Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Choose To Love

Life is about the choices we make. What and where we decide to dedicate our time. At the end of my mission, President Moldenhauer sat me down in his office for my exit interview. He counseled me to go home and move forward with my life, but to be sure not to settle for only good things. He explained that there are good things in our life that we dedicate our time to such as school and work. But then there are the best things such as temple attendance, home teaching, etc.

At this point in my life I am in a very selfish state. I'm on the precipice of graduating from college. All my time is spent focusing on me, what I need to accomplish, and where I want to go. I see it among many of my peers as well. We become so absorbed in our own lives and what we are doing, we forget about those around us. Our priorities are ourselves. 

Jesus Christ spent his entire mortal life being selfless. The King of Kings, the Lord of lords was born in a manger in a stable, not surrounded in a castle with unimaginable wealth. He taught and led by example. He served, he healed, he mourned, he comforted. His love was so great for his fellowman, he offered up himself and performed the atonement. He broke the bands of spiritual and physical death so that we as imperfect mortals could overcome the heartache of this terrestrial life. 

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35).

We are instructed to love one another. It is a commandment. If we are his disciples we will love one another with charity - the pure love of Christ. 

How many people around us are going through something that we know nothing about? How many people are struggling with something and we don't know because we simply never asked because we were so caught up in our own life and priorities. 

Though are pursuits may be valid and worthwhile. We must notice those around us. We must do those things that allow people to know that they are important, that they as a person are worth it. 

I know that I've always been really perceptive of people (due to my highly sensitive personality). I can read people really well, even if I just met them. I would call it a gift of the spirit. I've known what its like to be alone and feel like I have no one who cares about me. I often contemplated if I died who would show up to my funeral. I've made it a point to let people who I'm friends with as well as my family members know that I care. I don't want anyone to ever feel alone, feel like they have no friends, or feel like they aren't loved. I will drop everything for someone if they need me to. I'm very proud of that fact. 

Mitch came over to my apartment on Sunday night and we had a good hour long conversation about friends while he helped me study for kinesiology. Mitch expressed to me that he has kept mostly to himself this semester because he's tired of being burned and taken advantage of by people. I completely agreed with his sentiment. I've found myself withdrawing from a lot of friends because I haven't felt like they cared about me. 

Last night Kate texted me and asked if she could come over. It was almost 9:00 o'clock and I wasn't anywhere near finished on my homework. I literally had a million things to do, but I said yes because I enjoy Kate's company and I needed a break. Kate came over and I played the piano for her first. (I just learned Say Something by A Great Big World). Kate wanted to know if she could ask me a question. I said yes, and we ended up talking about priorities and friendships for the next 20 minutes. 

Kate has someone that she really cares about in her life who is not treating her like a friend or even a decent human being. My advice: their actions demonstrate where their priorities are.

I write all this not to brag about myself but to demonstrate what I mean. Kate felt bad about taking studying time away from me but I told her not to worry about it. What I was doing was much more important, SHE was more important. Kate felt she could trust me and she felt comfortable enough to come over and speak to me about things she was dealing with. I was able to help her with her struggles, the spirit was felt, and our friendship became closer.

My point; Look outside yourself at those around you. You may be neglecting people in your life and not even realize it. Even if you don't have a lot of time, little things to let someone know that you care make all the difference in the world. Write a little message to them on Facebook. Like a picture. Drop off some ice cream at their apartment. Pick them up for a study break and go for a drive around town. Tell them that you love them just because. It makes all the difference in the world.

You never know what impact your simple words, or little actions may have on a person's life. Maybe you talked them off the ledge, away from a bottle, to put down the knife, or maybe something as simple as saving them from a night of crying in their room with the door shut, or sobbing in the bathroom with the shower on. 

Make people your priority, not things. The school work will end eventually. Don't let your relationships with people do the same. 

“A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often - just to save it from drying out completely.” - Pam Brown


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