Sunday Meditation

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I was listening to a podcast called Enduring It Well on the Mormon Channel on Sunday morning. I love listening to stories of people who lived through difficult experiences and come out stronger from it.

This story, in particular, was about a mom whose son suffered from Tourette Syndrome. Because of this, he didn’t fit in well with other kids. Society judged him as being “misbehaved” or his parents as not disciplining him enough. He was extremely sensitive and couldn’t handle certain smells and feelings. He could become violent. He struggled with his feelings and behaviors to the point of wanting to die.

The mother discussed how there are disabilities that we can see – like someone in a wheelchair, someone with cancer, someone who is blind or deaf. But, there are other disabilities that we can’t see, but are just as difficult to overcome. Trials unseen.

This story has been on my mind. As someone who battles mental illness and loves family members who similarly suffer, I know that this is real. But, beyond mental illness, I believe there are other invisible disabilities that afflict us, hold us back and impede our progress.

Disability is defined as: lack of adequate power, strength, or physical or mental ability; an incapacity or anything that disables or puts one at a disadvantage.

In that way, aren’t we all disabled by something or another? I’m not talking about the kind of disability that requires a special parking space or classification. And, I’m certainly not belittling those that live with physical handicaps.

But, can’t we all relate… in some small way… to a lack of “adequate power, strength, or physical or mental ability?” Haven’t we all been at a disadvantage at one time in our lives?

Why, then, do we compare ourselves with others? Why, then, do we compete? Why, then, do we hold grudges or resentments? Why do we judge? Why, then, do we deny forgiveness?

The first Sunday of every month in the Mormon church is called Fast & Testimony Meeting. Our members are asked to fast two meals, donate the money they would have spent on food to the poor and needy and are invited to bear their testimonies in a special Sunday service. It’s basically like a testimony open mic night, a chance to share what you believe and know to be true.

I believe that a testimony is a living, breathing thing. When we feed it, nurture it, love it – it will grow. When we neglect it, ignore it, deny it – it withers.

Today, this is my testimony. We are all at a disadvantage, in some way or another. We are all inadequate, in some way or another. We are all broken.

But, I also believe that our Lord loves broken things. He is the Master Healer. He can fix what we can’t. He can mend what is damaged. He can bind our heart back together. He can bridge the gap.

He is the author of our peace.

This month, I want to be kinder to myself. I want to be more understanding of my shortcomings. I want to allow myself the space to make mistakes, to falter, to be confused or unsure or imperfect.

I also want to focus on being more compassionate to those that consistently, routinely hurt me, annoy me, offend me.  I want to take down some of the walls.

After all, maybe they’re just broken. Just like me.

 

i probably should have mentioned

we are mormon.

is that so very strange in today’s world?

you’d be surprised how many gasps that statement generates in mixed company.

even today.

even after target and their bathroom scandal. even after #blacklivesmatter and #bluelivesmatter and #alllivesmatter. even after freakin’ donald trump became the gop nominee and freakin’ hrc got away with all kinds of nonsense. do.not.get.me.started.

yet, being a mormon is still shocking.

{i promise, it’s going to be okay. we’ll get through this together.}

i say this because, we literally go to church every single sunday. unless we’re sick or unless i literally can’t even with the kids. but, most of the time, we’re there.

my middle child and only boy – H. – forever entertains me by his deep and abiding affection for church girls. sure, every girl he meets is worthy of his flirtation. but, he particularly loves church girls because they look so darling on the sabbath with their pretty braids and pretty dresses and coquettish little grins.

last sunday, i was in the mother’s lounge with my youngest – A. – a three-year-old heathen who refused to be even the teeniest bit quiet during sacrament. whilst i was whispering stern warnings through gritted teeth into her precious little ears, H. was dictating love notes to his older sister and then passing them to little blondie in the pew ahead of us.

the source of his affections had the misfortune of being attacked by a nest of wasps the day prior and had a swollen, red face of lumps to show for it. to my four-year-old romeo, this was the ultimate feat of bravery, and made her all the more worthy of his love.

at the end of church, as we were attempting to exit, he hurriedly shouted one last request of his beloved.

“leighton, i love you! will you come sleep over at my house?”

now, certainly this was an unreasonable request. certainly, it was so unreasonable that i immediately covered my mouth to hide whatever expression had landed there (embarrassment? amusement?). but, that wasn’t even the worst of it.

my boy’s greatest failing?

her name is not leighton.

leighton is another girl he sometimes loves in his primary class.

the mistake proved fatal.

he was rebuffed by his true love and snickered at by his true love’s grandmother. (“wow, how many girlfriends do you have?”) it was a hard lesson to learn for a four-year-old.

sometimes a rose by any other name is decidedly not just as sweet.