Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spoken Out Loud

What is the power in speaking out loud the things that have so often been whispered to your heart; being reminded of what you have known from before you set foot on this earth?

We were all scrunched in tight pews an hour before it was to begin, needle work and conversation warming up the air; filling up the extra time. Finally, as the meeting was about to commence, Sister Beck walked in. I watched her, wondering what it was about her that had brought hundreds of women away from their families and duties just to listen to her. What could she say that we couldn't have obtained in a more simple, efficient way? I felt the strength gained from simply coming together with so many, different as we may be, but of the same body. Coming together to hear her, not because of her notable accomplishments, but as one called of God to increase faith, strengthen family and give relief; our united desire. We opened with a familiar song...I love the words, but this time it wasn't the words that impressed me, but the feeling of so many around me, so many I didn't know, but in their voices I heard the first sounds of what I had come to hear.

As Sister Beck spoke, it was of things I have often heard; the potential that lies before us, and the importance of working together in faith. Then she took questions from the audience which led to a discussion about defending and protecting the family. She called us to learn and understand the doctrine of the family, for those who do, will be able to defend it. Reminding us that this wasn't the first time we have had to stand and defend the family, she said, "You defended it before the world began and now you will again." We must never take for granted the blessing of the family unit, it is what connects the bones and muscles of the body and without it we are members only functioning in our own sphere. She said we must defend and protect our family with everything we have, our strongest weapon being faith, and instilling that our children; for this is a faith based battle.

The conversation (it truly felt like a conversation) moved to the all encompassing question of balance....or HOW to balance it all. Even the most poised can be jolted by a unexpected bump. She simply smiled and said, "Do you think there is a woman out there who does balance it? Balance is the Lord's job. Ours is a faith based work." I love that.

Then, a paper was passed forward, with several questions written, but asking only one, "How can I build my family when my husband is destructive to the very structure?" The room was subdued as Sister Beck pondered this issue. Have you ever felt the weight of silence? This was not just the silence of quiet voices, but the silence of so many who have pressed on for so long; silence of shame, silence of fear, silence of denial....always wondering when to stand up or when to submit, trying to fill in the empty space and repair the damage, pleading and searching for strength and silence.

It was deafening.

"I believe in this gospel, and this gospel is a gospel of repentance," she began and tears spilled over. These were not the words I expected to hear, but as she went on I could feel the weight of the unspoken being replaced with the comfort of an embrace. Is it possible to share a hug with hundreds at once? I believe I did. For this is a gospel of repentance, where what is broken can function, what is lacking can be complete, and where each one of us can be forgiven and made whole; this truth was wrapped around our shoulders and tucked into our hearts.

By this time it was getting late, and the discussion was brought to an end with stories of those who have been given unthinkable trials and chose to struggle. Stories of those who won the battle not because they were strong, but because they knew where to find strength. Stories that could be our own if we too would have faith and live the experience, because "when we signed up for the plan, we signed up for the experience." I recently read of a man whose true desire was to be worthy of his trials; that whatever came his way he would learn and be better because of it.

These are truths that I sometimes forget when I need them most. I hope that by writing it all down that the path will become more worn in my soul. Praying that I can spend less time standing confused in the mud and more time understanding the beauty of the moisture.

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