26 August 2010

One night at dinner, I don't remember the conversation (wait, now I do...), my mom made the comment, "Ours is not to question why, ours is but to do or die." Orgininally from Lord Alfred Tennyson's "The Charge of Light Brigade" and quoted thus: "Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do & die," it was again coined by one of the latter-day Presidents of the church (i don't remember which, but it is on a wall in a hallway in the Taylor Building on the BYU-I campus) (I could be wrong... in which case I could rewrite this post in the theme of using misleading quotes in order to not have to think for yourself...)

On occasion, we have leaders who ask us to do something we don't want to do: we don't see the wisdom in it, often we think we are above the task and feel a little "what's in it for me" about it. Maybe we think our leader is selfish and doesn't know what's going on.

As Children of God, there is a lot we don't understand. That whole veil thing... and then that line upon line principle. As we learn to obey, we grow in light and knowledge (part of that obey thing is to read your scriptures: become a disciple-scholar, and student of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, learn of Him and listen to his words, walk in the meekness of His light...). Check my "math" in Doc. & Cov. 93 and Matt. 11. Incidentally, as we disobey, we lose light and knowledge.

Recap:: obey:get brighter/smarter; disobey: get dimmer/dumber.

In the church, we have the great benefit of having inspired leaders who are called of God--through other leaders who are also called of God. Cool. Careful though, power is maintained by persuasion, long-suffering, kindness, meekness. A person may be right, but no one will follow an arrogent bossy-cow. (Sherri Dew once said, "no one wants to be led by a liar." Think about that!) Also, just because your Steward asks you to do something, you shouldn't blindly do it. Brigham Young once said that he was worried that the saints would blindly follow their leaders without gaining a knowledge, assurance, and testimony that what was asked of them truly came from God (on a personal note: often, when given an invitation to act from the First Presidency I feel the assurance of the Spirit, which is confirmed and strengthened as I act on the invitation)(faith without works is dead).

Question what is asked of you, and then do it. You are becoming an engaging, enlightened leader who can also be improved upon. You are becoming a righteous agent of change. You are becoming an heir of God, a benevolent God, yourself.
Frightening when I think of some of the young men and women in the ward... They'll learn and grow.
... or they'll disobey and lose light and knowledge, privileges and blessings.

So, what about that boss you hate who is making less than wise business decisions, that Sunday School president who asked you to attend a class you don't want to go to?

Good Heavens! I'm not your mom, or your conscience! Learn to communicate--express your feelings appropriately and non-defensively! Make your own decisions! But be aware that as you act disobediantly and selfishly you lose light, knowledge, blessings, access to the source of all truth and love, and His Atonement.

Ours is to question why. Questions, but never doubts (Elder Holzapfel, Elder Busche). And sometimes, ours is to do and die.

(Incidentally, "The Charge of the Light Brigade" is about what turned out to be a suicide mission. Those in command made bad decision, but instead of fighting about it, or turn coward and run, the Light Brigade charged, as they were told.
But I believe that those men who died, died valiantly, fighting for a good cause they believed in.)

24 August 2010

Confront me if I don't ask for Help

Many years ago, just before my little sister and I were roommates, we had this friend. She stayed with my family on occasion, and most definetely became "one of us" (there is a great "you spit in my face" story connected with her, but I'll save it for another time).

She and my little sister were roommates in Rexburg. During that time she--the friend, who will remain nameless--was a supervisor on an early morning custodial shift. I don't remember how exactly it happened, but she broke her arm (everytime I go to type "broke her arm" in my many renderings of this post, I type "broker her arm." In fact, I just typed "typer" instead of just "type"). She's quite the independant girl, and continued at work with her usual assigning to herself of the toughest jobs. Ridiculous--she barely managed and usually her crew would finish their jobs early and then come help her. That being the case, someone (this was long enough ago that I can't remember if it was a roommate or a co-worker) made her a sign to wear around her neck:
"Confront me if I don't ask for help"
It was written in crayon. :)

We all struggle. We all find ourselves, occasionally, in need of help. Some more often than others. :)
Quite often, in these moments of our direst need, we get a phone call, a text, even a knock on the door. Our uttered or un-uttered prayer of lonliness, longing, or heartache is heard. At the instance we need it the most, Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother or Friend turns up filled with loving encouragement. Strength and endurance restored, we face the challenges of life anew, knowing we are not alone, but in fact loved and capable.

Other times, aid comes in the form of a comforting feeling, a rush of knowledge, a reassurance that you are not alone. You are capable, you are strong, you are divine.
Actually, I find this to be a progression. As you come to really understand who you are as a Child of God, your place in His plan of Happiness, and especially your ability to act as an independant and capable agent of divine worth, you move from one "aid plan" to the next.

You may even find it your privilege to call or visit a friend or family member who is silently calling out. You may find yourself living your life in such a way that anyone you come into contact with feels better about the world and their place in it, just for knowing you.

Progression is eternal, I've noticed. I've also noticed in my own life that the next plan just might be this: I know when I'm struggling. I'm very aware of those moments when I just don't want to do this frustrating thing anymore. I know I'm not alone. I know I am a strong, capable, divine daughter of a loving Heavenly Father. I know that I have the gift of agency, and the power to use it for my good and the good of others, or to be selfishly negligent: "I deserve for someone to help me." "I've earned the right to not have to work quite so hard, just this time."
I can ask for help. And I can do it without being a burden or taking advantage. Because we are all in this together. Millions of people don't live on the same planet so that we can reject and isolate ourselves or each other.
Confront me if I don't ask for help.

Is there anything I can do for you today?