Typically, I write a blog post when I feel moved by the Spirit. Having a deadline and structure to what I post is not my natural practice. But I felt that I should participate in the General Conference Odyssey, and it has been good so far. But this week, I had a hard time connecting to any of the talks from this session. Not that none of them spoke to me, but they spoke to me in ways I'm not entirely comfortable sharing. So I apologize if this post is a bit stilted. I'm sure it won't be the last like that.
While my children have never gotten along perfectly, as they age there seems to be a certain level of viciousness in what they sometimes say to each other. Few things break my heart as much as hearing one of the people I love most in this world being cruel to the other. It doesn't matter who is right and who is wrong as much as the viciousness.
I can't imagine it's much different with the Lord and His children. While it does matter who is right and who is wrong, I believe He must feel about His children's discord the way I feel about the arguments between my children. The talk "By Love, Serve One Another" by S. Dilworth Young was written decades before our current political and ideological battles, but as I read it, I was deeply impacted by how clearly he challenged us members of the Church, particularly those of us who don't have significant or time-hungry callings, to spend greater time serving the poor and those who mourn. "...Those who are not given great responsibility in the organizations have more time to seek out the poor, needy, and helpless. And this help is badly needed. All about us are those in need of encouragement, assistance, and help...."
"...There are many lonely people, people whose loneliness is hidden...." Is this not just as true today as 1971? The demographics of those who don't feel like they belong to the Church may have shifted a bit, but there are hosts of people who do not feel welcome. It is up to us as baptized members to reach out to them, no matter their circumstances. There is nothing that says "mourn with those who mourn for reasons we would mourn," or "comfort only those whom we perceive as victims," or "stand as a witness of God unless it hurts someone's feelings." I'd like to share a parable. Don't read too much into it, I'm just trying to illustrate a point.