Sunday, September 15, 2019

Thoughts on Forgiveness and Love

This weekend something happened that had the potential to really upset me.  It did upset several family members that I love dearly.  And I guess it upset me a little, for a short time...but not for long.  And while I am still thinking about the incident, I don't feel hurt or angry or anything.  Why?

I think there is probably more to this than I can adequately express in words, but here are some parts of why I don't feel upset.

1.  Just this week in Come Follow Me, we read 2 Corinthians 2:5-8
But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.
Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
So that contrariwise ye ought rather to aforgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.
It tells us to forgive, then comfort and then confirm your love toward the person who hurts you.  So my thoughts since yesterday have been primarily thinking about how I can comfort and confirm my love for the person who was thoughtless and unkind.

2.  I recognize more and more how much grace and love and mercy I need from my Savior.  And because I so desperately want that, I want to try really hard to extend that to others.  It isn't easy...and I don't think it is meant to be...but a disciple's life isn't always easy but it is worth it.

3.  I long to feel peace.  Being angry or upset messes with my ability to feel peace.  I headed to the temple last night and felt peace in abundance.  I felt my Savior's love for me but also for the person who did something hurtful.  And I felt His power. 

4.  About a year and a half ago, I went through some experiences where I really studied the Sermon on the Mount and really pondered these words in Matthew 5: 
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt alove thy bneighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, aLove your benemiescbless them that dcurse you, do egood to them that fhate you, and gpray for them which despitefully use you, and hpersecute you;
45 That ye amay be the bchildren of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth crain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye alove them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 aBe ye therefore bperfect, even as your cFather which is in heaven is dperfect. 

I believe we have made covenants to live this higher law...and while I certainly don't live it perfectly, I AM trying.  Ultimately, our goal is to become like Christ...and He certainly loved His enemies and did good to them that hated Him and used Him and persecuted Him.

I was profoundly touched by these words of Elder Holland in October 2017 General Conference:
"So I believe that Jesus did not intend His sermon on this subject to be a verbal hammer for battering us about our shortcomings. No, I believe He intended it to be a tribute to who and what God the Eternal Father is and what we can achieve with Him in eternity. In any case, I am grateful to know that in spite of my imperfections, at least God is perfect—that at least He is, for example, able to love His enemies, because too often, due to the “natural man”6 and woman in us, you and I are sometimes that enemy. How grateful I am that at least God can bless those who despitefully use Him because, without wanting or intending to do so, we all despitefully use Him sometimes. I am grateful that God is merciful and a peacemaker because I need mercy and the world needs peace. Of course, all we say of the Father’s virtues we also say of His Only Begotten Son, who lived and died unto the same perfection."

God and the Savior are perfect and can live this law and I want so very much to become like them!

Elder Holland then repeated the parable of the servant who was in debt 10,000 talents and was forgiven but would not forgive a 100 pence debt.

As a personal debt, that is an astronomical number—totally beyond our comprehension. (Nobody can shop that much!) Well, for the purposes of this parable, it is supposed to be incomprehensible; it is supposed to be beyond our ability to grasp, to say nothing of beyond our ability to repay. That is because this isn’t a story about two servants arguing in the New Testament. It is a story about us, the fallen human family—mortal debtors, transgressors, and prisoners all. Every one of us is a debtor, and the verdict was imprisonment for every one of us. And there we would all have remained were it not for the grace of a King who sets us free because He loves us and is “moved with compassion toward us.”11
Jesus uses an unfathomable measurement here because His Atonement is an unfathomable gift given at an incomprehensible cost. That, it seems to me, is at least part of the meaning behind Jesus’s charge to be perfect. We may not be able to demonstrate yet the 10,000-talent perfection the Father and the Son have achieved, but it is not too much for Them to ask us to be a little more godlike in little things, that we speak and act, love and forgive, repent and improve at least at the 100-pence level of perfection, which it is clearly within our ability to do.
I don't know how to articulate what these words meant to me or exactly what they taught me.  But over the process of about 5 months, I listened to this talk many times and referred to this last paragraph in my prayers over and over...praying for help to speak and act, love and forgive, repent and improve at least at the 100 pence level of perfection...which frankly didn't always seem possible.  There were days when I sobbed, recognizing how hard it was for me to speak and act in loving ways when it is soul-stretching to do so.  I'd always thought I was pretty good at being loving, but I came to clearly see how often I withheld love when I was hurt or angry or sometimes even just tired.  It was heart wrenching to me to see so completely my human frailty.  And I still have so much of it.  I still don't find it easy to always speak and act, love and forgive, repent and improve at the 100 pence level.  And after a year and a half, I feel like I should be able to go to at least the 200 pence level.  But I am seeing progress.  It is getting easier.  Maybe because I've gained some spiritual gifts...but mostly because I have learned to rely so much more on the Savior for help.  Which brings me to my next part...which is connected to this but feels like it is also good to separate out.

