Poor Andy. He had nights all week and went straight into swing the next day. Not a single day off. But guess what? He got off work a bit after 8 AM on Friday morning and didn’t have to go back to work till 2 PM the next day so that counts as a day off. It certainly doesn’t feel that way. We’re both spent. On top of it we got some dumb virus. Could be COVID but if it is, thanks to the vaccine we have very mild symptoms. Mostly just feel wiped out. I was telling Andy that it is ironic because COVID is either on one extreme or the other and the mild symptoms could sometimes be compared to symptoms of parenthood: exhaustion, no appetite, insomnia, etc. So we’ve played it safe and did virtual Stake conference this weekend. It was uplifting, but the most uplifting talk, in my opinion was a Sister’s conversion story. It wasn’t a grandiose change from outward appearances, though it probably was to her. She was raised non-denominational Christian and felt a drive to dig deeper and study more. She didn’t realize that a lot of her religious google searches directed her to thechurchofjesuschrist.org until she met her future husband, and then realized her favorite book-marked lecture from BYU was from an apostle of the Lord, Jeffrey Holland. In fact, a lot of her answers were found on that sight and she had no idea it was the same source as these “mormons” she had heard about. One thing led to another and she got baptized and since then has continued to receive line upon line precept upon precept. This principle is so important because sometimes I think we expect to know everything in this world of never ending resources and information overload. I have met so many Christ-centered people here in Georgia and in Houston that are not of my faith. And I have learned so much from them. I hope that we can learn from each other, because there is so much we can gain from doing that.
In fact, a lot of people are calling these apostles of the Lord “outdated” or “bigoted” when they don’t realize that though imperfect, these men have dedicated most of their lives to serving US and the Lord. They spend every waking hour living the fulness of the gospel and not only are they not “out of touch” they have a life time of experience and an awareness and intense skill level of listening and following the spirit that I aspire to. I think it would be not only prideful, but kind of stupid to think I would know better. I think this applies to their admonition to get vaccinated among all the other recent words they have given. If you don’t believe in living prophets I can’t fault you for that in the least, but I do ask you to go to God in prayer and ask him if there is a living prophet. I know he’ll answer because he’s answered my prayers time and time again. I’ve heard people say “they’re supposed to stay out of politics” but I’ve never read that in the scriptures. Besides I don’t even know why getting vaccinated is political when it seems like a simple solution to a huge problem. And aside from that– I’ve never heard them say vote for ____. No, instead they tell us to be prayerful and to make sure we do our duty as citizens of whatever country we are in to be informed if we get to vote. And what a privilege it is to vote. One that I think a lot of us take for granted. But I digress. I think it is a lot more simple than the world wants to make it. Lines are becoming more obscured and blurry unless you are listening to the sure and steady foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Someone argued on social media that “The prophet didn’t command us to get the vaccine, just recommended it.” And I still can’t wrap my head around that logic. I get that there are people who cannot take the vaccine, perhaps that is why it wasn’t worded as a “commandment.” Or perhaps it is because God TRUSTS us to use our agency well, he safeguards our agency more than anything else (uhh he went to war to protect our agency in Heaven, for heaven’s sake!). But here is my thought, if the prophet of God recommends something whether he commands it or not, it is probably better safe than sorry to heed his advice. Here is an excellent article to sum up some of the things our current prophet has taught.
On my mission I had the privilege of teaching this wonderful sister. For sake of anonymity let’s call her Maria. Maria was a wonderful person and I looked forward to our visits. However, the longer we taught her the more I realized she was getting agitated and anxious when we’d come. I asked her, “Maria, what is bothering you?” She replied, “I don’t feel comfortable praying to Joseph Smith.” A wave of relief flowed over me, a major miscommunication had some how happened. I almost laughed because I too would find it uncomfortable and odd to pray to a man and not to my Father in Heaven. I clarified that we pray to God only, through the name of Christ. That wave of relief then flowed over her face and then she asked, “But why did my friends tell me you did?” I realized that she had been learning about our faith from people who weren’t of our faith. Maria, if you want to learn about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, make sure you’re learning it from someone who is living it, and better yet, you can pray to God himself and ask him if what we’re saying is true. I used a radio and changed the station every few seconds. “Maria do you know what each station was talking about?” “No,” she replied. “I wouldn’t expect you to. When we’re listening to so many voices it is hard to learn from the one still small voice– the Holy Ghost.” And then I challenged her to try and tune her life into that one voice by who she listens to, what she reads, and what she is doing in her life. A few months later she was baptized. I had been transferred already so I didn’t get to witness that moment, but I hope she is still listening to that voice.
I have to admit, it isn’t easy to listen to the spirit, especially in the chaos of this world. But it is my daily goal and prayer to learn to do so more effectively. I have also realized that my focus needs to be on following the spirit for those in my sphere of influence. How can I best serve those around me and make my home a place that the spirit wants to dwell.
This article written by an ER physician, Dr. Walker, from in CA, “Depersonalization, Emotional Exhaustion, Burnout” is pretty spot on to how most health care workers who are dealing with COVID on a daily basis feel, from what I hear from Andy’s coworkers.
I want to close with a little side note. I love you, God loves you. If my words offended you in anyway, I apologize that you assumed my intentions were anything but good. I share my feelings of the gospel because it is something I feel very passionate about. I share because I know the knowledge I have gained has blessed my life and I hope it can bless others.
I asked my kids today at dinner what they love most about Jesus.
Max said, “Because he created the world.”
Mav said, “Because he loves us!”
Bev said, “‘Cause he plays with me.”
I said, “Jesus plays with you Bev?”
She replied with a simple, “yes.” And I thought it was sweet.
Mav jumped in, “He plays with me too!”
I said, “Oh, that’s nice, how come I’ve never seen him?”
Mav said, “Because he’s camouflaged!”
Well duh. Maybe only kids can see through that camouflage!
Here are some snippets from our week!