11/2/14

what fast sundays mean to me

I love that my Josephine has a genuine interest in all things Indian. She loves visiting the Hare Krishna temple in Spanish Fork, she adores saris, she loves the music. She especially loves it when I show her pictures of me when I was traveling in India, and asks me a lot of questions. I'm all too happy to answer, but I leave out half of what I experienced. I don't know if I'll ever tell her in detail the poverty I witnessed, or tell her how I could not eat while I was there and gave my meals to the beggars. I don't know how old Jo will be when I tell her about the late night train I took from Delhi to Chennai, and the young boy with elephantiasis engulfing his feet.
I will tell her how deeply I believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ to care for the poor. Elder Jeffrey Holland in this last General Conference wrote,
"Down through history, poverty has been one of humankind’s greatest and most widespread challenges. Its obvious toll is usually physical, but the spiritual and emotional damage it can bring may be even more debilitating. In any case, the great Redeemer has issued no more persistent call than for us to join Him in lifting this burden from the people. As Jehovah, He said He would judge the house of Israel harshly because “the spoil of the [needy] is in your houses.”
I am forever grateful for the bounteous and extraordinary temporal blessings I have always had, which is why I rejoice on the first Sunday of each month to pay tithing and fast offerings. I am also reminded that I am surrounded with my own little 'needies,' especially my youngest, who requires all of me. There are times when I just plain wear out. The task of raising this little girl who needs so much is daunting, and I'm not ashamed to admit there have been times when I've shaken my fist to the heavens, Why did you actually think I could do this?!
Today I am reminded it is the same work as the Savior's. I am giving my all to those in need, and Eloise has so many needs.

A few months ago one of my all-time favorite people, Margy, said to me, "Some people are blessed with peace, others have the gift of restlessness." It doesn't feel like a gift, because my mind is always curious, and my wanderlust feels insatiable. I want to read and read and read, which is about the only thing I really can't do with so many young children. It leaves me feeling soul-hungry. The truth is, day in and day out I am serving these little needy people in my life. But it doesn't satisfy me in the ways I crave, because I don't think it can. I can tell am being compensated in other ways, for example my confidence has increased, as has my patience and love. My understanding of the world and humanity has deepened. I am really good at housekeeping, organizing, and I am obsessed with perfecting my French baking skills.
But my heart longs to write a dissertation, to be on a campus again, to be in more art museums, to travel in France. For more sophistication in my daily life. I am grateful for the monthly reminders each Fast Sunday of Christ giving to the poor. Caring for children, especially those with special needs, is God's own work, and by gum, I'm going to rock it.

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