5.  I have found that when people say things or do things that hurt me, if I can process their comment in this way, it helps:

First, I usually say a prayer that asks Heavenly Father to help me feel and especially speak and act in loving ways.  Sometimes it really does change my feelings...but often I still feel a bit hurt or angry at first...but if I say this prayer, I can usually circumvent my normal reaction to either react angrily or shut down and become distant/cold toward the person.  Depending on the circumstances, I might respond that the person is being unfair or unkind or might stay quiet.

Then I try to process the comment or action without a lot of emotional reaction.  Do I have some fault in this situation?  Is there something I should apologize for or something that I need to work to change in myself?  If so, then I try to make a mental note of that and try to act.   If not...or even if there is but the person has overreacted, I try to tell myself that their actions are not about me.  They are acting that way as a result of their own brokenness, their own pain, their own imperfections.   I am far from perfect, and I recognize that...but I remind myself that I am a beloved daughter of God and that nothing someone else says or does can change that.  I remind myself that I have a divine nature and that I am loved by God and that I have seen His hand in my life countless times.  I also try to remind myself that this person I am dealing with is ALSO a beloved child of God...who is also imperfect like me and who also has challenges and weaknesses and is in need of mercy and love and grace.  Like I am.

I might need a bit of time alone to process...but as I fill my mind and heart with who I am as a daughter of God...and remind myself that He has helped me to love and forgive in the past and has helped me feel enough and feel peace even when someone reacts in a way that is not ideal, then I can find peace again.

Then on my best days...and not every day is my best day...I try to think of a way to be extra kind and loving to that person, to go beyond just forgiving but to also confirm my love for that person.

I still have days when someone says something hurtful and I respond in anger and say something unkind back.  Fewer days like that.  But I still have them.
And I still have lots of days where I can protect myself emotionally and forgive but can't go beyond that to confirm my love, at least not at first.  

And I still have a few days (but not many) when someone's unkind action causes me to spiral downward and assume that what they said is an accurate depiction of me...and not only that I have these other 50 problems and weaknesses and I am pretty unlovable.   This used to be my primary response to criticism or unkindness.  But it's not my primary response any more.   And I can usually pull myself out of it so much faster when it does happen.
And I have a few days where something crappy can happen and I can respond in an ideal way...both internally and externally.  Days when I am certain I am behaving as a disciple of Christ should.

And you know what?  I feel so much more peace.  And joy.   And I think my Savior is really happy with my growth even though I'm a long way from perfect and probably still only at that 100 pence least I am hitting it much more consistently.  And when I can react that way, I am better able to see the pain that often is the root of others' poor actions and can respond with greater love and concern because my thoughts don't immediately become consumed with me, me, me and protecting and defending me, me, me.   Suddenly I don't need as much protection or defense because I am (*most of the time) pretty confident in who I am and my worth and value.  It helps that I have pretty incredible people in my life that help me to feel that often.  But mostly, I have strengthened my relationship with the Savior and my Father so much more that their opinion matters more than others'.  

I don't know if this makes sense.  I don't know if it is the path for everyone.  I have had lots of discussions and done some reading about boundaries and I'm not sure that I always enforce healthy boundaries or hold others' accountable for their actions, entirely.  I guess I have decided to leave that up to God for the most part.  And this might not work for others and certainly wouldn't work in cases of abuse.  But it is what I have felt the spirit leading ME to do.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Strength/Exhaustion/Enabling Power of the Savior

