Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's all about LOVE!

Isn't it all about LOVE? We sometimes make life so confusing and overwhelming, but I think it is all pretty simple. Just love.

God spells it out pretty clearly for us when he tells us that the first great commandment is " love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. " He also said "and the second is like unto it, thou shalt Love thy neighbour as thyself". We are told that these are the two greatest commandments and everything else hangs on them.

Every morning I open my front door and breathe in the day the Lord has made. It makes it so easy for me to feel His love and to give him my love and gratitude. I start my morning prayers with thankfulness for what is right in front of me, "the air I breathe, the varieties of trees and flowers, the birds". What is amazing is that when I say I am thankful for the birds, they seem to multiply and sing even more beautifully, the grass is greener, the sky bluer. Sometimes I am amazed that this is "the lone and dreary world". It makes me wonder at the beauty the Celestial world will hold for us. When I look at my granddaughter's sweet faces I feel His love so innocently, so completely. How blessed I am. It is apparent the Lord does love me and I feel his love enveloping me. This love makes me want to open my heart more fully so His love can fill every corner. I actually experience taking down the fences, even the barbed wire from around my heart when I open my heart to him.

I always understood and found it very easy to love my neighbor, but tended to forget the other part of that commandment "as you love yourself". How many of us have a difficult time loving ourselves? Sometimes we don't love ourselves because we get stuck in the world's image of who we should be. We forget that we were created by Him, in His image, that makes us unique, special, important, and a Child of God. We cannot mock that. We must look beneath the covering and see the jewel inside. If we aren't afraid of rejection because we see ourselves as God sees us, then it is so much easier to reach out of ourselves to give others love.

One thing that was harder for me was to allow others to love me. I have learned to do that. There are so many people who care for me and want to help me through my rough patches that it has really helped me to open my heart for their love to enter in. My children are so ready to give of what they have for me. It has been difficult to want them to sacrifice for me, yet I have felt their willingness, so I have learned to be more humble in accepting their gifts of love. Friends have opened their hearts and homes to me, literally, and I feel so blessed by their love. All challenges, all trials can be overcome with love.

I sat in the living room of good friends the other day with a group of people who were going to the temple together. Unable to make it to the temple that night because of a fire that made the roads impassable, we ended up back at this home. There was a group of around 20. Our wonderful Bishop stood and shared a word of love, and a blessing upon all of us. Another person asked a question of him and all of us shared. I felt consumed by the love in the room. This is what it's all about.

Love is not a noun it is a verb. It requires action predicated by a feeling. It can compound so easily...when one gives love it is a rule of nature that it will be increased and you WILL get it back. If you open your heart to the Lord, He will help you remove the fences, walls, and barbed wire prickles of pain so that you are able to receive and give more love.

So it is simple--

Love God with everything you have....receive His love with all your heart.
Love yourself....have more of yourself to give.
Love your neighbor....they will love you to the greatest capacity that you can imagine.

Simple, not overwhelming. If we love God then we will have no problem tithing, sacrificing time and energy for our callings, reading His word, recognizing and being grateful for His gifts, etc.

If we love ourselves then we save wasted energy feeling sorry for ourselves. We will understand that we have the power within us to overcome trials, to make choices on how we will deal with the challenges. We find it important to live the Word of Wisdom, and take care of our bodies physical, emotional and spiritual health and then we are more able to reach out to others with love.

If we love our neighbor then it is easy to fufill our stewardships to our family, in the community, and in our church callings, especially visiting and home teaching. We will forgive easily those who harm us, and we will not judge others. How could we be unforgiving and judgemental if we truly feel that spirit of love? We certainly don't want to get overwhelmed living our lives, or the gospel, we just need to love and everything else will fall into place.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"...where troubles melt like lemon drops"

Today on The Spoken Word I heard the most beautiful rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" I have ever heard, including Judy Garland's which has always been my favorite. The "word" was that we were to close off the noise of the world and find peace in quiet, in stillness.

I was laying in bed trying to will myself up to get ready for church and the days meetings but I have been having a bit of a Lupus flare, so I have been pretty much non-functioning for the past few days. On top of that I just learned they are auctioning my house next month, so essentially I am homeless.

Although my Lupus flare speaks otherwise because it can come from stress, I have really come to terms with this additional loss. Like my marriage ending, this has nothing to do with me. It comes about from circumstances. I'm sure I have made mistakes along the way, but essentially I had no more control from this financial disaster than someone who loses their home in a natural disaster like flood or tornado. I usually do have more control with what happens in my life than I have had the last few years, so it has allowed me to come even closer to my Heavenly Father and to rely on the Savior. What a blessing that has been.

So, this morning as I lay in bed I listened to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and my spirit was taken over the rainbow. I felt myself soaring among beautiful fluffy clouds with the birds at my shoulder leading me in peaceful dips and turns to a place where "troubles melt like lemon drops". What peaceful joy to know there is a place beyond the rainbow where we can let our spirits soar unburdened by the weights of the world. We don't need to leave this earth to feel it we can just give ourselves a moment with the Lord and He will lead us there to be renewed, refreshed, dipping in and out of the clouds so that when we are set firmly on the ground we can gather our little troubles around us and lilt through the day with gratitude, hope and peace surrounding us.

Even though it isn't the version that I heard this morning please listen to the following rendition of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" and let your spirit relax and renew.

Over the Rainbow-Liriel & Mormon Tabernacle Choir