I’m upset. I’m upset because my patriarchal blessing is a mere eight paragraphs long. I’m upset because three of those are devoted to opening up the blessing, saying which tribe I’m from, and closing it. I’m upset because I have five actual paragraphs of “content”, and that that “content” is about as tall as an iPhone 4.
I’m just upset about it. I have difficult trials. I have so many questions. I mean, I’ve changed my major like four times now and still don’t know what I’m doing. I’m upset because my blessing fits on one page and still has room for my patriarch’s large signature. I’m upset because if God loved me, he would have wanted to tell me, guide me, and help me with more “content”. But he didn’t. And it’s been something I’ve had to deal with since June 2006.
I have pondered on that lately as I’ve been trying to move forward with my education. It’s always been a type of eye-roll thing where I read it, and experience only very vague and subtle suggestions. Needless to say, seeking guidance through my patriarchal blessing has been a difficult experience. In my frustrations, I tweeted my annoyance at the measly five short paragraphs of a blessing I have. The response was a general consensus of “shut up and stop complaining” or my absolute favorite line “I guess God knew you didn’t need a lot of guidance.” Please tell that to my best friends, confidants, parents, and bishops over the last decade. They would likely disagree.
One evening I was hanging out with one of these friends and was venting a bit of my frustration with my patriarchal blessing situation. He was very quick to point me to a scripture he had very recently come across that he felt could help me in my predicament. Alma 32: 41-42 reads:
41 But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.
42 And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.
As I struggle to find answers and meaning from my blessing, Alma counsels to nourish the word. A patriarchal blessing is revelation and scripture to the individual it belongs to. When seeking light and knowledge from it, we are required to nourish the seeds contained in it. While it’s hard to imagine any fruit coming from such a vague and seemingly disappointing blessing, Alma lists three specific things to do that will nourish the word or seed into a great fruit.
Alma breaks the requirements down into three areas: Faith, Diligence, and Patience. My friend began to describe how each of these play a part in getting the most out of my patriarchal blessing.
First is having faith in the promises, blessings, warnings, and gifts contained. Having faith that they are true, and specific to you, and from God. Having faith that even the most vague two sentence paragraph of the total five paragraphs is full of richness that Heavenly Father wants me to experience and know.
Second is being diligent. Reading and regularly rereading a patriarchal blessing helps us learn more about our Father’s personal plan for us. Repetition is part of the gospel. We should be aware of the content of our blessings, and keep tabs on all the promises and warnings issued there. We should also be diligent in following what we learn from it.
Third is being patient. I used to think patriarchal blessings were laid out chronologically. That I would slowly go through life, crossing things off of it as if it were a heavenly todo list. This is not the case. A blessing like this isn’t bound by our definition of time. As eternal beings organized to exist forever, the blessings we get aren’t bound by an earthly time table of 70+ years. There are some blessings I don’t expect to see in my lifetime, and others I’m sure will come. Patience is not a strength of mine, but is one I and everyone else must learn when dealing with patriarchal blessings. We work on the Lord’s timing, and not our own.
As I think back on Alma’s counsel and the advice of my friend, I see with renewed eyes the beauty of my own blessing. Though short, and at times uncomfortably vague where I think it shouldn’t, it is God’s word for me. It’s a seed under my stewardship. It’s is my job to nurture it, nourish it, and slowly, diligently, and patiently, watch it unfold and bloom into the true blessing it is.