It was an exhausting and kind of hard week.  My class is cute but they seem really emotionally needy which can be exhausting.  And I just had a lot going on this week.  And so by Friday, I just felt completely drained.  But Alfredo was going out of town and  I had a very busy weekend with a lot that needed to be done...and the girls had busy weekends also.  I really just wanted to curl up in my bed and sleep.  Well, I remembered that in past times I have seen that the Savior is able to enable me to do more than I can on my own.  With His help I have many times been able to accomplish more than it seemed possible in the hours I had available.  So after feeling sad and tired for awhile and talking things over with Alfredo and texting Sara about my rough day and exhaustion, I decided to pray and ask for the Savior to enable me to do what needed to be done.  I still felt exhausted on Saturday morning.  Just so totally drained.  So I looked up scriptures under "weary" and found Isaiah 40 (and several other beautiful verses):

28  Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the aeverlasting God, the Lord, the bCreator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no csearching of his understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that await upon the Lord shall brenew their cstrength; they shall mount up with wings as deagles; they shall erun, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
I was familiar with verse 31 but don't think I had ever paid attention to the other verses, especially 28, before.  God never faints or is weary.  He gives power to the faint and increases strength.  This was exactly what I needed.  So that's what I prayed for.  I never stopped feeling tired yesterday, not once.  But I just kept praying that Heavenly Father and the Savior could grant me a bit of their strength because mine felt completely gone.  And I'd feel like I had the energy to do one more thing.  And then just enough to do one more.  I got grocery shopping and laundry done, my  house cleaned, the lawn mowed, and a bunch of schoolwork done.  And did almost all of it by myself because my Alfredo was out of town and my girls were gone most of the day.  I know it wasn't me...I literally still wanted to crawl into bed and just sleep.  But I got as much/more done than I usually do even on days when I feel I know that was an answer to prayer and the enabling power of the Savior.  I have experienced it before and I'm so grateful for it!  My life is busy...filled with good things...and I'm so grateful that when I try to do my best and then ask the Lord for help, He grants part of His strength and goodness to me.

On Friday, one of my cute former YW (who is now in college) called and asked if I was home. I told her I would be really soon.  She asked if she could stop by.  She did.  Over the summer, she has been making cookies and selling them to help pay for college.  I usually order some.  This time I didn't order any.  When she dropped by on Friday, she had a box of cookies for me...a box I hadn't ordered or paid for...because she made extra and wanted me to have one and know that she loves me.  It was a simple thing but it held meaning for us...and on such a hard day it reminded me that I'm not alone and that others, including and especially my Heavenly Father, are mindful of me.

Then today, my 1st counselor had a family emergency and couldn't make it to church.  I found out just as YW was starting that she wouldn't be there...and she was supposed to teach.  Now I used to be really diligent and study every lesson even when I wasn't teaching...but I haven't done that for awhile.  And at first, I thought I probably had enough to say to take up 5-10 minutes of the lesson which was on sincere, meaningful prayer.  So I said a quick prayer and figured we could begin by reading and discussing the suggested verses in the lesson and what they mean and teach us about prayer and interject my few thoughts into the discussion and hoped that inspiration would come and that the young women would participate.  As we began to read and discuss the verses of scripture, the girls shared some thoughts...and some things that I'd heard in some LDS podcasts I had watched earlier in the week came to mind and I shared them.  One thing that I really loved was a woman saying that one day she was praying for her children and the answer that came was that when she prays  for them, the Lord is bound to do something to help or bless them.  Bound.  It might be something that seems almost imperceptible at the time, but when we pray for others, He is bound to come to their aid.  I also shared with them how exhausted I had been feeling and how I prayed for strength and received it...but also that I realized that my FIRST instinct wasn't to pray.  My first instinct was to turn to Alfredo and friends.   I said it isn't bad to turn to others for help...we need others and they can often give us good advice and aid.  But I think I have a pretty good relationship with my Heavenly Father...but it would be even better if I turned to Him first so why don't I!  As we read a few verses of scripture, the young women made a few comments and so did Sadie and Brenda.  Then the thought came that I should ask what the challenges are or what keeps us from saying meaningful prayers.  So I asked that and we ended up having a beautiful discussion where the girls really opened up about why maybe they don't always say meaningful prayers and we talked about some ways to help those challenges.  And our Bishop, Bishop Carlson, was there and so he shared some thoughts and the spirit was palpable as he spoke and it was a great meeting.  And again...I know it wasn't me.  I wasn't least not in any traditional sense of having studied the lesson and prayed and pondered in advance to know what to share.  But because I try to fill my mind and spirit with good things, I had been led to listen to those podcasts which would help me.  And I was able to hear the promptings of the spirit to know which direction to take the lesson.  And the spirit helped others in the room know what to share.  And it was really beautiful.  Our Savior and Heavenly Father are so good!   It's so beautiful to see evidence of them working through us...despite our weakness, lack of strength, imperfections, etc.  I am just so grateful that in small ways I am able to be an instrument in their hands.  I know that yesterday  and today weren't huge miraculous events.  They were small and pretty simple...but nevertheless they were absolutely evidence that my Savior and Father are mindful of me.  Such beautiful, tender mercies!!  And I also believe it is further evidence of how much our Heavenly Father loves these remarkable young women.  Because I'm trying (in my very imperfect way) to serve them to the best of my ability, and because it was through not fault of my own or my counselor's that the lesson didn't go as planned with her teaching, the Lord stepped in and through the promptings of the Holy Ghost we were able to learn together and be taught by the spirit and it WAS given me in the very hour what I should say.  I'm so, so thankful.

