Everything felt normal when I woke that morning. I perused my usual things sliding into the day. Then, just as I decided to get going, I read the comments on a video featuring a beautiful young woman. They distressed my soul. The controversy leaped off the page.
So I curiously opened the polarizing video and watched and felt. I anticipated the conflict and confusion, but, instead, I felt an oppressive sadness. I couldn’t shake it. I felt bothered by the comment war of words, particularly from the apparent source of the video. I clicked on his profile and realized I’d encountered him before from other YouTube videos.
How interesting to devote so much of one’s life to inciting discord! And how curious to base a conflict on love, when that didn’t appear to be the issue to me at all—I understood the marketing and propaganda value of basing a conflict on love, but found it manipulative rather than true.
I really want to understand people’s perspectives. Obviously, I can’t identify with everyone’s life experiences, so I try to imagine the person’s journey. Of course, that attempt’s still clouded by my limited personal experience, but since emotion is universal, I try to understand the fundamental emotion and then identify that way.
I knelt, praying for peace and understanding for myself and everyone else. I got up and went to make my dog some breakfast.
The Infestation Horror in the Kitchen
I’d left a cookie sheet to cool on the counter the night before. It sat partly under the cabinet near the refrigerator. As I opened the fridge and glanced at the counter, I saw a black and brown pile across the cookie sheet spilling over onto the counter. What in the world? I’d never seen anything like it!
As I got closer, I realized all of the brown bits were larvae! Hundreds and hundreds of teeny squirmy creatures. I just couldn’t fathom it! What caused this infiltration? I couldn’t find an entry point in the kitchen. Without any answers, I began meticulously scouring the counter. I wiped down everything without any sign of the genesis.
While my dog’s food was finally cooking, I cleaned out a little backpack I’d hung up after an adventure. It had a few drink packs in it, which I hardly ever use, but have plenty on hand. I opened the “healthy food” cabinet to put them away again.
To my HORROR, black and brown piles consumed two shelves of that little cabinet!! How long had it been since I’d opened my healthy cabinet? Apparently long enough! Piles fell out of the cabinet onto the kitchen counter I’d just meticulously cleaned. Gah!
I emptied the cupboard. I tossed a lot of the healthy stuff. I sterilized sealed bottles of stuff. And I found ground zero—a baggie of healthy green dog tablets that I’d forgotten about. The baggie looked nearly full of the black and brown pile. When I lifted it up, the pile fell out through tiny chewed holes.
So the brown wiggly parts were digesting the healthy dark green, now black green dust tablets, and multiplying at a horrifically alarming rate. Every brown speck was a larva.
Second round of fumigating the kitchen counter. Finally every speck of the cabinet and counter were clean. Until I randomly, accidentally, hit the shelf. It tilted and a smaller black and green pile fell from the cracks around the shelf which I immediately removed out of the cabinet.
Third round of fumigating the kitchen counter.
The Warning in the Kitchen
Of course my mind was going a million miles a minute throughout the entire morning while exterminating the infestation. I thought everything from “I am a horrible housekeeper” to “don’t burn the dog’s food on the stove” to “how hysterical is it that the healthy food cabinet was attacked” to “why didn’t they like that other healthy food” to “I am going to vomit for the rest of my life” to “why me” to “not again” to “this is a really unnecessarily graphic answer to my prayer.”
Some creature found its way into my healthy cabinet and to the treasure trove of little green dog treats. Did it visit only once? How long did it take to chew its way into that baggy? How on earth could one creature propagate thousands of offspring?! I couldn’t even bring myself to consider an army of creatures marching into my healthy cabinet to safely reproduce unimpeded.
I wouldn’t know the answer to any of those questions, because I didn’t pay any attention to the healthy cabinet. It was all healthy and all safe as far as I was concerned. I’d accumulated it. I’d organized it. I knew it was there. I didn’t have to worry about it again, right?
As I emptied the healthy cabinet, I realized how many things had been so important that I’d absolutely forgotten about. Things I told myself I’d use, eventually. I’d wasted a lot resources.
The Lesson in the Kitchen
The comments, video, and subsequent scrolling caused me to ponder how I could positively remain steadfast in my faith. I don’t know what anyone’s faith was or is, so I knew that the lesson was my own lesson. I’m not saying it was or should be concluded to be the lesson for anyone else that I encountered that morning.
I believe that testimony is built and maintained by doing the “simple” things, the “little” things. For me, those things, especially, are meaningful prayer, scripture study and pondering, attending/participating in church and the temple, and paying tithing.
The Lord promises, “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.”
How do I say I have enough? I stop doing the simple, little things—I’m too busy. They’re no longer a priority. I gather here a little and there a little, put it into my healthy spiritual cabinet, and permanently close the door.
I acquired the healthy spiritual cabinet items through some consistent effort of the little things. I read my scriptures. I prayed for Divine confirmation of truth and direction. I attended and participated in church and the temple. I paid a full and honest tithing. But what if I become complacent about those efforts and instead of using the tools, just coast on the knowledge I’ve gained?
“If you don’t use it, you lose it.”
If I’m complacent, a little tiny creature, with absolute undetected freedom, can infiltrate my healthy spiritual cupboard and lay a little seed of discord and doubt onto some good, healthy thing. Left unchecked, that seed multiplies, consuming the healthy thing and reducing it to dust. The infestation grows and multiplies until it requires much sweat, tears, and hours to purge and restore the healthy cabinet.
How can I remain steadfast in my faith? By being vigilant, aware, and consistent in the healthy spiritual cabinet’s little things and by using the items in the cabinet instead of just storing them and ultimately letting them go to waste.
“And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now? Yea, he saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely; Yea, come unto me and bring forth works of righteousness, and ye shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire.”
The answer to my prayer to remain steadfast? Self-assess then correct as needed. Don’t become complacent in the little things, because little things have a huge impact.
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.