Lift

I’m not generally a watcher of Mormon Messages, but there is a newish one that I watched tonight, Lift, which again made me think of A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.

Yesterday I was focused on guilt as the concealed wound which can be healed, but I wasn’t necessarily thinking of the service provided by the Good Samaritan in verse five as the healing agent. After watching this video and hearing an average-joe-type man describe the healing power of service I thought of other types of concealed wounds which need healing. Depression, for example, is one that certainly can be/often is concealed, and deeply painful. There were very few things that helped me feel less depressed with any kind of consistency, but helping other people was one of those things.

As another man in the video said, triage of the soul involves looking outward, which absolutely has been true for me. It was not terribly intuitive and so I didn’t take advantage of this method to provide respite from Depression as much I could have; it’s hard to feel like you have a lot to offer other people when you can barely function yourself. But there’s always something that can be done.

It was also great to see a video focused on men doing service and experiencing a change of heart in a subtle way. Most of these scenarios of service that I’ve seen are focused on women, and I like that this represents men who also care about sacrificing time, helping their neighbors, etc. And as for the change of heart, it’s nice to see men who aren’t turning from drug addicts into faithful members…just regular guys who have impactful spiritual experiences which motivate them to change.

The quote from Elder Christofferson at the end was perfect, “We become more substantive as we serve others, indeed it’s easier to find ourselves because there’s so much more of us to find.”

Wounds Concealed

I was listening to A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief on a plane yesterday and was struck by the end of the fifth verse. The first part of that verse is essentially the parable of the Good Samaritan, but the second part the Samaritan says he has (himself) a wound concealedbut from that hour forgot the smart, And peace bound up (his) broken heart.

“Concealed wounds” could cover a lot of different things though the one that came immediately to my mind was guilt. Maybe it’s not right to think of guilt as a wound, but I think it is, albeit a self-inflicted one. In my experience it’s deeply painful, and possibly more so because of the fact that I did it to myself. Alma says guilt should only trouble us to bring us down to repentance, a wound with a point I suppose, and that verse makes it seem like there is this distinct arrival or end point – down to repentance.

There is so much poetic and beautiful (at least in the eye of this beholder) language about the relief of repentance. Just one example I find to be pretty powerful: Amazing grace! How sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see. I also happened to see a post by a friend on Facebook yesterday, whose comments really struck me:
I’ve been guilty of flattering myself into believing that my sins and my sorrow could be too big for Christ. But that’s because I failed to grasp the depth and intensity of His love and His power to lead us out of the darkness and into the day. To quote George Elliot, “It’s NEVER too late to be what you might have been.” It’s never too late for Christ to shower you with love and blessings. You cannot run far or fast enough to be beyond the reach of His redemption.”
 
I could go on and on about language I find so compelling on this topic, but I’m sure you’re well aware of it. I love it all, in a poignant sort of way. I believe in the power of repentance, I believe peace and relief can be found through Christ. I have absolutely felt a difference in spirituality over the last few months, and I love the idea of forgetting the smart of some wounds and feeling peace binding up my broken heart. 

Abiding, Living, and Moving

As I was packing and going through all of my papers yesterday I came across a quote by Marion G. Romney:

“Testimony is an abiding, living, moving conviction of the truth revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

And I started thinking about the three different adjectives he uses:

1. Abiding, which seems to connote permanence. That a testimony is persistently present, which actually makes sense to me. It’s hard to draw a distinct line between something that is fleeting (not abiding) vs. the way testimonies seem to ebb and flow. But maybe the ebb of a testimony just never fades to the point of nonexistence, or ebbs as much as it flows with the right amount of attention. At minimum, it seems that Romney believes it is not a fleeting thing.

2. Living, which could tie into the ebb and flow concept, but is more heavily focused on the flow. The word living seems to imply growth, and certainly in the natural world when I think of living things I think of growing things. In the church our concept of growth is line upon line, precept upon precept. which never really resonated with me, but recently, really in last week’s testimony, I realized what a blessing that is. We don’t have to jump in and know or believe everything at once. I certainly don’t, and I’m not so worried about knowing everything, but believing everything at once is overwhelming. It’s nice to be able to move at my own speed and build slowly.

3. Moving, which is the most interesting adjective I think. Moving could be seen as relating to the emotional element, which testimonies absolutely have of course. We see people “moved to tears” all the time when bearing their testimonies. And that’s an important component because I know, from my own experience, that a lot of thinking or an intellectual approach is not what makes a testimony. The other way to look at “moving” is that a testimony moves us to action. It ought to create change, motivate us to do good, and help us avoid sin. This aspect, I think, is my area of struggle. Sometimes I’m not sure whether I’m an imperfect, lazy person with a testimony or a more imperfect person without much of a testimony.

I have felt more moved by my belief of late, which is progress, line upon line…my testimony is definitely living. And abiding…I suppose there is a case to be made that it is, since here I am after years and years of ignoring, destroying, or avoiding it and yet I find that it still matters to me. So I guess this is another thing I’ve discovered I believe. I believe testimonies are abiding, living and moving. I’m grateful that they are, because it means people like me are never without hope. Testimonies don’t just disappear and even though they might shrivel up, they don’t die and can always be brought back – living waters!