Guest Post: Square Knots on the Path of Peace

By Jim Richins

As we journey through life, we are occasionally blessed with moments of sublime satisfaction. These moments of joy are transitory yet ubiquitous, periodic but fleeting. Everyone experiences these moments, many have posted about them in the Bloggernacle. They are like bread crumbs left on the path to peace by a loving Father. For me, they are meteoric epiphanies – bright and spectacular, but then, frequently, gone in an instant, leaving only a faint trace in memory.

In order to experience these moments, one must combine humility and reflection. Sometimes a shift in perspective is required as a catalyst, although their emergence, just like shooting stars, is impossible to predict. One can not control for a set number of variables, lock oneself in a room, and reliably reproduce an epiphany.

These crumbs are actually brilliant gems of revelation. Bursts of inspiration. Cues to remind us of who we are, lessons to teach us how we should be. I believe our Father is itching to show us more of these glimpses into Heaven, but patiently, He restrains Himself for the sake of agency, for the purpose of building faith, and in order to preserve the essential nature of this temporal testing time.

A decade and a half ago, I earned my Eagle Scout award. Since that time up until recently, I have had virtually no interaction with Scouting. However, those memories have begun to trickle back as I have had to refresh my skills for the sake of my calling. I was blessed with another meteor recently, and in the hope of better preserving its memory, I would like to join the ranks of those who have posted about similar experiences in the Bloggernacle.

I realized a few nights ago how much fun it is to tie knots with the Scouts. Our Scouts are working on their Pioneering merit badge, which is where they learn how to whip the ends of a rope to keep it from fraying, how to tie 12 different knots, and how to lash logs and sticks together in order to build a catapult or other semi-useful things. I never knew my knots as well when I was a Scout as I do now. Bowline, double half-hitch, clove-hitch, sheet bend… this is FUN! I had so much fun with this the other night that I began carrying my 2-foot section of rope with me to work to continue to practice.

What IS it about tying knots that makes it so fun? Is it the innocent nature of the activity, the same simplicity which makes many others scoff? Is it the slightly increased level of concentration that brings our minds into a state more likely to receive promptings from the Spirit? Is it some satisfaction with having developed an obscure skill with dubious utility? Is it the pedagological nature of the activity itself – men with testimonies acting as role models for boys with the goal of building character in the future leaders of the Kingdom? Was it the implicit symbolism of knots – of the Priesthood binding us to the Savior? Was it merely the fun of anticipating using some of these knots on the next campout?

I have a friend, whose career, shall we say, does not lend itself toward a religious lifestyle. I wish I could communicate to her how much fun it is to tie knots with Scouts, or to play “Go Fish” with a 4-yr-old, or to work the soil with gardening and composting, as Nate Oman as talked about recently on T&S. I can describe my experience, which may pique her interest for a moment, but like so many others who are not blind yet can not see, my words are not likely to penetrate her heart. If I could truly express how it *feels* to experience a moment like this, perhaps there would be more motivation to investigate.

I suppose all I can do is to continue to pray for her, that her circumstances will combine to humble her, lead her to ask the “questions of the soul”, provide her a moment for reflection, and perhaps, shift her perspective in some fundamental way.

We commonly hear in churches and Temples similar prayers that express our hope that the missionaries will be lead to the “pure in heart”. Perhaps my respected and appreciated fellow Bloggernackers will join me in praying that other beloved hearts will be humbled sufficiently to “experiment on our words”, and seek for epiphanies of their own.

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Jim Richins has been trolling around the bloggernacle for about 1 year. He currently works as Senior Software Engineer for a motion control company with a very specialized application in robotics. He served in the Japan Sapporo mission, 1992-1993, and afterwards studied Computer Science, Organizational Communication, and Japanese at the University of Utah. He and his wife have 3 children. He has been told by his mother that he is the most intelligent man she has ever met, although his wife contends that he is only the most handsome. He naively continues to believe both statements, despite the preponderance of evidence to the contrary.

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2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Square Knots on the Path of Peace

  1. It’s a beautiful irony that often those much needed personal insights come when praying for someone else.

  2. Thanks Jim. I too have tried to explain to friends the value of the simplest pleasures, like the marvel of my 2-year-old daughter gingerly pressing her lips against my cupped hand to slurp water after I’ve brushed her teeth, but my friends would not believe. They were planning trips to Las Vegas and Rio, where they would have fun.

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