Most of you who are reading this have heard of or seen a ball pit. Ball pits are rooms in places of entertainment that are filled waist deep with little colorful plastic balls. They are hollow, so are very light. Children (adults) jump into these pits and wallow and swim around in the balls. They can tunnel through them with ease, and pop up and surprise others. They are meant to be places of great fun.
Most of God’s children who come to earth fall into a single category of people. We tend to lose ourselves in the moment, and think of nothing but the sensory pleasure of wading through the balls, enjoying the bright colors, and listening to the giggles and squeals of laughter coming from ourselves and our neighbors.
As long as we are in something like a ball pit such things as chores at home, responsibilities of work, commitments, and obligations go by the wayside. We are swallowed up in the sensory rush of the ball pit. The adrenaline of the moment sweeps us along as we surf and dive through the balls, exhausting ourselves in the pleasure the play provides.
The image I am trying to convey here is one of a false reality, one where all the outside commitments and requirements of life temporarily disappear in the pleasure of the moment. This does not negate all the responsibilities or obligations we have outside the ball pit, but while in the ball pit it is difficult to continue having fun if we make ourselves remember the obligations we have to return to once we return to reality.
Life in mortality is like time spent in the ball pit. There is so much going on. We can throw ourselves into a million diversions and forget that mortality is really a false reality. Mortality is temporary, not eternal. Eternal realities are what we have forgotten by entering the ball pit of mortality. Our responsibility is to learn and accept that mortality is fleeting, and not a true representation of our lives in eternity. Mortality only offers the smallest tastes of joys that can be ours if we honor the real-life commitments God wants us to make and keep, with His help, through covenants.
King David had a good understanding of the transitory nature of our lives on earth. In Psalm 119:176 he makes a telling statement:
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.
We have all gone astray, in that we have all broken the commandments of God. But how many of us actually pray to God that he will find us? I love David’s plea, “seek thy servant.” As the lost sheep which the shepherd leaves the ninety and nine to go find, David counts himself as the 100th sheep that needs to be found.
So I ask you, do you consider yourself one of the ninety and nine, or do you have a need in your soul to be found by your God and brought back to the fold? As I was growing up the lost sheep was always the one without God in their life. This was the person who had become completely worldly and had forsaken all that the ninety and nine held dear.
As an adult, I now question my interpretation of this message. There are still commandments I’m not obeying as I should. I am still easily distracted by the ball pit of life. There are movies, politics, sports, travel, entertainment events, dances, parties, celebrations, etc., etc. So many things are vying for my attention, clamoring for my loyalties, demanding my attendance, that it is difficult to know what is eternally real and what is ball pit material. It is so easy for me to get caught up in the cares of this world, this ball pit, that I have a hard time remembering that my parent is calling to me, reminding me that where I am is not the real world of eternity, but only a stopover before we go home.
There are times in my life when I can glimpse the temporary nature of where I am. At those times I feel to pray to my God that he will, like the lost sheep, come and find me and reclaim me. There is no safety but in the arms of the Lord, in his covenants, and in his ways.
Each week we have the opportunity to go to Church and take the sacrament. This is a reminder that in our reaffirming our commitment to our baptismal covenants, he will still uphold his promises to give us the Spirit to guide us and teach us, direct us and counsel us. We cannot make it home without this guidance. We cannot keep a clear vision of eternity amid the splendors and cares of our mortal ball pit if we don’t deliberately move our eyesight from the pretty things around us, and the sorrows that consume us, to our eternal parents standing outside the pit reminding us that our time is short before we need to go home.
All the things we want our children to learn in this life, like sharing and putting the needs of others before their own wants, are the same lessons our eternal parents want for us. Being in the ball pit of life is about learning to live in the midst of distractions with the same ethical code we need for living in eternity when those distractions will have been done away with. We need to choose to live like our parents now, despite the temptations and enticements to abandon what we have been taught by our parents.
Satan would have us live for today only, and let tomorrow take care of itself. Our parents know better, and have given us the commandments, prayer, the priesthood and the Holy Ghost, to help us not only see past the edge of the ball pit of mortality, but to begin to see what our lives can be like in eternity when we go home again. These are tools to help us see more clearly so we understand what our true challenges are in the here and now.
Yes, I need to be found. I need for my Savior to come looking for me and bring me home. He may have given me to tools in the way of commandments and scriptures, but sometimes I also need to be shown how to use them so they work as intended.
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