Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Open the Door

Today at Institute class, this amazing quote was read. It really hit home for me. As each of us endures different trials, we must take that step forward....FAITH! Our Savior knows each of us intimately and is there for us.

 It is up to us to invite him in and keep him with us.
Chieko N. Okazaki. Lighten Up! P. 173-175 Link

Rather than think of spiritual life as a separate room, let’s think of it as paint on the walls of all the rooms, or maybe a scent I the air that drifts through the whole house – the way the fragrance of spaghetti sauce or baking bread has a way of drifting through all the rooms of the house becoming part of the air we breathe. Our spiritual lives should be our lives, not just a separate part of our lives.

Suppose the Savior were to come to visit you. You’ve rushed around and vacuumed the guest room, put the best sheets on the bed, even placed some tulips in a vase on the dresser. Jesus looks around the room and says, “Oh thank you for inviting me into your home. Please tell me about your life.”

You say, “I will In just a minute, but something’s boiling over on the stove, and I also need to let the cat outside,”

Jesus says, “I know a lot about cats and stoves. I’ll come with you.”

“Oh, no,” you say. “I couldn’t let you do that.” And you rush out, carefully closing the door behind you.

While you’re turning down the stove, the phone rings, and then Jason comes in with a scrape on his elbow, and the visiting teaching supervisor calls for your report, and then it’s suppertime, and you couldn’t possibly have Jesus see that you don’t even have place mats on the table, and someone forgot to turn on the dishwasher so you’re eating off paper plates, and then you have to drive Lynne to her basketball game. By the time you get back to the room where Jesus is waiting patiently, you’re so tired that you can barely keep your eyes open, let alone sit worthifully at his feet waiting for words of profound wisdom and spiritual power to wash over you, to make you different, to make everything else different, and you fall asleep whispering, “I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better. I’m so sorry.”

How we pour guilt over ourselves!

This isn’t the gospel. We know that on some level Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane. It’s our faith that he experienced everything – absolutely everything. Sometimes we don’t think through the implications of that belief. We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family. But we don’t experience pain in generalities. We experience it individually. That means Jesus knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer – how it was for your other, how it still is for you. He knows what it felt like to lose the student-body election. He knows that moment when the brakes locked, and the car started to skid. He experienced the slave ship sailing from Ghana toward Virginia. He experienced the gas chambers at Dachau. He experienced napalm in Vietnam. He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism.

There is nothing you have experienced as a woman that he does not know and recognize. On a profound level, he understands about pregnancy and giving birth. He knows about PMS and cramps and menopause. He understands about rape and infertility and abortion.

His last recorded words to his disciples were, “And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20.) What does that mean? It means he understands your mother-pain when your five-year-old leaves for kindergarten, when a bully picks on your fifth-grader, when your daughter calls to say that the new baby has Down’s syndrome. He knows your mother-rage when a trusted babysitter sexually abuses your two-year-old, when someone gives your thirteen-year-old drugs, when someone seduces your seventeen-year-old. He knows the pain you live with when you come home to a quiet apartment where the only children who ever come are visitors, when you hear that your former husband and his new wife were sealed in the temple last week, when your fiftieth wedding anniversary rolls around and your husband has been dead for two years. He knows all that. He’s been there. He’s been lower than all that.

So do you really think you’re shielding him by keeping the door closed while you’re throwing paper plates on the table and sending Chrissie off to wash her hands for the second time? Do you really think he doesn’t know? Doesn’t understand! Wouldn’t laugh and help?

But he’ll stay in that room if you put him there.

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