Homecoming 2019

My kids have such good friends and I'm so thankful!

Michelle went on her very first date yesterday.  It was with her good friend Keaton.  Michelle and Keaton have been good friends since sixth grade.  It was his first date too.   They doubled with Keaton's older sister Regan who is on the tennis team with Michelle.  Keaton and Regan also work at Cafe Zupas with Michelle (in fact, Keaton helped her get an interview.)

They went to the aquarium and then to lunch at In 'N Out.  Then they came home for a couple of hours to get ready.  They took photos at Regan's date's house.  Then they went to The Cheesecake Factory downtown.  Fortunately, they'd made reservations in advance because it was FanX and there were tons of people there waiting...but since they had reservations, they were seated almost immediately.  Michelle said Keaton was so thoughtful and polite and opened all her doors and wouldn't let her pay for anything.  I think, especially since Michelle has a job now, she recognizes how much effort goes into earning that money that Keaton was spending on her.

Then after dinner, they went to the dance and had a great time.  After the dance, they went to Keaton and Regan's house to play games.  She said the whole evening was so much fun!   (One little snafu...which is primarily my was a crazy week and I was exhausted and it never even occurred to me that we should have bought Keaton a boutinierre.  Oops.  Poor ettiquette on our part.  But Michelle said he didn't seem to care.   And I won't forget that again!)

Michelle's cute nails.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Parkview Get Together 2019

It's always so great to get together with the teachers from Parkview.  Every year, in the summer, I host a barbecue and I love seeing these friends!  So glad we became more than just colleagues.

Worth Week Barbecue

I mentioned the barbecue already but here are just a few photos we took at the barbecue.  Only 8 out of 18 girls were able to attend, but it was a wonderful evening and how I love each of the young women!!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Thoughts I want to remember

I read a lot.  There's no way to possibly remember everything I read. But when I read a good book I try to write a review on Goodreads to help me remember what I liked or what I learned.  And ocassionally when I read something good elsewhere I try to document it somehow.  Here's a couple of thoughts I've really liked lately:

In a podcast with Robert Millet about the Holy Ghost, Brother Millet shared this: 

"Well, I think what I what I tried to do with the book was to have people come away when they laid it down, after reading it, saying, "Wow, I had no idea He was this involved." I came away with this impression.   You have your work cut out for your finding any facet of the Christian life, in which the Holy Ghost is not inextricably linked. Name one for me. I can't think of anything we do in the church that the Spirit isn't a part of, you know? I mentioned in the book, suppose we had full church organization, apostolic authority, 75,000 missionaries, and books of scripture. But there was no gift of the Holy Ghost, then what? None of that would matter very much. What good does it do to have the keys of the priesthood, the sealing power, if in fact, there's no Holy Spirit of promise to seal that marriage? And so I came away with the realization that the Spirit has a monumental role in the plan of salvation. The Prophet Joseph Smith said everlasting covenant was entered into by three personages before the foundations of the world and it pertains to their dispensation of things on the earth. They are God, the first the Creator God, the second Redeemer, God the third the witness or testator, and what I became aware of is how intimately connected all three are in the work of salvation. We often think of God and obviously we think of Christ as the key to salvation. But try getting saved without the Holy Ghost. In other words, the overwhelming thing when I had finished the book was "My gosh, He's involved in everything." And consequently, one of my dear friends, Joseph McConkie, at a time when he and his wife were called to preside over a mission in Scotland. They were going to leave and we were good friends. And so my wife Shauna and I went to dinner with him one night, and Joseph and I were chatting. And I said, Well, have you been through all the material you were sent? No, listen to all the tapes you're supposed to listen to. He said, "Yeah, I have," he said but "You know, I've been trying to distill, somehow distill it all into a neater package, so that we take that white missionary handbook and we say, yeah, that's the Book of rules, but can we distill it?" And here's what he came up with and he said it almost became a mission motto and it was this, "I would never do anything that would cost me the influence of the Spirit of the Lord." Can you imagine what the Latter-day Saints would be like in terms of spiritual power if that were our motto, and our way of life? I would never do anything that would cost me the influence of the Spirit. That's the other thing. I came away from the book saying, "I don't want to do anything to lose this. It's too precious."

