Tag Archives: fear

We’ve made it through the forest, only to find that there are still lots of trees

One of the little surprises this holiday season was a framed quote that many of you have already seen:

My doctor asked if any members of my family suffered from insanity. I replied, “No, we all seem to enjoy it.” 

After the initial chuckle, taking time to ponder just what this statement can mean still brings a smile to my face.

But probably without the laughter.

A few weekends before Alex was scheduled to arrive home, Ann and I thought that I should call Monday morning and see if I could get an emergent appointment with the doctor in Salt Lake. The combination of mental illness symptoms and medication side effects felt just out of my reach of control.

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I have learned how to control my outward actions and responses to the mental inward implosions. The feelings of slowing slipping into insanity, the screaming inside at being locked in an unreal prison that is more restricting than any cell made of iron bars, and the overwhelming physical exhaustion can be tamed and kept within.

I actually think I’m pretty nice and easy going overall.

But we had hit that point where I didn’t think I could last until our next appointment after the first of the year.

Continue reading We’ve made it through the forest, only to find that there are still lots of trees

Is happiness a good indicator of genuine faith?

(All images in this post are from LDS media)

This past year my attention has been drawn to the quick glimpses we catch during conferences of our prophets and apostles. Not necessarily the images we are meant to see, but those that are semi-private moments between genuine brothers.

As seers, prophets, and revelators, I can’t even begin to know the depths of what they know.

Or see what they see.

But I see them.

And they are happy.

first presidencyI can’t get the images of President Eyring laughing with President Monson, or President Uchtdorf’s eyes sparkling at something he witnesses.

Our new apostles literally have had the weight of the world placed on their shoulders.

They must realize that there is more to be done than they can ever do; they are overwhelmed, to say the least.

And still they laugh and are happy.

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Not just in the public moments as they stand as witnesses, but also in the relaxed and private ones.

I think it’s actually in these unscripted, unprepared moments of happiness that their greatest witness is borne.

Those with the greatest capacity to see, to know, and to understand just exactly how frightening things really are out there – aren’t afraid.

Instead, they smile and laugh.

And love.

We’ve been told that laughter is the best medicine for what ails us.

It’s true.

But it only works if it is real.

Forced, sarcastic, and bitter imitations have no healing power.

christmas3How do we find the strength, and even the courage, to laugh when things are – frankly – incredibly hard?

We believe.

It sounds simplistic, I know.

There are so many things out there that can make us afraid.

But only if that is all we see.

Believing in those things we cannot see brings light to illuminate what we need to see – what we must see if we no longer want to be afraid.

If we want to be happy.

I’ve watched a lot of people through the years. I think I’m getting pretty good at discerning those of deep and abiding faith in our Savior Jesus Christ.

They are burdened, they are tired, they are in pain.

Christmas4And they are happy.

Just look at the Special Witnesses we have been given.

This season of remembrance is a special opportunity for us to also stand up and witness to others what we believe.

Even if they can’t see it.

Yet.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

ChristmasIs it really possible to be unafraid in terror-filled surroundings, to be peaceful in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty, to be happy while in pain and suffering?

And not the forced, bitter, or sarcastic imitations of happiness, but the real thing?

It is, if we will but just believe.

Be happy this season dear friends.

Be happy.

 

Do we think that radical Christianity is the best solution to radical Islam?

Many years ago my mother discovered through her genealogy work that she had close relatives living in the Great Lakes region which she had never heard of, nor they her.

Contact was made, airline tickets purchased, and Mom set off to meet her “new” family.airplane3

When she arrived, they were warm and inviting, yet she found them staring at her oddly when they thought she wasn’t looking.

Finally it came out.

“You’re a Mormon, aren’t you?”

“Why, yes I am.”

“Can we see your horns?”

My mother laughed out loud and bent her head forward for a hands-on inspection. When no horns were found, they asked their next question.

“How many wives does your husband have?”

I would imagine that many of you have similar stories you could share. We laugh now about how silly people are to believe such nonsense about an entire group of people they know nothing about.

Continue reading Do we think that radical Christianity is the best solution to radical Islam?

What is hope?

A wonderful friend and priesthood brother of mine is going through something unimaginable, and has been for years now.

As a husband and a father, this is just about as tough as it gets; I can’t even begin to imagine the pain that plummets the depths of his soul.

We’ve talked several times throughout this experience about a fundamental human need that helps us make it through these tough trials:

What is hope?step forward

He shares that he can understand having hope in the long run; you know, hope in the next life, hope that things eventually will work out okay.

(Source: Alex Batty)

But what about today?

Or, even more difficult, what about tomorrow, when it is even darker than today?

I’ve lain awake trying to pull my thoughts together and put words to what I feel and know within. Chances are pretty good that I’m going to botch this up, but I’ll try anyway.

Continue reading What is hope?

Gain faith, grant forgiveness and then go forward

(All images in this post are from the LDS Media Library)

I remember a conversation I had with my dad several years ago. We were in his office at work and I was in meltdown mode.

So what’s new, right?

But I was stumbling over inadequate words trying to communicate the incredible fear that would grip me, paralyzing me inside and sending me into frantic pacing on the outside.

I wasn’t afraid of anything in particular; I was just full of fear of everything.

And nothing.

Suffice it to say that it was pretty maddening.

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a picnic for Ann and the kids either.

Lately I’ve been able to make clear contrasts between then and now.

Jesus embracing

The entombing fear is gone; I know in my head and my heart and my spirit that I have nothing to fear.

Why?

Continue reading Gain faith, grant forgiveness and then go forward