Sunday, December 16, 2012

Back to Where I Was

I stayed up until three last night reading my great-grandma's history. She was a visionary and a saint; a blunt, religious woman who told it like it was. And you believed her.

Because she knew.

I've been frustrated of late, perhaps with my sense of limbality (an altered form of saying "in limbo" I just created of the Dr. Seuss-ness of it.) and lack of answers. Granted, I have no grounds on which to demand with flaming torches the Lord light my path, as my path has only begun to reunite with where He expects me to trod, but I felt this urgent need to read past all the fluff (interesting, but fluff) about life in the early twentieth century and get to the part where she started being visited. One defining factor of Ida Dial was that the veil didn't mind ruffling for her.

Once I reached that place in her memoir, they came in quick succession.

And aside for the peace and affirmation of fact that settled about my blanketed shoulders with each passing vision, I couldn't shake the notion that I'm not getting answers. She had visions and visitations and all manner interactions on a spiritual level, and my means of receptive communication is just a squeeze and a head pat and a positive, "just endure" phrase pressed into my mind.

I know I shouldn't compare. I'm not. I'm not in any way saying I deserve all she had and more.

I'm saying it's a shame I let a year slip by, and neglected this edification of myself, a year that could very well have launched me closer to the apparition of an angel, or at least magnified the squeeze to an embrace.

As a diligent youth I experienced a constant disconcerting emotion each time I spoke of spirituality in an appropriate setting, such as church meetings themselves. I would sit in my folding chair at the back of the chapel and feel the burn in my arms and heart that I needed to share what was swirling in my head. So I'd stand and make the trek through the pews of friendly faces, mount the steps and face the crowd.

It was a common, near constant occurrence to bear the spirit so forcefully in my heart that I could scarce contain it with my meager mortal frame, but upon ending my oratory I would descend the stairs and feel ashamed. People would smile or nod at me and I'd avert my eyes. I had been stupid to say that. How dumb of me to ever leave my folding chair. What a waste of two minutes of everyone's time.

This experience bothered me, and it came with such frequency that I began to question whether I should ever speak at all.

But it didn't seem right or fair, knowing that the Holy Ghost was bursting so forcefully within me that I couldn't keep myself from sharing. It wasn't fair that I should be so overbearingly compelled to speak, and not have something beneficial to say; only something so idiotic.

I don't remember exactly how it played out, but eventually I found myself facing Acts 9, which is a personal favorite chapter for many reasons--it begins the tale of Paul, one I never tire of. But it was Acts 9:15 that changed my perspective of the spiritual letdown post-testimony:

"15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake."

Whether it hit me at once or arrived over months of musing, "a chosen vessel unto me" began to be the take-away point to the verse. And it was applicable to more than Paul.

I was constantly aware of all the times I failed at keeping the Spirit after vocalizing what the Spirit seemed so desirous I should declare. It came to my attention that the times people most often thanked me for my words or remarked how I'd really hit home or made sense where those times I left the pulpit or classroom feeling sufficiently sub-par and pathetic.

I came to the conclusion that, in those moments, the Spirit was not for me to keep. I did not need what the message contained. The Lord merely needed a vessel to deliver it to they who were in need.

I don't mean this to sound like I'm tooting my horn and saying I'm the bees knees. I'm worried that's how it's coming across because the driving spiritual force I experienced upon endeavoring to pen this post has now subsided.

I'm feeling stupid for ever bringing it up.

But I had to write it because it happened today, in Relief Society. A recollection kept spinning through my head, drawing my attentions, and suddenly the teacher said something that burst a dam inside of me, or rather the dam dividing me from heaven, and suddenly I was quivering and burning with a power not my own, and I knew I had to share. I knew I had to release that divine heat from my extremities or I would surely go up in flames.

So I spoke, and I spoke in a rush. It sounded a jumble to me, and suddenly irrelevant but it was coming out, it needed to come out.

And as I closed my statement I felt like an idiot. I felt suddenly empty and ashamed and under qualified.

It was in that moment I realized how long it had been since I felt incomplete and awkward after speaking in a church meeting. I couldn't remember the last time I'd burst with the Spirit and slunk, drained, into my folding chair.

I want to be her. Whether that means angels herald to my attentions the man I'm to marry, or a woman I did temple work for comes to tell me I am to do her daughter's work that night, or that I continue to have bursts of Aaron oratory capacities followed by Moses-like selfconsciousness. I don't know.

What I do know is whatever the Lord needs of me, that is what I want to be. I can only imagine how many times in the past year someone else served as vessel because my being was not fit to house His gospel. The Lord has pulled me from my rut by introducing people who have literally brought me to Christ in a way I never thought I'd need to be brought. I am beyond thankful they were what they needed to be to serve as vessels for the Lord's plan in my life, and hereby avow to never stray from becoming what He needs, that I may one day return the favor to a stranger or loved one. Whether by word or by deed, His vessel I'll be.

"Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"

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