Monday, October 20, 2008

Come What May, and Love It

These conference talk notes are just my ponderings about them. I would love to know what anyone else thought as they listened to or read them.


A number of talks from Conference seem to have dealt with the issues of impending doom. Did anyone feel differently about this? Am I just being a glass-half-empty kind of person in saying this?

I loved Elder Wirthlin's talk because he shared the words from his mother. I think we all have little sayings of our parents that stick with us through hard times. My dad has always said, "Act as if," meaning that if you're not feeling a way that you feel you should, act as if you were feeling that way and soon you will. This little saying has worked wonders in some hard times in my life. My mother's saying was, "Say a little prayer." I remember a number of times as I headed for school on days when I was to take a hard test, my mom would say, "Remember, say a little prayer." I can almost hear her sweet voice saying this to me now.

For Elder Wirthlin, his mother said, "Come what may, and love it" when he was feeling discouraged. Isn't it wonderful to have parents who have been there and done that and can advise us as to how to proceed. I believe that our Father in Heaven does this for us daily too. I feel this strongly now that my parents don't advise me like they once did.

One of the things Elder Wirthlin shares about his mother is a great example for all of us. "She taught her children to trust in themselves and each other, not blame others for their misfortunes, and give their best effort in everything they attempted.

When we fell down, she expected us to pick ourselves up and get going again."

One Sunday, our ward had a combined Priesthood/Relief Society class. I wish I could remember what the topic was, but my husband made a comment about how we indulge and spoil our children when we don't allow them to feel the full impact of the consequences of their actions. He referred to something as simple as if a child forgets his/her lunch, what does he/she learn when mom or dad brings it to school for him/her. I was not in the meeting at the time, but he said there seemed to be some people in the room the room that didn't agree with his comment. I love that Elder Wirthlin's mother believed in tough love.

A few weeks ago in Young Women, I asked the girls a question about what they feel their job is on a daily basis. One of the girls said, it was to "Do my best in everything." This is what I would expect from this girl who has very wise parents. It is apparent by what this Young Woman has accomplished already in her young age that she is living up to this standard. I think of the scriptures about arising from the dust and breaking the chains with which we are bound. Of course these are things we can't do for ourselves. We must rely on the Lord for these things to come to pass. He will lift us and make us capable to do our best.

I was named for my grandmother--my dad's mom. I never met her, but I have heard a lot about her. I believe that "in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result." This makes me think of her and what made her so loveable. Another term I think that relates to this idea is that of being "authentic." Our trials make us real; we become people others are drawn to and can relate to. This is what I believe of our current bishop. He's been through some things that I hope I never have to endure in my life, but he is authentic--he's been there.

"Every man and woman on this stand today has experienced an abundant measure of joy, each also has drunk deeply from the cup of disappointment, sorrow, and loss. The Lord in His wisdom does not shield anyone from grief or sadness." This past weekend at Time Out for Women, they read letters that were written by some of the attendees about others in the audience and how they lived with joy even though they were enduring terrible trials. I was very touched by this. One of the women that was written about sat in the row in front of us. It was shocking to me that you never know what people are going through. I realized that I was sitting among some of God's chosen people. If we can't be tried more than we can handle, these were some amazing people.
I love this next part, "I don’t think my mother was suggesting that we suppress discouragement or deny the reality of pain. I don’t think she was suggesting that we smother unpleasant truths beneath a cloak of pretended happiness." I believe that our Father in Heaven sent us here to experience it all. Contrast is vital to our existence. We can only know joy if we understand sorrow. But I do believe that "the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life."

I love a talk with a point. Sometimes, as I've sat through college lectures and church lessons, I've thought, "Okay, so what do you want me to learn here. What's the point?" Elder Wirthlin outlines four ways for us to handle adversity well, so that we can be happy and successful.

First, we must learn to laugh. Z frequently says, "You can laugh or you can cry." I'm glad I married a man who chooses to laugh at life. I was raised in the kind of household where laughter was the language of love. If people laugh at what I say, I know they love me. There have been times when I've gone through stressful times, and instead of going ballistic on people, I make jokes. I figure the meanness people sometimes show when stressed only increases the problem. Laughter alleviates it.

People just need to lighten up.

