Sunday, September 9, 2012

Journal: Songs, Apologies and Faith

A few days ago I had a request that I write a daily or weekly journal type blog post about just what goes on in my life.  I really like this idea.  It will help me evaluate my week and see where I need to make changes.  It will also give me an opportunity to journal and share the tender mercies and miracles I so often see each day.  

I've learned a number of things this week.  It's been a tough week really but I've had so many opportunities for growth and today was a wonderful day.

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As you know, I had a pretty rough week this way.  If you don't know what happened you can read about it by clicking here.  

At the end of that post I linked a song called Havoc.  This song describes exactly where I was emotionally and spiritually and I felt completely validated by it; or I thought it was validation.  It may have been OK to listen to it a few times to help me get a handle on the state of mind I was in but I didn't.  I sat in that song for far too long.  Three days to be exact.  I looped it and just listened to it over and over again.  Let me remind you of some of the lyrics I was searing into my brain for those three days:

I'm slipping again
I'm off my wagon
I have no defense
I'm lax in my steps
I'm reeking havoc

I finally realized that listening to this song was keeping me stagnant in my funk and that in order to move into a more positive state of mind I had to actively work to move myself into a more physically positive atmosphere.  I stopped listening to the song.  I switched to listening to The Lower Lights, my new favorite band.  I specifically turned to their version of Lead Kindly Light and replaced the previous lyrics with the following:

Lead kindly light amid the encircling gloom
The night is dark and I am far from home
Lead thou me on

These words helped me turn my direction and face my Savior instead of remaining stuck in my self pity.  It was at that very moment that I looked up from staring at the ground that I allowed myself to focus on where I wanted to be, rather than feeling sorry for where I was. I felt grateful for that prompting and felt much lighter once I made the simple decision to stop listening to music that keeps me bound.

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Another terrifying (yet, much more rewarding) experience I had this week was an opportunity to work a Step 10.  Part of step 10 is making amends to those we have have hurt.  

I work at a call center.  I have my own specific chair.  It's a huge chair with comfy blue fabric and I love it.  I picked it out myself from the warehouse in the back of the building.  It's the only one of it's kind in the entire building.  But because it's such an awesome chair people keep taking it.  It was getting rather frustrating and all of it caught up to me one particular morning when I arrived at work and found my chair to be missing.  I immediately made it my life's mission to hunt down my chair and deliver a firm piece of my mind to whomever had taken it.  

All of a sudden I spotted the chair and the young man sitting in it.  Blood pumping, I walked up to him and gave him a prompt tap on the shoulder.  He looked up and I sternly said:
"Umm, that's my chair" 
While rising out of the chair he said:
"Oh sorry" 
But before he could say anymore I wheeled the chair out from under him and stormed off with it all the while feeling completely entitled to the stupid chair.  That feeling didn't last long though.  On the way back to my desk I started to feel guilty for that interaction and regretted the way I'd spoken to him.  I began kicking myself and felt completely dumb for claiming ownership over something that was clearly not 'mine.'  But I told myself it was fine, that I wasn't that rude and the guilt would pass.  I justified not immediately walking back over and apologizing.  That strategy worked for about a week but it finally caught up to me.  The guilt I felt just ate at me and try as I might I couldn't just forget the incident.  So I committed to my group on Thursday night that I would find this kid and apologize to him.  

Friday morning I found myself timidly glancing around the call floor looking for him; secretly hoping he'd for some reason quit sometime over the past week. I was nervous.  I couldn't remember exactly what he looked like, just that he had curly hair and a scruffy beard.  I approached one guy and asked if he was the person I'd talked to the week previous about my chair.  He wasn't.  Then my friend who sat at another pod asked me what I was doing.  I told her I was trying to find the kid I'd grouched at about my chair the previous week.  She smiled and said:
"Feeling guilty huh?" 
"Yeah"  
"Well I'm pretty sure it's that guy sitting right over there"
"Oh ya?  OK"
(facepalm - dang-it)
I went back to my desk and had another internal battle as to whether or not to apologize but in the end my conscience won.  I walked slowly over to his desk and again tapped him on the shoulder, more gently this time: 
"Hey are you the guy I talked to last week about my chair?" 
"Yes"  
(deep breath)
"I owe you an apology.  I was mean to you last week when I took my chair back and I'm sorry"
(Deer caught in the headlights look)
"Oh, wow, oh it's OK, you weren't that bad, it's no big deal"
I then smiled and thanked him and again said sorry and wandered back to my desk.

