Sunday, January 18, 2015

"Be of Good Cheer"

It is after midnight and I am sitting at my dad's kitchen table in Marysville, Ohio. But I have been studying and learning.....and actually enjoying myself. I love to learn, and I have begun a more directed study recently. Kelly and I have begun the Pathway Program through BYU-Idaho.
Yes, we are old and going to school, and we actually love it.

Just tonight, I was listening again to some words spoken by someone I greatly admire and respect, Elder Jeffrey R Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

I was studying his talk "The Tongue of Angels". I was especially touched by his statement -

"I suppose it goes without saying that negative speaking so often flows from negative thinking, including negative thinking about ourselves. We see our own faults, we speak - or at least think - critically of ourselves, and before long that is how we see everyone and everything. No sunshine, no roses, no promise of hope or happiness. Before long we and everybody around us are miserable."

This sounds like a horrible way to go through life....or even a day. So what do we do about it?  Elder Holland goes on to say:

"We should honor the Savior's declaration to "be of good cheer". (Indeed, it seems to me we may be more guilty of breaking that commandment than almost any other!)  Speak hopefully. Speak encouragingly, including about yourself. Try not to complain and moan incessantly. 
Yes, life has its problems, and yes, there are negative things to face, but please accept one of Elder Holland's maxims for living - no misfortune is so bad that whining about it won't make it worse."

I have been studying the experiences of Lehi and Sariah in the Book of Mormon. As I think of Sariah, I think of her leaving friends, home and comfort in Jerusalem to go with her husband and children into the wilderness, as Lehi's life was in danger and he was directed by the Lord to flee. Then, her boys, Nephi, Sam, Laman and Lemuel were sent back to Jerusalem to obtain the plates of scripture - back to the place where people wanted to kill her husband! She became worried when so much time went by and they hadn't returned. Perhaps she even became desperate. My mother heart hurts for her as I think of her anguish. She just needed some word her babies were safe. So....she complains to her husband. Elder W Craig Zwick says she spoke to him "in the language of anger, doubt and blame". And how does he respond?  He listens, he comforts, and "speaks to her in the language of compassion."

There it is. You know....that moment when you see something you want to become. I want to be known as someone who speaks this language. I want to speak that beautiful language of compassion with all I meet. And especially, with my family and those I love the most. While this can be a quest for a lifetime, every attempt will bring us closer to Christ. There has been no one who ever walked the earth who spoke this language more clearly than our Master.

I have already learned so much in these two weeks. I am grateful for this "tender mercy" of the Pathway Program. Oh yeah..."tender mercies", that's another thing....let me tell you what I've learned about that.....ok, in another post.