Wednesday, February 02, 2011

You are Worthy of Hope

Sunday brought an opportunity for Darin and I to team-teach Relief Society (class for women 18 & over) at church. We're not assigned teachers for that class; we were asked to fill the Fifth Sunday Bonus Spot on the teaching schedule. The recommended topic (which topic we went with though we could choose as we pleased) was Finding Faith in Troubled Times.

My husband started the meeting with scripture (specifically, Mosiah 18:7-9 and Mosiah 24:9-16) and (what I considered to be) insightful commentary. Taking the microphone, I then explained how we came about our method for the rest of the lesson: I figure, one reason President Monson is so beloved is because of his method of teaching/speaking: telling personal stories. We all feel like we've known him since he was Little Tommy Monson, do we not? As such, Darin and I had a desire to draw upon our local sisterhood to share their own experiences and feelings about a time when they've had to Find Faith in a Troubled Time. I acknowledged that, indeed, we could have called upon any of the women sitting in that room for, indeed, we all have had (and will have) (and hope to be able to endure) trials.

The three women took their turn at sharing their experiences; specifically, one sister who is in the process of a divorce she didn't want, another whose son was stillborn last fall, and a third whose newborn son was born with a serious and rare, though manageable, metabolic disorder. Each had similarities in their situations, notably feelings of despair followed by a realization that the step of having faith is a choice. Often the choice to have faith has needed to be made repeatedly. These women, in their darkest hours, chose to draw from the simple truths learned over a lifetime of lessons, study, and other growing experiences, and added to the memories of truth faith, hope, study, prayer -- often MAINLY when doing that was precisely the last thing they wanted to do.

When the third woman stood to share her experience, she began with the words, "I feel so inadequate...". I think we can all relate to that feeling. She spoke directly after a woman who had lost her baby boy, and this third woman's trial involved her own son who is alive. "I feel so inadequate." Why? It's the opposite of one-upping, but it's the same principle: comparison. We compare where comparison doesn't apply. Just because someone else lost their child/marriage/abilities doesn't mean you're not able to feel bad about your own experience with the child/marriage/abilities in your possession, in your life.

I ended the lesson with this quote from President Uchtdorf:

And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in.

Never surrender.

Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.

Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.

Note that he doesn't say: "To all of you who have had what others would consider grand scale tragedy," but instead addresses all who suffer, and then specifically mentions those "who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely...". Who hasn't felt any -- no, ALL of those things? What a precious notion to know that those feelings, at their purest existence, are worthy of note, of validation, and of hope. No comparison, no self-denial, there is not a finite amount of hope available to humankind.

14 comments:

cabesh said...

I wish I could've been there, it sounds amazing. Love it. Love you.

Gerb said...

Well, thanks for letting me have a bit of R.S. in my week. What a powerful lesson - and one we all need to hear. Thanks, ~J.

Jennifer said...

Sounds like it was an amazing lesson! Thank you for sharing it. I love how you emphasized that the lesson is applicable even when our sorrows are from small trials.

Naomi Miles said...

I love that last quote, sounds like it was a great lesson on Sunday!

Fig said...

Any homes for sale on your street? Wait, you kind of want to move at some point, don't you? Come live on MY street.

sue-donym said...

I'm really sorry I missed this. But I was too busy molding the mind of lil ~j.

It sounds like you both did a wonderful job, beautifully written.

dalene said...

Thank you for sharing that Jenny. I particularly love your title and the perspective you offered at the end.

Love you--

Steph said...

I seriously needed to read this today... Very timely for my life right now. Obviously you were brought to me for a reason.

Jen said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. These are the kind of lessons I love.

Annette Lyon said...

Thank you.

La Yen said...

I wish I could have been there to hear it. And probably make an inappropriate nervous comment. Such is my way. I love you and Tio Papi.

More Caffiene, Please said...

Thank you for sharing!

Kara said...

Thank you, Thank you, for posting this. You have truly changed the way I think about my personal challenges/trials.

Shelly said...

You and Darin did such a great job teaching. I truly felt the spirit so strong. Thanks!