Snowed In

This past weekend, my new companion and I were forced to stay home in the hill-side homestead of the family we live with. It was only about a foot of snow, which by Utah standards, isn’t enough to bat an eye at, but here in Washington, where an inch of snow can shut down the entire county, a foot of snow is simply unmanageable. There simply isn’t a budget for snow removal on that scale. So, since the roads don’t get plowed, and the drivers can’t drive well on the slippery stuff, our mission ordered all mission vehicles parked, which was just as well, as the icy hills where we live would have actually been dangerous to traverse. Thus, we were forced to remain at home all weekend, which was the first time I haven’t gone out and done missionary work for longer than a day since I got out here.

The interesting situation of being a missionary without work is that the mission rules still apply to you, despite your inability to work. Thus, the normal time-filling activities that the rest of the world enjoys simply aren’t available. This provided me with a lot of time for…thinking (Bad..bad…bad…). Amongst a ocean of quite useless thoughts, one train of thought may have been slightly productive: how opposition in all things is not only necessary, but desired in life.

Genesis 3:19 : In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground…

This was a portion of God’s ‘briefing’ to Adam and Eve shortly after they were expelled from the Garden and in reality, it defines our condition in life quite well. We work (or are supposed to work) for everything we attain in this life, and in the modern day world we spend quite a lot of time doing it. I feel that one of the greatest discoveries we come across in life is that by work we attain happiness. By work, I don’t mean our jobs, but all productive labor. I feel that this is a lesson learned through contrast, and my companion and I spent our snowed-in weekend appreciating that contrast.

As missionaries, we work long hours 7 days a week. 2 years goes by fast, and the opportunity to devote one’s time to serving the Lord and others doesn’t come often. The grind of the work day can be exhausting, and often times I’ve found myself longing for a break. Well, the snow storm presented quite the opportunity for such a break. Anyone who’s been cooped up in a home for longer than a day knows how great it feels to be able to go out and do things again. Well, this feeling was magnified by the sheer boredom we experienced as missionaries, still held under the strict rules of mission life, and therefore unable to distract ourselves.

Maybe some are capable of happily spending long hours at a time staring at a blank wall while lying on their bed, but I seem to be geared towards DOING THINGS. I honestly think the human condition is geared to help us attain happiness through work. Isn’t the American Dream defined as “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”? And usually when I think about that dream, I think about the ability to attain anything we desire in this life through honest work. It’s through work that we grow. If you don’t add any weight to your weight machine, you can push that bar up and down forever, and it won’t do you much good. It’s only when you add some weight, or opposition, that your muscles are able to improve and grow.

And here’s why I’m even talking about this: I went absolutely nuts being stuck in the house for 4 days, and there’s nothing that’ll make you appreciate work like the perspective you get while being incapable of working.

Now go get a job, and be happy.

The end. 🙂

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