Wednesday, November 17, 2010

If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard

I read Sheri Dew's book If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard and turned down the corners of enough pages to warrant a post all for itself. I've tried to string together some of her words and ideas into this one post.....

We have been exposed to more and more evil every day since we were born and this has had a devastating effect as "familiarity breeds normality" and we've begun confusing "unrighteous behavior" with  normal behavior (15).

Once example of this is how "being single has been made to appear normal" and weakens the most important institution God has ordained for this life: the family (84). For as many opportunities, "joys and rewards" that a single person has there is "no adequate compensation for not being married" because when you are single you are inherently incomplete (85).

Another example is the "erosion of female attitudes about sacred things, beginning with their bodies. Immodesty in American society and even among our own people has reach epidemic proportions. PArticularly during summer months, an increasing percentage of woman attend church and partake of sacred ordinances -- including in the temple -- in what could only be considered beach or picnic atire...young women (and too often their mothers) arrive wearing tight, second-sking clothing and flip-flops" (111). Again, behavior becoming familiar and regard as acceptable and normal when it is NOT. "Perhaps the problem is that we haven' stopped to think about what actually happens, for example in sacrament meeting...where we present ourselves before the Lord to renew our covenants with Him...If we were to have a personal interview with the Savior, what would we wear?" (111).

Perhaps it IS difficult to live amidst so many voices "calling evil good and good evil" (2 Ne. 15:20) but power comes in living in the midst of evil by knowing "of the goodness of Jesus" (Mormon 1:15) the way the prophet Mormon, who lived in a time where "there never had been so great wickedness" (Mormon 4:12) and was able to maintain his standards when everything around him fell apart.

We've been told over and over again that we live in a time great evil -- but we have never known anything different and must not let the degradation of the world pull us down. It will be difficult...but Life is meant to be difficult. It is mean to test us to the limit. Joseph Smith was reported as having said our trials are meant to wrench our heart strings "and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God" (124).


So we must come to know Christ -- be converted. Sister Dew explains that the the surest way to know if someone is converted to Jesus Christ is by how that person treats others. Unfortunately "our charity sometimes faileth" (43) as we are pressured to focus on ourselves and on our 'needs' and often become selfish and lazy. But this of course is the opposite of what will make us happy. Joseph Smith taught -- that we "must enlarge [our] souls towards others if [we would] do like Jesus" (44) and by doing so we will find true happiness. When we commit to charity and service our lives change:

We need each other. We need each other to be the Lord's comforting. We need to be the answer to each others prayers. We others to love us and remind us of God's love. He is always there for us, but the physical presence of another person is also important because "sometimes we just need to hug someone, reach out to someone, or have someone reach out to us" and be there with us (78). ((Especially mothers because as Joseph F. Smith taught, "the love of a true mother comes nearer to being like the love of God than an other kind of love" (108) which is why family love is one of the greatest sources of joy and contentment)) 

 We have to learn to lay aside the things that keep us apart. Here is a corny but true illustration:

The Fable of the Porcupine

It was the coldest winter ever.  Many animals died because of the cold.  The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together.  This way, they covered and protected themselves; but, the quills of each one wounded their closest companions even though they gave off heat to each other. After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen.
So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or perish. Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. This way they learned to live with the little wounds  that were caused by the close relationship with their companion.

Therefore: The best relationships are not the one that brings together perfect people, but the best is when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can support each other through life.

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