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4.03.2011

Like a Currant Bush

This weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the year. 

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have what is called General Conference twice a year.  It is a time when we watch on TV or internet, the general officers of the church speak to the all the members collectively.

It is so spiritually uplifting. . .

A time to learn, a time to be humble, a time to feel loved, a time to grow. . .


I love this man!  He is the president and prophet of our church--

President Thomas S. Monson.

While watching conference today, a story was shared that kind of hit me hard.  A story of a currant bush from Hugh B. Brown.  It is kinda long. . . but a very good read:

I was living up in Canada. I had purchased a farm. It was run-down. I went out one morning and saw a currant bush. It had grown up over six feet high. It was going all to wood. There were no blossoms and no currants. I was raised on a fruit farm in Salt Lake before we went to Canada, and I knew what ought to happen to that currant bush. So I got some pruning shears and clipped it back until there was nothing left but stumps. It was just coming daylight, and I thought I saw on top of each of these little stumps what appeared to be a tear, and I thought the currant bush was crying. I was kind of simpleminded (and I haven’t entirely gotten over it), and I looked at it and smiled and said, “What are you crying about?” You know, I thought I heard that currant bush say this:

“How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. I was almost as big as the shade tree and the fruit tree that are inside the fence, and now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me because I didn’t make what I should have made. How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.”

That’s what I thought I heard the currant bush say, and I thought it so much that I answered. I said, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and someday, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down. Thank you, Mr. Gardener.’ “

 

Years passed, and I found myself in England. I was in command of a cavalry unit in the Canadian Army. I held the rank of field officer in the British Canadian Army. I was proud of my position. And there was an opportunity for me to become a general. I had taken all the examinations. I had the seniority. The one man between me and the office of general in the British Army became a casualty, and I received a telegram from London. It said: “Be in my office tomorrow morning at 10:00,” signed by General Turner.

 

I went up to London. I walked smartly into the office of the general, and I saluted him smartly, and he gave me the same kind of a salute a senior officer usually gives—a sort of “Get out of the way, worm!” He said, “Sit down, Brown.” Then he said, “I’m sorry I cannot make the appointment. You are entitled to it. You have passed all the examinations. You have the seniority. You’ve been a good officer, but I can’t make the appointment. You are to return to Canada and become a training officer and a transport officer.” That for which I had been hoping and praying for 10 years suddenly slipped out of my fingers.

 

Then he went into the other room to answer the telephone, and on his desk, I saw my personal history sheet. Right across the bottom of it was written, “THIS MAN IS A MORMON.” We were not very well liked in those days. When I saw that, I knew why I had not been appointed. He came back and said, “That’s all, Brown.” I saluted him again, but not quite as smartly, and went out.

 

I got on the train and started back to my town, 120 miles away, with a broken heart, with bitterness in my soul. And every click of the wheels on the rails seemed to say, “You are a failure.” When I got to my tent, I was so bitter that I threw my cap on the cot. I clenched my fists, and I shook them at heaven. I said, “How could you do this to me, God? I have done everything I could do to measure up. There is nothing that I could have done—that I should have done—that I haven’t done. How could you do this to me?” I was as bitter as gall.

 

And then I heard a voice, and I recognized the tone of this voice. It was my own voice, and the voice said, “I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do.” The bitterness went out of my soul, and I fell on my knees by the cot to ask forgiveness for my ungratefulness and my bitterness. While kneeling there I heard a song being sung in an adjoining tent. A number of Mormon boys met regularly every Tuesday night. I usually met with them. We would sit on the floor and have Mutual. As I was kneeling there, praying for forgiveness, I heard their singing:

 
“But if, by a still, small voice he calls
To paths that I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine:
I’ll go where you want me to go.”
(Hymns, no. 270)


(story found here)
 

(found here)
 
 
As I was listening to this story, I started to realize that I am like the currant bush.  I am trying to grow into this large bush-- without actually producing any fruit. 
 
Time to do a little pruning. . . or a lot. . .
 
 
How was your weekend?







8 comments:

The Sewing Dork said...

Very introspective. I will have to give that some thought.

Lisa said...

Love you Leisel! Thanks for posting this :)

Pam said...

what an awesome reminder that story is. thanks for sharing.

Mrs. Sassy Crafter said...

I loved the conference to, and I also love President Monson, what a great, spiritual man, def. a man from God.

www.mrssassycrafter.com

missbossypants said...

Beautiful story. It's true, sometimes the answers to our prayers are not the answers we hoped for, but they are the right answers, the way things are supposed to be according to God's plan. I am not a mormon, but I am a believing Protestant, so I really appreciate the spiritual messages many bloggers share.
Be blessed!

Heather said...

Thanks for sharing! I loved this conference it had so many inspiring messages. I always look forward to President Monsons talks he is such a great man and inspires us all to work at being better people. I have a lot of pruning to do myself!

Carolyn said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful reminder!

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Sabra said...

This stuck out to me, too. As did all the talks on prioritizing and putting things in God's order. If that makes any sense? You know, it's always like there is a theme in there just for you, somehow.

I love how motivated I am after Conference. It's amazing what a boost it gives me every six months.