Becoming the Hand

As you can see from my previous post,* I just finished reading The Holy Secret by James L. Ferrell.  Great book, not very satisfying ending, though.

Here's why I love reading:  I really feel as though it gets the gears in my mind turning and I usually end up having realizations that are only tangentially related to the words on the page.  Such was the case with this book, wherein my biggest A-ha came in the form of an increased understanding of the Atonement.  Maybe only an increase the size of a particle of dust, but an increase nonetheless.

Here's what I came to understand:

In both my adult and adolescent lives, I have – like everyone – had moments of sheer adversity, filled with challenge and struggle and strife.  Over the years, I have been able to shift my view of these situations as boons – blessings – that have both 1) brought me to the person who I am (whom I love), and 2) enabled me to help others in similar situations to get through those times when there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel, and the tunnel feels more like an insurmountable chasm.

Take, for example, my struggles as a teenager with ridiculously consuming depression.  Crippling, seemingly unendurable depression.  Without trivializing the process or making it sound easier than it was (and is for those currently struggling with a similar situation), I am proud of the fact that I was there.  And the fact that I worked – hard – to hike out of that pit.  But, even more gratifying, I think, is the fact that I am so ridiculously grateful that I have been there.  That this struggle was the struggle that my Heavenly Father chose for me... because I really cannot conceive of another way that I could have here, at the me whom I love so much.

I share all of this to get to my point about the Atonement, and I'm getting there, I promise.

While at American University, I had the privilege to work with young men and women who were dealing with this and other related situations.  I felt waves of gratitude wash over me every time I was able to use the abundance of my life experience as a supply for those in need of the lessons I had already learned.  It was here, in these moments of paying it forward (and in the myriad opportunities since then), that I was able to see my struggles as greater blessings that the easiest, happiest of times... for it was in the challenges that I was tutored in how to become the hand that lifts others upward.  I can lift others because I have already learned how to overcome, empowering me to teach others how to heal and overcome as well.

All of this is once long preface to get to this one point, the striking realization that came to me while reading The Holy Secret, which is this:  I am so grateful that my Savior has experienced this world and this mortal probation... and not only that, but that He chose to experience the whole of my struggles and temptations; the good times and bad.  I am grateful not because the grandeur of the sacrifice, while it was indeed grand, but because it seems to me that Christ is infinitely able to be the hand that lifts each of us because He has already been there, He has already experienced it for Himself.  In short, He has been tutored in my pain and already overcome it, thereby enabling Him in turn to lift and tutor me to do the same for my brethren.  And that, indeed, is a gift.


Katie said...

I love reading your posts during Landon's nap times!! They make me so happy! As you can probably tell from my excessive use of exclamation points.

Lauren Kay said...

Thanks Katie! (!!!!!!) We should find a time to catch up! Do you skype?

Katie said...

For sure, then you can see the rockin' baby man, he is one funny character. Our skype name is jkstaples1, I think I need to reload skype on this PC because we had to reformat it, but whenever Jeff is home his Mac is ready to go. Let me know what time works for you, our schedule is pretty flexible.

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