Thursday, October 6, 2011
"Daughters in My Kingdom" Post, the Second
This is personal to me. I know that the things I have experienced are a drop in the bucket compared to the suffering one human can endure. And yet, like a sock full of nearly invisible holes, I feel myself unraveling, the holes getting bigger no matter how I try to patch them. Lately has been one of those times, when I yearn for help to hold myself together and do not know where to find it. My tank is empty, and I am running on fumes and faith.
It seems to me that we don't need as much temporal help as we used to. Although finances are tight for most of us, they don't mean the difference between survival and death. However, our emotional and spiritual needs are at least as dire as they were. The problem is that we are untrained and ignorant of how to help. So when our sisters need us, we stand around uncomfortably, not knowing what to do.
Yet, Daughters in My Kingdom paints a different picture, one very similar to the other book I am reading. In the early pioneer era, as well as more recently in eastern Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall, members banded together out of necessity. One's suffering was the suffering of all. One's pain was shared by many shoulders.
When did we lose that?
Or have we lost it at all? Perhaps I am simply cut off from it, a member in name but not in circumstance or deed. Yet, that Sister Beck has released this book with its very clear message tells me that I'm not delusional. Or alone in my loneliness.
When we don't serve others, we fail to live according to the faith we claim, and THAT is the original purpose of the Relief Society, to organize relief in the name of Christ. To bind up the brokenhearted, to knit our hearts into Zion. To darn the holes in our hearts with threads of love and unity.
It is clear from my life and the story of the Relief Society that the best defense against Satan is to band together, to truly become one. The question is, how?
In the book, one woman acted on her own to relieve the suffering of those around her. Only after she had been doing it for some time did the Priesthood begin to direct the work she was doing. We obviously don't have to wait for Priesthood direction.
Of course, it all goes back to the Spirit. When we have the Spirit with us, we gain lasting comfort, we gain power to relieve suffering. When we don't have the Spirit, the waves of the world beat upon us, robbing us of our power to act.
But the forces of the world are geared to distract us from the Spirit, to steal away our confidence in the Lord. And that is where I am right now. I have no confidence in my ability to feel or listen to the Spirit. The cares of the world crowd out my faith. I have fought my way, tooth and nail, free of the things which bound my body. But my spirit is still suffering. I long to serve, but I don't have the strength. I don't have the confidence. I am quickly losing the power to stay afloat. And a drowning person cannot help another drowning person.
It is clear that the strength and power in Relief Society is to share the individual burdens of those who are suffering across the shoulders of those who are in that moment strong. When we feel at home, safe, we are free to serve, free to take risks with our own safety in order to give, because we know someone else will have our back when we need it.
But that trust is gone. That community is dead. And how is it to be revived? How are we to fill the holes in the hearts of others when our own heart is bleeding out into the snow?
I know the answer. It lies in the Atonement. It lies in the things I have discussed while sharing my experiences with abuse. It lies in bundling up all our cares and worries and literally leaving them to Him. It is in letting God worry about our problems so we can worry about the problems of God's children.
I know the answer. But I haven't yet gotten the knack of it.
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