While I was at girls camp I helped supervise their archery activity by overseeing the girls while they received instruction and played archery. The next day I was asked to give a talk during morning exercises that tied in with our theme, the 13th Article of Faith. Through thought and prayer the following analogy came to me that I also shared in a sacrament talk recently and wanted to share on my blog as well.
Archery is the art, practice, or skill of propelling arrows with the use of a bow, from "arcus" (Latin). In archery there are three components, the target, the bow, and the arrow. On one end of the arrow there are three feathers, two of the feathers are the same color, these are called the Hens. The third feather is called the Rooster and it is a different color from the Hens. This is important because when you place the arrow on the bow and get ready to aim you must place the Rooster in a outward direction. Otherwise the Rooster feather will collide with the bow and throw your arrow off your target.
This can be likened until Life. Living with Christ again or eternal life is our target. When we do what is right, keep the commandments, are kind to others, etc. then we are keeping our Rooster feather in the right direction so our efforts will be aimed at our target and when we shoot the arrow we will hit the target. When we don't do those things then the Rooster is facing the wrong way and even if we think we are aimed at the target just right the arrow will dance away from the target because the Rooster feather collides with the bow.
Many of the girls had trouble pulling their arrows all the way back on their bows. Most of the time they were really hard to pull back, but would usually ease up when they reached the back. The bows were each unique and different depending on bow strength. They had some easy and really hard bows to use depending on their size and height. No matter what bow the girls chose almost all of them needed help pulling their arrow back into place before shooting it at the target. The camp sites teachers were a big help to girls in this regard. Many of them stood behind them and assisted with pulling the bows back while others kept the arrows on the bow while the girls pulled back.
This is likened unto life and the trials each of us face. We all try to stay on course and keep our arrow on target, but when it comes time to shoot the arrow we cannot do it alone. True, we can get help along the way from our parents, leaders, friends, and Bishopric. But the one person who is and will always be there to help is our Savior, Jesus Christ, through the atonement. He knows exactly what trials we are going through and if we turn to him and utilize the atonement in our own lives then he will be there to help us pull our arrows back and shoot to meet our aimed target. He loves us and will always be there, we just have to let him in.
I know that if we do our best to keep our Rooster in the right direction and rely heavily on the Lord for strength through trials then we can meet our target. He does so in my life countless times. I am very grateful for the atonement and the knowledge that I will live with him again and that families are forever. Amen.