Return With Honor
Good Day Friends, Family and Opryland Family,
To say it has been one of those weeks is an understatement. Sometimes I felt I just existed and doing what I could do, to simply survive another day. I don't like those kind of weeks or days. They wear me down and out. I try and do my newsletters before Sunday but that does not always work, as in the case this week. When I Iook back at the week, it wasn't so much a bad week just a blah week. When you hurt it is hard to stay up and stay positive and then you find nothing positive to write about. I think I did pretty good until Sunday and then I just fell apart. Part of this was something that was said to me earlier that weighed on me all week. There is nothing I can do about the person or what they said, but I realize now I let it affect me more than it should.
There are many wonderful and joyful things that happen in my life and that happened last week. One of the highlights was getting to meet my friend's son who has been gone for two years on a LDS Church Mission. (Another small lesson in Mormonism 101. All young men are expected to fulfill a two year church mission when they graduate high school and are of age. This is something they pay for themselves and can be sent anywhere in the world. They must be PREPARED. There are many blessings tied to serving a mission, also many sacrifices and life learning experiences. Young men serve for 2 years and young women serve for 18 months.) I am amazed at the missionaries preparing to go out and those who are returning home from service. They are so much wiser than I was when I was in my early 20's, or could ever imagine to be.
That leads me to my friend's son who served his two year mission in Japan. For two years he was in Japan teaching the Gospel in Japanese (a language he had to learn in his training.) There was no modern music, TV or movies for those two years. He studied very heavily the Japanese language and teaching people about the love and teachings of Christ. I believe in order to teach the love and teachings of Christ you must also LIVE IT. You can tell by Zach's actions he does.
One of the first things I was able to observe in him was his love, faith and obedience for his family. Imagine that!! When I think about it, living the teachings of Christ is all about love, faith and obedience. When we look at the 10 commandments I often think of the seventh commandment which says, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain" yet how many people do and think nothing of it. It has always bothered me and turns me off to many things. For me it shows lack of respect and obedience. And definitely not showing a love for our God.
I know, I know some of you may be saying, "Lighten up Laura!" It's just a word!! It is just one of my little pet peeves that bothers me. It may seem like a little thing but I have learned those little things eventually turn into the big things, so why not nip them in the bud now? If I can't be obedient to the little things how will I ever be obedient to the big things in life when they come? So with my friend's son, she simply asked him to come to the Family History Center to meet me. He could have easily said no, but he didn't. When we are gone for a while from friends, what is the first thing we want to do? Be with our friends and get back to the swing and freeness of life. But being a missionary is a strict routine everyday and coming home you must find that happy medium between strictness and freeness. I think that ties to obedience in doing the things we know we should be doing.
I often hear people say, "No one is going to tell me what to do or how to live my life." These people are usually the ones who would be classified as "free spirits" and do whatever they want no matter the consequences. I think the freer in life you become the less obedient to God's commandments you become. One little thing here won't matter, and that is where I think I found myself last week. Not so much what I did, but the result of consequences from someone else I had no control over. I need to learn how to deal with them better.
I feel I am a good person. I care about others, help others where I can, I try my best to keep the Lord's commandments and just try to live my life as obedient as I can by what I believe. So being told I was a "nice person" and would bend over backwards for people but I was not a Christian for the way I believed struck a sore spot with me and I dwelled on it.
I think it was the reason for having a sleepless week and not feeling well. I could tell I was out of whack last week and a friend mentioned she could always tell when I was not having a good day because I talk fast and loud. Ha ha That is very true I think!! I was going through the motions and following the rules of being obedient, but I don't think my heart was in it. The motions were but not the heart. Someone had to take a swat at me and knock me down. It was very hard to get back up. It seemed every time I went to get back up, I got swatted back down. I didn't know if I had the strength to go get up anymore. Some days I just wanted to give up and stay where I was.
By Sunday emotionally and physically I was a mess. It was all I could do to merely exist again and to go to church. I love going to church, but Sunday it was a chore. I know it would have been okay to miss, but I couldn't. I need to go and be recharged for the next week. I could hear the words in church that were coming but that is where it all stopped. I just couldn't seem to process them and take them to heart. I watched those at church welcome Zach home from his mission; a good and faithful servant. His Grandpa proud, his parents proud, siblings proud, and those who watched him grow up proud and welcoming him home. I guess part of me was a bit jealous. My life had been so different than what his was. Even though I was 18 when I was baptized into the church, it took a long time for me to begin to understand the teachings. Not because I didn't believe them, but because it was hard for me to process them when my life was so different. It made me wonder if I was one of those good and faithful servants or if I could ever be one? If I left this earth today would I return home with honor? What would my family think? Did I do enough to just get by or did I truly do my best?
What makes us want to do more than our best? What makes us go beyond what we have to, to do what we do? I love serving people. I realized it was that "return with honor" that I so much want one day. To return home to Heaven and know I was a good and faithful servant in this life. Last night a friend brought me dinner. She told me she thinks of me often and the impact I have on others. I don't see that, because I don't have the "physical aspect of life" that is missing in mine. I have to try and imagine or guess the love of a parent; the love of a family, that I have done something well. It's hard when the physical aspect of it is not there. I think that is where I get into trouble. When I get someone telling me something as the person did who said I was a nice person but not a Christian, I hear those words, and not the love I know many have for me. It's not what I am accustom to and I don't know why. But I start getting my doubts, then I think maybe all I am doing is not enough then I doubt myself. I was just reminded of a quote I heard that said "Doubt your doubt before you doubt your faith." I need to remember that.
So this week I am digging my feet in a bit further and becoming a bit firmer in what I know I must do in this life to return home with honor. I need to help others where I can, and take to heart the good things and dismiss the naysayers. I need to remember to keep more of my friends who are struggling and in need of extra help in my prayers. I need to remember that just because I seek out the good and try to do what is right, not everyone will agree. Just because they do not agree with me does not make me or them a bad person. I want to be like those missionaries who do all they could and their best in what they were asked to do. I want to hear those words one day, "Well done my good and faithful servant." I may never be able to serve a full time mission on this earth, so my mission now will have to do. If I can make that difference in one person's life I know I can return home with honor. We all can.
Hugs my friends...and thank you for letting me vent my feelings every week. I love your feedback and reactions to the newsletters. It's one of the good things I hope I am doing and brightening some one's day up!
Hugs and loves,