Sunday, January 25, 2009

One Eternal Round

You’ve heard this phrase before in the scriptures. God’s course is “one eternal round.” This shows up various times in the scriptures. I’ll include one of those references here, from D&C 35:1:

Listen to the voice of the Lord your God, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, whose course is one eternal round, the same today as yesterday, and forever.

I never really quite understood what “one eternal round” meant; I probably still don’t to a great degree. But I did read something a couple of years ago that gave some significant meaning to this concept for me. I come back to these quotes when I'm feeling worn out by the routine and repetition of life, especially that which comes with the role of being a mom.

Elder Maxwell wrote the following:

Chesterton notes our low capacity for being able to deal with monotony and says in a moving passage: “It is possible that God says every morning, `Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes all daisies separately, but has never got tired of making them.” The divine delight in what seems to us to be mere repetition is one clue to the sublime character of God. Since we must, at times, accept what appears to us to be routine, repeated experiences, we too, if we try, can find fresh meaning and fresh joy in the repeated experiences. God’s course is one eternal round but it is not one monotonous round. God is never bored, for one who has perfect love is never bored. There is always so much to notice, so much to do, so many ways to help, so many possibilities to pursue (Neal A. Maxwell, A More Excellent Way, p.84-85).


Repeatedly God has described His course as reiterative, “one eternal round”…. We mortals sometimes experience boredom in the routine repetition of our mortal tasks, including even good works; and thus vulnerable, we are urged not to grow weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9; D&C 64:33; 84:80; Alma 37:34). But given God’s divine love, there is no boredom on His part amid His repetitive work, for his course, though one eternal round, involves continuous redemption for His children; it is full of goodness and mercy as His long-suffering shows His love in action. In fact we cannot even comprehend the infinite blessings which await the faithful—”eye hath not seen, nor ear heard . . .” (1 Corinthians 2:9) (Neal A. Maxwell, Not My Will, But Thine, p.53-54).

Charity means never being bored with the routine of my life. Wow. (I guess I need to be praying that much harder for charity!) Seriously, though, once in a while I can catch a glimpse of what Elder Maxwell is talking about. When I really put my heart into my roles as wife and mother and homemaker (might I say I open my heart to these things?), I feel the Spirit. I have felt the Spirit baking bread, doing laundry, taking care of sick children, cooking a nutritious meal for my family. But, sadly, often I think of my days in terms of (boring, tedious) routine. And I often actively seek for a break from that routine. A break is not a bad thing in and of itself (!), but I sense from these quotes that I’m often missing the beauty of my daily to-dos, especially the ones that relate to my “most important” work in my home.

And so, I want to remember Elder Maxwell’s thoughts. It makes me think that perhaps there is nothing in our lives that can’t be part of our training for godhood; even the repetitious, tedious tasks can perhaps be teaching us something.

One last quote, from Joseph F. Smith:

After all, to do well those things which God ordained to be the common lot of all man-kind, is the truest greatness. ...We should never be discouraged in those daily tasks which God has ordained to the common lot of man. Each day’s labor should be undertaken in a joyous spirit and with the thought and conviction that our happiness and eternal welfare depend upon doing well that which we ought to do, that which God has made it our duty to do. Many are unhappy because they imagine that they should be doing something unusual or something phenomenal. Some people would rather be the blossom of a tree and be admiringly seen than be an enduring part of the tree and live the commonplace life of the tree’s existence (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p.285-286).

Let us not be trying to substitute an artificial life for the true one. He is truly happy who can see and appreciate the beauty with which God has adorned the commonplace things of life (Juvenile Instructor, Vol. 40, pp. 752-3 Dec. 15, 1905).

One eternal round. Next time your life feels like an endless circle of daily to-dos, I hope that perhaps these quotes can help you as they have helped me.


Anonymous said...

I love these quotes! Thanks for pulling them together-- esp. in January when life seems a bit monotonous!

Papa D said...

"one eternal round" - "one great whole" - Sometimes I think we make life far more complicated than it needs to be.

Great post. Thanks.

Ginny said...

awesome quotes...and as this day is full of the "normal" stuff, I will be looking at it all with new eyes! thanks for sharing!!!

Jennifer B. said...

Thank you SO much for sharing this. I never considered God's eternal round having that kind of meaning. How inspiring!

I'm going to print out those quotes and read them again and again.

Wonderful post :)

Angie said...

Funny, I've always looked at the eternal round stuff as the cyclical nature of life. And mostly I'm okay with that. I do however get discouraged when the "cycles" of things are so close together that it begins to feel like nothing is never actually accomplished. It's that Sisyphean (sp) nature of motherhood and homemaking that I always struggle with. Connecting that part of the cycles to love and charity and godliness helps me to look at things in an entirely different way. Perhaps I can even look at the full hampers in the same way too. Thanks!

Rosalie Erekson Stone said...

Wonderful, wonderful post! Attitude is such a determining factor in finding happiness in our everyday lives.

The zeitgeist of our time constantly and loudly touts novelty as the source of pleasure.

I love your insights, and the quotes you have found. They are just what I needed to remind me of how deeply satisfying even simple repetitive homemaking tasks can be when done out of love, and while appreciating the beauties and richness of our surroundings which often go unnoticed.

Cheryl said...

Exactly what I needed today. Exactly! Thank you. :)

Mama D said...

Thanks for this post! I love this perspective. This shift in focus will make a big difference in how I view my daily routines!

I have always remembered a comment at a stake RS enrichment class about finding joy in the journey of motherhood. A woman said that she views laundry ( as acts of service for her family, and that this has changed her attitude from never-ending drudgery to gratitude for all of the small moments of service.

I try to remember that when I'm doing something for the millionth time. Now I have some great quotes to add to my arsenal. Thank you for this timely post!

Bethie Marie said...

What a great post!

Those who are truly blessed can never be bored.

And we ARE truly blessed!


djinn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post. I happened to run across it today. You might enjoy reading Nibley's recent book of the same name. Recently, I wrote an introduction to Hamlet's Mill, a book Nibley often quoted when referring to One Eternal Round and the hypocephalus. I thought you might be interested.

m_and_m said...

Thanks for the recommendation and the comment!

jackcv said...

I think...

One Eternal Round
(Soul Revelation)

God was always god, though once in embryo.
Now achieved full stature, He still must onward grow
In glory and dominion, in love received and given,
To bring forth spirits infinite, and raise who will to heaven.
Through time and trials we are revealed;
The soul does not evolve.
Each has a core unchangeable -- some eternal love.
God was always god.

1. Ps 90:2; Heb 13:8; 1 Ne 10:18; TG God, Eternal Nature of
2. TPJS, pp. 345-46 (cited in Gospel Principles, Ch 47); Marion G. Romney, GC, Apr. 1973; Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, (2006),1–10; LF 7:9, 16; Rev 3:21; Rom 8:16-17; TPJS, pp. 345-46 (cited in Gospel Principles, Ch 47)
3. D&C 76:70; Eph 4:13; Abr 3:17; TG God, Pefection of
4. Moses 1:4;
5. Heb 5:9; D&C 93:29-31; Moses 1:39; Alma 29:4; TG, Agency; D&C 88:32
6. Rom 8:18, 19; Abr 3:25, 26;
7. D&C 93:8-13, 23-25; Al 13:3-9; The Seven Deadly Heresies, Elder Bruce R. McConkie, 1 Jun 1980; Alma 34:34-36; Rom 8:29, 30 (“I Have a Question,” Ensign, Dec. 1990, 29–31); Eph 1:3, 4
8. Mal 3:6; D&C 93:25; D&C 63:17; 2 Tim 4:8; Abr 3:18, 21, 22; Jn 6:64; 2 Thes 2:13; Mos 2:26; Job 38:7
9. 1 Jn 4:7, 8, 16; 2 Tim 4:8; D&C 93:21
10. D&C 20:17; 1 Ne 10:16; Al 7:20; D&C 35:1; Ps 29:1, 11
11. 2 Ne 2:27; Deut 28; D&C 93:19-37; Abr 3:18, 19

Judy Nebeker said...

Somebody (mulling and Musing) kinda opened my head to understanding this often used statement. This, and others like it, seem planted throughout the scriptures like little trap doors that lead to so much more knowledge and understanding of who God and his Christ really are. Thank you.

To add a thought: If I look at all the things I've done in my 51 years on this planet i.e. working for a living, service in the church i.e. priesthood,sports, BSA, helping w/ young womens, etc.; and serving the surrounding community i.e. sand bagging swollen rivers, community sports, P.T.A.s, etc.; and constantly pulling weeds, watering and mowing the lawn around my house, washing the cars, etc.; the thing that seems to make each day, week, month, even year different from the rest(besides all the spiritual knowledge I've gain from the gospel over the years) has been our, my wife and I, giving service to our family, even in what many times seems like mundane, petty house work. But then as our family has grown and moved away and those chores are needed less, and less, we've begun to cherish those old days; no matter how mundane. Being with our kids at every stage of there lives, to tell you the truth, has never been the same day in and day out. And now there are so many things to look back on we actually think we'd like to do this mom and dad thing all over again (if we had our youthful strength again). So, personally I look forward with faith and hope of the resurrection and moving toward becoming eternal parents, and creators.

I love nature and looking to see how God designed and created the earth. I think of moving into space as a godly creator myself and creating similar worlds. Besides, who says that every world has to be exactly the same? After all, my wife and I love changing things up every now and then like: moving furniture around, and redoing or adding to our landscape, fishing at different fishing holes, and so on. Although- we have had the same dog and cat for 12 years, and each other for 35 years (counting a 3 year engagement). Sometimes I like to think of myself as being on an eternal round; although I still have a problem with being on a straight path, and no turning to the left or the right still seems difficult... so maybe 'my' eternal round is just practicing for perfection with out worrying about death as my time limit.

Anyway, your answer helped me understand the whole eternal round concept that's been messing with my head for so long. It seems that every time I try to find out what some of these scriptures refer to there's always someone who's wondered that before me. It's a blessing when those somebodies help out soooo much by sharing what they've found out. And every little bit helps!

Thanks again.


m_and_m said...

Thanks for your comment and your thoughts. I'm grateful that something here was helpful.

I think you are so right, too, that there are little phrases in the scriptures, gems just waiting to be found. Makes me want to do a little more feasting in my scripture study to read your words. What a great reminder. Thank YOU.