Kermit the Frog was proud of being green, an unpretentious pride that thoughtfully explained his acceptance of reality. Being green is another way of saying that your surroundings are new, that you’ve stepped outside of your comfort zone and raised the stakes to another level. The scriptures refer to it as being teachable, as a child subordinates his/herself in order to grow.
I had the opportunity to hear from one of the newly called councilors of the Houston, Texas Temple over the weekend at our Stake Conference. I happen to know the man, John Price; having met him while working at the temple on my regular Wednesday evening shift. He mentioned that the new Temple Presidency was green; something that should be of comfort to new converts to the church, his membership going back quite a few years. He didn’t mind admitting that he needed to learn, to progress; a reminder that it doesn’t matter how old you are, how long you’ve been a member of the church, the learning process goes on forever.
I was reminded of the first time I was asked to talk in front of the congregation, a fairly new convert. I wondered to myself, as I prepared during that week, what I could say to anyone who’d been a member longer than I’d been, what scripture I might read that they hadn’t heard before. Back then there was something called a Two Minute Talk, just enough time to blurt out something, sit back down and recover your breathe and get the circulation back in your hands and feet.
While I was studying and preparing my daughter, Bonnie, was playing with one of my police shirts. She was a little over a year old at the time and the long sleeve blue shirt reached to the floor as she walked around sporting a smile for having found a treasure. She had fun placing the “PD’s” in various places; middle of the sleeve, front pocket or anywhere other than on the lapel where they were supposed to go. I took a picture, a fond memory that hasn’t faded.
I was listening to the Spirit as it guided my thoughts, what I should say in my prepared talk, although I wasn’t the one preparing the talk anymore. I was made aware of my need to learn, my ability to grow into my new found membership in the church; not much different than my daughter being wrapped in the oversized police shirt.
Things haven’t changed much over the years; that moment in time was captured in 1978. I continue to mark my progression, or lack thereof, with each passing day. Each calling in church brings with it challenges that cause me to wonder how I’ve made it this far, feelings of inadequacy remind me that I’m not so bright, not too sharp a pencil as I thought I was the day before.
Wednesday evenings I show up at the Temple to provide whatever service I’m asked. I look forward to the challenges, knowing that I struggle to remember the exact wording of each ordinance, trying to remember to breathe in and breathe out, to relax a little more so my knees don’t lock up on me. Maybe one day, hopefully not too far in the future, I’ll have done those ordinances enough times to where the exact wording is firmly engrained, a reflex beyond error. My guess is that’s the day I’ll be asked to learn something altogether new, another chance to step out of my comfort zone, to become teachable as a little child, willing to submit in order to progress through all generations of time and throughout all eternity.
It occurred to me that the steeple atop the temple is made of copper. The natural oxidation process causes the copper to turn green; how about that! The picture I’ve chosen was taken at dusk, about the same time I report on Wednesdays.
( Blogger was down earlier when attempting to post this via Picasa; hopefully it will only show up once)