Wednesday, June 3, 2015

To Understand - How Rare It Is

To love is easy and therefore common - but to understand - how rare it is!” ― L.M. Montgomery

I could easily spend the rest of this post refuting the statement "To love is easy and therefore common"--but I'm not going to. For my purposes, I like this quote because there is an aspect or definition of love that is easy and common. For instance, I love homemade chocolate chip cookies. I love curling up on a couch and reading a good book. I love going on walks with my little girl (except when this angry, white duck attacks me...which is a whole other story). I love hiking up to a waterfall and feeling the spray from it on my face. I fell "in love" with several boys when I was between the ages of 8 and 22. I also love listening to certain people sing varying from Barry Manilow to Martina McBride to Pavarotti. So there. Most of us, in that sense, probably find that love is easy and common. 

I am not quite sure exactly when it was that I first realized how good it felt to be understood--but one time that stands out in my mind was in college. My sister and I were supposed to go to a church activity--but on a whim, we decided instead to go to the University's production of Hamlet. And it was amazingly good. Probably the best acting we felt like we had seen while we had been at school. After the play, we got some ice cream at a local store and walked to a nearby park where we sat in the sunshine and talked about Hamlet and us and life in general. And it just felt so good--being with someone who really knew me and really knowing somebody else. My sister and I have some very big differences in personality--but we have known each other our entire lives and few people understand me like she does. 

That is a blissful example. There are also examples that hurt. A lot. And in those times, I felt like nobody could understand. And then I met people who had been through similar "hells" and as wrong as it felt to be glad that somebody understood (because it meant that they hurt a lot too), it still was nice to have someone understand.

And I believe that we have a Heavenly Father and a Redeemer, who truly do understand us. Every part of us. One of them understands because He is omniscient and because we are His children. A literal part of Him. The other one understands because He felt every bit of pain and struggle and weakness and temptation that we have ever felt or will feel. I don't believe this because it makes me feel better to believe in something bigger that understands me. As I've mentioned before, I have found that there are many people here already who have had similar experiences and who can understand, to a degree, who I am and what I have experienced. 

I believe in Them because everything that I have read, thought, doubted, believed, experienced has filled me with a certainty that God is our Father and Christ is His Son. "I think, therefore, I am."  Yes, but also: "I am, therefore, They are." 

(Exodus 33:17, Jeremiah 1:5, Alma 30:44, Job 19:25)

Greatest in the Kingdom, J. Kirk Richards
"There is no physical pain, no spiritual wound, no anguish of soul or heartache, no infirmity or weakness you or I ever confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first. In a moment of weakness we may cry out, “No one knows what it is like. No one understands.” But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He has felt and borne our individual burdens. And because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice (see Alma 34:14), He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy. He can reach out, touch, succor, heal, and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power." 
Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease, David A. Bednar


Who knows she doesn't understand a whole lot of things...but is still working to understand the things that seem to matter most...

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