I leaned over the railing, awestruck by the gorgeous vista filling every bit of my periphery. I’d heard of Waimea Canyon, aka Hawaii’s Grand Canyon, but it was even more beautiful and vibrant than I had imagined. And my vantage point was spectacular.
The sky’s deep cloud cover enhanced the natural colors. A fog slowly descended into the canyon. The canyon’s reds and oranges starkly contrasted with the various shades of greens. The winding rivers offered varying shades of blues and whites. The cascading waterfall added even more diversity to the palate. And then, the solitary white bird flying through the canyon provided another pop.
Together, each colorful component created a masterpiece.
Two days later, I agreed to be the substitute chorister for Sacrament meeting in my ward. I sat on the stand and as my eyes swept across the congregation, I suddenly felt the same breathtaking awe as I surveyed the ward member’s faces. Spiritual gifts that I’ve noticed in them shone—shining in a beautiful diversity.
I saw varying colors of faith and hope. Gifts of love created a beautiful hue throughout the chapel. Service emanated brightly. Life’s experiences generated depth and texture. Laughter wafted through the room washing over its recipients like the glorious waterfall.
I felt like I breathlessly leaned over the railing looking at these people, seeing the same glorious diversity in texture, talents, which all combined to create a glorious, exquisite scene.
1 Corinthians 12 describes the scene I saw. Paul taught the Corinthians about the various gifts of the Spirit each person is blessed with, and then took it a bit further to describe how each member is an important part of the Gospel’s cohesive whole.
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. … But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. … For the body is not one member, but many.
If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. … But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?”
How silly it is to think the eye or ear or foot isn’t important. It’s unique and different, but all part of the whole. There isn’t one particular “Body Mold” because each part has a different purpose and talent. How silly it is to compare ourselves to others around us. Each of us are unique and different, but all part of the whole. There isn’t a particular “Mormon Mold” because each person is unique and receives different spiritual gifts and purposes from Heavenly Father.
How could we ever compare ourselves to each other? That would be like comparing the dirt of Waimea Canyon to the trees or the river or the bird. Which one is better? Which adds more to the beauty of the scene? Without one, the others wouldn’t be as vibrant! Without one, the scene would lack its vitality!
Theodore Roosevelt said “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Koshin Ogui said “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.”
And blooming is so powerful. As we bloom, we see the true purpose of our creation, which is joy. President Uchtdorf reiterated our creation and purpose by saying,
“Remember that you are spirit [children] of the most creative Being in the universe. Isn’t it remarkable to think that your very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God? Think about it—your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with a beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination.
But to what end were we created? We were created with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fulness of joy. Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness.”
You are the reason that God created the universe. And so am I. I imagine Him looking over His divine railing, smiling with breathless wonder at His creations—each of us—in our glorious diversity of spiritual gifts, personalities, talents, abilities. All of our uniqueness combine to paint a magnificent scene, one of eternal significance and divine potential.
Thank you, each of you, for splashing your vibrant colors so beautifully across life’s canyons. I noticed, looked within, and learned how to bloom.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.