Sunday, February 22, 2009

Life's Master's Program

Yesterday in church I went from one lesson to the next and in each I felt like I had earned or was in the process of earning a Master's degree from the University of Life in aspects brought out during the lesson. 

The first lesson was on baptism. This is one of the first things we learn about as we learn about the church. It is basic doctrine and I could easily at any time during my adult life have given most of the answers to any of the questions asked during the lesson. But there is quite a difference between knowing the book answers to questions and knowing the answers from the Master's Program of Life Experience.

During the lesson, one of the class members who is just starting to learn about our church asked what means to "mourn with those that mourn" or to "bear one another's burdens." This is one of the things we promise to do when we are baptized. Her question made me realize how much deeper an understanding I have of this principle than any other principle in the lesson. 

I have always known the "book" answer and could have answered that question. But know, have had such a burden of sorrow and grief placed on me and having been the recipient of the love of others known and unknown who have truly "mourned with those who mourn," I know like never before what it is to fulfill that promise. 

I don't think I could really know that not having been the recipient of the love and only having been the giver. I am sure I have given this love to others in the past. But, it is in receiving it when it has been so desperately needed that I have truly come to know how much these prayers and love and support help those who mourn. 

As much as I can, I wish I could give to each of you the knowledge I have gained through this experience. Please know how much it helps to have others feel with me a tiny fraction of this experience. The prayers, the love, and the support each of you give are examples of what it means to mourn with those that mourn. And your doing that helps me bear this burden and it makes each of you more like our Savior. For truly He has born all our burdens and mourns with us in perfection every time we mourn. I am reminded Him and His support each time I feel or hear of the love and support from any of you. Thank you.

The second class was on the subject of homemaking and a mother's work in the home. This was the lesson to the young women. I remember being their age. I had not yet realized that my mother was a real "person." To me she was just "mom." Her whole life revolved around me and my siblings. We were her whole purpose for being right? It wasn't until I was about 17 or 18 that I realized that my mom was a person just like me. I was kinda slow in learning this one.

In yesterday's lesson we talked about how important it is to appreciate your mother and father and to express that appreciation. I commented that this was the only real pay any mother ever gets from her job. So I encouraged the girls to pay up and tell their moms they love them and appreciate all they do for them. Then I called my mom on the way home in the car and told her I loved her and appreciated her. 

This morning I got a big pay day myself. I was woken up, dressed, had my hair combed and was brought downstairs for a surprise. The girls had all secretly worked together to make a "present" for Jonathan and me. They had a gift bag with lots of drawings and notes in it and a homemade "book" (pages in sheet protectors all tied together with yarn) to us. The book and most of the other drawings expressed their love for us and how we were the best parents a girl could ever have. Talk about a nice payday.

Motherhood has, of course, been a master's class on this subject to me. It is a program in which I am continuing to progress. I have yet to begin the courses on teenagers and hormones. I hope those courses will have their own paydays as well.