At 11:30 today, I was sitting in a packed cultural hall at the Logan LDS Institute, waiting for Al Fox Carraway to speak. A blank notebook sat on my lap and my eyes were riveted on the pulpit. I’d been waiting weeks to hear her, and I didn’t know if I could wait much longer.
As she stood up and began to talk with us, I began to write, feeling little tidbits of inspiration just flow through me. I was absorbed and engaged and really enjoying myself, when suddenly, from seemingly out of nowhere, a thought slammed into my mind.
You’re living the Gospel wrong.
What. I mean, really. What?
I’m not perfect, but I’m not breaking commandments with reckless abandon, I thought. I’m not rebelling against authority, skipping church every week, or treating my covenants lackadaisically, I thought. Really, I’m doing quite well. I thought.
But as I watched Al on the stage, watched the way her eyes lit up and her hands moved and her body bounced up and down on her heels, I realized what I was missing, what I was failing to do. It wasn’t something overwhelming, it wasn’t something that jeopardizes my worthiness, but it was something I’ve stopped doing consciously for awhile now. Something meaningful.
I’ve been living the Gospel wrong by not loving it and being excited about it every. Single. Day. And today I learned that Heavenly Father hasn’t been too happy with me about it.
I’m really good at living my life as if I don’t know the greatest truth that the world can know. I live my life as if I don’t have the answers to life’s hardest questions, as if I haven’t been atoned for, as if I don’t realize my family can be together forever, and as if I don’t have a creator of a universe for a father. Sometimes, I walk around and forget that I am part of a Plan of Happiness and that my prayers are answered. So many don’t have what I have, and yet, I forget to be excited and grateful about it.
How can I? Knowing what I know, how can I not be ecstatic every single day of my life?
It’s because I forget.
When the Sacrament is being passed and my covenants are renewed, I forget to raise my head and rejoice. When I open my hymnbook and the song is marked with the words cheerfully or with enthusiasm, I forget what those things mean. When I’m sitting in a meeting, listening to someone speak, I forget to be excited, to recognize that the truths they teach guarantee my eternal happiness if I allow them.
I have the greatest gift anyone could ever be given, and I don’t wake up every morning excited about it. In that way, I’m failing.
Today, watching Al speak, I noticed the way she smiled, the way she glowed, the way she punctuated everything she said with “and I love it.” Joy radiated from her, and I felt so embarrassed. How could I have lived my whole life knowing the things that I know and not be as happy as she is? And not want to share it every single day?
This thing, this big thing we call life, is part of a divine plan. It was created for us to teach us, strengthen us, and save us. It was designed in a way to allow us to be saved and saved at the side of our family members. No one is left behind, and no one is left out. Every one of us has been carried in the arms of a Savior who came here, not for himself, but for every individual who has ever lived. You are living and breathing and changing because of him. Isn’t it incredible? Isn’t it joyous?
Of all of the bad and depressing news, this is the best and happiest news. And it’s eternal. Unchanging.
I know Heavenly Father wants us to be happy about His plan, to wake up every single day and be excited to be a part of it. This is no mediocre, meh journey. It’s salvation, eternity, happiness, and adventure. It’s the Gospel.
And sometimes, no matter how good we are at living it, we forget to do what matters just as much: love it.