Thursday, March 17, 2011

What is not seen...

Have you ever found yourself complaining about the various complications in your life only to meet someone who's story makes your problems seem like a cake walk?...

As I was waiting in the Dr.'s office today for my son's appointment, I met such a person. She was very pretty and as our conversation began I would have assumed she had a fairly easy life.

We began to talk about our children. She told me she had 6 and then went on to tell me about some struggles she is having with one of her daughters. She feels it might be in part due to her husband's injuries in Iraq. A couple of years ago her husband, the father of her troubled daughter, was wounded while serving in the military causing him to be blind, deaf and partially brain damaged. She talked of the personality change in the man she had married and how she felt as if she didn't even know who he was anymore. The struggles she spoke of sounded like something only found in nightmares. She is carrying so much weight on her own.

It broke my heart and I wanted to wash all her pain away and give her a brand new life with everything in place as she dreamed it would be. I wished I could wave a magic wand and that she'd have her loving companion to come home too, to talk to and enjoy life together, working together so she wasn't alone in raising her children. A few times I tried to hold back my tears because I just wanted to cry for her. I asked her how she even began to find a support group for a situation like hers? She told me she finds strength and support in knowing that Christ understands her and knows her pain. She confides in Him and He has provided many blessings in the course of it all.

I have to wonder how I would hold up under circumstances like hers.... It frightens me to think of what I would do... or not do. I'm afraid I would just shut down and give up. I'd like to think I'd keep my faith, I pray I would! But I honestly don't know how I would handle the horrible things she's been through.

After we went our separate ways I found myself thinking of an old quote I had hanging on my wall as a teenager, "I used to complain I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet."

As we parted, I reflected on how much differently we would treat people if we only knew what they were going through. How much more merciful would we be, more willing to listen or slow down and offer the right of way? What opprotunities would we take to show expressions of kindness, of encouragement if we knew the achings deep within that person's heart?

I often think about the Atonement of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and how He took upon Him all our grief, pain, guilt, sorrow and sin etc. What about His pain and grief?! What about the weight He felt just from the sorrows of His own life?! He had been betrayed, beaten, despised and mocked not just by His enemies but also His own friends.... And now He was taking on Himself very literally the weight of the world! Ironically, I think it was His focus on others, His compassion for their pain that helped Him see beyond His own grief enough to Atone for us.

I pray to have my eyes open every day. Let me not be blind to the blessings I have nor to the help I can give.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf said it best, "there are so many people in need whom we could be thinking about instead of ourselves....There are so many ways we could be serving. We have no time to become absorbed in ourselves...When we see the world around us through the lens of the pure love of Christ, we begin to understand humility...We don’t discover humility by thinking less of ourselves; we discover humility by thinking less about ourselves. It comes as we go about our work with an attitude of serving God and our fellowman."


RGG said...

Amen Sister
My daily prayer is that the Lord would teach me compassion for my fellow man. I want to learn to love as the Savior loves.
I was on my way to the mall a few days ago, and I saw a man standing on the median strip, he had a sign that basically said; "Can you please help me". Now this strip has a lot of people pan-handling from time to time. Some are in need, most are kinda shady. So I saw this man and I immediately locked my doors and avoided his gaze. But he seemed like he didn't want to be there either,I could sense the shame he felt, he was looking at his sign for help and folded it up and put it in his pocket. I felt an impression to really look at him, and when I did, I saw myself. I have always felt that I was only one paycheck away from being homeless. We all ask for help. The Lord showed me that this man was one of his beloved children, and he had cried out for help. Enter Ramona, I had 8dollars in my pocket, I gave it to him with a big smile and a heartfelt God bless you brother. He looked like he was going to break down and cry, he was blind in one eye. The Savior says that whatsover we have done to the least of these... we have done it to him.(paraphrase.)
Alicia you are a comforter. I love this song from the Hymn book:

31243, Hymns, More Holiness Give Me, no. 131

1. More holiness give me,
More strivings within,
More patience in suff’ring,
More sorrow for sin,
More faith in my Savior,
More sense of his care,
More joy in his service,
More purpose in prayer.


Alicia said...

Ramona your story about the man with the sign made me cry. And 131 is one of my favorite hymns. You have a heart of gold, I know the Lord smiles upon you.

Anne said...

I just spent that past 3 hours battling with Lucy to take a nap. During the course of the 3 hours I yelled, I slammed a door, and I threw a fit. In short, I've been a really crappy mom today. This gave me a lot of perspective. Thanks Alicia.

Alicia said...

Dear Anne, you are a wonderful, wonderful mom! I know you are! I can relate so much to how you feel though, I have plenty of "crappy mom" episodes. I feel even worse when I see my kids mimick my bad behavior..."Stop doing as I'm doing! That song doesn't apply here!!"

Ha ha. Some day I'll get it right... yep, when they are all grown. Then I'll write a book about all the wisdom I've aquired and make all the new mom's feel guilty because I look like I had it together all along. :)