Monday, November 24, 2008

My second, and last, entry on this blog occurred almost three years ago and in it I expressed my views on love and how we truly come to fall in love. For those who read it, I realize there may have been some who thought it to be too cheesy, but for those who have been in love, I am fairly confident that you can relate to what I wrote. Over the past three years I have come to gain more understanding and perspective through many experiences. My purpose in this entry is simply to share those with whomever chooses to read this. Ready? Here we go...

In my last entry I spoke of a poem that I had heard while on an LDS mission that involves a man being told to go the edge of a mountain and his reluctance. The voice that prompts the man to go to the edge gets louder and firmer until he finally goes to the edge, and just as he was afraid would happen, he was pushed. To his surprise, however, he began to fly instead of fall.

The purpose of that story when I originally heard it was to express the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and to illustrate to the listener it's ability to lift us to new heights if only we'll listen to and trust in the Lord. The reason that I used the story while discussing the topic of love, as I pointed out, was that the power behind the Atonement is just that, Love. It is the Love of our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ, that provide us with the strength to continue on when our knees are weak and our hands hang down. It is that same Love that provides the healing power that each and every one of us needs in our life at at least one point or another. It is that Love that ultimately provides us the opportunity to make it back in to the presence of our loving Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ.

So why then am I continuing to expound on an entry that I wrote almost three years ago? The reason is this; I originally stated that we'll never REALLY fall into love unless we go to the edge and are willing to jump. I commented that although we may fall many times, and it may hurt, we eventually heal and must continue to jump again and again until we finally take flight and are able to soar to new heights. I still believe this is important, and that we must take chances on others and that we must allow them to take chances on us in order to ever come to know the greatest feelings of love; however, through many painful albeit growing experiences, I have come to decide that it is not a bad idea to often approach the ledge with caution, and unless prompted by the Spirit of God, to not do so at all. What I mean by this is that although God has the ability to pick us up and to lift us to new heights, we also have the possibility of falling and having great pain and damage inflicted upon us. Often times in our lives we try to make things work because we see no reason that they should not, or perhaps we just feel that we know what is best for us. Many times we do not have the feeling of assurance or peace of heart and peace of mind given us from the Holy Ghost, when we attempt to fall in love with another person and for whatever reason, when we jump, we fall, but it is not into love. It is eventually into pain and heartache that was not necessary. Sure there may have been a thrill for a short time as we were falling and waiting for the wings to come and the flight to start, but the moment never came and we were forced to face the fact that there was never any true substance or power behind our feelings, only the rush that we often feel from new experiences and the determination to keep moving forward derived from the desire to not be alone. Eventually we hit the ground with a thud!

Unfortunately, I have found myself at the bottom on a couple of different occasions over the past few years, and have not understood what it was that went wrong. Why did the wings not come? Wasn't I doing what I was supposed to by taking a chance on another and allowing love to develop? On at least one occasion, I didn't want to get up and try again. I didn't know how I could try again! The pain was to great and I had no desire. It was not until I cried out in helplessness to the Lord that I was able to begin to heal and with His help to make my way eventually back up to the ledge where I started from. However, I hadn't really understood what went wrong the first time and figured that I would be smart enough to recognize the mistake as it presented itself the next time around...Thud!...Thud!...Thud!! The moment of realization failed to come on several proceeding occasions.

Sometimes we become so determined to do something right and to become an expert at it that we begin to ignore the fundamentals, and seemingly small things, and begin to focus on how we'll use our strengths to come out victorious. It's not until we fail enough times to where our pride is broken that we are able to see what was missing all along, the small yet vital things. It's taken me almost three years and the most incredible person that I've ever met to be able to realize that the ledge should be approached with caution, and sometimes not at all. There is no need to rush to the ledge when we do not have the prompting from the Spirit to do so. Often times we may feel that we are ready to take a chance on someone, and to let them take a chance on us, but they may not be ready; as a result we could not only end up hurting ourselves in the fall, but we can drag another down who was not ready to jump at all. Other times it may just take time to establish a relationship, or at least a foundation, of trust and respect to where both of you are ready to take that chance, relying on the power of the Lord. In many cases, as we take the time to approach the ledge we realize before we get there, that as amazing as the other person is, they are not right for us and we are able to escape without harm, but still having learned valuable lessons and hopefully having gained an invaluable friend.

I guess in conclusion, the main thing that I have learned in the past three years is this: The Lord's power is endless and without limits. The Atonement can and will provide us with the healing, and enabling power that we need to pick ourselves up from poor choices, many that were made with good intentions, and help us to get back to where the Lord wants us to be. I have felt both aspects of the Atonement in my life numerous times over the past few years alone and each time it has brought a comfort and relief that cannot be described, nor can it be understood by those who have not sought to feel it. However, we do not need to put ourselves at the bottom of the cliff in pain and agony needlessly in many instances. If we will only seek out the will of the Lord in our lives and heed the counsel and direction that we are given, we will become stronger without having had to suffer quite so many times. I do believe that at times we will be given the assurance that it is OK to jump, and sometimes we will end up at the bottom still. Both parties involved always have their agency and sometimes we will feel the consequences of doubt, or fear, or decisions made by the other party while in mid free fall. Perhaps they will realize after having jumped that they had not gotten the confirmation from the Lord for reasons specific to them, but the Lord will pick us up again EVERY time if we will only cry out to Him. My new approach to falling in love? Proceed with caution, seek the guidance of the Lord and act on His time. When the time, and conditions are right, we'll be sure to take flight.