Monday, December 10, 2012

The Fall

Tomorrow is supposed to be cold. Cold mornings make me want to stay snuggled in bed. But I love the fall afternoons and the cool breezes. It is perfect running weather.

Lately (the past 3 or 4 months) I feel a significant lack of belonging. I'm not sure where I fit. Or if I even do. It feels like too many pups and too few teats and it isn't my personality to shove another out of the way (assert myself?) just so i can get mine. Maybe if I'd gone to byui (ha!) or worked at ussa (ha!). But comraderie is only part of belonging. I feel no sense of community. I have no people. I'd initially tried very hard to find a niche and resist that "seat's taken!" voice that has berated me for several years now. Admittedly, there was a time when I was beginning to feel like I had a place, that I belonged (I even almost changed my address on my driver's license!), but I lost whatever place it was, like a rug pulled out from under my feet and I landed hard on my rear. And now I'm just feeling part of the adversity of destroyed confidence and shaken sense of self worth, I suppose. I feel like I've been knocked off balance and lost my sense of equilibrium. Where can I turn for peace? Where is my solace when I feel like one of the fall leaves, withering and brown, trembling for dear life at the slightest breeze?

Is this just part of the natural man existence? Part of The Fall? At times I feel like my sins and weaknesses so easily beset me. That I'm so easily beset because I have trouble letting go, and letting God. I was trying to think about what it was exactly that is so hard. I think it is when things aren't fair, when I perceive injustice, when I feel used, when I feel abused. But I need to remember that just because its not fair or right, doesn't mean it won't end up being ok, and it doesn't mean that I'm being used and it doesn't mean that I'm abused. At least not always.

Someone recently sent me this quote:
"We make New Year's resolutions to chip away at some weakness and then make the same resolutions a year later, and a year later, wondering how long God will put up with us. We bury ourselves for less than stellar Sunday school lessons, our annoyances with our children, our lackluster prayers, our 15 extra pounds, our irritability with coworkers, our messy garage, our lack of professional development and take it as a given that God's reaction to these sins and weaknesses would be disappointment, even anger for our lack of commitment, charity, obedience, or sacrifice. We contemplate longingly how much better our lives would be if we could just get rid of these pesky weaknesses that undermine our strengths and separate us from God... Weakness can actually contribute enormously toward spiritual progress and joy if we respond to them with humility and the ability to learn. Great strengths can come out of weaknesses. Such strengths are grounded in the lessons, perspectives, and virtues we can gain as we turn to God with our limitations, pain, disease, struggle, and affliction. This is not to suggest, however, that God wants us to be constantly preoccupied with our weaknesses. Of course we want to improve, but in that process it is vital that we not lose sight of our strengths – our gifts, our goodness, our talents, our virtues. Although weakness can be our great tutor and the seedbed of our greatest learning, ultimately, I believe we are here to magnify our strengths, our callings, and our gifts– not to magnify our brokenness."

All people are broken. No matter how awesome they think they are (and I think those who toot their own horns about their awesomeness are blind in a way, and it's sad because change can't happen, potential can't be realized while unaware. And that's for anyone, own-horn tooter or not. You cannot change what you cannot or are unwilling to see). All people are broken because of The Fall. And because they are broken they have the potential to be so much more than if they'd never been broken or never had weaknesses. But there has to be a balance and perhaps the strengths we now have were once weaknesses turned through His grace, and our present weaknesses are strengths not yet turned through His grace.

I recently read an article on the unrelated topic of feminism.
The author talked about The Fall, that while it often is thought of as a curse, it is really a blessing (because of Christ's Atonement- without that it would be a curse!) "Jesus’ performance of the Atonement repaid Mother Eve’s faith in the Plan, her courageous opening of the door represented by the First Tree [the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil]".

Am I in any way like Eve? Full of faith in the Plan? Courageous enough to partake of that fruit from that tree? (I guess I ended up on this planet because I chose to partake of it.) Since the fruit of the tree of life was sweet above all that is sweet, does that mean the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was bitter? or maybe bittersweet? I've had some pretty bitter experiences. But I've had some sweet ones too. Or maybe the sweet ones have come as I've partaken of the Savior and His goodness.

I appreciate the fall trees, all their vibrant colors and beauty. And I'm even beginning to appreciate the tree of The Fall and what it has brought to me.

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