Have you ever been asked to leave the classroom and go stand in the hall way? Or arrived too late and found yourself locked out of the room or placed you really wanted to be. But alas you find yourself on the outside. Nearly everyone it seems is on the inside. You’re in THE HALLWAY. (Cue dramatic music) You liked be in the room, it was nice in there. There were all your co-roommates. They were mostly nice. You even went to lunch with them. You were in the group and in the room. Life was good. I never really thought much about those that were not in the room. Surely they were enjoying themselves in some other room. I did a pretty good job thinking only about my room. They were my peeps in my hood. I logically concluded that folks in the hall were making a speedy transit to their next room. It’s like going from shop class to gym or the room with the pretty girl on the front row. The bell rings and everyone quickly moves to an open door. But did everyone find the next room? Were all the doors open?
Metaphorically speaking, one day the tardy bell rang or was I asked to invited leave the room I really don’t remember, but I do know that I have been in the hall a very very long time. I remember sitting outside the room in the hall like those folks waiting to talk to the bishop. In time I would confess my sins and step through the hall and in the door ready to embrace the comfort and peace that awaited me with the other good folks. Surely the door would open and I would resume my life in MY room. Time passed and I waited and waited. No Open Doors! Others passing by would say “try this room or that.” “Open doors are only down the hall just a little way.” Or “ things are better over there” they would tell me. “That room is looking for a person just like you” they would exclaim as they comfortably slipped into their next room. That looks easy I thought. Encouraged I ran to the next room and tried the door, Dang! It’s locked. No problem I have some time to try more doors and more and more doors. I knocked and no one answered. I tried the door knobs and they were locked. I yelled through the crack in the door and sometimes the people yelled back but I never got in. I was stuck in the hallway! Confused at the circumstances I found myself in I stopped and looked around and noticed I was not alone. There were others I noticed that had been there a long time too. But the most shocking observation was that my wife and child had been with me the entire time. It was nice that they were there. They gave me hope. And each time the door was slammed in my face said nice things to me and kept the hugs coming. But they also had been suffering in their own way in the dreary hall. It didn’t seem very fair. I had an expectation that I deserved to be in a nice room with all the happy people having a nice life. Well-meaning people who discovered our plight in the hall would carefully open the door to their room making sure to hold tight to the door and momentarily wish us well and put a few dollars in my hat as they carefully sipped back into their room.
I have prayed longer and harder than I ever have in my life to get out of the “hallway”. I have asked God to please don’t make me beg anymore. I wondered if I was not asking the right way. They scriptures would taunt me with the idea that the Lord stands at the knocks. (Was He in the hall too I wondered.) You know, “knock and it shall be opened, seek and ye shall find” “Consider the lilies…” If a man askes the Lord for bread does the Lord give him a stone? I cognitively knew the answers. But do I believe them with all my heart? I have thought often about the walls that seem to separate me from not just my fondest dreams but even the smallest wishes, like “where are my damn keys!? People say this will be a good bad experience. They’re are rooms I will never open again nor try to open. I am glad for these walls. Also many times I have thought or have felt as though the Lord has forgotten me out here in the hall. I wonder if Moses felt that way wondering for 40 years in the hallway looking for the door that would lead him and Israel to the Promised Land. Questions I have considered:
Is time in the “hallway” essential to my growth / salvation? Is it a component of opposition within mortality?
Time in the “hallway” seems absolutely unevenly applied to Gods children. Is that ok? Is that part of the plan? ( I must admit that simply being an American citizen and living a middle class lifestyle must firmly place me in a room fit for the fortunate. A third world man might feel permanently a fixture of life’s hallway and yet quite often I observe these “outsiders” are happy and quite content. Surely something to be learned here.)
What part does perspective and gratitude play in our spiritual survival within the hall?
Consider these scriptures I came across:
14 But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.
15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
Think about that. God never stops thinking about our “walls”. He is always considering the obstacles to our righteous desires.
I want to share what I consider a sacred dream I had several years ago. I dreamed that I was making a speedy and rather reckless exit from my bed room. Out of the door I darted only to discover too late a rather large pile of laundry in my path. And of course, I fell on my face in grand and humiliating fashion. Almost the moment I landed facedown I began to hope that no one had seen me make such a fool of myself. From my crumpled position on the mountain of laundry I slowly raised my head hoping to find myself alone and free from mocking laughter. As I peered down the hall My eyes fell on a one bearded robed man about 7 or 8 feet in front of me. I instantly knew who he was. It was Jesus. Who He was became instantly clear to me. His face was pleasant with a small kind smile. There was virtually no reaction to my fall. There was no flinching or surprise. It was almost like he was waiting for it to happen. His gaze left me knowing that there was nothing in me He did not know or understand. Every rotten little thought and every life event was clearly in His view. And yet I felt a complete and penetrating acceptance and love. There was no long contemplative thought process that led me to these thoughts, it was instantaneous. As I looked into His face and eyes (as it was impossible to look elsewhere) I was left with one singular thought that has never left me. It was this: I had the most intense immersive singular desire to be exactly where He was, and at any cost. I awoke immediately after the dream and the details remained with me ever since. Was there a reason that this experience took place in the hall.
Perhaps we were never meant to stay in the rooms. Lehi left his home. Adam and Eve left the garden. Pioneers left Nauvoo. We left the presence of God to mortality. And Jesus left the tomb and entered into eternal life.
Where is it that we truly come to Know the Lord. Consider what the Lord says to Nephi.
1Nephi 17:13 …. ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.
14 Yea, and the Lord said also that: After ye have arrived in the promised land, ye shall know that I, the Lord, am God; and that I, the Lord, did deliver you from destruction; yea, that I did bring you out of the land of Jerusalem
For Israel the manna was in the hallway. (I have tasted manna; it has a Deseret label.)
Here is where this whole idea becomes real to me. It is in the hallways of my life that my tears are shed and I have those moments when those same tears wet my sheets as I beg God to reveal his arm and have mercy on my family. It is many of those moments that I have come to know God by stepping out into the hallway and finding that He has been there all along.
If you find yourself separated feeling alone, shutout and forgotten remember this simple idea: God is in the hall. The atonement has provided him a depth of understanding that exceeds any pain.
The world has a great and spacious building that is full of rooms filled with people content with the temporal seen trinkets and toys that moth and dust doth corrupt.
2 Corinthians 4:
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment [in the hall], worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
28 ¶Come unto me, all ye that labour [in the hall] and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 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.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light