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Friday, February 10, 2012

Hidden Sorrows

Dear Readers,

A very humble thank you.  Thank you for the comments, e-mails, and phone calls that I have received over the past few days.  It really strengthened me to feel of your love and concern and to know that we all suffer from trials and burdens that are difficult to our own capabilities.  I am NOT alone, and I haven't felt it, from all of your thoughtful interactions with me.

I have been feeling better for a day or two, but my calling keeps me on my toes.  I promise I am just doing the minimum, but it takes more work than I ever imagined that it could.

I know I am guilty of doing this myself, but sometimes we just "expect" things out of people.  This can start in our own home with spouses/siblings/children and in our other circles co-workers/friends/people at church.  We come to expect certain people to do certain things or to fill certain voids in our lives, and when they don't, we get a little miffed as it disrupts our lives.

I think the antidote to this is definitely gratitude.  This is why it is important to reach out to others and let them know that we love them and appreciate them and how much they bless our life/ make it easier, etc.  Last year was the "Year of Reaching Out" and it was nice to always be aware of others and looking to express this gratitude to them.  It's just nice to feel loved and appreciated.  So thanks again!  Really, really!

I found in my personal records the following paragraph from December 2010, though it could have been written last week:
"Part of what is the hardest for me right now is that everyone still expects me to be the Lindsay that they think I should be.  When they look at me, they see Lindsay.  There are no scars, no black eyes, no crutches or limp to signal that my body is hurt.  No one knows that I sorrow.  No one knows how bad I ache.  No one realizes how alone I feel."
At the time I was speaking about physical pain, though more recently it was emotional pain (if that makes sense?!).  While reflecting this past week and "healing"/ strengthening I've been thinking about burdens and how they affect different people.  I still was feeling guilty for being "burdened".  I am known to some as "The Great Linds-ini" (no joke) and with that comes these "expectations" which are different to everybody.  So I started to think about the expectations that I had of others.  I found that I definitely had a list; "person that I can call 24/7", "dependable - always follows through", "knows when to stand up to others", etc.  Well maybe some days these people don't want to stand up to others, or they don't know how because they too are "burdened".  Of course I never would have guessed because they were the great ones in my eyes that I think are invincible. It's always a let down when they show their "human" side.  I should never be surprised because I know how much I want everyone else to remember that I'm human.  Funny how we all do this to each other to put each other on pedestals, right?  Am I right?

So today let's talk about one of my favorite hymns ever.  I actually wrote a research paper on it in college, and I would love to find it, because I think I have it in a box.  The question is just what box? :)

I am talking about "Lord, I Would Follow Thee".  My absolute favorite line is "In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see".

This fits so well today.  This applies to everyone.  Every person walking around on earth has hidden sorrows in their heart.  Some people might scoff or laugh when they hear of another's sorrows, because they think they are "small" or "simple" or truly do not understand how it would be burdensome to someone else when it sounds so "easy" to them.  We all have different talents and abilities and that makes us all have different perspectives.  We are born with distinct and unique personalities, but then as we grow and develop, our perspectives change as our depth of knowledge and experience base increases.

Author Susan Evans McCloud stated that she felt a need for "a song on brotherly love and compassion, on the need to be Christlike in our treatment of others."  She described her feelings when writing this hymn: "I tried to think back to the occasions most precious to me when I obtained my own testimony of the Savior's sacrifice for us and of my Heavenly Father's personal love.  I wanted the song to have both tenderness and conviction.  I thought of how I felt when my little sister lost her three-month-old baby and asked me to go with her the following day to find a dress for the funeral and a locket for the baby.  I was so acutely aware of the need for tenderness in our dealings with others; I yearned for it in all the people we met on our way, wishing they could somehow know of the need and pain which did not show." (excerpt from Our Latter-Day Hymns by Karen Lynn Davidson)
Because we choose to be as optimistic as possible, I don't know of anyone who goes walking around with a badge on their front that lists their burdens.  "Hello, my name is Divorcee."  "My mother just passed away."  "I suffer from chronic pain."  No one does that.  Sometimes people have reasons for not talking about their pain.  Other times I think there is just nothing else to say even if you have shared a burden.  "Yep, I still have cancer.  It hurts.  There's nothing that can be done."  When we get to the "endure" stage of the Doctrine of Christ that is it.  We simply have to endure.  Our mission president spoke in the branch last week and he said that enduring was hard work, and I can tell you that it is, but I also know that you don't need me to tell you that, my fellow enduring friends.

