shouldn’t be writing this late at night

Tonight my husband and two oldest children are away camping. My mom is also out of town so I got take out and had dinner with my dad. After dinner we watched a documentary about a Jewish Ghetto in Shanghai during World War II. It was kind of depressing but I appreciate my parents for being the kind of people who do things like this on a Friday night.

On my way home it was quiet and I was thinking about the people from the movie. Then I had one of those moments where I realized how I’m not so good.

[Pause: I am not writing this post to fish for compliments. Please don’t leave a comment telling me I am good, because no offense, I know me better than you. I’m writing this for expression and because I’m curious if you have those moments. Please comment and say that you do. ]

I realized tonight that I am what President Uchtdorf calls a “cloud without water.” Ugh. This realization feels awful. I know what is right, I know what it means to be good, but I lack in the execution. I’ll give myself a little credit and say that occasionally I come through with my actions and they demonstrate my intellectual understanding of goodness, but even still I lack in the feeling. There is no charity. And I absolutely believe that true charity brings joy I’ve yet to know.

I guess the good news is that I’m not in denial.

But the bad news is that tomorrow the realization will probably fade away and I will go on justifying my selfish behavior. Richard and I were talking recently about how hard it is to change your desire. You can argue up and down that you desire to be charitable but if your heart is judgemental and unkind it becomes clear that what you really desire is the satsifaction you get from others misfortunes or the feelings of superiority that come when you point out to yourself the faults of others. I have realized that I cannot change the uncharitable parts of my character until I have changed my fundamental, possibly instinctive, desire to place myself above others. I fear it might take something drastic for me to accomplish that change.

Now that is a scary realization.

7 thoughts on “shouldn’t be writing this late at night

  1. I remember having some of those same thoughts as a young mother; you're so busy and overcome with mothering that you don't feel like you do much good anywhere else. But what I believe is that by raising, teaching and nurturing these beautiful little children, you have more power to change the world for good; at least 4 x the power. One person can do so much -but raising these souls with charity expands the good you are doing. The Power becomes more than one person.So keep doing the thing you have been called to do at this time and have faith that you are doing so much more than you realize right now.

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  2. I've had that very same thought because it is only in moments of suffering, which have been very few in my life, that I feel like I just begin to “get it.” But I think seeing others suffering can have a similar effect, if we let it, and don't shelter ourselves from others' suffering and pray to be perceptive of suffering where we might otherwise not see it. I've also been thinking a lot about this at work. The way I feel and act towards my child patients is so loving and compassionate and forgiving of anything. But of adults I can be, and often am, critical, judgmental, and insincere. The difference is only years. I can try to justify the difference is innocence, but then the question is, who am I to judge innocence? I think Julie expressed the truth I'm figuring out. The way we feel toward our children is a type of how we ought to feel towards everyone. It's the way we begin to understand how Heavenly Father feels about us and everyone around us. But then I'm afraid this is me being a “tinkling cymbal.”

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  3. I completely agree with Julie. The good we are doing – at this moment – is to raise our children with a desire and willingness to stand for truth and honor. If we fail them, there is no amount of compassion that can mend our errors. They rely entirely upon us (and fathers:) ) to teach them charity and love, the world will not teach them. On a side note. Our lives are not over. The current frantic childbearing and rearing will only be our lives for the next 20-ish years. I keep having to tell myself that – I like to beat myself up on the things I'm not doing; genealogy etc. but this portion of my life is temporary and I will/need to cherish every moment until it's 'over' and I/we enter a new phase.

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  4. I remember going on a hike with Bryan and Evan when Evan came to visit. On this hike we discussed “the road being paved with good intentions.” I was of the belief that it is better that I at least have good intentions even if I do not always follow through. I received a little push from each of them of the opposite opinion. While I still believe that good intentions are better than not having them, I realize what they were saying. I continually need to push myself to act on my intentions and many times I don't even have charitable thoughts. I know you didn't write this post for any compliments. But writing this shows you are moving forward. At the same time, you are helping me to realize that I too need to be better. I need to act on my thoughts and even more so have the right attitude when I do so.

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  5. i recently finished reading “preach my gospel” and there is an entire section on developing certain traits. You are supposed to pick one to develop and it lists ideas and tips, etc. reading through all of the traits, i realized i really lack in the charity department!! so your post really resonates with me. why am i so selfish? i know i have some good qualities, but boy am i short on charity!you are a great person, very kind, you were always there to help me out, thank-you. don't beat yourself up, let's you and i try to be more charitable. love ya, friend.

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