Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stay inside and live

I LOVE to ski. Growing up, I was only a few minutes away from a ski area and I would go often with friends and family. As I began to get older, my love for the sport increased. I would often go by myself practicing techniques and different runs in the hopes that my skills would improve. The more I practiced, the better I got, and the faster I went. I can remember a few choice times where I was skiing by myself, the only thing I could hear was the wind rushing past my hears and the smell of pine mixed with new snow. Those were the moments that I lived for in the winter. I was a speed demon on the snow and nothing could stop me.

I remember one particular day I was skiing with a couple of my friends from college up at a ski area in the Teton mountain range called Targhee. It was a beautiful day. The conditions were perfect, and all of us wanted to go hit the hidden jumps that are very prevalent in the trees. While sitting on the chair lift, I remember one of my buddies asking me if I was going to put my hand in the strap that was attached to my ski pole. I thought about it, knowing that I never usually do, but something told me that I shouldn't that day. I listened to the voice and didn't put my hand in the strap. Going off the chair lift, we proceeded to race down the mountain until we came to a stretch of pine trees. We formed ourselves in a line and one by one went through the trails that led through the trees. As I went through, I began to go faster and faster and I could feel my adrenaline climbing. What could be more fun than this? As I planted my left ski pole into the snow, I felt it sink into a hidden hole and get stuck. I was momentarily tugged backwards, but because I didn't have my hand inside the strap, it was easy for me to let go. As I stopped and looked back at my pole standing by itself in the snow, I was overwhelmed with gratitude that the spirit had told me to not put my hand in the strap. Think of what would have happened! My whole left arm would have been ripped from the socket due to the speed I was going and the angel at which my arm would have been pulled back. I left the trees feeling very humble and grateful that the Lord cares about me even when I am not doing something spiritual, like skiing.

One of my best friends is a ski patrolman. We love to ski together and have great times exploring the different runs and terrains that the mountains have to offer. I had a very interesting experience with him that taught me the value of having boundaries.
While going skiing with Dave one day, we decided that we were going to go out of bounds. He knew where some amazing snow was, so I followed him. As I followed him down the mountain, I was a little bit anxious because I had no idea where I was. This was a part of the mountain that I had never been on before and the only direction I had was by following my friend. I remember following closely behind him when suddenly he sharply turned his skis to the right. I followed suit, following in his tracts exactly. The reason why he had suddenly turned was because there was a hidden spring that had melted the snow and had left a 6 foot deep hole full of boulders inside it. As I followed his tracts, my left ski caught under one of the hidden rocks and I lost my balance. To my dismay, I fell headlong into the hole and watched as my skis flew in different directions. I was very lucky that day to have walked away with no major injuries. While falling, I covered my face with my arms and my helmet protected my head, leaving me with only a few scratches.

Driving home that night, I was once again full of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for protecting me. I knew that my friend had not purposefully led me to danger, but I learned the importance of the boundary limits that are posted around a ski area. Similarly, our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ set boundary limits for us. Commandments are given not to restrict us, but to protect us from unseen dangers that are in our path. As we listen to the words of the modern day prophets, read the words of the scriptures, and live them, we are able to stay inside our spiritual boundaries and stay safe from the traps and snares that the adversary has in store for us. I testify that the Savior lives. He loves us, and as we heed His words and apply them to our lives, we will be be happier.

In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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