Sunday, May 13, 2007

Manna of motherhood

I was reading about the parting of the Red Sea this morning and thinking about the drama of such a scene. I can't really say I've had that dramatic a miracle in my own life. I have felt miraculous happenings around the birth of my babies and at certain times in my life I have felt the saving influence of the atonement. These are miracles to me. The miracles in my life correlate more closely with the forty years in the wilderness than the dramatic day at the red sea.

I say that because in the daily tasks of motherhood, I have been aided daily by the Savior. I am reminded of a journal entry I made a few months ago...

I am home from church tending my sick babies. Watching Elder Oaks recent conference talk, “He will heal the heavy laden” I am reminded of the help I have received in caring for my children. Elder Oaks said “If your prayers and the power of the priesthood are not enough to heal you of your burden, the atonement of Christ will surely give you the power to bear it”. I have felt that power even in the simple acts of having enough strength to stay awake through the day and take care of my children's’ needs. I was not healed, my children were not instantly healed, yet despite the minuscule amount of sleep I was living on, I was living and functioning enough to mother my children. For me this was a miracle. Perhaps because this miracle is difficult to detect, there was not dry land, where water once stood, or lingering seagulls to notice, I found myself frequently tempted to mentally retain the burden Christ had already physically lightened. I was feeling able to care for my children, but still fearful and lonely in the process. How long would this last? Would I have strength tomorrow? Would I not get much outside help even a person to talk with? My loneliness is real and difficult. For some reason instead of going again to Christ for assistance I would instead use my burden to draw people to me, the very burden which had already been lightened by the Savior! I would mentally take it back. I would talk with people about my struggles with my sick baby and caring for my 6 other young children, all on little sleep and with a husband working diligently and necessarily so, on a new job. Doesn’t that sound impressive? In a way I was bragging for for accomplishing what the Lord was doing , fishing for assistance when it was already being given. I was implying I needed more help than the Lord is giving.

I find it interesting that in the scripture “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you for I am meek and lowly of heart, learn of me and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I felt I had done the fist part. I recognized that Christ was not going to heal my baby at this time, or somehow lessen my child caring duties, but instead was going to strengthen me to care for my own children. I had found strength and rest in that way. I recognized days when I should have collapsed, but instead had been able to simply care for my children. However, I had not continued by taking his yoke upon me and learning of him. I had accepted the physical support and rest, but not yet the mental and spiritual rest to my soul. That second rest requires additional mental effort-faith and learning. Part of the learning may be to become meek and lowly of heart as the Savior reminds us he is. This humility will keep us from assuming we know better than the Lord how we need to be succored. As if we, the patient, were writing our own prescription and not surprisingly it is a quick easy fix that would no longer necessitate visits to our healer. Hoping to get on with our lives we would avoid the one who gave His life to give us eternal life?

I wonder if this is similar to why the children of Israel grew tired of Manna? That has always fascinated me. I have a good or bad habit of putting myself in the place of the struggling people in the scriptures...perhaps I just identify with them more. I have struggled to understand the children of Israel in their wanderings and miraculous blessings. They were let by a pillar of fire and daily fed by the hand of God, yet they doubted and grumbled. They gathered manna daily and accepted the physical nourishment it gave. Yet they did not seek the aid that would have granted them grace and gratitude amidst their forty year struggle. They continually bucked against gathering daily and became critical of the nurturing food they wasn't the kind of help they wanted, nor granted in the way they desired.

Isn't this exactly what I do sometimes? Beg for blessings, than criticize them when they arrive, for being not something enough...the height of ingratitude.

The thing I'm frequently bucking against is not unlike the daily gathering of manna..I sometimes wish for something more than the daily strength I am given. The children of Israel wanted variety in their nourishing gift, and sometimes I do as well. I also notice that I quickly forget to do my daily gathering of scripture study, despite the brightness of the pillar that leads me when I do.

Friday, May 4, 2007

PBS Mormon Documentary

Well, I watched it. I found the history fairly well done. Obviously polygamy needs to be discussed. Obviously the Mountain Meadows Massacre should be discussed, it is a truly tragic event.

I will never understand why the best source of information would be an excommunicated member. One woman tells in detail how she was excommunicated for teaching doctrines that contradict church teachings...yet she is quoted explaining church doctrine and the most sacred experiences available to church members. A man explains that his excommunication ended his he really sure that it wasn't the homosexual affair he had? Would his wife had been fine with that, if he hadn't been excommunicated?

I was most mystified by the dancing comment...Mormons value dancing above education. Where in the world was that from?

I would have loved to see the docuentarian use our artwork, or at least more neutral artwork. A very dark picture of Jesus in reds and blacks, with music in a minor key....this is the background for Joseph Smith's first vision? The wording of the vision was fairly accurate, so why the slant on the art?

My favorite part of the whole documentary was an Evangelical minister. He obviously does not believe what I believe, yet he was very respectful. Wonderful!

Perhaps it could have been called Perspectives on did show different perspectives.