I especially love that ending...I don't want to do anything to lose the Holy Ghost. It is too precious.

I also really love in these "All In" podcasts from LDS Living, they always end by asking the person what it means to them to live "all in."  I love Brother Millet's answer:

"You know, to me, it means I'm in for the long haul. Sadly, and unfortunately, I've met too many people in the last five to seven years who've left the church. They didn't like this or they didn't like that, or this bothers me or this bothers me. I had never appreciated what the phrase meant when Heber C. Kimball years ago said, be careful because there will come a time, a day of sifting. I didn't know what sifting was, I was a city boy. I didn't know what you did with grain to sift it. But I know now because I've watched people, dear, dear friends and loved ones be sifted. And so for me, John Taylor and Brigham Young had a phrase they would say "It's the kingdom of God or nothing." And I've even said in comical moments, you know, what, if Jeffrey Holland and Dallin Oaks and Henry Eyring and Russell Ballard are going to go down, I'm going down with them because they're not bad people to hang out with. Okay? And in other words, my wife and I, we have one greatest desire, it's to live and die firm in the faith. And if I were ever asked by a leader of the Church or the Lord, where do you stand? I want to be able to say, I've been loyal to church leadership. And I've tried to be loyal to the Lord. I don't think you can do that if you're only two thirds of the way there. And all in for me means you buy the whole package. You buy the whole package, and that comes...the Church with its members and their flaws. As Elder Holland put it beautifully God working with people who are flawed, "It must be terribly discouraging for him," he said, "but he deals with it. And so much we," and so with me it's the kingdom of God or nothing. It means I don't have anything that I'm not willing to do to build up the kingdom of God if I'm called on to do it, that's what it means to me. ...When I wrote the book, "Whatever Happened to Faith?" One of the thoughts that bore down on me was this. I began thinking about the singing of hymns. And there are certain hymns I just have trouble getting through, okay, they just moved me too deeply. They just get to me. One of them, interestingly enough, is "Firm As The Mountains Around Us." Every time I sing that and I come to the words of the chorus, "And we hear the desert singing, Carry on, carry on." In my case, I don't see the desert. I see my grandfather who joined the Church in the 1930s saying to me, "Robert, carry on." I see my dad who gave everything for the Church saying, "You Carry on, carry on." I don't want to face them hereafter, and have slipped up somewhere in a serious way. So it's the kingdom or nothing."
Emily Freeman shared this on Facebook/Instagram: 
"I BELIEVE GOD.  It was several years ago and I was talking on the phone with a good friend. I am religious by nature. He is taking a break from religion. Our conversations are generally filled with the passion that comes from sitting on those two sides of the fence. 
On this particular day he had asked me why I do all the things I do. My answer was simple, “because Jesus.”
“Your life isn’t easier,” he told me. It’s true. Our life hasn’t been easy. 
“Believing is a dangerous way to live.” He said. 
But God has promised peace in times of trouble. Grace when I need strength. Healing when life hurts. Comfort through loneliness. Hope when hope is gone. Light in my wilderness places. A haven in my storms. Refuge and respite and relief. He promised to be there no matter what life brings. 
I believe God. 
And that belief has carried me through every day of this mortal experience, and just like Paul, I plan to cling to it until the day I leave. 
“Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” Acts 27:25

