Another Lesson From An Ink Blot

To be worthy does not mean to be perfect. - Gerrit W. Gong
To be worthy does not mean to be perfect. – Gerrit W. Gong

This is a drawing of a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In order to go in one, you have to have a recommend signed by yourself, a member of your bishopric (congregational leaders), and a member of your stake presidency (leaders over a cluster of congregations). To get a recommend, you answer a series of questions about your testimony of Jesus Christ, and your willingness to keep his commandments.

I had a little serendipity today as I was finishing up this drawing. I was erasing the pencil marks and forgot about the place where the ink was thick and needed extra time to dry. I ran the eraser straight through it. This is not a difficult mistake to fix with White-Out or photo editing, but I thought that for today at least, I should leave it.

I mean, if you look at the temple in the picture, you can see it’s not quite perfect either. I still have a learning curve and plenty of room for practice. But still, it’s a picture that conveys the idea I wanted. Combined with the words of Elder Gong, I think the ink smear provides an opportunity to think about what we expect of ourselves, and compare that to what God expects of us. We can have flaws, we can make mistakes. We can repent, do our best to fix the mistakes, and then move on. God will forgive us. With my drawings, each picture is an opportunity to learn, make mistakes, and then go on and draw something new. I can’t linger on how I wish this one had turned out differently. I have to appreciate what I’ve learned and try to do better next time.

If I let one messed-up drawing keep me from doing another one, my growth stops. I think each day is like a drawing. Some days we create something truly beautiful, and other days we just want to finish the picture the best we can and move on to something new. It’s like Anne Shirley said in Anne of Green Gables,

“Tomorrow’s a whole new day, with no mistakes in it yet.”

So, remember to appreciate your mistakes. As a sixth grade student recently told a newspaper reporter, “The only way you can really learn is by making lots of mistakes.”

(Read and Follow the Directions)

I’ve been reading the story of an army of faith-filled young men, who believed so firmly in what their mothers taught them about God, and Jesus Christ, that although they fought ferociously in battle, and all of them were wounded, not a single one of them died in war. It’s an amazing thought to me. How much faith those mothers must have had (and their fathers also), to teach their sons and then send them off to war, trusting that they would be so protected.

And then, after all that, when it seemed that their country had forgotten them, when they faced starvation because of the neglect of the people for whom they fought, they exercised an increase in faith and did not despair, or use it as an excuse for taking it easy or quitting. They prayed harder, believed the answering peace that came, and kept working. That’s when God kept his promise and sent them help.

Book of Mormon, Alma 58

10 Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people. 11 Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.

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