Monday, March 5, 2012

Letting the Sunshine In

In January I was asked to write/direct our ward's roadshow. Good times. ;) Our theme this year: "Pick an Old Testament Story." I pondered for a time, then settled on the story of Moses, and his task to lead the children of Israel to freedom.

This story has often puzzled me. Through the help of the Lord, Moses was able to perform miracle after miracle. And these weren't just small, ordinary, every day miracles that take place all around us. These were huge, unforgettable show-stoppers, like causing horrible plagues among the Egyptians, parting the Red Sea, producing water from places where water didn't exist, bringing down manna from heaven, etc. The part that has always bothered me is that no matter what wonders the Israelites witnessed, they weren't satisfied. They were always complaining and murmuring, not to mention misbehaving when, say, Moses did things like meet with the Lord to receive important commandments and laws.

So this was the story chosen. I called the script: "Attitude is Everything--Or Why Moses Broke the Ten Commandments." Each line rhymed (an annoying habit of mine when I sometimes compose these type of things) and it was full of humor. When manna from heaven "came down," a loaf of bread was hurled onto the stage for the "children of Israel" to fight over. The birds that fell from the sky were represented by a  rubber chicken that was also thrown onto the stage. Etc. and so forth. I was hoping the youth that were involved in this production would absorb the teaching moment I prayed this production would be. At the end, we sang a song I remodeled. The lyrics are as follows:

Open Up Your Heart And Let The Sunshine In
(Modified by: Cheri J. Crane)
My mommy told me something
That everyone should know
It's all about how life should be
One’s attitude does show

She says it causes trouble
When you frown the live long day
Unhappiness is your choice
If you choose to be that way!

So let the sun shine in
Face it with a grin
Smilers never lose
And frowners never win
So let the sun shine in
Face it with a grin
Open up your heart
And let the sun shine in

When you are unhappy
You make others sad
Being grumpy is quite sinful
It means your attitude is bad

So if you're full of trouble
And you never seem to win
Just open up your heart
And let the sun shine in

[Repeat CHORUS]

I was so proud of my cast when they sang this song for the final performance. As it rang out through the audience, I found myself praying that the message we attempted to portray would be absorbed. We live in a difficult time. Trials and heartbreaking challenges surround us. And yet, despite it all, there is hope--but it's up to us to see it.

As often happens in my life, a strong analogy came to mind, one that had hit me between the eyes several years ago. I had been struggling with a bit of tribulation and woke up feeling less than cheery. In a dark mood, I stomped around, attempting to get ready for the day. As I made the bed and straightened things up in our bedroom, a task I usually complete first thing each morning, I noticed that the lighting didn't look right. Then it dawned on me that I hadn't opened the blinds that cover the window. As I walked over to accomplish this simple task, bright sunlight flooded inside that room. At that moment, a thought came to mind: "It's up to you to let the light in. It exists. It's there, but only you can open the blinds."

I've pondered that wisdom periodically . . . usually on bad days when nothing seems to go right. My attitude is up to me. I decide what kind of day I'm going to enjoy . . . or suffer through. There are days, however, when despite good intentions and positive outlook, tears still surface and heartache pierces through. Some trials are so difficult, we can't walk that path alone. Those are the times when we must trust in the Lord. If we'll simply look (Check out the story about the brazen serpent, found in both the Bible, and the Book of Mormon) we can live. Peace can enter even the most shattered heart. I've seen this happen repeatedly in my own life and I know it's true. Though I don't always succeed, I do try to look on the bright side whenever possible. I suspect that is a huge part of the test we call mortal life.