Monday, March 24, 2008

The Sun in All its Glory

As I was praying a scripture came into my mind. I thought of Mosiah 3:19. I realized that the struggle inside me was really between the natural man and the spiritual man. Until I was able to see my life spiritually, I was never going to be happy. Somehow I needed to truly complete the process of “becoming a saint through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” I knew that the process involved “yielding to the enticings of the spirit,” but I was unsure of how to do so.

That thought weighed on my mind a lot over the next day at church. Then in Elder’s quorum, someone brought up a scripture in Alma chapter 34. While I was open to the verse, I happened to glance over and read verse 31. “. . .therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your heart, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.”

That verse hit me so hard! First was the possibility of the plan of redemption (forgiveness as well as its synonym the plan of happiness) being immediately enacted in my behalf. There was one small catch. I had to repent without hardening my heart. Given the insight that I had about my emotional openness that was a challenge. But then again, that was the perfect explanation to why I hadn’t felt the influence of the Lord in my life on a regular basis, despite the fact that I was doing everything I was supposed to.

I was that what I needed to do was turn my heart over to the Lord. To open my heart to Him. It took me a day to figure out how to do that and to be willing to open myself up; to become vulnerable. I was scared to death of opening the wall. But I knew that if I was going to have any hope of ever being happy, I had to have the Lord in my life. I realized that while I had been keeping the commandments, I had done so without having my heart in it.

Tuesday, I was truly open. I felt a lot of connection with the men in my group. I felt so happy! I felt so good. As I have continued to be open, I have been happy. Having come to accept myself and then being open to the connection, I felt it. It was really amazing. I found that I could either sit and whine about how miserable I was with a prosthetic and focus on all the ways it was inferior to a real leg and all the things I couldn't do, or I could live my life to the fullest and accept the prosthetic. That week, my therapist suggested to me that I shouldn't just content myself with a prosthetic for the rest of my life. He said that he feels that over time through a lot of emotional healing and effort on my part, the male relationships I form can become, little by little a real leg. I liked that thought.

Later on in the week, I found that as much as I tried to be open, my heart had figured out the password I was using to open it up and had changed it. It was locked. Try as I might, I still struggled with the same emotional bullshit that I had before. I was still trying to be "open" and it was helping, but things were far from perfect.

I had the opportunity to travel to SLC with my wife to meet two other couples that also deal with SSA. It was so good for both of us to start to establish a network of support. That is something that both of us have needed. And the best part is that, being emotionally open, I was able to feel that emotional connection with them. It is so good to truly feel that I have friends.

I told one of those friends about my new struggle with the locked gate and he said that we always plateau. At that point, we need to find a new way to think about it, new terminology to describe the process. He told me about a method that has continued to work for him. He called it sitting with the emotion. He said that you sit down and just chase the emotion through all the layers until you find out what is really at the root of the emotion. He referred to being “open” as being “present.” I have also heard it called being “authentic” or “genuine.”

As I have learned to accept my emotions and find out what those emotions really are, I have been happy. A big part of that has been being open to the Lord and the spirit and allowing them to influence my life. It has been a week now since I figured it out and there hasn’t been a day when I haven’t been happy. I had hoped for one day of happiness. I never dreamed that I would experience a whole week of it. What’s more I have had no signs that this has to end. As far as I can tell, this is the secret to a lifetime of happiness, to an eternity of happiness. And that, more than anything isW exactly what I have been looking for.


October Rising said...

Wow! You've been through a lot over the past month! I'm glad you've made a lot of progress!!!

GeckoMan said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm teaching a lesson on repentance in Priest's Quorum this Sunday, and would like to use pieces of your post, if that's okay. Sounds like you are figuring out great things for your life and your family. Sorry to read of your stumbling, but you have done all the right things to learn and grow from that experience. I hope you continue to see and believe the better choice for living is in the open heart with your most important and covenant relationships.

There is a scripture from the writings of Paul that correlates to your post. He said, "Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." (Heb 3:7-8) He also goes on to speak of not allowing the deceitfulness of sin to close our hearts. I know this too is true from my own experience.

Keep up the good work, RU.

reachingupward said...

Feel free Geckoman. If someone else can benefit from my experiences, I'd be glad.