Saturday, September 25, 2010

A birthday...

Thy word is like a lamp unto my feet... (Proverbs)

Fog comes, not on little cat feet, but with the seeping vengeance of a flood. Awaking in the fog of a clouded mind and a stormy heart yields confusion; today was a long struggle to engage my world. The gears of my mind kept slipping off each other in the greasy humidity of the past few days.

The fact that today is my birthday did not alleviate so much as exasperate my struggle; ideally, birthdays are days of reflection and celebration and of faithful, hopeful looking to the future. I took the time to sing today as I have not done in a long while, and the hymns of Zion provided strength, support, and buoyancy in an otherwise sinking morning. Eating lunch with my roommates was fun, as were visiting some friends and helping a classmate. The greatest comfort was speaking with my family, who are ever a source of comfort and strength and loving concern. But despite the points of light, the fog in my soul remained.


I sat down to read the scriptures. Repeated attempts at prayer had devolved into uneasy sleep, but as I opened to 3 Nephi and read again chapter 22*, and chapter 11, I found surcease from sorrow**, and felt prompted to read my patriarchal blessing.

(For my non-LDS readers, a patriarchal blessing is a piece of specific communication from the Lord to an individual through a patriarch, who acts much like Jacob did while blessing each of his twelve sons. I personally hold this type of communication to be one of the great blessings of the Restoration; a patriarchal blessing like those given by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is quite unlike anything else I've experienced in the LDS Church or in the Baptist or Pentecostal congregations I've attended. It is not quite the same as a father's blessing, or any other blessing I've seen given in any Church - the language used is in intelligible words, but is only correctly interpretable by the recipient. It's a continuing example of how involved the Lord is in our individual lives.)

Reading the words of the Lord to me, in applied scriptures and especially in His direct communication, rolled back the fog from my soul. I could think clearly, my emotions were understandable and negotiable, the weariness fell from my mind and heart, and I regained the opportunity to be thoroughly enthusiastic. I did not burst with joy - but I was back in the present again, reconnected to my world.

Following a feeling, I found myself in a movie that skillfully, comically and interestingly dealt with my precise situation in a way that helped me to be happy, to have a proper perspective, and to gain hope for the future.

In short: The Lord knew my sickness today, and turned my tears into the tonic for my tribulation.

*(A similar passage is found in Isaiah 54: "O, thou afflicted, tossed about with tempests and not comforted! Behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires." But the whole chapter is one of comfort and peace.)
**(Paraphrase from Edgar Allan Poe)

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