Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sunday Inspirations September 27, 2009

Once again I'm putting my post together late Saturday night, but I had quite an experience - one I'd like to share while it's still fresh in my mind.

A little before six o'clock I walked into my local church meeting house, both excited and impatient for a meeting to start. This particular meeting happens just once a year, and while my younger self used to dread it - even unto finding excuse after excuse to keep from going - my older self is finally coming to recognize the blessing this particular meeting is. It is telecast over satellite to meeting houses like mine all over the world, and is just for the women of our church.

It was the yearly General Women's Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That's a mouthful, isn't it?

I found a seat practically right at the front to keep me from being tempted to watch the people around me, so I could simply focus. Gentle, soothing music was being played over the speakers, and I allowed myself a few minutes to let the day fall off my shoulders. As the Sabbath day would be our Fast and Testimony day, I had already begun my fast in an effort to put myself into a better spirit for the words shared. It was, for me, a peaceful time.

About ten minutes before the meeting would start women began trickling in, looking for their own seats. Whispers began to flitter across the chapel. Chattering mouths began to surround me, pecking away at my peaceful moment. Soon I couldn't even hear the music. I could feel the muscles in my neck stiffen, had to fight the impulse to put my fingers in my ears, and became sorely tempted to go up to the front of the chapel and - like I've seen our priesthood leaders have to do several times - remind these ladies of where we were.

A little thought popped into my mind that said: If you do, the good feelings will fade. Let them be happy.

I closed my eyes, began to breathe in and and out...and let them be. My mind focused on the songs the children had been learning in Primary, allowing the simple yet beautiful words to come over me. After a few minutes I felt a little better.

As the prophet of our Church entered our view on the screen before us, I could feel irritation creep back in as many of the women around me still didn't stop chattering. Grrr. Was it simply that I didn't have anyone to chat with? No. I needed to be alone this night, as there were so many things going on in my head and heart to allow me the freedom to have a bit of lighthearted banter.

Only when the meeting officially started did the room quiet. I appreciated the first few talks, felt the peace that sacred music can bring, and then - nearer the end of the meeting - was overcome. It wasn't a particular message that touched my heart, though the talk on "Mind the Gap" was so incredible I can't wait to share it once it becomes available. It wasn't even the song sung after, "How Firm a Foundation," that left me in tears. Even the final speaker, one of my favorites, Henry B. Eyring wasn't the driving force behind my tears.

It was the Holy Spirit at last penetrating my heart, speaking to me of the love my Heavenly Father and brother in Christ have for me...for all of us in that room and beyond. In that moment my attitude toward the ladies around me changed. No longer did I resent their whisperings, for I knew they were all as needful of this love as I. At last my heart had softened enough to allow the Spirit to speak truths to my heart and soul.

I've been pondering this bit of enlightenment throughout the rest of my night, thinking especially about those Sundays at church where I don't seem to get anything out of my meetings. This can be especially frustrating when others around me, sitting with me in the exact same meetings, go on and on about how incredible the lessons and talks were and how the Holy Spirit is so strong in the room. If it's so strong, why am I unable to feel it?

Okay so I've known the answer for years, but perhaps it was simply the way in which I was reminded of it all that hit me so hard this night. If we're not feeling the love - His love - then we must ask ourselves what is it that's keeping it from entering our hearts? Are we angry and can't let it go, or frustrated, or vengeful, or exhausted, or depressed, or...and on and on. Perhaps these feelings are of our own doing, or maybe it's the result of the actions of others. Either way the ability to partake of the Spirit comes down to one thing: choice.

I chose tonight to allow my spirit to talk with the Holy Spirit, though it took almost an hour to get to that point. Yet I'm so happy I did, for I wouldn't trade knowing my Heavenly Father loves me for anything.

1 comment:

Team Jensen said...

Laurie, your experience has touched me. My Mom, sisters and I went to this meeting at my Sister's stake building. Normally, I'm like you, and don't get to glean anything from my church meetings because of kids and the chaos they bring, but this meeting tonight, really touched me. I LOVED all the talks! BUT somewhere in the middle of Pres. Eyring's talk, I was overcome. I felt the hugs from my boys and an overwhelming peace and comfort and happiness. I haven't thought about them for so long, that it seemed odd that they came to my mind so suddenly and with such an amazing hug for their Mom. I didn't realize how much I needed that until it happened.

I'm so grateful for this gospel, too and all the knowledge it brings to my life about families being forever. Their hugs tonight, gave me that reminder to do better so I can remain worthy to be with them again.