Thursday, November 5, 2009

the human experience

My morning perusing of blogs was most heartwarming and spiritually uplifting when I read Stephanie Nielson's (better known as Nie Nie) blog post. She is such a strength and example of faith and perseverance. All I could think as she shared her experiences was there is something about her new outward appearance that to me allows her inward beauty and faith glow even brighter than before (as far as I can tell since I only know her through her blogging bc (before crash) and ac (after crash). It was just what I needed to make today the best day it can be and do the things that will help me to have that faith and that perseverance.

Just as Stephanie describes choosing to come back, to wake from her coma and to experience life with her family despite all the trials that laid ahead, we each chose as spirits in our pre-mortal life with God to come to this earth and experience life with physical bodies that are subject to death (and injury) so that we can experience the full measure of joy and happiness that God has in store for us. Elder Bednar, an apostle of Jesus Christ, shared the following at a recent Church Educational System Fireside (to read the entire EXCELLENT talk, go here):

"In 'The Family: A Proclamation to the World,' the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles declare that as spirit sons and daughters of God we 'accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize [our] divine destiny as heirs of eternal life' (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102; or Liahona, Oct. 2004, 49). Please note the primary importance of obtaining a physical body in the process of progressing toward our divine destiny.

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught with clarity the importance of our physical bodies:

'We came to this earth that we might have a body and present it pure before God in the celestial kingdom. The great principle of happiness consists in having a body. The devil has no body, and herein is his punishment. He is pleased when he can obtain the tabernacle of man, and when cast out by the Savior he asked to go into the herd of swine, showing that he would prefer a swine’s body to having none. All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not. The devil has no power over us only as we permit him; the moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power.'

Our physical bodies make possible a breadth, a depth, and an intensity of experience that simply could not be obtained in our premortal estate. President Boyd K. Packer has taught, 'Our spirit and our body are combined in such a way that our body becomes an instrument of our mind and the foundation of our character.' Thus, our relationships with other people, our capacity to recognize and act in accordance with truth, and our ability to obey the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ are amplified through our physical bodies. In the classroom of mortality, we experience tenderness, love, kindness, happiness, sorrow, disappointment, pain, and even the challenges of physical limitations in ways that prepare us for eternity. Simply stated, there are lessons we must learn and experiences we must have, as the scriptures describe, 'according to the flesh' (see 1 Nephi 19:6; Alma 7:12–13)."

To read Stephanie's post, go here.

For those who know me, physical interaction with others can be a challenge. I struggle with confidence in myself and with a desire and willingness to create meaningful relationships outside my immediate family (I struggle with that at times too). Sometimes it feels borderline agoraphobic. This talk about Elder Bednar has left me humbled and deeply pondering my true purpose here on earth and how I can better serve my Heavenly Father as a mortal with a physical body. You might find it ironic or even hypocritical that I am blogging about this talk (you will have to read to understand why) but I think there is a balance in all things (Elder Bednar agrees too). For example, Stephanie's post brought the spirit of faith and fortitude into my day when I wanted so badly to waste away my day. Just like a friend's innocent post regarding her bad mood prompted me to visit and say hello (something I'm sure did more for me and my "mood" than it did for her). I think in these examples online interactions motivated and led to physical action and interaction--uplifting of spirits and souls.

Despite my rationalization of my blogging and facebooking obsession (admitting is the first step to freedom right?), absolutely nothing will compare with physical relationships with which there is, "laughing and crying together, creating rich and enduring bonds of emotional intimacy, feeling the warm tender hug of an eternal companion or the sincerity in the eyes of another person as testimony is shared--all of these things experienced as they really are through the instrument of our physical body..."(Elder Bednar's talk).

So, today I will love, today I will serve, today I will rejoice in God's plan of happiness, today I will rejoice in the human experience.

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed this post, Stace. It was honest and also... true. I felt edified. :) Thanks for the reminder that actual physical interactions are better than virtual; I have been lately too sucked into the latter.

    Miss you.