Reach out

When I first became a parent, something inside of me got scared.

Not of parenthood…I think I had longed for it so much every moment of my life that it didn’t take my knees out completely. :) But, I became very aware and very scared of the world.

I started to see everyone and everything as something that could break into my little home, my little world, and hurt my family. For a few months, it was a bit overwhelming to me. I eventually moved past that point, and on to a little calmer state, which basically felt like this: “I will protect and care for and nurture my little family, and the rest of the world and all its problems can just go to…wherever they want to go.”

You see, the problems of the world were so bad, and so very overwhelming to me, that I just shut them out and tried to quit caring. Every time I tried to care, I felt one of two things: intense anger, or intense sorrow. So I shut down inside just a bit and took care of my family, my church responsibilities, and my own little sphere.

But then the Savior began to play more and more a role in my life, because I let Him. I felt His constant love, peace, and happiness reaching out to me. I felt joy as I had never felt, and I was confused by that.

Why confused? Two things.

One, because I just wished He would just STOP the bad people from doing horrible things. I wondered for so long why He wouldn’t. Then I realized the answer: Agency. Agency is truly our greatest gift, as it is the only way we can progress…choosing for ourselves. He would never take that away from us. So that led me to my next confused point:

The Savior understands better than anyone the evil of the world which had so crippled a part of my heart. How can He feel and be such joy when He knows (because He suffered for it all) firsthand the horrific things that people do to each other? How can He still feel happy? How can He go on loving like He does?

I pondered it for a very long time. I looked at this picture every day. It hangs over our fireplace.

One day, it came to me.




There is nothing but joy and love to be found in those things. It’s so simple, but it had eluded me for some time. Compassion and healing are everything that the Savior is. And truly, I’ve learned for myself that “Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.”

So I began to open up my heart again. I allowed myself to think about the things that I wouldn’t think about for so long. I have two sisters…this one and this one, who really care about things that bother them, and they want to change them. They began to inspire me, because they are willing to think about the ugly things, and try to do what they can to change them.

I began to think about things more, about the things that bothered me. Things I couldn’t stand. Things that used to make me feel angry and powerless.

Well, I’m still angry about them, but I don’t feel powerless any more. I may not be able to stop the horrible things from happening usually, but I may be able to help heal someone who is hurting. The Lord may not take away agency from horrible people, but He has given each of us gifts to heal wounded people in our own way. To show them His love. To help them as He would do.

I began to reach out, in multiple directions, with the gifts that I have. I chose some things I don’t like about this world, and with His help, I feel like I can help to heal people in my own way. The more I reach out and open my heart, the less I feel crippled by fear and anger. I feel like I can change the world. And you know what? I can.

And so can you.

What bothers you? What gifts do you have? What can you do to help?

Don’t try to force yourself on someone. The Savior would never do that. Don’t help in the way that you think is best. Help in the way that they need. No one knows that, except for Him. So listen to Him and what He tells you to do, not what you want to do.

Amazingly, all of the pain in my heart seems washed away when I try to reach out as much as I can. I am healed, as well, and my life and time has opened up immensely. And I feel joy, even though I am constantly thinking of many different kinds of pain almost all the time now.

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.

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