Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday thoughts

This week, I was looking for some quotes by Chieko Okazaki that I heard recently in a Relief Society meeting. I didn't find them, but I did find this, which I consider to be a real gem:

Well, my dear sisters, the gospel is the good news that can free us from guilt.

We know that Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane. It's our faith that he experienced everything-- absolutely everything. Sometimes we don't think through the implications of that belief.

We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family. But we don't experience pain in generalities. We experience it individually.

That means he knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer- how it was for your mother, how it still is for you. He knows what it felt like to lose the student body election. He knows that moment when the brakes locked and the car started to skid. He experienced the slave ship sailing from Ghana toward Virginia. He experienced the gas chambers at Dachau. He experienced napalm in Vietnam. He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism.

Let me go further. There is nothing you have experienced as a woman that he does not know and recognize.

On a profound level, he understands the hunger to hold your baby that sustains you through pregnancy. He understands both the physical pain of giving birth and the immense joy. He knows about PMS and cramps and menopause. He understands about rape and infertility and abortion.

His last recorded words to his disciples were, "And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (Matthew 28:20)

He understands your mother-pain when your five-year-old leaves for kindergarten, when a bully picks on your fifth-grader, when your daughter calls to say that the new baby has Down's Syndrome. He knows your mother-rage when a trusted babysitter sexually abuses your two-year-old, when someone gives your thirteen-year-old drugs, when someone seduces your seventeen-year-old. He knows the pain you live with when you come home to a quiet apartment where the only visitors are children, when you hear that your former husband and his new wife were sealed in the temple last week, when your fiftieth wedding anniversary rolls around and your husband has been dead for two years.
He knows all that.
He's been there.
He's been lower than all that.

He's not waiting for us to be perfect. Perfect people don't need a Savior. He came to save his people in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes. He's not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief.

I love this. I have been feeling this lately, but unable to express it as she did. I've just been feeling so strongly that we all have our very real, very different trials. We all feel pain and grief and fallibility and we all need the Savior. We all need the very individualized comfort and peace that only He can give. And we can all receive it, if we remember Him and turn to Him. There is no other way. And such a simple way! He is waiting to help us, He wants to bless us, and all we have to do is ask. I hope I can always remember how easy, and vital, this really is.

p.s. I was called to be the second counselor in the Primary presidency today (but I will be working with Activity Days instead of Scouts — yay!). It's been a long time since I have spent any significant time in Primary. I will be working with my dear friend Heidi, for whom I would do almost anything. Wish me luck!


Someone In Mind said...

I hate daylight Savings too.

Good Luck in Primary.

This quote was excellent. I might even have to re-post it. I think we need this lesson and reminder often.

I hope you are doing great!

Liz said...

I love this quote! Thanks for posting it! I've been thinking about this subject a lot lately too. I was called into YW's in January-after serving in Primary for years- and it has been a real time of soul searching and prayer and study. Primary was great- I had the exact calling that you now have, but I'm glad to try something new. Good luck!

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

I'm so excited for you to be in Primary again. Nothing puts you in the middle of the ward like Primary.

I used to hate Daylight Savings. I wished they would just leave us on one time, I didn't care which one, like Arizona does. I still do wish that, but now I've learned to think, "Oh good! I get to go to bed one hour earlier than I used to!" whereas before I'd think, "Oh heavens. I have to get up an hour earlier than normal."

I love the way Sister Okazaki spells out our pain. It makes it so very real.

I love your blog.

Nicole said...

I love that quote! Where did you find it?

Anonymous said...

Dear Blogger,
I don't even know your name or how I came across this blog but I need to thank you.

I grew up in the church but, unfortunately, my life has challenged my faith over and over again. And then about 2 years again I found myself unemployed, homeless, turned out by my family and living in my car. I felt so alone. I tried to summon all of the faith that had kept me going thru my life but I felt so alone and often found myself on my knees begging Heavenly Father to bring me home.

A few weeks ago I stumbled across this post and it has rolled thru my mind ever since. I had forgotten that I am not alone in my struggles. I had forgotten that my fears and stress about losing my job and becoming homeless again, have already been suffered by my Savior.

Thank you. Thank you for sharing these words. I will keep this with me always as a reminder that I am not alone.

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