Saturday, April 30, 2011

Facing the Mirror Gate

"There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

In my last post, Howard asked a good question that I cannot simply answer in a comment. Knowing that I had begun this post years ago and never quite finished it, I decided to bring it out of the "Drafts" cedar chest, shake off the dust, mend a few tears with things I have learned since, and use it as my answer.

I am a fairly introspective soul. Using others as mirrors to see myself, I try to gain a more accurate picture of who I am and who I should be. Unfortunately, this has led to the poor character trait of letting others define me, something I'm having a horrid time shaking.

Of course, we should ideally use God as our mirror. As He said to Moroni, "if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness," and then He will make those weaknesses strong.

In one of my interviews, my first mission president asked me a question that has weighed on my mind ever since. He asked if I knew how God feels about me. The thought terrified me. Still terrifies me. Not long after he asked it, I tried to open myself up to understanding how God sees me. I succeeded somewhat, but I have not yet been able to truly let go and feel it. Perhaps a part of me is like the weak knights, who "ran away screaming" when they saw who they really were. Yet I feel that this is part of my journey to understanding charity.

Now, as a mother, I believe I understand something of God's love for me because of how I feel about my daughters. But there is a part of me that cannot accept that a divine being could feel that way about me. There is a part of me that is convinced I am not worth that, and I am afraid of the expectations that come with it.

Although I know, intellectually, that love towards me could exist without expectations of behavior, I have never experienced it. I have no framework for it. Now that I have children, I have a little framework for it from the other direction, but it is still inconceivable to me that I could be the recipient of such a love, though I know it must be so.

I am coming to believe that this is a large part of why I don't really want to try to find an eternal relationship. I know that until I learn to accept God's love, I cannot accept mortal love. That is probably why I allowed myself to accept a cheap substitute for love in my failed marriage. That is probably why real friendships make me nervous. I'm always anticipating my failure of the hidden expectations on the part of my friends.

I don't think there is really any way to prepare to look into the Mirror Gate. I know I can't do it when my children are around, and I've succeeded in busying my life to the point where I really have very little time alone any more. So in a week or two, instead of planting or weeding, knitting or sewing, dating or playing, I plan to take my journey.

Wish me luck.


  1. You are going on the journey that prompted Joseph Smith into the grove of trees. There is no less important journey.

    From Lectures on Faith, Lecture Three 2-5, "Let us here observe that three things are necessary for any rational and intelligent being to exercise faith in God unto life and salvation. First, the idea that he actually exists; Secondly, a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes; Thirdly, an actual knowledge that the course of life which one is pursuing is according to His will."

  2. i am afraid to show you who i really am how can i be worthy of your love i do not yet love myself

  3. So i went to the hospital to pick out unlovable newborns...but i couldn't find how did i get this i remember?

    The love you give to your daughters will also work on yourself. Adult - adult love is conditional. Christ offers almost unconditional love (you must come to Him). Unconditional love comes from children and puppies.


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