Let me tell you - that simple act was the most freeing experience I've had this entire week. I felt like I was walking on clouds.  I couldn't stop smiling.  Not only had I made his day better, but I'd kept my word to my groupies and I did something that I knew my Savior would be proud of.  And on top of all that I released myself from the shame and guilt of being mean in the first place.  Satan no longer had power over me with it.  YESSS!!  

In the future I will strive to not let these types of matters go unattended for so long.  I will work to correct my wrongs as they populate and not let them stack up.  Letting them stack up means letting shame stack up and that is detrimental to my happiness and sobriety.

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I had an opportunity to follow the Spirit yesterday and didn't.  But I learned from it so I wanted to share it with you.  Some of you have already visited my facebook page.  For the profile picture I wanted something to signify light and grace but after many different keyword searches on Google images I wasn't having much luck finding anything.  A word suddenly popped in my head and the thought "search on this" entered right after that.  Immediately following that thought I had the strongest feeling to not search using that word.  There was a definite difference between the two promptings.  The first was a simple thought in my head when the second was more of a full body experience; a burning in my heart and soul that said "no, don't."  My fingers hovered over the keyboard as I debated this option in my head.  On one hand the search might prove fruitful and I might find the perfect picture that I was looking for.  But on the other hand I knew I should follow the prompting of the Spirit... but, I didn't.  I thought "it can't be that bad" and plugged in the word and searched anyway, completely ignoring the direction I'd received.  I immediately regretted it.  The first image was one I could have gone my entire life without seeing.  I scrolled down the page quickly trying to justify my defiance and realized the entire search was a bad idea. I quickly typed in a safer word to get me off that page but the damage had already been done.  What I saw wasn't cripplingly explicit but it was definitely across the threshold of offending the Spirit.  The Spirit knew where I was going and prompted me not to go there and I didn't listen.  After leaving the page I expressed sorrow to Heavenly Father for not listening and promised to do better next time.  

One blessing I have found the further I get into recovery is the ability to hear the Spirit.  He is so loud to me now and I know immediately when He leaves.  I sense His companionship constantly.  I realize that the relationship I have with the Spirit needs to be nurtured just as my relationship with my Father in Heaven and my Savior.  Nurturing my relationship with Him means listening to Him, and by doing so I gain His trust.  I have to remember that the Spirit is not forced to be with me.  He can leave anytime.  But He too loves me, and wants to be with me.  It pains Him when He is forced to leave due to my poor decisions.  I love Him and am striving to keep myself worthy so He will reside with me always.

I will strive this week to listen more closely to the promptings of the Spirit but more specifically I will work to take action upon those promptings instead of ignoring them. 

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Church was amazing today.  I was blessed to hear two wonderful talks in Sacrament meeting on trials and struggles and the faith it takes to over come them.  My favorite part of church though was Relief Society.  We were taught on having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and were taught a lot about miracles and tender mercies.  One sister shared a quote that touched her and in turn, really touched me:

Boyd K. Packer
Walk to the edge of the light, and perhaps a few steps into the darkness, and you will find that the light will appear and move ahead of you.
I know my Savior is here with me.  I know He will never forsake me and that His light will forever follow me into all unknowns that I enter so long as I let Him.  I know He wants me to succeed and has provided the means for me to do so.  I know that He is even more eager to meet me again face to face than I am, even though that seems impossible.  I am so grateful for all of my trials and that each day I have opportunity to practice my faith and practice my virtues.  I am grateful for my wonderful network of support that I have from all corners of the earth.  Each day my love for my Savior increases and that is what sustains me.  I am grateful for that gift.  

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for your beautiful post! I admire your faith and strength. We all have times when the spirit prompts us and we ignore it. The good things is when we recognize our mistakes and learn to do better next time.

    Your post reminded me of Bednars 3 part series on patterns of light. Check out lds.org Mormon messages.

    Hugs to you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ohh I haven't heard of that - I will definitely check it out, thank you! :-) I appreciate your comments:-)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for sharing a moment with me:-)

Ezekiel 34:11-12,16

"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick"