Tonight was the Stake Standard’s night and parents were invited. One young man spoke of his experience at Youth Conference and how the Spirit spoke to him at almost every junction at the Ropes Course and guided him to do what needed to be done. It was inspiring. It reminded me of one of our discussions in Humanities today. One of my students talked about Vasari’s account of Michelangelo and the stone-cutter working on the tomb of Julius II. Michelangelo guided him with these words, ‘Now, cut this away, smooth it out there, polish it here.’ In this way and without the man realizing it, Michelangelo made him carve a figure, and when it was finished the man stared at it in amazement, while Michelangelo asked: ‘What do you think of it?’
“The man answered: ‘I like it a lot, and I am very much in your debt.’
‘Why?’ enquired Michelangelo.
‘Because with your help I have rediscovered a talent that I never knew I had.’
Here was a simple man, a stone-cutter, put into the path of the Renaissance master, who quietly and lovingly mentored him to create something beautiful and profoundly significant to his learning and growth—a turning point of self-discovery and re-discovery.
Our discussion turned to the complex idea of rediscovering a talent we never thought we had. One student suggested this idea points to a knowledge of the pre-existence and the talents given to us before coming to earth.
If a simple stone-cutter can be guided so well by Michelangelo, how much more significant and powerful is the guidance of the Great Master from Galilee, who guides us with gentle whispers from the third member of the Godhead, the Holy Ghost.
“The voice of the Spirit is described in the scriptures as being neither loud nor harsh, not a voice of thunder, neither a voice of great tumultuous noise,” says Boyd K. Packer, “but rather as still and small, of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it can pierce even the very soul and cause the heart to burn.”
The Spirit teaches, confirms, guides, pricks our heart when needed, and consoles us in our afflictions.
As I have reflected over my personal growth in these last couple of decades, I have come to know of the gentle guiding of the Spirit. To my great joy, I have become a mentor of Humanities to homeschool youth. I teach from my home and meet with my students using state of the art video conferencing software, where I can see each face of my students. Weekly, I bask in some of the greatest conversations about the deepest questions of the soul. I and my students stand on the shoulders of giants as the great masters of literature, history, science, and philosophy, help us see the Truths and Consequences. Moreover, we have the pleasure and great privilege to include Christ and his Gospel in our discussions. During and after each class, I come away feeling invigorated and inspired. How can I be so blessed?
If someone were to tell me ten years ago that I would be doing this, I would either laugh or choke. I never saw this in my future.
And yet as I look at my life and the many steps leading up to now, I see how the Spirit gently urged me, “Now, do this. Take this class, read this book, talk to these people, matriculate into that university, get involved in your community, help this neighbor, teach your children, etc., etc. and etc.
Precisely like Michelangelo guiding the stone-cutter, Heavenly Father, through His Spirit, guided me every step of the way until I have re-discovered a talent I didn’t know that I had.
What more does the Lord have in store for me? What does he see for your future? How is he guiding you along your path? As we carefully listen to the Still Small Voice and choose to take each little step, we are carving out and rediscovering talents we never knew we had.
“Be still and know that I am God,” says Jehovah. May we let the Savior in our hearts and allow him to create in us his greatest masterpieces!