The Magic Moment

Reflecting with an old friend this morning, he asked the question: When did you change? When did everything become different?

My mind hopped around my life history looking for that one moment. When did it happen?

There was my mission when I caught fire. That fire changed me.

There was and is Nancy, so gently and totally transformative. She continues to change me in subtle ways.

There was the time when I finished Les Miserables and felt overwhelmed with a mixture of compassion and goodness. I wanted to be a better man.

There was the time when I counseled a woman with a life in shambles. As God sent a message of love for her, I realized that He loved me. I stopped resisting His love.

There was that time when everything seemed to fall apart. I realized that I couldn’t make my life what it needed to be. I turned to Him more earnestly than ever.

It is hard for me to assess how much my believing ancestors and dear parents have changed me. They are the water in which I have always swum.

There was Stephen Robinson’s book that opened my heart to new vistas of the atonement of Jesus Christ. That book continues to bless me.

Of course there are the books of scripture. What would I be without them?

There have been thousands of flashes of insight along the way. Which is the definitive experience?

After some reflection I realized that the question doesn’t fit my experience. While it is true that some transformative moments are bigger than others, I cannot find a single magical moment. All the pieces of life’s puzzle must fit together. No piece makes sense independent of its context. Even a big piece needs all the other pieces in order to fit, to make sense, to add meaning.

And the One who assembles the puzzle of our lives knows exactly when to put each piece in place.

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. (2 Nephi 28:30)

Thank you, Father, for giving precisely what I needed exactly when I needed it. And for doing the same for each and every one of Your children.

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  • Reply Candleman May 28, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Good answer! Life is a journey. Lots of grand vistas, with miles of more ordinary stuff (time for processing) in between. Yet, even in the more mundane moments there are thrills that, like crunching into a surprise pepper corn in a salami sandwich, make it all a delight.

    Thanks, again, for the answer, I loved the details.

  • Reply Kristen May 28, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    I felt the same way when I finished Les Miserables. Having you list your life-changing moments helps me remember mine. Maybe because they’ve happened in bits and pieces and not one huge change-of-heart, it’s not easy to recognize them. Unless I take the time to reflect on and list those moments I might miss the big picture they are helping to create.

  • Reply Lynn May 28, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    I read “Les Miz” for the first time when I was in fifth grade. [Obviously, a lot of it went over my head.] What a great story, with or without the soundtrack. Also love Stephen Robinson’s books, particularly the parable of the bicycle. I have been trying to list “defining moments” for a future blog post, and I keep coming up with a handful of Big Things and a bushel of Little Things. I just know that I’m happiest when I let God nudge me one way or another. Tonight He nudged my sleepy body into Target to pick up another rolling cooler so I can neatly divide the 72-hour kits into “LittleBit’s Stuff” and “My Stuff”; she graduates in ten days, and we establish separate households the week after that. Having an empty nest after 24/7 momming for 30 years surely qualifies as a defining moment.

  • Reply Jim May 29, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    Wally, this is a great perspective you offer- thank you. Too often I fail to see the big picture. Too often I may be trying to assemble my own puzzle rather than trusting in Heavenly Father and allowing Him to guide the puzzle assembly in my life.

    We all have had these defining moments, and for me, they mostly involve others that have taken an interest in me and have been wonderful examples of selfless service.

    We are still “works in progress,” and we can be an instrument in the Lord’s hands to help provide defining moments for others.

    • Reply admin May 30, 2008 at 11:43 am

      Yes, Jim. We should be as patient with ourselves as we want to be with others. BTW, I read something in a Wendy Watson book that I thought you would enjoy. I will see if I can find it again.



  • Reply Charmaine May 30, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    I keep a “Scripture Journal” of meaningful thoughts that come to me when reading spiritual things and scriptures. The following came from Wally, a few years ago. I wrote it in my Journal and read it over on occasion:
    “The spiritual process that makes us gentler and kinder may be mistaken for the effects of aging to those who are uninformed or uninitiated. For those who have felt that distinctive (and welcome) change; it is much more than aging. It is the most serene of God’s miracles. It is a process that is repeated thousands of times as we progressively rid ourselves of the natural man to make room within us for the disciple.” (From “God Dragged Before Another Earthly Tribunal”

    This explained it for me.

  • Reply Kristen May 30, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    I love this quote! It’s another good one from Dr. Wally. Thanks for sharing it here, as I hadn’t read it before. It’s actually something I’ve thought about quite a bit as I have seen it happen to some loved ones of mine as they have aged. I’ve also seen it NOT happen to some others, so I figured it was something that must be desired and invited in. I hope it is happening to me.

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