When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A few degrees

I listened to a talk in church couple of weeks ago, and the speaker referenced a talk given by President Uchtdorf in conference a couple years ago. The talk is amazing. I thought I would share just a small portion of it, but I encourage you to also go and read it. He is much better at speaking than I am.
In 1979 a large passenger jet with 257 people on board left New Zealand for a sightseeing flight to Antarctica and back. Unknown to the pilots, however, someone had modified the flight coordinates by a mere two degrees. This error placed the aircraft 28 miles (45 km) to the east of where the pilots assumed they were. As they approached Antarctica, the pilots descended to a lower altitude to give the passengers a better look at the landscape. Although both were experienced pilots, neither had made this particular flight before, and they had no way of knowing that the incorrect coordinates had placed them directly in the path of Mount Erebus, an active volcano that rises from the frozen landscape to a height of more than 12,000 feet (3,700 m).
As the pilots flew onward, the white of the snow and ice covering the volcano blended with the white of the clouds above, making it appear as though they were flying over flat ground. By the time the instruments sounded the warning that the ground was rising fast toward them, it was too late. The airplane crashed into the side of the volcano, killing everyone on board.
It was a terrible tragedy brought on by a minor error—a matter of only a few degrees.
Through years of serving the Lord and in countless interviews, I have learned that the difference between happiness and misery in individuals, in marriages, and families often comes down to an error of only a few degrees.
Oh, could I just tell you how much I loved this, and how much sense it makes to me. Our lives can get off course. Things happen. We make bad choices along with good ones. It doesn't take much to move us off track. As a matter of fact, I have learned that getting off track can be way too easy. You might not even realize it has happened until you realize that you can't get back.
We are surrounded by so many things that can help us, but those same things, if used inappropriately can also be responsible for taking us off the path that leads to our Heavenly Father. Think about the internet for example. I love the internet. I get to blog! I also can look up information and find the things I need to know, and of course, I can shop. But the bad things that go with the internet can cause me so many problems. I can choose to look up and view the wrong type of information. I can shop way too much and spend too much money. I can also waste enormous amounts of time on things that take me away from the people that matter most to me.
We have to be extra careful that all the small things around us that can make life easier and more satisfying, aren't the same things that cause us to go a few degrees off our course back home to our Heavenly Father. Remember that the difference between happiness and misery is often just a matter of a few eternal degrees. And don't forget, (just in case you are not perfect!), just as there are things that can lead you off course, there are also things that can help you get back on course. Repentance is possible. We can change our course and fix what mistakes we have made. It requires courage, but it is so worth it. You are choice and precious to our Heavenly Father. He loves you, now and always.

Not a single one of us can go back and change the past. We can't change the decisions we made, or the mistakes that happened. But every single one of us, can start today and have a brand new ending. It only takes a little courage, and a willingness to be more than we are right now.

Linking up today for motivational Monday over with Laura at Living a Big Story.


  1. Thanks so much for this fabulous reminder, Patty. It is amazing how a tiny choice can place a person on a totally different path in life!

  2. I've been thinking so much lately about the decisions/choices I'm making -- how they are affecting (good and not-so-good) my children and husband and my life. Thanks for another reminder.