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Friday, September 19, 2008

Burning fevers

"Too often we are so busy checking on our own temperatures, we do not notice the burning fevers of others."

- Neal A. Maxwell

Yesterday I mentioned some words of advice I received five years ago that have helped me lately. It was actually a priesthood blessing that Marc gave me just after my miscarriage. I was promised that I would find healing as I sought out opportunities to bring joy to others through acts of service. I was experiencing such deep emotions at the time that I was honestly frustrated by those words. I hate to admit that now, but I didn't understand how I was expected to serve others at a time when I didn't feel like I had anything to give. The phrase stuck with me constantly for a couple of days, until I finally decided that I would put it to the test and see if, in fact, healing would come.

All I remember is one day making loaves and loaves of bread and taking them to some of our neighbors. It was something so simple, but the advice was exactly right... I did find healing come to me as I looked for ways to help those around me. Even in very small ways. I got out of my comfort zone, and was able to see that I wasn't the only one with challenges.

It has been interesting to go to the grocery store or to be out in public right now, knowing that all the pain I have inside is completely unknown to most people I come in contact with. There is no outward indication of what is going on in my heart. And, as I watch people now, I find myself wondering what they might be experiencing that goes unnoticed to everyone else. If I can feel such intense heartache and still appear to be functioning like a normal person, I wonder what all these other "normal-looking" people are thinking about, worrying about, what burdens are weighing them down.

It reminds me of a talk by Elder Eyring from a few years ago that has always stayed with me. Here is just the very beginning of that talk:

When I was a young man, I served as counselor to a wise district president in the Church. He tried to teach me. One of the things I remember wondering about was this advice he gave: "When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time." I thought then that he was pessimistic. Now, more than 40 years later, I can see how well he understood the world and life.

Just like I have troubles that are painful and unknown to others, I know that, chances are, most people in my life have quiet sufferings as well. As I've been thinking about these things lately, I've found myself seeking for the strength and courage to put it into practice once again. I've had small glimpes lately of the healing that comes from finding ways to help others. And, those small glimpes are motivation enough to continue seeking the Lord's direction in who and how to help. I know He knows my quiet moments of suffering, because of people He has sent to comfort me in the precise moment I was needing it. So, I know He knows who else is going through quiet struggles, and can guide me to them, if I'm open to His promptings.

I understand there are still going to be moments when I'll need to grieve and have some quiet time to myself. But, I know there is truth in the promise I received five years ago, that healing will come through service. In the midst of pain, it is really hard to seek for ways to serve others, but I'm learning that we can do hard things, with the Lord's help. And, in return, I know He will bless us in abundance for what little we give.


Julie said...

Wow Megan, you are spot on. Pain is the constant thing we all have in common. I remember when a friend of mine was going through a painful and bitter divorce, when she could not have been more ill-used, how I related to her - I, in my happy marriage with three beautiful children - because my nephew was dying, and we all had to helpless watch him suffer and leave us. And although I did not know at all how she felt, I knew what pain felt like, and I remember writing a letter to her that I shared my grief with her. If pain was the common denominator, empathy was both healing and binding for our friendship. "These are the best of times, these are the worst of times..." --evidently it is always true!

Becky Rose said...

Megan, you must read of the person's blog on my list- It's called "good news". It's a roommates mom of mine. She's a true scriptorian. Find the entry that is entitled birthing. I think it will mean something to you.

Also, How do you find those quotes? Do you search for something that works or do you remember them?

Christy Bishop said...

thank you for that incredible quote! I have also often wondered about what burdens others are carrying while they have to continue with the mundane tasks of living. I have often thought of how hard it must be for you and others who are grieving to leave the house and do those petty things like grocery shopping when your heart and soul is heavy with grief.
By the way, thank you for those loaves of bread all those years ago. you have always blessed me with your bread and the bread that is your friendship and I miss them both.
Lots of love.

Christian & Jennifer said...

My Dear Megan,
I just want you to know that I've been truly inspired by your posts in recent months. You have touched my life in so many ways and I want you to know how grateful I am for that. You are in my prayers and I think of you often. Thank you for being so wonderful and for showing me that life, although unbearably painful at times, is a great teacher and purifier. I cannot tell you how sorry I am for what you have gone through. Please know that I love you and that you are an inspiration to me.

Rayna said...

I'm a friend of Heather and Marc. I recently lost my Mom so Heather sent me your way. I hope you don't mind but I put a link and quote of yours on my blog. As I was reading you were explaining how I was feeling. I couldn't have written it any better.
I'm just glad to know that we can be with our loved ones again!