me, and keep me laughing. They are wise women.