Trials do help us to grow.  Because of this, I am grateful for them.  I do want to become perfected like my Father in Heaven and refined in the refiner's fire.  Fire just hurts.  Even if you smile your whole way through it.

With this insight, let us have more compassion and understanding toward one another.  Let us show and truly feel love to our fellowmen.  Let us soften our hearts and let go of our haughtiness and pride that makes us feel better than one another.

We can never know all of the hidden sorrows that are in the hearts of those around us on the street, in the store, at church, among family.  Even if we "know" exactly what someone is struggling with we still should tread with tenderness as we won't be able to understand exactly how big this trial may be for them.  An abuse victim once told me that no one else could claim to be an abuse victim unless they had suffered the exact same way that they had.  While no one may be able to understand that person's exact situation, that doesn't take away from anyone else who may have endured other situations of abuse.  A few weeks ago I was sharing some burdens with a friend and he knowingly told me "Oh, you need to go to the temple more often."  Well, I had been twice in the past 6 days and so I told him as much.  It really is amazing how unique every person's situation is here on Earth.  We really cannot judge or assume.

All we can do is love because one thing is certain, everyone is dealing with something.  Shout out to those who can cheerfully endure anything, but I'm not one of them....yet (a good goal to master), and I am pretty sure that I am not alone.

This is getting long, but I just wanted to highlight the hymn a little more.  It really illustrates how serving others can transcend your own burdens.  "Finding strength beyond my own."  No matter how weak we are, we can "help and lift another".  You all did that for me.  I know that many of my readers are fighting their own demons, yet were able to rise above and write me a comment/ email/ phone call, etc.

"Find in me, my strength my beacon" just screams of hope to me.  Christ is the rock, a sure foundation (see Hel. 5:12).  He is my Savior.  He atoned for me.  He loves me.  With Him all things are possible (Matt. 19:26) which is why I want to follow Him.

"Lord, I would follow thee."  I love how this line is repeated each verse, almost pleading as a fervent prayer.  The prayer starting with "Savior, may I learn to love thee".  As it goes on it teaches that the way to love the Savior and be His servant is to love others ("I would be my brother's keeper"; "Savior, may I love my brother".)   I love that it describes healing as an art, ("I would learn the healer's art").  The Savior truly was an extraordinary man to live a perfect life.

This hymn has become an anthem for me.  Check out the lyrics in their entirety here (and listen to the sweet simple melody.)

Thank you for helping to lift my burdens.  I went to the temple again last night.  My burdens aren't gone, but I have enough perspective to get me through for awhile.

Thank you for your support.

Gratefully,
Lindsay

2 comments:

Jen Bowen said...

I'm speaking in church Sunday after next and the topic I have is Elder Hales' talk on enduring trials from October 2011 conference. This "letter" has given me some new ideas for how to approach the topic so thank you for sharing. I'd like to work them into the talk if that's alright with you. Good luck with your continued struggle. I'm so grateful for a loving Savior who is able to help us bear our burdens and strengthen us to be able to do so.

Michelle said...

I love that hymn too and loved reading the message about it. I went to a baptism last Saturday and as I sat on the stand (I had to help lead the music) I looked out at all the people there in attendance. I felt an overwhelming and powerful feeling of our Savior's love for each and every one of them. I knew that in each heart was a sorrow hidden, but the love I felt, and wished they could all feel at that moment, was so overpowering, it filled me with comfort. I knew the Savior knew of them personally and knew of their struggles. I could just feel how he longed to heal them and take them by the hand and help them through their challenges and bring them to their promised blessings. It was the neatest feeling. I wish that everyone there could have felt it. I won't forget that experience and know that even though it was just a glimpse of his love, it was a blessing to me that will help through my life and struggles. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I care. I wish we still lived close so I could give you a big hug. My sister is struggling with a similar challenge. I ache for both of you. May you have the strength and comfort to keep hanging in there! You are loved.