Sunday, August 07, 2005

Adversity is like manure...it stinks, but things grow from it.


Isn't this a beautiful photo? It's the kind of moment every photographer dreams of capturing.
I've sort of got a lot swimming around in my mind, all of it having to do with hard times and the examples I see around me of how to handle them. I thought the quote for the title of this entry summed it up pretty well.
There's a guy on the 4-to-1 crew at work named Buck, who's got some mental problems. I think he's slightly autistic...he can function perfectly well and make decisions and can handle stress pretty well, but he doesn't always get jokes, etc. We make fun of him a lot, because he can be so funny, but in truth, we all really care about him. When he got to work today, he pulled Tim aside for a few minutes, then went back to work. I didn't think much of it...he was quieter than usual, and just seemed sort of out of it. What I saw later, though, was the kind of thing that just sort of knocks the emotional wind out of you for a second and then you realize a few things, or remember a few things you'd forgotten.
As we were unloading the truck, I grabbed a box off the chain just as Zach and Buch were also doing so. Zach and I were sort of chatting, but as I turned away, I heard Zach say "Are you cool, Buck?" Buck said "What?" and Zach repeated "Are you cool? You doing all right?" I was intrigued, so I listened as I continued to work, as Buck told Zach he's just sort of out of it right now, just a lot of stuff going on. Zach said quietly "You wanna talk about it?" Buck said no, not right now. It was probably because we girls were back there too, and Buck's a little stand-offish with us. But later when it was just them in the back, I caught a glimpse of Zack leaning on a pallet jack and listening intently as Buck talked in a low voice, his face full of emotion.
Somehow, Zach's example just caught me off guard, and I've been thinking about it all day. My reaction might make more sense if you knew Zach. He can be sort of quiet and only selectively talkative, which often comes across as conceit. But the more I get to know him, the better of a person he is. Today especially, he showed a side of himself that he doesn't show often, and I'm sure he had no idea what an influence his example was on me. I was reminded of what a tool you can be for the Lord in lifting other's burdens and bettering people's lives. It takes patience, and courage, and sensitivity, and most of all, a simple love for the Lord's children. You've got to want to help others for others' sakes. It's so much harder to be a blessing in other people's lives if you're simply doing it because your calling requires you to, or because you want a good reference or two for your application to the celestial kingdom, or because you know you're Mormon or Christian or a Boy Scout and everyone expects you to be nice. Today, I saw a worthy return missionary do the right thing for the right reason. (At least I hope it was the right reason. But I consider myself pretty observant.) Someday I'd like to thank Zach for the silent example he was to me, in being a willing tool in the Lord's hands to bless the lives of others. Not only did he bless Buck's life, but mine also.
I try to be that kind of a person...to be sensitive to other's needs and willing to make their burdens lighter in some way. I know I often fall short. I get selfish and stubborn and try to live my life according to my own will. I get absorbed in myself and forget to be a tool in the Lord's hands. I've learned--slowly and occasionally painfully--that you can only do half as much on your own. If you ask for the Lord's influence in your life, he will guide you to those who will be blessed by your service and influence, and help you to know what it is you can do for them.
Sometimes, too, I feel so helpless...that I can only do or say so much, and the rest I've got to leave up to them and the Lord. My parents have often told me that it's a blessing and a curse...to be overly sensitive to the feelings of others. The truth of that statement grows year by year. I imagine that the Lord must also experience that same feeling of helplessness. It's got to be worse, because He holds the power to literally lift our burdens and change our lives, but He will not deprive us of experiences that will help us grow to be more like Him. At times, He does all he can to comfort us and guide us and reveal to us the truth, but there comes a point when the only person who can change things for yourself is YOU.
I didn't intend to do this, but it somehow feels like the right thing to do. I'd like to close this entry by bearing part of my testimony.
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints is the one true and complete church on the earth today. We have the blessing of a living prophet, and Priesthood authority, through which we have direct revelation and communication with the Almighty. I say to all of you that the heavens have once again been opened, and the Lord is pouring out truth upon the earth and its inhabitants once more. I know that Christ lives. He is my Savior. I know that He suffered for my sins, and felt my pains and sufferings in the Garden of Gethsemane, and was crucified on the cross. I know that He rose again on the third day. He lives to this day, and showed Himself to Joseph Smith in the sacred grove, and has visited the earth in His resurrected body. I am so grateful to be a part of this great and powerful work. The Lord had a perfect church until He let us all in, and I so often get distracted by the weakness I see in the church. But regardless of anything or anyone, THIS IS THE TRUE CHURCH OF GOD. What a great and marvelous work this is! Temples are being built all over the world! Missionaries are sharing the good news of the restored gospel in hundreds of nations and languages. Revelation is continually being received and shared by the living prophets and apostles. I am continually amazed by the miracles I daily witness. I PROMISE YOU THAT THE LORD LIVES AND LOVES HIS CHILDREN TODAY AS MUCH AS HE EVER HAS. HE WILL NOT LEAVE THEM TO GET THROUGH LIFE ALONE. In closing, I share the words of a powerful scripture. James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him." The Lord is always there; knock, and He shall answer, ask, and you shall receive. I say these things and seal this testimony with the Beloved name of my Lord and Savior, even Jesus Christ, Amen.

(For those of you occasional readers who are not LDS, I invite you to check out Mormon.org. It has some of our basic beliefs and some common question and answers, in case you were wondering about any of the things I've talked about. Also, feel free to drop me an e-mail or leave me a comment!)

I love you all, and thank you for being such righteous and positive examples to me!

5 comments:

Little Whee said...

This was exactly what I needed ot hear right now. Thanks for being willing to share a little of yourself to help others. I know it'll help more people than me.

J-E-N said...

Thank you, Liz. It brought tears to my eyes. Love you and see you soon!

Beckah said...

Yeah, quit making everyone cry! But seriously, thank you so much Liz. I think we all really needed to hear it in our own way, and we all took something a little different from it. But you are a wonderful person, and I can't wait to see you, so that we can bless each other's lives once again, if only for a short time. I love you, and I am eternally grateful that we picked each other as sisters. I think about you daily, and you have always been such a strong example to me. Thank you so much. And what a great way to start the day! I miss you, and only one more week till we see each other again!

Liz-a-nator said...

Thank YOU all for being the kind of people to be sensitive enough to be touched. I'm sorry I made everyone cry! I didn't mean to. I love you all, and just thank the Lord we have the restored gospel!

Derek said...

http://beatdownfool.blogspot.com/