Sunday, October 21, 2007

"Mischief"

One of my favorite movies is "Fiddler on the Roof." In it, Tevye, a Jewish dairyman with five daughters in late-czarist Russia struggles to maintain his traditions as the world changes around him.
Early in the film, as he is making his last Friday deliveries, his horse pulls up lame and Tevye must yoke himself to his dairy cart while his horse walks beside him. While pulling the cart, Teyve looks heavenward and says,
Dear God. Was that necessary? Did you have to make him lame just before the Sabbath? That wasn't nice. It's enough you pick on me. Bless me with five daughters, a life of poverty, that's all right. But what have you got against my horse?
Really, sometimes I think, when things are too quiet up there, you say to yourself, "Let's see. What kind of mischief can I play on my friend, Tevye?"
Sometimes, I feel a little like Tevye.
In the commotion of life, I'm often moments away from a much-needed rest when the Lord decides to play a little mischief on me. It happened after I graduated from BYU when despite excellent grades I couldn't find a job. It happened when instead of going back to BYU or the University of Utah for law school, I ended up at Baylor. And I can feel it happening now.
Since the day we came to Baylor, my wife and I have looked forward to returning permanently to Utah. And lately, I've been feeling very Utah-sick. It's October 21 here in Waco, and it was 88 degrees. The leaves on the trees are still green. But in Utah, I'm told, the air is crisp. And the mountains are a mosaic of fall foliage. It snowed yesterday.
I miss Fall in Utah!
But I don't think I'll see a Utah Fall for some time. Even though I interviewed for several positions in Utah this summer, that horse has pulled up lame. And now I find myself yoked to an unexpected burden.
Yet I know that what at first blush seems mischievous is really part of a better plan. For no matter how well-thought-out my plans are, the Lord's will is always best. Sometimes, it's His will to test my patience and faith. (See Mosiah 23:21). Thus, it's my privilege to "submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord," as hard as it may be. (See Mosiah 24:9-17).
And Christ has promised rest to those who are yoked to life's struggles. He said,
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30).
So, like Tevye, I must yoke myself to my cart and move forward knowing that I'm not pulling alone. For a Sabbath awaits. It may be in the Fall of Utah's mountain valleys. Or it may be the rest which comes only after a life well-lived.
But a Sabbath awaits.

4 comments:

mistyp said...

Great way to look at it, My Craig! ;) We still need to watch that movie together! Maybe SOMEDAY (like after law school life ends) we'll have time to be together to watch a "stinkin'" movie. Sounds nice to me, even if it is in the Texas heat! ;) I love you!!!!

Paul said...

And to make things worse, you can't even watch a BYU football game for a diversion. Maybe some of your "six days of labor" are to be out in the mission field where there is a greater need for leadership. Last night during a meeting with the high council a brother in the stake spoke about how it had been his desire all along to live in Idaho near his family, but life just didn't take him in that direction. He now has grown children and has served faithfully in the church for years, including for a time as a bishop. I'm confident that in the future the road your family will travel will be straight and narrow and filled with the peace that always accompanies people on that road. It will be interesting, however, to see whether that road is surrounded by mountains or plains or seas. Good luck on your journey.

Craig Pankratz said...

Paul,

I'm glad you've started reading my blog!

And Misty and I have contented ourselves to know that the Lord will put us where we are needed.

I thought about putting in that I don't get to watch BYU games, but I didn't want to sound too whiny.

Delajean said...

What a beautiful post, Craig! You have such an eloquent way of putting words on the page. I long for you kids to be back close again, but have reconciled myself to the notion that it most likely isn't the time. So...I'm excited to find out where in this big world you'll end up next. I trust "Him" (the only one who knows the end from the beginning).