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Jun 19, 2008

Comforted

When I was in high school, I was a tad melancholy; I could definitely be a "doom and gloom" sort of girl. I had a friend who always tried to lift my spirits by passing me notes inscribed with scripture references. At the time, I found this rather annoying; it seemed a rather "holier than thou" sort of practice. But because he was my best friend and had the most excellent of intentions, I looked up the scriptures and invariably felt better. Some of those scriptures have become my favorites, and the passages pop into my head on days like today when I need a lift.

For background, I'll just say that I'm homesick for my former life and neighborhood and friends. The reality of moving away has hit and I'm sad. It's not that I don't think a good life can be built here, but after a whopping two weeks, I'm not exactly calling my new digs "home." In fact, I can't seem to break the habit of dialing a 503 area code every time I pick up the phone. I take off my shoes every time I walk inside the house (a true Portlander habit). And last time I bought gas, I actually sat in the car and waited for an attendant to fill up my car. I felt a little sheepish when I remembered that pumping gas is my job now.

Some other things we're all getting used to:
  • wearing sunscreen every day
  • hydrating 24/7
  • leaving the windows open to ventilate the house (no a/c!)
  • using a gas-powered oven and stove
  • having Albertson's be the best place to buy groceries
  • waking up to the sun streaming in our window at 4:30 a.m.
  • having different swimming lesson instructors
  • hearing our voices reverberate off the wood floors and high ceilings upstairs
  • finding a layer of yellow pine pollen on every surface imaginable
  • paying sales tax
Individually, none of these things is very important. Even collectively, they amount to small nuisances that shouldn't be a big deal. But to me, right now, they are a big deal, and I'm struggling with the foreign nature of just about everything I do.

Now for the scripture that won't leave my brain.

The reference is found in the Book of Mormon. Alma chapter 26 verse 27 reads:

"Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."

The scripture describes a group of missionaries who were called to preach among their enemies. They were discouraged and didn't want to go, but the Lord richly blessed them for their obedient efforts. The last few days I have definitely felt depressed, and I have wished to turn back the hands of time six months so that today I wouldn't feel so lonely and uprooted. But I have been comforted, too, as I have thought about how patience and success might work in my life the way it did for Ammon and his missionary companions.

Alma 26 concludes with a statement that I know, deep in my soul, is true today:

"Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth."

That's a wonderfully reassuring thought.
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