Saturday, August 24, 2013

Restless Beauty: A Bedtime Story

Once upon a time there was a young lady, strong, beautiful and bright. She could conquer the world with a wave of her hand, and she was confident in her knowledge that she was oh so very special. Everyone knew that when she was around, the spotlight followed her, and so did a crowd of people. Everyone wanted to be like Olive, a true princess in and out.

Olive had a problem though, she had a problem sleeping. Every time she went to bed, she would toss and turn, but could never get comfortable. She started piling mattress on her bed, and then pillows and then blankets, but nothing helped. Olive couldn't sleep.

Slowly, her beauty began to fade. Her once cheerful personality faded into grumpy shouts at the admirers that followed her. The beautiful skin that used to glow with joy and love, turned an uneasy shade of pale pale yellow, and her once radiant eyes, dulled, and were framed by dark bags under her eyes.

Slowly, Olives admirers fell away from her and she felt hopeless. "Why can't I sleep?" she wondered, "I used to sleep so well! Always a proper amount, and I always woke up rested!". Just as she was lost in self pity, she felt someone tap her on the shoulder. A very nice old man took a seat on the grass next to her.

"And what's wrong Ms. Olive? Where have your sparkling eyes gone?" said the man. She was silent, the sparkling Olive the world once knew, no longer wished to entertain visitors. She gloomily looked to the ground. "Would you like to sleep again Ms. Olive? I know how you can."

She gasped and looked at the man in astonishment, 'how...' she thought, but couldn't find the words. Who was this man, and how did he find her?

"Don't be afraid Ms. Olive, I am a friend, and am here to help. Will you let me help you sleep again?" She could hardly believe the kindness this man was showing her, couldn't he see she was nothing more than a hag now? The old man helped her to her feet and took her arm as they walked back to her house. She told him of her favorite days, when she was happy and carefree, when sleep was readily available to her, and she never felt down or sad. He was a perfect listener, and the only words he ever whispered were 'I know'.

When they reached the house, he turned to face her, "Now Ms. Olive, I'm going to need you to trust me alright? But I promise if you do, you will be able to sleep again. Are you ready?" She could hardly believe this! Was it true? Could he be trusted?

Ever so slowly she opened the door to her bed. Mattress pilled upon mattress, pillow upon pillow, and blanket upon blanket. The old man walked in and started to pick up pillows and blankets and carry them out of the room. It seemed like hours had passed before they reached her bed. That one mattress she had slept on all of her life. There it was.

The man walked over to it, and then with one swift motion he had the bed on it's side. 

"Care to have a look Ms. Olive?" Olive slowly moved towards her bed. It used to be a place of rest, but now she dreaded what she would find. As she moved closer, she saw it. So small, could this really be the cause of all her sleepless nights? She bent down and picked up two small rocks. About the size of her thumbs. She picked them up and rolled them around in her hands. Confusion framed her brow as she examined the devils that slept under her bed. 

"May I?" said the old man holding out his hand. She slipped the rocks into his hand, and he put them away in his satchel. 

"How did you know?" She inquired of him. "How did you know to come here, and where to look?"

"You are not the first one with this kind of problem Ms. Olive. I know how you felt because I too have experiences such sleepless nights. I just wished you would have asked for help sooner. I've always been there, just waiting when you needed me the most. Thank you for finally letting me help you." The old man kissed her hand and slowly walked away. Before he was completely gone she ran and shouted after him, 

"How can I ever repay you for what you've done for me?" 

He turned and smiled back at her, "Please, just remove the rocks sooner, I'll always be here to take them. And if you're not strong enough to lift the mattress, just ask, I can do that too. If you want to repay me, just be beautiful again." Without another word, he was off again. With bewilderment in her heart she walked back to her bed and fell fast asleep. 

Within a couple of days, Olive was brilliant again. Her once radiant eyes, were sparkling again, and the glow which had been lost now shone for all to see. Some even said she was more beautiful than before, but how could that be? As she went about her days, she always had this thought, 'I couldn't have done it alone, I owe that man everything and all he asked was for me to be beautiful again. That I can do'. And she did just that. She lived a beautiful life, with no rocks, and wonderful sleep filled nights.

We all have rocks in our lives, big ones and small ones, and sometimes we try to hide them under a bundle of mattresses and pillows instead of just removing them. Jesus Christ suffered the atonement to take away the rocks that cause us sleepless nights. We all struggle with temptation and challenges, but if we turn to Christ, he can take away the pain. All he asks is we live a beautiful life. That we continue to toss the rocks away, and not just be beautiful, but be more beautiful than we ever have been before. Don't wait, cast your burden at his feet,
Matthew 11:28-30
"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."
He is there to give you rest. 'Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him' (Moroni 10:32). He is ready to take the rocks away, are you ready to let him help?

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