On My Mind: Why a Tree
I suppose that choosing a fruitful tree for the logo on a site about infertility is a little unusual. Perhaps it is. Perhaps not. To many, a tree represents life, health, success, oxygen, beauty, a respite, and fertility.
A tree represents all of these to me as well.
The life of someone dealing with infertility can be barren, it can be dark, it can be lonely, and it is definitely without success of sorts. It feels like an uncultivated, unwelcoming, and extremely desolate wilderness. I do not believe, however, that is what Heavenly Father wants any life to be.
When we deal with infertility, or any challenge really, it is easy to allow the barrenness to overflow the bounds of a physical problem into other territories of our lives. When this flood occurs, it is difficult to find meaning, success, or even happiness in any aspect of our lives. Having felt these very real feelings myself, I also know that within us lies the power to choose life instead, along with health, success, beauty, and yes, fertility. Let me explain…
I love in the Book of Mormon when we learn about the Liahona. Lehi found this peculiar ball as they were in a desolate and foreboding wilderness, far from where they anticipated they would ever be, being asked to live a life they were not accustomed to. The ball was given to them by Heavenly Father to give them direction and they relied on it regularly, perhaps even daily.
We learn that one specific time they used the Liahona was as they sought nourishment for their family in the wilderness. 1 Nephi 16:16 teaches us that Lehi “did follow the directions of the ball, which led [them] in the more fertile parts of the wilderness”. This scripture is one of only two in all the Standard Works which contain the word “fertile”, so I am immediately drawn to it. It has a powerful message to share.
Our Liahona is the Holy Spirit. Just like Lehi’s Liahona, the Holy Spirit will lead us into the more fertile parts of our lives. These fertile parts of our personal wildernesses are not necessarily associated with bearing children. These fertile parts are where we are able to use our talents and abilities to make the world a better place, to expand our minds and to share our knowledge in positive ways, and where we righteously do those things that Heavenly Father needs us to do. These fertile parts are where we find satisfaction, joy, and peace as we use our God-given skills of nurturing, loving, leading, serving, and teaching. They are places where we feel comfortable exemplifying goodness, courage, kindness, loyalty, virtue, and compassion. They are places that are illuminated by the Spirit and places we are nourished by the Spirit. They are places we want to be, places we need to be.
How do we find these fertile places? We must consciously choose to have the Spirit with us. We know that in order for the Liahona to work, Lehi and his family had to be obedient, diligent, and faithful. Therefore, in order for the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, we must also be obedient, diligent, and faithful. And, sometimes it will take our greatest strength to do so.
Elder Bednar gives us a great checklist that we can use: “The Spirit of the Lord can be our guide and will bless us with direction, instruction, and spiritual protection during our mortal journey. We invite the Holy Ghost into our lives through meaningful personal and family prayer, feasting upon the words of Christ, diligent and exacting obedience, faithfulness and honoring of covenants, and through virtue, humility, and service. And we steadfastly should avoid things that are immodest, coarse, crude, sinful, or evil that cause us to withdraw ourselves from the Holy Ghost.” (“That We May Always Have His Spirit to Be with Us,” Ensign, May 2006).
So, why a fruitful and beautiful tree? Because I know that despite infertility, we can live our lives in the fertile parts of our wildernesses. These places of happiness and joy may seem very difficult to find, but as we rely on and cling to the Holy Spirit, they can be found. And, what beautiful and welcomed havens of peace, life, strength, and refreshment they can be when we look upon the barrenness on the horizon.