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Opting In to the Greater Vision

By Emily Milner

We’d imagined God’s wrath
would jolt us—pyrotechnic,
show-stopping apocalypse
commanding our attention.
So we missed the subtle
cease-striving, the slow
rotting away of root and
branch. We slept through
days of should-have-been
decision, opting out
of a greater vision
and into the rhythm, pounding
like the waves, of the sins
of each generation.

THE BOOK OF LAMENTATIONS,
BY JAMES GOLDBERG (P. 9) (Click here for an excellent blog post which I discovered after I’d thought this one out.)

The first time I did temple work after my long pandemic-induced temple hiatus, I noticed one phrase as if it were the first time I’d ever heard it. Lest you think I’m quoting it blasphemously outside of its temple context, know that it’s been used in General Conference by Elder Holland here, as well as D&C 88:75: clean from the blood and sins of this generation.

I’ve been pondering that idea for months now.

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Compassion: A Heavy Heart

By Karen Austin

Photo by Quinn Dombrowki

I learned a long time ago that if I pray for patience, I invite trials.

But I am just gaining an understanding of what happens when you pray for compassion.  You gain two things: a great awareness of your own shortcomings as well as a great awareness of other peoples’ pain and suffering.   If I start thinking that I have it all figured out compared to other people, I am soon receive a reminder that I am a beggar before God (Mosiah 4:19).  Ah.

Now I understand the scripture that pride precedes the fall (Proverbs 16:18).

I’m trying to find a stance in relation to the suffering now made visible before me because I’m serving in a Relief Society presidency.  As an oldest child, type A, ambitious person, I am tempted to rush in and take over when others struggle.  However, I can’t rescue people from the hardships of their lives.  If I did, I would be unable to manage my responsibilities to my own family.  More importantly, I would deny others the opportunity to claim their own successes.

It’s an act of vanity on my part to try to rescue or fix someone else. True compassion means that I support them as they work out their salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord  (Philippians 2:12).  I can only stand as a witness to the growth they experience with the help of divine assistance.

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