Say What?!

We have all heard the maxim.  "The Spirit is a still, small voice."

Except, what do we do with the stories of those with whom the Spirit was a freight train, unavoidable and undeniable?  What do I do with those experiences of mine that have shown the Spirit of God to have a powerful, loud voice?  I have never really known.

Then, in one of my classes* a bit ago, we were reading over a Scripture talking about the Holy Ghost and Its role in the war chapters of The Book of Mormon.  A fellow classmate asked, "But if the Spirit is a still, small voice, how is it that the Nephites had confidence to go forward killing all these people?  If it were me, I would want it – maybe need it – to be much more powerful than a still and small voice."

Silence.  After the class recovered from its momentary arrhythmia, I think someone chimed in from the back something about trusting promptings.  And, yeah, that's super important.  

But that's not where my mind was.  Almost instantly after this classmate threw that question into the cosmic void, I felt like my understanding of the Spirit (and by implication my interactions with the Spirit) became a bit clearer, a bit less foggy.

Perhaps, I thought, the Spirit always speaks with the same force.  Perhaps the variable in this relationship is me.  Perhaps the magnitude with which I hear the Spirit has more to do with the magnitude and force of my listening power and much less to do with the intensity of the Holy Ghost.  Maybe the key is wearing a spiritual hearing aid.

Alright, here I'm going to acknowledge that none of what I have said or am about to say is really all that groundbreaking.  I know that.  It was, however, a huge a-ha for me in a way that I am a bit ill-equipped to explain.

I hear often in the Church people express their disappointment with the distance which they feel from Deity (and thereby from the Spirit as the member of the Godhead who enables us to feel closer to our Heavenly Parentage).  I wonder if this isn't a bit of placing the blame on the wrong person, a bit of projecting perhaps.

And here's the crux of it, the big punchline:  If I feel far from Deity, it might be because I have removed myself.  

I don't think that this always (or even necessarily most often) is caused by sin or transgression (though that certainly is effective in doing so!).  Sometimes we're just not ready to feel God's love.  Sometimes, we're too afraid to move into the sunshine of our Father's care.

In Sacrament meeting a few weeks ago, a sister said something poetic and poignant:
So often we feel like God has put us in the dark and placed us far from Him.  Lately I have realized that maybe I walked into that dark room on my own, and Christ has been sitting there waiting with me until I was ready to turn on the light.

Maybe – just maybe – when we feel so distant He is just waiting for us to turn on the light.  It's a powerful thought.  The good news is that we have the ability to turn on the light.  The amazing news is that, even in the most wretched of times, we have the agency to give our darkness to Christ.  We just have to choose to do so.

*Okay, so if you know me in real life, even just a little bit, you know that 50% of what drops from my mouth begins with, "So, I was listening to NPR the other day and heard this great story about..."  I am becoming increasingly aware that the other 50% starts with "The other day in class we were talking about..."  Yes, I'm predictable.  Yes, I am grateful that you all put up with me.


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