I am so incredibly happy that I'm going. It's what I feel is the right thing for me right now. I know the Temple is a sacred place, even the House of the Lord. And nothing is stopping me from going (T-minus 8 days!). And it's Christmas time! I LOVE Christmas. My family (well half) will be here and we're skyping with the other half to open presents (yay technology!). I love the feeling of Christmas. :) And then my niece is turning 1 next Saturday. There is soooo much to be happy about in my life! So many things for which I am truly grateful.
So why do I keep feeling like someone is trying to pull me down?
I just find it interesting how many times I have had things, life, the internet, other people have challenged my beliefs in the past two weeks. Nothing directly or personally, but just in general. Things I read on Facebook or on blogs or news articles. Things that make me mad. Things that frustrating and disappointing. Things that are hurtful and hateful. Things that make me sad and break my heart.
Perhaps the moral is stop reading-to isolate myself a bit more. But we all know that won't and shouldn't necessarily happen. I'm VERY selective in what I ingest from the media. I'm only Facebook friends with my actual real life friends and generally my friends and I share common values. I'm pretty picky with blogs I read--I love reading people's stories, sharing who they are, what they believe (and sometimes their fantastic craftiness). But if what I'm see being posted doesn't match up with my beliefs, I don't have a problem with dropping them my list.
And the news, well the news is something we just can't get a way from. So many sad and horrific things have happened all over the world in the past few weeks--right before Christmas. Of course I heard about what happened last week with the tragic school shooting in Connecticut. It's devastating and heart-wrenching--I can't even imagine how the families directly involved must feel.
I've seen on facebook so much hate for the kid that did it (I saw a post said he was the devil reincarnated--what an awful thing to say about someone that had a mental illness!), and for his mother. I don't know who is to blame for what he did. I can't say it was or wasn't his fault. Clearly there were a lot of issues there. All I know is that I certainly can't judge them for it. What is the saying? Hate the sin, not the sinner?
My heart hurts for a boy that felt this was his only option, and for the families that are now suffering at this Christmas time. I feel sick to my stomach thinking about what a heinous thing that was done to teachers and small children. I don't excuse what was done, but I don't blame anyone either; I just feel immensely sad. Maybe I can feel this way because I wasn't directly involved or affected. I don't know.
The other day I was reading comments on a blog post and someone stated that Satan wasn't real. I have no idea what that anonymous person thinks about life and God and whatnot, but that statement surprised me. He is real and he is behind all that is evil and hate in this world. How could he not be? I believe that people are generally good and wonderful, we have to be because we're children of God. There has to be some other force that is pulling us away from our Heavenly Father.
I think because I am working toward one of the most important things in my life (going to the Temple! yay!), Satan is trying to get me to be upset and resentful and bitter about life. Well I got news for him...it ain't happenin'.
My only comfort is that we have Jesus Christ and the Atonement. It is real. Jesus Christ is real. The Atonement is real. Love is the only way we can fight against Satan. I know from personal experience.
I love this quote from one of my favorite talks ever. It's by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a leader in my Church. Please go read the talk. It is beautiful.
"I do not know who in this vast audience today may need to hear the message of forgiveness inherent in this parable, but however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.
"Whether you are not yet of our faith or were with us once and have not remained, there is nothing in either case that you have done that cannot be undone. There is no problem which you cannot overcome. There is no dream that in the unfolding of time and eternity cannot yet be realized. Even if you feel you are the lost and last laborer of the eleventh hour, the Lord of the vineyard still stands beckoning. “Come boldly [to] the throne of grace,” and fall at the feet of the Holy One of Israel. Come and feast “without money and without price” at the table of the Lord."
It's amazing, really, to think of the miracle we call the Atonement. That we can forgive others and be forgiven of all that we have done wrong. It is a special gift.
The last two weeks we've had wonderful lessons on Forgiveness and Living the Gospel in Perilous Times. Both were out of this year's manual. The timing was incredible and perfect. It's like the Lord knew we would need those two talks right now. Oh wait, He did. :)
I take great comfort in knowing there is a Plan. A Master Plan. A Plan of Happiness. And I'll be eternally grateful that I know about it.
Anyway, I guess my point is that despite feeling all these emotions, I know I am doing good things, being the best I can, and loving every one I can.
I suppose this post probably doesn't make sense--it is a bit rambily. But this has how my mind has been the last couple of weeks, so I hope you'll forgive me. :)