I, too, believe God. I believe His promises are sure because I have seen many fulfilled in my life and I have faith and hope that I will see others fulfilled in the future. It is worth any sacrifice, any effort, any challenge on our part to follow Him.
At girls camp at the end of July, and in testimony meeting on August 4, I shared a few words of Paul. "I have all, and abound. I am full..." (Philippians 4:18). Paul had so many trials and so many hard things happen...yet he found cause to rejoice even in the midst of hard. I've seen in my life that there is lots of hard. But there are also glorious vistas, moments of breathtaking joy, echoes of truth that we learned long ago swelling in our hearts and moments when through tears we can exclaim, "I have all and abound. I am full" because we believe God. Because we know Christ lives. Because we have seen the joy and peace that envelop us even in the midst of hard when we do our best to follow Him.

In a children's book I read on August 13 (You Are Never Alone by Elin Kelsey), the author's note mentioned being "within the blast radius of love." I love that description!
A blast radius is the distance from the source that will be affected by an explosion.
So a blast radius of my mind, at least...would be how far a ripple of kindness or love can travel. How far we can make our love felt.
A friend was telling me about that week's (August 13) episode of Don't Miss This before I watched it.  I ended up loving the ending where Emily Freeman and David Butler talk about how in Romans 16 Paul lists all these people he loves and what he admires about them. I think our blast radius of love is probably bigger than we think. President Kimball said our influence "can be tenfold what it would be in more tranquil times." In the video, David Butler and Emily Freeman encourage each of us to find a way to let people know that they have influenced your life. Send a text or a note or tell them in person. Send out ripples of love and extend your blast radius of love.  I actually started an additional Instagram page that is my attempt to document all of the people that have influenced my life for good.  It's called eachlifethattouchesours and I write about people that I love and the Christlike attributes they possess or the way that they have blessed my life.  Then I send each person a note letting them know that they have blessed my life.  I just started it about a month ago so I only have written about 10 or so people...but I have so many more planned...just limited time in which to accomplish it.  But it makes my heart so full to realize how many people I have been blessed to have in my life!

In a different "All In" podcast, I loved these thoughts from a woman/writer named Melissa Inouye:
"Love is the power that allows us to be useful to others."

"MI: That's right, because everyone has the beliefs that they do, and wants to act on those beliefs out of this desire to follow Christ. And I think if we recognize the goodwill, within our fellowship and the covenants we've actually made to each other at baptism, then then that can get us pretty far.
MJ: Yeah, I love how you said the covenants that we made to each other.
MI: Yeah. If you look at Messiah where Alma's talking at the waters of Mormon. He says, if you're willing, you know, to be baptized, this is what it entails. It entails taking on the name of Christ and it entails, this covenant entails bearing each other's burdens, mourning with those that mourn. So there's a kind of vertical aspect in which we covenant to God. And there's also a horizontal aspect in which we covenant to each other. "

"MJ: I love another thing...I'm sorry to pull so many quotes from the book, but there were so many things. I was like, I want to talk to her about these. I love how you say "The miracle of Zion's one heart and one mind was not that all members of the community had been born identical, but that they had chosen to love and serve each other despite, or perhaps because of, their diversity." What can we do, Melissa, do you think on an individual level to create that kind of unity in the Church?
MI: I think one thing we can do is try to actively seek out people who are struggling for various reasons. It's obvious to see people who have kind of, you know, physical difficulties, who've you know have been in a car accident, people who need to move house, people who have just had a baby, who need meals, these kinds of things we're really good at noticing. I think we could be a little better at noticing where people are feeling spiritually fragile or feeling fragile in their faith, or feeling like they don't belong. We could do more to reach out to people and make it clear that we're there to support them, even if that support may be a bit...may stretch us or make us feel a bit uncomfortable. It's, you know, it's a lot of work to help someone move. I've participated in many Latter-day Saint moves, and it's, you know, you're like schlepping their massive bed and their flat screen TV, and their super heavy, you know, chest of drawers like, why is this wood so heavy, this is a really heavy chest of drawers. But like that is that's a no brainer for us. Right? It's really easy.
MJ: We show up.
MI: Right. But we can also show up in those other ways. And in the book, I have an essay called conversations are like casseroles. You know, it's like a no brainer again, just like throw together a casserole and then send that off to someone. But often it takes much less time to try to engage with someone on a slightly uncomfortable topic. But we should do that too. That's also a form of work and we shouldn't shirk, as the hymn says."