Last summer my 3 brothers and I met up for our annual “Brothers weekend” in Moab Utah to go mountain biking. As is my personal custom and personality I packed at the last available second procrastinating as much as humanly possible. This clearly flawed system has proven itself every time to be a horrible and negative preparation tactic, yet despite that fact I do it on EVERY vacation.

Quickly after the Brothers all met (Colby and Casey flew in) we planned to “hit the trail”. As we unloaded from the truck, I wish I could say that I was “shocked” to find I had underprepared but that would be a lie. My first mistake was my choice in helmet. I had brought my full face motocross helmet (because it looks totally awesome) yet failed to realize that wearing that type of helmet would be like 4 million times too hot for the weather and situation in Moab I knew I would be in.

I am grateful for my brothers. Not only did Tyson bring his own helmet and the helmets he agreed to bring for Colby and Tyson, but he also brought one more “just in case”. Tyson’s preparation insured my trip to Moab didn’t include multiple IV’s sticking out of my body due to heat exhaustion or any awkward mouth to mouth resuscitation by Colby or Casey. The bike riding was a success and super fun.

On the last day of the trip after bike riding all day I got cleaned up and ready to change. To my horror my preparation (lack of preparation) again reared its ugly and in this case stinky head. As you may or may not know, when men exert much physically in the heat of the day for hours on end and sweat profusely they surprisingly do not emit a pleasant rose like aroma. So the fact that I didn’t have a change or shorts was alarming. I was left with 2 options:

Option #1 – Wear gross shorts from day 1 that I’d warn all day while mountain biking in hot Moab.

Option #2 – Wear gross shorts from day 2 that I’d warn all day while mountain biking in hot Moab.

One of my favorite movie characters is Jason Bourne so with my back against the wall, I thought to myself “WWJBD” (what would Jason Bourne do). Sadly, after the tumbleweeds blew across my mind the only thing I could think of was created a new option, which was:

Option #3 – Wear no pants at all for the rest of the day and the entire drive home!

I feared option #3 would automatically revoke my invitation to any and all future events for the rest of my mortal life with them. So, in a last ditch effort I threw a “hail Mary” and asked “does anyone have an extra pair of shorts?” Again, Tyson answered the call! I was saved, as were the eyes and nightmares sure to come to my brothers. This also staved away the relentless retelling of this event at every family reunion for the rest of mortality.

Like the class did with my wood shop project in high School spoken of in my last post, I can often teach how to do something by providing the example of what NOT to do. The fact is, we need to be prepared.  Not just physically prepared, but spiritually prepared also. If this experience were compared to the parable of the 10 virgins I would have been found asleep without a lamp, at the wrong side of town, 2 days past the decided date, at 11 in the morning, thinking I was going to a birthday party.

My preparation was not good! It was awful! I could have done a lot better, yet I didn’t. It was my own fault and under any other condition I would likely have suffered the consequences for my lack of preparation. Yet through the preparation of my older brothers, I was saved.

In real life however and eternal salvation the parable holds true. We alone are responsible for our preparation and faith. I can help but I can’t make others read the scriptures, go to Church, do their home teaching, go to the Temple, or prepare in any way. In other words, I can’t prepare for you. We alone must do the work for ourselves. We can ask for the help of others of course, but we first need to have the desire to help ourselves or even their help is in vain. What we decide to start with, or continue with is up to us, we just need to start or continue! If I had any advice for myself or others, it would be to prepare spiritually in the exact opposite way that I prepare for vacations. We can’t afford to procrastinate, wait, under prepare, rely on others or not take serious our spiritual preparation. As with anything to do with Christ, there is always help. One of the most amazing things about growing stronger spiritually is that we can help and be helped by others along the way! We’ve all heard a story about righteous courage that spurs us with a desire to be better. We’ve all heard that testimony that raises us to another level. Words are so effective in our journey if we allow them to be. Hearing powerful words of testimony yet failing to act upon them is something I think we could all improve on. Let us strive to “be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only”. Let us every day try to better ourselves and also uplift others. Let us make a commitment to be better, to do better, to treat others better and we will naturally find ourselves nearer to Christ than we were prior. After all, we know what’s coming… we just need to be ready for it. Oh, and don’t forget to “pack enough shorts”.