Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Lesson of the Baby Bears

               It was a bright April afternoon as I left work and headed over to the American West Heritage Center, an outdoor cultural center in Logan and probably my favorite place in Cache Valley.  It had been a frustrating day at work and I was looking forward to the fun of Baby Animal Days, a yearly event at the center although this was my very first time.  They had been advertising the big attraction, baby bears from Yellowstone for weeks, and my animal-loving heart was very excited to see them.  A short time later, I was in a very, very, long line to see the bears and the exhibit was closing soon.  It was the last day. My frustration grew as I reached the point in the line outside the building where I thought the crowd was going in.  I was wrong, the line still wrapped around to the other side of the building.  At that point I began to steel myself for a disappointment.  “You’re going to get up to the door and that’s when they’re going to close down.” I said to myself “Might as well just leave now.  Doesn’t matter any way.” I almost did turn around and walk away.  Better to soothe my disappointment with some kettle corn rather than to stay in the dumb line and get turned away at the last minute.  But…I stayed in the line, grumbling to myself as I kept slowly moving.  Then I got to the door.  It was 5:00, closing time, but the door stayed open.  I walked in the room and there was still a line snaking around the big room, where the bears were on the other side.  “At least I’ll get to catch a glimpse” I thought to myself, certain those of us in the room would be asked to leave at any minute.  But…I was wrong again.  I got to the end of the line and got to see the baby bears.  One was curled up asleep on his caretaker’s lap (ask me how much I would love that job!) Another was standing on his hind legs peering over the pen as if he was as curious about me as I was him.  It was every bit as magical as I hoped it would be.  I was so glad that I had stayed in line.  As I was walking back to my car the Spirit whispered a message of hope that was as sweet as the spring evening: “Wonderful things still happen.”
  It was a simple little thing, an inner child wish to see some baby bears.  However, the lesson was very important for my sometimes too cynical heart.  Far too often I go into a situation in life expecting the worst.  This past November I applied for a job that I really wanted.  I did my best to get the job and yet inside there was that voice of cynicism again saying “Don’t get too excited.  It won’t work out.  The more you get your hopes the more you’ll be disappointed.” During those moments I would think about that afternoon with the bears and the lesson I learned that day.  As I waited for news, I realized that as important as it was to me to get the job, it was more important for me to believe that I could.  In the end I didn’t get the job and yes I was very disappointed.  But I had a choice.  My inner cynic could add that to its arsenal for the next time I hoped for something or I could believe that for whatever reason that job was not the best thing for me at the time but there is something wonderful around the corner. That is a choice I have to make all the time, to believe that wonderful things can still happen. 

President Gordon B. Hinckley said “Don’t worry! It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out in the end. Put your trust in God and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us.”  I know that is true.  I still battle with that inner cynic.  I still have to make a choice, especially when things don’t work out the way that I had hoped.  I choose to believe that Heavenly Father loves me and knows what is best, just like the my sophomore year of high school when my parents talked to us about moving and I prayed for months on end that we would be able to stay. But we didn’t, we left Riverton and moved to another town…a town named La Grande, Oregon.   During those months of prayers and pleading I had no idea of the wonderful things that awaited me around the corner.  I can’t imagine my life without that move I dreaded for so long.

I am so grateful for this beautiful gift called life.  Yes there are disappointments: long lines, closed exhibits, the job that got away, and a certain life event that hasn’t happened yet.  But there are also the moments where the exhibit stays open a little longer and you get to look into the little curious bear’s eyes.   I know that if I keep looking and doing all that I need to do, the right job for me will come along.  I know that God keeps his promises and that as I prepare myself to be kind of wife I want to be that marriage will come when the time is right. I choose to not give into the inner cynic. I choose to believe that “In the end it will be okay, and if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end!” And…I choose to believe that along the way to “the end” many wonderful things will still happen! 

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