Friday, February 26, 2010
Lookin For Love In All The Wrong Places..? I Have
When my daughter was about five years old I fell into a depression. I don't recall ever having a history of it. I know that sometimes we all have depressed moments or periods of time when we feel under a dark cloud. However this was so much more than that. I suffered bouts of darkness and sadness. Nothing usually horrible happened.
Times weren't any worse than that typical, but something within me caused a numbness. I would wake up in the morning and send my daughter off to HeadStart and spend the time she was gone crying. When I heard the bus pull up to drop her off I would turn off the water works and be business as usual. She'd be out side playing and I would be in the house with tears streaming down my face, frustrated with myself for not knowing what the hell was wrong. The phone would ring or someone would come visit and I would turn it off like a light switch.
I lost the desire to get on my knees each day and pray or to go to Sunday services. I lost the desire to go out and socialize. If it weren't for my sister that year there would have been no Christmas tree or decorations in the house at all. I didn't know what came over me and I couldn't shake it.
I remember waking up one Sunday thinking how tired I was. My thoughts urged me to get dressed and go to church.
"Naw, I don't feel like it," I told myself. "I just don't want to be bothered"
I began to do some housework, it had been days since I had vacuumed or mopped or did laundry. I began to catch up on house cleaning.
About an hour had passed and the stronger urge to get dressed and go to church came upon me. Again I shook it off and continued doing some other tasks that could certainly have waited for another time.
About 45 minutes after that as I was running dishwater I heard a voice in my house say "GO TO CHURCH, NOW!" It was so strong and so clear that I turned to see who was talking to me. I could not see the person speaking to me but the prompting was so clear and strong that I dropped what I was doing, Got dressed and walked over to the church. I would be getting there just in time for thenlast hour which was Relief Society.
I walked into the building in my "leave me the hell alone." armor When I got into the Relief Society room I sat in the 2nd to last row away from everyone sending a clear message that I DID NOT WANT TO BE BOTHERED. I crossed my legs, folded my arms and avoided eye contact with everyone. Even my choice of clothing reflected the fact that I didn't want to be there: University of Michigan Sweatshirt, Jean skirt, pair of Rebooks, hair pulled back in a ponytail. The Relief Society Sisters got the message loud and clear. Many thoughts raced in my mind: "Why am I here?" "What's the point?" I could be home doing dishes or laundry.
The sisters settled into their seats and the typical announcements were made.
The pianist began to play the opening song. I sat quietly and listened to the sisters around me sing:
"Our Savior’s love
Shines like the sun with perfect light,
As from above
It breaks thru clouds of strife.
Lighting our way,
It leads us back into his sight,
Where we may stay
To share eternal life...."
By the end of the first verse I felt tears rolling down my cheek.
The song continued:
"The Spirit, voice
Of goodness, whispers to our hearts
A better choice
Than evil’s anguished cries.
Loud may the sound
Of hope ring till all doubt departs,
And we are bound
To him by loving ties."
By the end of the second verse:
I was quietly sobbing and 2 sisters had moved to either side of me and a third sister behind me had draped their arms around me, literally holding me together(so I wouldn't fall apart) and without knowing what I was going through, they cried with me.
I had heard that hymn, sang the words so many times. Never before had the word penetrated so deeply into my soul then they did that day.
I knew my Heavenly Father loved me. I had heard it so many times and I believed it. I still believe it. My head knew it. In my heart I knew it too. On this day at that moment in time I felt it. I Felt it in my soul and the moment I did my heart overflowed with so much emotion I could not physically contain it. My body trembled as my Relief Society sisters held me together and sobbed with me.
Although my Heavenly Father could not physically wrapped his arms around me during that dark and depressing time he sent me to his house where
"Hope rang till all doubt departed."
And where I could feel that bond with him through the loving "ties" I have with the sisters in the congregation.
This was about 15 years ago and each time I recall the experience it feels as if it were just yesterday. I Still can't get through that song without choking up and blinking back tears.
It reminds of how important it is to be in places where the Lord can reach us. It is true that The Lord can and will reach us where we are. He has the ability to do that.
We have to remember to seek him. And even more importantly WHERE are we seeking him?
I had a friend once tell me she doesn't believe the Lord answers prayers. She prayed real hard one day about a problem she was having and then headed to the bar. Woke up the next day with a hangover and very ticked off that she didn't get an answer to her prayer. I suggested to her that sometimes where you look for answers has much to do with how you get them.
She angrily replied
"God has the ability to answer me no matter where I am and what I'm doing."
She's right. God DOES have the ability to answer us no matter where we are and what we're doing.
He also has the ability to stop world hunger, wars, tummy aches and poverty. If we were rescued by our carelessness and lack of desire to take responsibility we would never learn to be accountable for our choices.
We are encouraged to :"Stand Ye In Holy Places" And to humble ourselves, overcome the hardness of our hearts and our pride, and seek his help.
I'm willing to be wrong, but I would bet my tithing that very few prayers are answered down at "Cheers" over a brewski.
I'm not judging you. Say your prayers and have your beer. God speaks to us all in different ways. He just might show up, he DOES know how and where to find you. But do we know how and where to find HIM?
1 Kings 19:11-12
11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
I'm so blessed that "still small voice" knows how to reach me and I'm not so tuned out that I can't hear it.
It makes since to me for the Lord to speak to us when we're still, tired, broken down, exhausted, depressed... and have had enough and can't take it. I think it is in this state that we are less defensive, more ready to listen to it instead of battling it. We can hear better in this state. It's sad that we have to be down and out,tired, the end of our rope and broken to finally pay attention to it.
God is not going to shout above the Big Screen TV at Mo's to get our attention. When asking him questions the polite thing to do would be to listen. We give each other this courtesy but not our Father in Heaven.
This is NOT a hard concept, you do it on a daily basis with people. But I guarantee you most people will mistake NO answer for the answer they don't want to hear.
I'm grateful that at a time when I needed to feel that loving bond with my Father in Heaven I was lead to the place where it could and did happen.
My Grandma said to me once
"the only hands God has are ours."
He does use or tries to use us all to bless each other. To be blessed by the hands of God it would make sense to hang out where his people would likely be.And that's not JUST in a church building.
I don't always go to the right places and hang with the right people when I need to feel our Saviors Love. But it's never really failed me when I have.
And it's always in the back of my mind when I go lookin for love in all the wrong places.