Sunday, August 7, 2016

Fast Sunday

Do you know that Fasting was the very first principle of the gospel that I was converted to?  I distinctly remember sitting in some Gospel Principles lesson in some building somewhere when I was barely 20 and hearing that lesson and understanding it totally and completely...and then being excited to hurry up and get to the next Fast Sunday so I could try it.  
"Fasting improves our lives and gives us added strength.  It helps us live other principles of the gospel because it draws us nearer to the Lord."
In the years since that lesson, I'm sure my enthusiasm for fasting has diminished a little, but this week I felt that same earnest desire for Fast Sunday to hurry up and get here.  

It's been a long, difficult week.  The longest and hardest I've had in a long time.  I have felt the weight of the responsibilities and the expectations in this new place.  And I have felt the gaping void without my usual sources of encouragement and support.  This ward is different.  The people are different.  This new life we're starting here, I can already tell, is so much different than any of the ones we've left.  The cheerleaders who used to sit on the front row of my life and think everything I said and did was amazing aren't here.  And the people who are here are too busy living and surviving to cheer for ordinary things like taking a good picture or making dinner for a lot of people or getting through a hard week.  

I haven't handled this week of opposition very well.  I've chosen to be bitter and angry and resentful and overwhelmed.  And I've tried really hard to alienate all the people I love most.   

So this morning, I knelt in my closet and asked for some much needed clarity and a lot of that added strength that comes when we fast with a purpose.  I asked for other things, too.    And then listened with real intent not just to all the testimonies people bore today, but to all of the words everyone said to me.  There were great treasures at church today, and great joy in that hour I spent in the quiet of my closet before everyone else woke up this morning.  

This thing I personally have been asked to do is hard.  It may not be harder than what someone else has done, or what the people in my ward are currently doing, but it's hard for me.  Harder than anything I've ever done before, although I'm sure not the hardest thing I'll ever do.  But even in the very early moments of this morning, when all I had was a tiny desire to stop being frustrated and sad, there was illumination.  And as the day continued, there was more and more of it.  
"I believe that in our own individual ways, God takes us to the grove or the mountains or the temple and there shows us the wonder of what his plan is for us.  We may not see it as fully as Moses or Nephi or the brother of Jared did, but we see as much as we need to see in order to know the Lord's will for us and to know that he loves us beyond mortal comprehension." - Jeffrey R Holland
And tonight, after yet another shockingly joyous Sunday, I still don't know all the things I would like to know, but I know more than I did last week.  I know who I am and what I'm supposed to do...for now.  I know more about the people I love and what I'm supposed to do with them and for them.  And I feel so much better tonight than I did all of those days last week when I was trying so hard to keep being angry and overwhelmed by it all.  

How grateful I am that there are Sundays to break up a long string of those opposition days that come more often than I would like.  

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