Do you dread going to a large shopping mall because you can’t quite get your bearings in that monster of a maze – the parking lot? Have you ever gone to visit someone in a large hospital and felt
embarrassed about not knowing which hallway takes you back to the elevator? Have you ever felt a sense of panic after making one wrong turn after another? Have you ever called your husband to guide you home?
If you answered yes, then you know exactly how frightening, frustrating, and terribly embarrassing these situations can be. According to one estimate, about 25-50 million Americans consider themselves “directionally-challenged.” I didn’t realize there were that many but I’m relieved to know that I’m not so strange. You see, I’m one of those 25-50 million Americans. I get hopelessly lost when I’m in an unfamiliar territory! If you hate feeling helpless and dependent as much as I do then you see what a predicament this can be.
Another directionally-challenged writer began a humorous article on her condition with this sentence; “There are some people who are so bad with directions, they couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag.” (Peggy J. Parks) A slight exaggeration perhaps but I completely understand where she’s coming from.
So why am I writing about this today? Well, new technology has made the lives of people like me a lot easier, and we acquired this technology recently. I’m talking of course about a GPS (Global Positioning System) car navigation system. I can almost draw a line and say this was my life before GPS, and here is my life after GPS.
Before GPS, I’d gotten to the point where I’d trained my children to help me remember turns, landmarks, and street names so that we can find our way back home. When MapQuest came out, I made sure that I printed out directions both there and back, and assigned one of the kids to read the directions as we went. Before GPS, I hated to drive anywhere new or unfamiliar without my husband. Before GPS, I was a nervous wreck when I had to drive anywhere outside of my comfort zone. In fact, I avoided these kinds of trips and assignments as much as possible.
Today, I no longer feel this fear. Thanks to advanced technology like the GPS car navigation system, I no longer avoid tasks that requires me to drive to an unfamiliar neighborhood or town. Now, I just have to wait for a mobile system that can help me navigate shopping malls and hospital floors, but I can always ask a kind-looking person or even wake up a resting patient. I’d much rather have something that can help me get home.
I have another guide that helps me to get Home. This guide, a “spiritual GPS” if you will, is the Holy Ghost. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints receive the gift of the Holy Ghost after we are baptized. The gift of the Holy Ghost is a constant and sure guide unlike any other. It is with us always as long as we keep God’s commandments.
What or who is the Holy Ghost? We believe that the Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead, and that He is a personage of Spirit. We believe that the Godhead consists of three separate beings that are one in purpose; God, the Eternal Father, His son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost has many roles. He comforts, testifies, instructs, witness, and guides.
The gift of the Holy Ghost is available as a sure guide, as the voice of conscience, and as a moral compass. This guiding compass is personal to each of us. It is unerring. It is unfailing. However, we must listen to it in order to steer clear of the shoals which will cause our lives to sink into unhappiness and self-doubt.
We need a sure compass because many of the standards, values, vows, and obligations which have helped us preserve our spirituality, our honor, our integrity, our worth, and our decency have little by little been assaulted and discarded.
This sure compass, the gift of the Holy Ghost is a very real force in my life. I’ve felt the burning witness of the Holy Ghost at various times in my life during my studies of the Scriptures and of the Church. I’ve felt the comforting warmth of this gift in times of sorrow. I’ve felt the insistent prompting of the Holy Ghost telling me that I should leave a certain place at once. And yes, there were many times when this precious gift guided me to a decision that I needed to make or a place that I needed to be. It has guided me in the direction that I’ve taken with my life.
Today, I am thankful for guides and compasses that help us get to where we need to go. I’m grateful for guides and tools that help us to get home. I’m eternally grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost, the sure compass and guide to help us get back Home to our Heavenly Father.
Home! Isn’t that a beautiful word? Isn’t it wonderful that we can all go back Home? Isn’t it amazing that we have a guide that can helps us get back Home?