A Comfortable Dead Watch

Posted on October 11, 2012


My eyes darted across my dresser one last time as I rubbed frantically at my left wrist. Where was it?! I could not leave without it, but the clock on the wall was fairly shouting that I was going to break my word if I did not go right then. I would have to choose between wearing a watch and being on time. I set my teeth and left watchless.

We live one block from the church, but for months we’d been straggling in four different kinds of minutes-late. My children are teens who get themselves ready. I had no excuse and I knew it. I promised the Lord that I would make a priority of being on-time for the service that allows me to renew my baptismal covenant as a small way of honoring the great sacrifice it remembers.

But I couldn’t go without my watch.

I’ve worn a watch since I was a teen, and I’ve been running late since about the same time. My mother used to say that I wore a watch and never looked at it and was always late, while my younger sister never wore a watch and was always on time. It’s true. But I need a watch. I do not feel comfortable without one.

So there I was, sitting in Sacrament Meeting rubbing my right hand around my left wrist absently. After the sacrament portion of the meeting, my youngest daughter got out my ‘grandma bag’ that I bring to church to entertain the small children who sit in the long pew with us, and there was a watch! It was my old gold one with crystals, permanently stuck at 12:00. That’s why it was in the grandma bag. I nudged her and told her to hand me the watch, which she did, thinking I had come up with some new way to use it for a toy. I put it on and breathed a deep sigh of relief.

“‘But it doesn’t work,’ she said, bemused.

“It doesn’t matter; it’s a watch,” I said firmly, and with considerably greater peace of mind.

image courtesy of LDS Church

As I pondered the people of Zarahemla, who would reject a foreigner who stood on a wall to tell them that they weren’t paying attention to the truth they had, and about whom I would be teaching in a few minutes, I felt a sudden connection. As so often happens when I read about fools in the scriptures, I was them.

It’s far too easy to wear our religion comfortably and never look at it, to not be changed or motivated by it, to have it “on” but not have it directing our timetables and our activities. If it’s dead, it’s just an ornament, because a watch is meant to be more than an ornament. It’s a tool.

Religion is a tool to bring us to Christ. Do we check it? Do we make decisions by what it says? Does it help us be prepared?

I’ve watched this devotional, given by Elder Holland the same day as my watch lesson, several times in the last two weeks. I keep finding points that inspire me and they’ve been the best hours I’ve spent in some time. If you’re the sort who consults your watch, you’ll probably like it.

This forms the raison d’être for Real Intent: to explore ways to use our religion to bring us to Christ. I’m really proud of my association with the great authors who’ve joined me and agreed to write for us in the future. If you’re interested in what I write here, perhaps you will like it there too.

This was the original launch post for Real Intent. Read it and the comments here.

Posted in: Real Intent