Friday, September 26, 2008

Imagery: Tender Squishy Heart

When someone mentions a heart, an image comes to my mind. If they are speaking physically, I imagine the red palpitating mass that is my heart. If they are speaking spiritually, I get quite a different image.

I've always envisioned my metaphorical heart to be sort of heart-shaped and squishy, like a real heart, but I also envision it to be a living entity, much akin to a garden, wherein grow various flowers, shrubs, trees, etc., related to my feelings and actions. For example, when I feel hatred, I feel that the garden in my heart has been dumped upon by hot black tar. When someone says something that hurts me, I feel a stab as if a long thorn had been jabbed into that heart. But when I feel love, I feel blossoming and vibrant.

There are abundant references to the heart in the scriptures. We are warned against hardening our hearts†, and the heart is often listed as one of the things we must give to God‡, along with our might, mind, and strength.

On Sunday I was thinking about my heart, and wondering if it really were a garden, what sort of things would grow there? And what sort of things should grow there? If I gave God my heart, and He planted something there, what would He plant?

My first thought was the tree of life that Nephi saw in his vision*. The tree represents the love of God, thus I should try to cultivate the love of God, which is Christ-like love, which is charity, in my heart.

This is not a little-known fact, but I found it interesting the string of thoughts that led me to this conclusion.

†See 1 Ne. 15:11; Helaman 12:2; Doctrine and Covenants 112:13.

Also see Psalms 95:8; Mark 8:17; Hebrews 3:8,15; 4:7; 1 Nephi 14:2,6; Jacob 6:4-6; Alma 12:10-37; 33:20-21; 34:31; Helaman 7:18; 3 Nephi 20:28; 21:6,22; Doctrine and Covenants 10: 53,65; and 45:6, to name a few.

‡See Doctrine and Covenants 4:2; 59:5; and 98:47.

*See 1 Ne. 11:25

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jairus' Daughter

In Luke 8 and Mark 5 we read the account of when Christ raised Jairus' daughter from the dead. After doing so, he commanded that she be given food:

Luke 8: 55
...he commanded to give her meat.

Mark 5: 43
...and commanded that something should be given her to eat.

I was wondering why he commanded that. Christ raised other people from the dead in the scriptures as well, but I think this is the only instance where he commanded them to feed the person who has just been raised from the dead (I didn't check all the others though, so I could be wrong on that).

Maybe he knows that though she is alive, she is not out of danger until she eats?

Maybe he just knows she's hungry?

Maybe he wants them to pay more attention to her than to him?

That's about the best I can guess. Anyone else have any ideas?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

From Regional Conference

I've changed my note-taking over the years so that I no longer write down what people are actually saying (unless I want a direct quote), but rather write down what I think about them saying, or I write questions I have about what they say, or how what they are saying affects me. This is not such a good approach in school (trust me, I tried it), but I've found it helpful in church. Thus any notes I post are not necessarily what was discussed in my church meetings, but rather are thoughts I had regarding the subject.

1. Why can't we just see the plates to know it's true? That would make life a lot easier, after all. Why did the plates have to get taken away again? Why do we have to read and ponder and ask?

My answer: Because if you see the plates and touch them, you are understanding physically that they are true. There is a difference between understanding things physically and understanding them spiritually, and you can't gain a spiritual witness through physical means, generally speaking.

2. Children seem to have faith naturally. They do not doubt. How is this possible?

My answer: Children don't realize how imperfect the world is. They don't see all of people's shortcomings, and they don't see their own shortcomings. Children still believe in honesty and fairness. I think it is easier for them to conceive of a perfect being and a perfect plan that would involve eternal happiness for every person. For older people who can see the imperfection in the world, and especially in ourselves, it is harder to believe that such perfection is possible.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ether 12:27

27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

I never really understood the first sentence of this verse. I'd never really thought all that hard about it either, I just kind of read it and said, "Yup, I see my weaknesses all right."

But a few days ago I got thinking about it for one reason or another, and I decided it's just a statement of facts, almost like a warning: if you come closer to me it's not going to get any easier; in fact, it will get harder.

I've noticed that when I am the closest to my Heavenly Father, that is when I notice my weaknesses the most. I think the nearer we get to perfection, the more we realize we're not perfect. Kind of like that saying, "The more you know, the more you don't know."

And doesn't it seem like that a lot too? The harder we try, sometimes, the harder things get. Being more active and more charitable and more everything is not always associated with an abatement of trials. In fact, the harder we try the harder Satan tries too, and the more we realize we simply can't do it on our own ("it" = go to work, build up our family, fulfill our callings, and generally perform the duties required of all human beings in this thing called Life).

That would be super depressing if that were the conclusion: try harder and you'll realize how inadequate you are. But the rest of the verse deals with that very issue, so we don't have to worry.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Why a new blog?

I will tell you why: because I want to share some of the spiritual epiphanies I receive each day*. They may not be epiphanies for you--in fact, they probably won't be--but maybe one or two things will be interesting and spark a new thought.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, though this blog is not endorsed by the church. I am responsible for what I say on this blog.


*I am not saying, however, that I will update this blog every day. That would require more energy than I have.

P.S. Renee is French for "reborn".