Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Keystones and Capstones of our Lives

“The Keystones and Capstones of our Lives”

I’ve heard this one before. I’ve always been a member; so obviously, this lesson reaches far back into my LDS Primary, Sunday School, Relief Society, Young Women’s, General Conference, Preach My Gospel lesson filled life. However, I was sitting in Relief Society on Sunday morning with my mom and grandmother on a beautiful Mother’s Day and this lesson hit me like that one time the next door neighbor boy hit me with a baseball bat. It hit hard. It hit home.

What is a keystone? The Prophet Joseph Smith taught us that the Book of Mormon is the keystone to our religion. Why exactly does it play such a significant role? Remember how he also said, “Take away the Book of Mormon and the revelations, and where is our religion? We have none.” …Yikes. Now, I am not going to talk about the miracle of the Book of Mormon much here, as I will save that for another richer filled post. Suffice it to say, I have a strong testimony of its truthfulness and in its ability to change people’s lives. I would like for now to focus on why it is referred to as the keystone.

A keystone is found in an architectural arch structure made from wedge-shape pieces that lean against each other. The middle piece, or keystone, is usually larger than the other wedges and locks the other stones in place. The Book of Mormon literally holds our religion together. [Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service, Ch. 5, (2004)] Without it, the rest of the laws and principles of the gospel would find difficulty standing on their own. Who would they lean on then?
I began to think sitting next to those two beautiful women I come from, “What is my keystone? …What has played such a significant role in my life that it literally holds me together as an individual?” Then I entertained the thought that perhaps, there was more than just one keystone. How many arches had I built throughout the course of my young life? Many.
I am currently working at Brigham Young University-Idaho as a peer advisor. I have done this for several years and as I sit down with students and help them class plan there are always pre-requisites to take into consideration. If the student does not plan for those pre-reqs first, the graduation planner tool will highlight the later class as red, reminding the student that they will not be able to add the course until the pre-requisite course has first been completed. They are rather annoying. I have had several pre-reqs to my education that have frustrated me. But, but, but, I understand the principle as to why. Without those preparatory classes, I would not do so well later down my educational road. Recently I had a pre-req waived for me. I was ecstatic! It was grrreeeaat. However I will be quite honest that I struggled through the upper-level division class a bit. I came out alright but it would have been beneficial to have taken the time to understand the material through its previous course first.

Keystones are the pre-requisites in our lives.

There is such a thing as a Capstone class as well. Ever heard of that? That’s right; it’s the course you take at the end of your Senior year that sums up all the information for that particular subject. It’s a review. It’s the finishing layer on the cake. It tests you to see if you really know your stuff before graduating. So…let me ask you this question. What are the Capstones in your life? What are the finishing and protective stones across your life arch?
And why does this even matter?

Well it struck me to my core that Sunday morning that as painful as some of those keystones had been, I had learned extraordinary things from them. I had actually evolved as a Spirit and I felt closer to God. I was spiritually growing up. I felt closer to God because I had actually become more like Him. Pain does wonders for the average person. It wakes you up. It builds you. And then someday, someday…you finally get to lay the Capstone down. You get to stand back and say, “Look at what I have learned. And look how beautiful it all is.”

My advice? Do not fear the central keystones. They are the fundamental pieces to the puzzle(s).

...They will build you.