This “be still” message has been with me for several years now. I used to be driven to get things done, to succeed, to be productive. I live a much quieter life now. It’s more peaceful as in I’m not doing as much, but my heart longs for greater peace. I want to take a sigh as big as the moon and let it out for full, worldwide peace. There is so little of it. There is no peace in my heart over so many things I can’t control – governments throughout the world, poverty, nature’s destruction, separations between people that have differing views, and racial inequality. The tenth chapter of Ether got me thinking about this today and befriend really helped sink it in my heart. Ether was all about wars. So many wars. Children having their fathers killed, imprisoning them and starving them to death for control of the kingdom. It just sounded all too familiar. There are so many things I can’t do much about. I pray, boy, do I pray, but that seems to do little to relieve the suffering of my brothers and sisters. I have little peace when I see the news reports of these events occurring.
Both the OA and AA messages this morning were about getting out the feelings trapped inside us – by writing them down or just saying them out loud. This can help us to come to an understanding of what may be bothering us and even provide a path to fixing it. There is so little I understand of the lives of my brothers and sisters. I can read and watch and listen, but I would have to walk in their actual day-to-day lives to really get a glimpse of what is occurring in their lives. Since I cannot do that, I pray. I pray for my heart to be open and understanding, for the words to speak and the actions to take. Pres. Dieter F. Uctdorf said in General Conference,
Brothers and sisters, we are eternal beings, without beginning and without end. We have always existed.We are the literal spirit children of divine, immortal, and omnipotent Heavenly Parents!
We come from the heavenly courts of the Lord our God. We are of the royal house of Elohim, the Most High God. We walked with Him in our premortal life. We heard Him speak, witnessed His majesty, learned His ways.
I know without a doubt that this means all of us – LBGTQ, all ethnicities, old, young, poor, rich, mentally ill, homeless – all of us, are children of a loving God who wants to bless each of us. He is blessing us. I take comfort in knowing that He is watching over each of us and that He knows the path that will bring each of us home. That He, and only He, is the final judge. Thank heaven for that!
befriend today was about these very things. The two chapters I read were Befriend the Poor and Empty-Handed and Befriend the Other Race. His words about the poor made me think of all the panhandlers we have in our area. They are on every corner and every on and off ramp. I see them with their signs and think about what I might do in their situation. I talked with a young man once who specifically requested socks. He looked like he never thought I might do that for him, but off I went. It wasn’t about the giving, it was about reaching into this young man’s life and offering hope that someone might care, even if it is a stranger. When he opened the package, it was like Christmas. He took care in opening them, but he couldn’t get his shoes off fast enough to put them on. It brought me to tears and, honestly, it still does. I have no idea how it might feel to live in his shoes, but for that one brief moment, I was able to see true joy. Scott Sauls says, “As we are drawn in by Jesus’ compassion for us, we will also be drawn in to a life of compassion toward the poor.” How interesting it is that the more we see God’s hand and His blessings in our lives and feel that gratitude, the more we are willing and wanting to help those around us.
Many might feel that these “others” need to do it on their own, but even you and I don’t do anything on our own. We are blessed with family and friends supporting us. My husband works and I stay home. If something were to happen, with my mental health issues, I would be on the street too. That is a scary thought, but aren’t we all close to being poor? One paycheck? One bad investment? A divorce? Bankruptcy? A line of bad events can knock down even the most well-to-do and we’ve seen it happen numerous times. We need to do what we can to help.
Scott goes on to say,
Through the Old Testament prophets, Yahweh declares that authentic faith fights injustices, liberates the oppressed, relieves burdens, feeds the hungry, shelters the poor, and clothes the naked.
He quotes Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-35
And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
How amazing that would be! Generosity. Care. Love. Concern. Putting others before self. What kind of world would we live in? I don’t think it has to be everything. One thing. Small things. Small acts of kindness and thoughtfulness to those who are hurting and need help. One outstretched hand. Pray and ask what you can do to find one person today to reach out to in love and service. Make today a better more peace-filled day – for me, for you, and for whomever God puts in your way.