Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lonely, yet never alone

"I know that I am not alone, but still I feel lonely."

That's a line from one of my favorite songs. I've been thinking about the idea of being lonely or aloneness for the past couple of days.

As each of us moves through our lives, we lose people who are important to us, through various means. The Lord brings people in and out of our lives with purpose and meaning, and sometimes it's hard to understand why He would do so. However, we must have faith in the Lord that the trials we have been given in life are for our benefit and learning.

One of my very favorite General Conference talks was given this last April by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, entitled None Were With Him. In it, he talks about how Christ suffered alone, for each of us. This is something he says near the end of his talk:
"Brothers and sisters, one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said: “I will not leave you comfortless: [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you].”

As I find myself lonely at times, I know that I can turn to the Lord. Something else I have learned is that we must consciously choose a way out of being lonely, and not to allow ourselves to wallow in self-pity or despair. Once again, as I have said so many times, and will never stop saying, we cannot wait for our circumstances to change. We must find a way to at least like, if not love, the happenings of our lives.

No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope and fear;
But grateful take the good I find,
The best of now and here.
--John G. Whittier

Another thing I've been thinking about lately is agency, and how our agency and that of those around us effects us all. Often our decisions have an impact on our lives only, at least for the most part. However, on occasion there are decisions made by others that greatly influence our own lives. And again, on occasion, sometimes the decisions made by others aren't necessarily what we want, or what we would have wanted them to choose. How do we deal with this? In Elder Dallin H. Oaks' talk Timing, he gives counsel on how to do so:
"Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ prepares us for whatever life brings. This kind of faith prepares us to deal with life’s opportunities—to take advantage of those that are received and to persist through the disappointments of those that are lost. In the exercise of that faith, we should commit ourselves to the priorities and standards we will follow on matters we do not control and persist faithfully in those commitments, whatever happens to us because of the agency of others or the timing of the Lord. When we do this, we will have a constancy in our lives that will give us direction and peace. Whatever the circumstances beyond our control, our commitments and standards can be constant."

I also found this quote the other day:

There is only one way to happiness, and that is to cease worrying things which are beyond the power of our will.

I won't lie; the past few days have been extremely hard. I don't expect things to change anytime soon, as much as I would like them to. However, as was said in my sacrament meeting today, one of the greatest blessings of affliction is that it will drive us closer to the Lord and His comfort. And I have the greatest example to look toward: my Savior. I'm not sure who said it, but Jesus partook of history's bitterest cup, without becoming bitter. I hope to be able to do my best to follow His example in all that I do, at the same time allowing Him to take me by the hand and lead me through my life, all the while helping me to become a better and stronger person.

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