This story of Elder Wirthlin's was classic. It sounds like something that would happen to me. "I remember when one of our daughters went on a blind date. She was all dressed up and waiting for her date to arrive when the doorbell rang. In walked a man who seemed a little old, but she tried to be polite. She introduced him to me and my wife and the other children; then she put on her coat and went out the door. We watched as she got into the car, but the car didn’t move. Eventually our daughter got out of the car and, red faced, ran back into the house. The man that she thought was her blind date had actually come to pick up another of our daughters who had agreed to be a babysitter for him and his wife.

"We all had a good laugh over that. In fact, we couldn’t stop laughing. Later, when our daughter’s real blind date showed up, I couldn’t come out to meet him because I was still in the kitchen laughing. Now I realize that our daughter could have felt humiliated and embarrassed. But she laughed with us, and as a result, we still laugh about it today."

If we can't laugh at ourselves, our lives will be so full of grief. "The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable."

At one time or another, everyone must experience sorrow. No one is exempt. Elder Wirthlin challenges us to seek for the Eternal. I must admit, I don't really understand this point as well as the laughter one. Maybe it's because I'm not very good at it.

"Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others.

Remember the sublime words of the Savior to the Prophet Joseph Smith when he suffered with his companions in the smothering darkness of Liberty Jail: “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

“And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.”1

Okay, now for the greatest quote in the entire talk. This one might just end up on my fridge. "The very moments that seem to overcome us with suffering are those that will ultimately suffer us to overcome."

The third principle is to grow to understand the principle of compensation. I believe in this strongly. "The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way."

Let me share a brief experience. My mother's death was a great loss to me. She was my best friend on this earth and continues to be so. I miss her greatly. Shortly after her passing, I found that I was pregnant. My mind and heart were turned from my grief as I looked forward with hope in this new life. It was a great blessing to me. What a surprise it was when this new baby resembled her so much.

The words in Mosiah verify the principle of compensation.

"The fourth thing we can do is put our trust in our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
'God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.'2 The Lord Jesus Christ is our partner, helper, and advocate. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to be successful. If we do our part, He will step in."

If I could only remember this on a daily basis. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed. With this perspective, we learn that our Father in Heaven doesn't set us up for failure, but our only means of success is to lean on Him. He will make us capable of things we didn't know were possible.

"He who descended below all things will come to our aid. He will comfort and uphold us. He will strengthen us in our weakness and fortify us in our distress. He will make weak things become strong."3

“The simple secret is this: put your trust in the Lord, do your best, then leave the rest to Him.”

Here is the challenge: love the journey. I have a terrible tendency to delay my joy. There are so many excuses I use to not do the things I want to. I need to learn to live today. One of my biggest challenges is changing this habit. Is there a trick to helping yourself enjoy today and not always looking forward to tomorrow? I feel like I need to set goals and see them through, but where does one start?

Elder Wirthlin ends with this, "I know why there must be opposition in all things. Adversity, if handled correctly, can be a blessing in our lives. We can learn to love it."

4 comments:

vaxhacker said...

I loved that talk when watching conference!

I think there's a lot of people in the world bracing for impending doom, regardless of whether it's imminent or not. A lot of good advice for dealing with difficult times.

I feel like we shelter our kids too much from their own consequences as well. It's really hard when you love them and want them to be happy, but seriously, when you think you're being tortured by the worst parents in the world because they took away your Nintendo DS until your homework is caught up... er, yeah, a good dose of the reality of your situation wouldn't hurt once in a while.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

This is a fantastic summary of a great talk. I learned new things as I read. Thank you.

Tonya said...

Awesome talk! I hope I can be the kind of mother that Elder Wirthlin's was. I hope that my kids can be confident in knowing that they are responsible for their own happiness. I like Zan's comment in class. Sometimes I find that I want to be to much of a helicopter parent, so I try really hard to not rescue my kids all the time. Yes, Matt and I are in the process of reading "Parenting With Love and Logic." This will be his first time reading it. We like it a lot. I love the story of Elder Wirthlin's daughter and her blind date. I agree that it is much better to laugh at life than to be grumpy and bitter:0)

Aimee Kieffer, aka "Momzoo" said...

I love how you write about the talks, you are a rock star!

I agree, I think there is a feeling of impending doom and this talk makes it seem not so scary.

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