Sunday, November 7, 2010

lesson learned (and still currently being learned)

i've been waking up early to go to the temple once a week. 4:45am-hours-before-the-sun-comes-up-and-i'm -so-tired-only-sheer-faith-gets-me-out-of-bed early. i feel closer to god there, and can communicate more freely with him there than any other place. i feel spiritually refreshed, optimistic, empowered every time i leave.

also, each time i do the work for another melzer ancestor i feel like i'm gaining another person on my side of the war. i love these women. i can picture each of those strong-willed german women wielding swords of light against the powers of darkness in my behalf. too melodramatic? i think not.

i need all the help i can get.

so, a while ago i took a matter to the lord that i had been struggling with. after finishing an endowment session, i sat praying in the celestial room while the sun rose over the mountains, filtering through stained-glass windows and filling the room with light, naively thinking an answer would come so that i could go out that day or week and solve the problem with his help.

ha! i can laugh at myself looking back.

instead, the answer i got was this: rachel, beloved daughter (maybe i even heard a little bit of sympathetic laughter), this is not a trial. it is an allotment. for a lifetime. over the course of your mortal existence you will learn PATIENCE. i will teach you and help you. and it will all be worth it in the end.

oh. okay.

that is a hard thing to hear. no reassurance that my trial would pass any time soon. only an understanding that the experiences of my life were specifically designed to teach me patience.

i cried at first. i felt a lot of sorrow and self pity that the hard burdens in my life would not be lifted any time soon.

and then.

the words of elder maxwell came to me. words that i had read while preparing to teach a relief society lesson a month previous. oil that i had placed in my lamp, drop by drop, so that i would have it when i needed it. words that reminded me of my final destination, my final goal.

i'd love to share those words with you:

Being content means acceptance without self-pity. Meekly borne, however, deprivations such as these can end up being like excavations that make room for greatly enlarged souls.

Some undergo searing developments that cut suddenly into mortality’s status quo. Some have trials to pass through,
while still others have allotments they are to live with. Paul lived with his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7).

Suffice it to say, such mortal allotments will be changed in the world to come.
-Neal A. Maxwell, “Content with the Things Allotted unto Us,” Ensign, May 2000, 72

and this:

Patient endurance is to be distinguished from merely being “acted upon.” Endurance is more than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance; it is not only acceptance of the things allotted to us, it is to “act for ourselves” by magnifying what is allotted to us. (See Alma 29:3, 6.)

Therefore, true enduring represents not merely the passage of time, but the passage of the soul—and not merely from A to B, but sometimes all the way from A to Z. To endure in faith and doeth God’s will (See D&C 63:20; D&C 101:35) therefore involves much more than putting up with a circumstance.

Rather than shoulder-shrugging, true enduring is soul-trembling. Jesus bled not at a few, but “at every pore.” (D&C 19:18.)

Patient endurance permits us to cling to our faith in the Lord and our faith in His timing when we are being tossed about by the surf of circumstance. Even when a seeming undertow grasps us, somehow, in the tumbling, we are being carried forward, though battered and bruised.
-Neal A. Maxwell, “‘Endure It Well’,” Ensign, May 1990, 33

now every time i get frustrated, i stop and thank the lord for another tutorial on patience. my life is beautiful, miraculous, abundant. i am so grateful for temple blessings. for the gift of the holy ghost. for a perfectly patient heavenly father who loves me enough to teach me how to become like him. for the atonement that allows me to give my burdens and weaknesses over to the lord and allows him to make more out of my life than i could by myself.

now if i could only hurry up and learn this patience lesson faster...


  1. could that photo be any more beautiful?
    could these words be any more beautiful?
    could you be any more beautiful?

    i think not.

    i love you. thank you for doing all that temple work for our ancestors. i would love to go to the temple with you - maybe next time i come visit.

    p.s. i thought of you today when i decided to pick up pride & prejudice and read my very first jane austen book.

  2. Cry, cry, cry. That's all you ever make me do. :)

    I should really pick up the phone and call to tell you all my thoughts on this post, but that is so last century.

    Before I got pregnant, I would go to an occasional 5:30am session. I loved it and have been planning on going again this Friday. (Still pregnant, but less work makes me less tired...) Now if only I could muster the energy to gather my own names.

    Anyway, I related to way too many feelings in this post (hence, the crying). Contentment, not self pity (just wrote about that in my journal of thoughts last night!), trials that won't go away, but must be endured, la, la, la. And there was so much that I needed to hear/read.

    PS I read a blog that is fitting for your last line. It's titled "Impatiently praying for patience".

    Love ya.

  3. I was doing the dishes and felt like I needed to check your blog. Now I know why. Thank you for setting such a great example for me. You are an amazing woman and I hope you always remember that, even when life is trying your patience :) Love ya!

  4. It's things like this, little pieces of each others lives that I get to see, reasons I enjoy blogging. Thanks for this post. And the reminder of those wonderful words.

  5. You are so amazing. Thank you for lifting me up. I've been down & I need to be more grateful & patient. And get to the temple. Love you.