Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Voice for Him

          Our ward has been given a few challenges for the beginning of this year. One is to give away a copy of the Book of Mormon. My kids took this seriously and each gave a copy to a friend. While my son's friend was leaving with her copy, and her father was standing there at the front door, he yelled from the top of our stairs, "Read that book!" My first instinct was that of embarrassment. I even apologized to the father. My son did what he was asked to do. He was an instrument in His hands. More than that, he was a voice for Him. He didn't mearly hand her the book and let her go. He didn't leave it lying around and hope someone would find it, just to check off the task with minimal effort. He yelled, "READ IT!"  He gave Heavenly Father a voice. We can do good deeds, and good actions, but what happens when we don't back it up with words? He needs us to be His voice. I was a bit appalled at myself for being embarrassed. My son had no fear. I could see in his eyes and hear in his voice the joy he knew he was giving a dear friend whom he loves. He wants her to know her Heavenly Father's plan for her. He wants her to have His love in her life where she can see and recognize it. And there I was, embarrassed.  Embarrassment to me is just fear.  Fear of rejection, judgement, anger.  "Become like a little child" never has had more meaning to me. No fear! I'm not sure who said, "Fear shows a lack of faith.", but I think of it daily. I try not to have fear, but it definitely holds me back. My son is 9, but I looked up to him that day.
          I know the scriptures and our leaders are good examples of His voice. We sit in our lessons knowing the manuals are inspired, but I want to be a voice for Him too. Some people haven't been taught how to hear "the still small voice". They need one a bit louder to help them make that connection, so they can learn to hear His whispers. I'm so thankful for the missionaries that taught me. They were His voice. They showed me how to hear Him on my own. Sometimes how we hear Him has to change, and we have to relearn. I think He sent a new set of people to help me with that as well. Here I am, repaying Him with embarrassment! Yikes! I wasn't a voice for Him that day, but next time I will be. My son and I will shout together, knowing He needs a voice that at that moment only we can provide.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Shattered Glass

          So, what's it feel like? Like you're a piece of glass, and if you bend you'll shatter.  Hell, I imagine. If hell is worse, I can't even begin to comprehend it.  You reach out to others, hoping they'll say or do something to make "it" go away. "It", the emotional pit of despair that no one can see or begin to understand unless they've lived it.  When all you can do is curl up in a ball and cry, which you have no energy to do, so you just stare and wait to be able to move without breaking.  You know time is ticking by and there's so much to be done, but you just can't move.  Physical pain is easier, so you cause that to mask "it", just so you can function until you start all over.  Smiling feels like a hot knife thrust into your gut, but you do it so no one knows. Sometimes you do it too much, smile, make people laugh, over compensate so the most important people in your life are kept from the knowledge that you're dying inside. You tell people, "I'm fine." You're smiling on the outside and screaming on the inside, hoping they hear the maybe they'll say or do something to, again, make "it" go away.  Faking it becomes second nature. You smile, you laugh, it cuts. At the end of the day you hate yourself for being fake. Why couldn't you just tell someone? Because you know they can't do anything to stop it.  You've fallen into that trap of false hope before, and at least this way they were happy. If anything their happiness lessens the pain a bit more than it would if it were they that were trying to make you happy, because you know that wouldn't have worked anyway.  You go to bed telling yourself, "Tomorrow will be better. I'll wake up, get up, feel whole, go on about my day, and everything will be fine." You wake up paralyzed.  You tell yourself to "Snap out of it." You wonder why life seems so hard for you when really it's no different than anyone else's.  You have infinite blessings, no reason to be down.  So why does it feel like you physically have an elephant on your back? Your body is heavy, it's hard to breath, it takes too much energy to do anything.  Anything life sustaining is not only too much work, but going to prolong your hell. You pray and beg for help, and when you don't start to feel better you start to pray to die.  You wake up in the morning thinking, "Again? Really?" Then have to repent for being so incredibly unappreciative of His hand in your life. You know He's there, you see it with your eyes, but your heart didn't get the memo.  It never ends.  "It" never ends.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Road More Traveled

         A friend told me the other day, "once you travel down a road, you are always more vulnerable to travel down that road again." Humans are habitual creatures. I guess that's why the definition of insanity is "doing something over and over again and expecting different results." There's only one way someone figured that out, and that's by experiencing it. I've always felt more at home on the roads I traveled first. Unfortunately those roads were the dead ends.
          I visited my home town last week. I stayed in the neighborhood I grew up in. I drove the streets I did as a drunken teen. I watched the same yellow line on the side of the road as I did so many nights on my way home from smoking pot out of bongs I had made with beer cans. Watching that yellow line kept me on the road back then.  I could almost still see that big penguin I hallucinated sitting on the traffic light. I could see me, walking down the busy road, as slow as i could, too afraid to go home. Listening to the rattling of the mini vodka bottles in my backpack, trying to forget the bitter cold biting the fingers that clinched my cigarette, hoping a car would veer off the road and hit me.  I stared at the trees as they went by, and thought of the daily fantasies of driving my car into them, remembering how angry I was at the air bag between myself and the wind shield.
          Part of me missed that road. As hard as it was, I was able to escape. I could do those things without it effecting my eternal salvation, without guilt. I could think freely without feeling guilty for being "evil". After all, ignorance is bliss, right?
          I went from that place straight to the Temple. The same Temple I went for Katrina's sealing just two weeks before. What an awesome day that was! This time...I felt ... quite the opposite. There was no light. I won't say He was gone from me (I know better), but I was certainly gone from Him. The road from those sidewalks to the Temple the first time was quite a few years, and a lot of preparation. This time, "older" and "wiser" didn't exactly connect. I guess that's why we are urged to stay so close to the iron rod. If we waiver just a bit, we will fall into the darkness. The darkness is exactly that, dark.
          The next day I listened to a friend bear his testimony about how he was able to "touch heaven" by witnessing his daughter's sealing in the Temple. He spoke about feeling His love, and about how that love is what gets him through life. This person is on a vastly different spiritual plane than I, and my immediate thought was, "I'm not going to make it. I don't have those feelings. He said that's what gets him through, without it he wouldn't make it."  In that moment I was totally fine with giving up. If there's one thing He has made known to me, it's that I don't feel Him like most.  I'm trying to remember exactly that, that He's made it known unto me, and let that knowledge be enough to get me through. He's whispered it to me, and shown me. He knows, and He's let me know.  
          There's only one thing that can fill darkness, and that's light.  He shows us our own paths to the light in different ways.  If everyone's road was the same, we'd have nothing to learn on our own.  Sometimes we all need to take wrong turns, but we can be thankful He's hovering above us with a map.  The road at the end of those childhood streets was dark. Even though I was standing in the Temple, my mind was still on those streets, and I wouldn't let Him in.  I'll admit, sometimes that darkness feels more like "me" than the light.  It's easier to fall.  It's easier to let my guard down to all my natural tendencies, and let my brain do what it naturally wants to do.  I'm not sure my road will end with "touching heaven". I know it has a few extra curves and twists in it that I'm not always as appreciative of as I should be, but when I'm ready I can look up and hope He'll show me which way to go to reach the light.