This week, getting ready for the day has been a slow process. I have uncoiled myself from the semi-grotesque position I sleep in lately, have gingerly placed my feet in front of the other until I arrive at the closet. There, I ponder what shirt will be the easiest to put on, what jeans will rub least. This is what happens when you bring a sunburn home from the beach.
So from the outside, this morning started out like any other day lately. Yet, it was very, very different.
A friend told me yesterday, as we chatted on the phone, that she thought the most wonderful feeling in the world was to stop hurting. We can easily overlook the absence of pain, she said, but the transition from pain to not-pain is an exquisite joy. That stuck with me. Every word for the absence of pain -- comfort, consolation, relief -- indicates a bubbling up of happiness from a deep place. A place as deep as our hurt, I daresay.
I submit that fear is its own kind of pain. And I feel like I have so much to be afraid of...the things I want are so far away, by distance and time, by life stage, by personal development. How am I ever going to get there? How am I ever going to deserve it? How am I ever going to figure this out? How is it ever going to be OK for me to want it now if right now, it's still so impossible?
I don't have answers to any those questions, and that scares me. But today, for the first time in a long time, it was okay. This morning, sunburn notwithstanding, was different. In a merciful reprieve from my fear, the Spirit bore witness:
I may not understand the methods. I may not like the consequences. But the right thing is still the right thing, and as His daughter, it is my responsibility, duty, and joy to do it anyway.
It doesn't really change the situation, but lately I stopped praying for the problem to be fixed anyway. I've just been asking for the burden to be lightened or for my spiritual shoulders to be strengthened enough to bear it. Heavenly Father has been infusing my life with that, and today it coalesced. It startled me, this cup-runneth-over, renewed faith that seemed to bubble up from nowhere.
No, I still don't have the one thing I most want, and I don't know how to get it, or if I'll ever get it at all. But I know - I testify - that obedience brings goodness to our lives, and as a result, there is no need for fear. It doesn't always make sense, and it doesn't guarantee immediate sunshiny consequences. But it is the only thing that brings peace instead of regret, love instead of resentment, faith instead of fear.
Through the Atonement, Jesus Christ is rooting out the regret and resentment and fear that I have internalized. There may still be consequences. I may never fully understand. But I know that I will be blessed if I obey.
So I pray. I wait. And I obey.