Sunday, December 6, 2015

Something for Sunday: "Cast they bread..."

A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever it around to be loved.                                                          - Kurt Vonnegut

Bonneville Shoreline Trail, 12-1-2015
     I am not an open person by nature. Trust does not come easily to me, and I prefer to keep concerns and feelings to myself. This is incompatible with the gospel. We are required to be vulnerable. The commandment to love others as we love God and ourselves is hard one of the most difficult for me to obey, not because I don't feel love for others, but because those emotions can be difficult to process since I know they can lead to heartache. If we are to be good Christians, we are supposed to lose our lives, turn the other cheeck, and bless those that curse us.

     If that's not vulnerability, I don't know what is.

     I used to joke with some of my old room mates that I would walk into every new house/ward/job with the same thought running through my head: "I am not going to make friends. I'm not even going to try". It was a defense mechanism to ward off potential disappointment or heartache. The fact that I did end up forming friendships with anyone is a real miracle, because I've surely never counted on it. I'm lucky to have so many friends and family that I care about, but even with them, I stay aloof or put up a front about how I really feel.

     I'm trying to break those bad habits now and put charity into practice. A baby step approach. When I find it hard to be kind or open, I've tried to remember moments when people had been charitable to me. Remembering kind moments can help us renew our vision and bring back some of the trust we have lost in the world. I try to remember that "even a small gift is love made visible," and it does help a bit. Once I've remembered that others have been charitable to me, then I can see it as an option I can choose for myself. There is no limit to what we can give of ourselves:

Ecclesiastes 11
1 Cast they bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. 
2 Give portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth. 
3 If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.  
4 He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. 
5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thous knowest not the works of God who maketh all. 
6 In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.  
7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:  
8 But if a man live many years and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity. 
9 Rejoice, O young man, in they youth; and let they heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgement. 
10 Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.

Bonneville Shoreline Trail 12-1-2015

     I'm hoping to extend more kindness to others, as well as myself. I'm trying to remember that part of that counsel is to be kind to yourself, and to regard yourself with merciful charity and with faith that you can also be transformed through the atonement.

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