Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Learning Humility and Charity

Most of you don't know the particulars of what I am going through right now, though I have alluded to it when posting. Although I do not yet feel at liberty to discuss even the generalities of it, I would like to share a few things I have learned.

Before I found myself in this situation, I looked down at others in similar situations with pity and judgment. I felt that their troubles were brought on them by their own mistakes and choices, and a part of me even suspected that they deserved what they got, though I would never have actually passed that judgment.

And now I find myself where they are. I cannot even say it is through no fault of my own, because I am far from innocent in the matter. I have made mistakes, huge mistakes which have illustrated some of my biggest and ugliest character flaws. Because of those mistakes, I find myself in a place which is close to the last place on earth I would want to be. I have betrayed my own deepest held values. My fondest dreams and ideals are trampled into the dirt, beyond my own power of recovery. Ironically, my mistakes were all made in an atmosphere of trying to do the right thing. Worst of all, my mistakes will affect my family and my children irrevocably, and there is nothing I can do about it now but to try to discern the lesser of great evils.

Yet, even in the midst of paying for my mistakes and seeing my children pay for my mistakes, I see how I have been blessed.

I can no longer look upon the sorrows of the human situation in the same way, even those sorrows which people bring upon themselves in their ignorance and pride. I am much more likely to view others with a soft heart and open arms. After all, I know now that "there, but for the grace of God [go I]." I have learned that no one is immune from consequence, it is only that the grace and blessings of God keep some from realizing the full depths of it.

I no longer view the Atonement the same way. Now that I have needed it in a way that goes beyond repenting for relatively small sins and errors, I understand a little more. Now I am in a situation that I can never make better, no matter what I do. I no longer see the Atonement just as a gift bestowed upon us by a generous God, but as a lifeline, just as vital as air. Without Christ's Atonement, I would have long ago given in to despair. Now I know what it means to trust God, to trust Him to care for my children when I cannot, to trust Him to grant me the desires of my heart despite my unworthiness, to trust Him to protect me from the storms of my own making.

Nor can I view the scriptures in the same way, particularly the New Testament. Now that I have been falsely accused, I perceive the strength in Christ when He remained silent. Now that I am bleeding from unseen wounds which I can't heal, when I feel dirty and unclean, do I understand the faith and courage shown by simply touching the garment of Jesus. Now I can see how it must have felt to be accepted and forgiven by the Savior, despite sin. They are not just stories any more. Now, they are real to me.

How I yearn for such acceptance from my Savior! Now, I want to be there for those who feel as I have felt, broken, lost, alone and filthy. Now, I long for a way to lift others from the filth of sin, to embrace them as brothers and sisters, to help them feel loved.

All my previous understanding of scripture, all my previous attempts to learn were nothing compared to this. I hope that I might retain this lesson in my heart, and repent.


  1. This was beautiful.
    And I can't help but think that your strength comes from seeing the good in the horror.
    Which is the point, I think.

  2. I don't think you realize the strength others gain from your courage to share your journey of pain, self-enlightenment, repentance, and reliance on the Savior. Thank you for helping me look within and evaluate my own attitudes and need for repentance.

    Being able to recognize the Savior's love and the good resulting from your current situation is indeed a gift.

  3. I'm sorry you have been falsely accused and can only wish you well.

  4. Thank you for sharing this. It is beautiful. I'm sure I will be linking to it some day on my own blog.

  5. Thank you for being so humble and open hearted to share this. It reminds me to do all I can to retain those feelings in my own life.

  6. When I make mistakes (and I've made more than my share), I feel so comforted to remember that the Savior chose a woman who was despised by the Jews, had lived with multiple "husbands," and who was rejected by men--to teach at the well in Samaria.

    The Savior, who Isaiah described as being despised and rejected, also sought out those who were despised and rejected to teach. The Samaritan woman became one of the Savior's most ardent disciples. As I read your posts, I feel your faith. Thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts. They are inspiring.

  7. Thank you Carol. I find it wondrous how much I learn from interactions here. I think the woman at the well is one of those stories which helps me hold on, as well.


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