What is more natural than water flowing downhill? Whether it falls from the sky, bubbles up to the surface in springs, or comes from snowmelt, water thereafter always follows the path of least resistance to find the lowest point it can. Further, by nature, the faster water flows, the more it picks up dirt from its bed and carries it along, becoming murky and unable to reflect much light.
Of course, water flowing uphill is against its nature, but that’s part of the point of the Parable of the Pure Stream. We might even say the faster we go through life, the more we hurtle forward without worrying about what direction we’re taking, the more baggage, problems, and even sins we can pick up along the way. And it can follow that if swiftly flowing water becomes clouded by particles, then water forced to move slowly because it’s flowing against gravity is more likely to remain clear.
The sunlight brightened and faded as clouds moved across the sky, driven by a March wind. A young girl walked with her grandmother down the sidewalk on a long, curving street. She and her family had recently moved even farther away from her grandparents than they had lived before, and it had been a long time since she had last visited. Walking their neighborhood was like a new adventure.
They passed along a high, wrought-iron fence at the foot of a wide hill whose brow stood two hundred yards away. A path led from a gate up to the top, but the girl frowned. The path appeared to lead to nothing. “Why does the path go up there, Grandma?” she asked. “Is something up there?”
Every person on Earth has a “special occasion” ahead, one that our Heavenly Parents wish us to be ready for. Much like a child who wants to play until then, we find ourselves having run out into the world and dirtied our hands, stained our clothes, and messed up our hair. In other words, we’ve picked up some sins, faults, and bad habits that make us less than suitable company for Deity and angels. Nor will we feel comfortable at the table if everyone else there is prepared and we aren’t.
To some extent, we may have engaged in some of these behaviors while not entirely understanding the consequences that would face us down the road. But often there is some sort of warning called out, whether it was from a parent, friend, mentor, our conscience, or the Holy Ghost.