Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The Long-Toe'd Saints Revisited
I'm not going to bed tonight. I am sitting on a rock-hard loveseat in a hospital room, listening to the clicks and whirrs of the pumps and meters. A few feet away, one of the saintliest men I have ever known is trying his best to sleep amidst the lights, noises, discomforts, and constant interruptions. I am here until sun-up to give his sweet wife a chance to get some sleep.
Every once in a while I warm up a wash cloth and wipe his face, or spoon feed him a few ice chips. When he feels like chatting, we chat. Mostly I'm watching him sleep. Thankfully, the doctors expect he will make a complete recovery and be home soon.
There is nowhere else I would rather be.
Yes, I am painfully aware that just yesterday I was irritated at this very man. This man that I love. Why? Because his family had kept everyone at arms length, and been slow to let us know how he was doing. We couldn't help.
I don't believe much in coincidence. I also know that once in a while the Lord has to really give me a good wallop upside the head. He is rarely subtle with me. Usually He waits a little while. But in this case, I was given this specific opportunity to serve - and to learn - a mere 12 hours after I wrote my last post. (You might want to go back and read it before you go on link)
So, as I sit here in a really good state of mind and heart, I have been reading all of your recent comments regarding service and privacy. Some sad, some sweet, some tragic, and some disquieting. There are some of you out there that - like me - are a little to quick to judge. There are some that are filled with gratitude. There are some that are very, very wise. I hope you don't mind, but I would like to add a few more thoughts.
It seems that some of us need to consider a little bit of repentance. What? You are turning this into a preach about repentance? Yes I am. But calm down - I said "us" not "you". This discussion just begs to be looked at through the prism of repentance. How so? I thought you would never ask...
1) Giver's Pride: One of the main issues that I was venting about Sunday was that I was being denied my opportunity to exercise my faith, my prayers, my fasting, my service on my friends' behalf, and losing out on my blessings. (See the recurring word? I bolded it, just so you wouldn't miss it.) I learned a long time ago that anytime you can have the word "I" or "my" that many times in one sentence, then something is amiss. Is it even supposed to be about me?
2) Receiver's Pride: Some people are truly "private" people. But should we ever be so private that we can't let our leaders, or HTs or VTs know what our challenges are? These are people who have an actual stewardship over us. They do need to know - they also have the privilege of receiving revelation regarding how to best serve us. Why not let the Lord help us? As President Uchtdorf taught, "The answer might come from the voice and wisdom of trusted friends and family..." (Waiting on the Road to Damascus)
I still stand by the idea that we are supposed to be "willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort..." - and that requires a willingness on the receiving end as well.
3) Resentment: Yes, I have had times where I felt neglected or ignored in times of trial. Or by people 'minimizing' our needs. And yes, I have had to work through them. But, one thing that I know for sure is that an unforgiving heart will stop our spiritual progress dead in its tracks. (Don't believe me? Ask Tarzan) Of all the comments, those that made me saddest were the ones that showed resentment and pain from past experiences where the saints did not respond so saintly. It is time to let it go.
This also makes me fret about how many people feel that I let them down when I didn't check in on them, or give them a call when they were in need. (Actually, I think I would rather not know.)
4) Rubberneckers: It is absolutely true that there are nosy people who deal more from curiosity than charity. We need to forgive them too! Seems like judging other's motives might be a slippery place to stand - probably a good time to give someone the benefit of the doubt.
5) Pushy People: Yes, we have received meals that were never consumed and went straight into the trash. Yes, we have visited with concerned people when we really didn't want to talk to anyone. Just because some people lack some social grace, or sensitivity, does not mean their hearts aren't in the right place. So we need to forgive them as well.
My EC and I have been greatly blessed by those stubborn people who 'wouldn't take no for an answer', and by others that we would least expect to show up to help. We have formed new and lasting friendships with people who have served us, even though they didn't really know us at the time.
(This started getting longer than I anticipated...oops!)
I know that tonight my heart is soft, and squishy because I have been given the opportunity to serve and to learn. Hopefully, next time I need someone to help me, I will have the desire to let someone else share those feelings with me. There are so many wonderful people who are willing to serve wherever, whenever needed. It is a noble, Christ-like thing. Keep up the good work.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me about these things - it has been enlightening and sobering for me. (And sorry if you read this whole thing waiting for a punchline.)
I love this life, I love this gospel, and I love hearing my friend snore.