Sunday, March 8, 2015

Oh, That I Were An Angel

You, like me, have struggles in mortality.

You've probably had a hard time staying active in the church at one point or another as well.

But I tell you what...I am so so so hurt and pained by watching loved ones around me fall when it's taken everything I have to stay active and press forward. 

I guess my comfort is knowing that it isn't over yet.

But I would rather be comforted knowing that things were well, rather than watching with uncertainty, loved ones fall.

The night my father died, I gave him a priesthood blessing and blessed him that his sins were forgiven him before he passed.  I did it from 400 miles away because I couldn't be there in person.

I hadn't seen my father in two years and hadn't spoken to him in some time over a rift about some family relationships.

He was blessed at his death, I did his temple work a year later. 

And yet....some things have to be done in this life.  Many blessings weren't had.

I just feel so unsettled.

I'm not sealed to either of my parents.  There are other things to happen in my patriarchal blessing that don't look like they can happen the way things are going now...and that they may not happen...and I am only left to wonder....


 28 And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?
 29 And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?
 30 And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever; (Moses 7).
 
Truly - leaving the ninety-and-nine to find the one...I understand that.  

More than anything, I am pained listening to them tell me "I'm fine" when everything shows they are not.

I grow so tired of only having that spirit to listen to when I want to SEE that they are okay. To listen to that spirit and wonder all the time if I'm imagining things and having to wait....wait.....wait.....wait.....wait.....

This life is truly a life of sorrow. 

Oh that I were an angel.  That I could do more.

But all I've been given is to be a friend and to love my friends unconditionally.  To watch from afar and wonder and wait and feel cut out of their lives.

And I feel like I am holding out my hand and watching someone drown telling me they are fine but they will not take my hand.

I know there are great things that I am getting ready to do in the world of psychology, but honestly?  I care most about my loved friends and family.  If I were only with my family and loved friends....I would be content.  But Heavenly Father says that "there is more" for me to do that is so much greater, and yet the friends and family thing doesn't seem to be being taken care of.

But unfortunately....I don't think I can save them.  Even if I were an angel. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Little Green Monster and Lehi's Dream

That little green monster, sits on my shoulder and whispers....

"just this one time...."

"Nobody will know...."

"only a little bit won't hurt...."

"everybody does it...."

"No one will notice...."

"you can repent later and come back...."

"Take a break....you deserve it...."

"Is it really worth the effort?"

"If God really loved you, he wouldn't expect you to go through all of this..."

"They are the ones making you leave....it's not your fault...."

"They sinned....not you...it's okay...."

"You don't need them....God is with you without going there...."

"God is everywhere, you don't need a church...."

"It's just man made anyways, God is around you in nature, not in a building...."

And on and on and on.

And he leads us, carefully, slowly, down to hell...so as not to disturb us on our way down....

I've sat on that fence for too long and you know what?  I've almost fallen off on the wrong side, and I've seen too many fall myself.

But what to say?  What can I say?

In the Book of Mormon the people got to a point that if the Lord spake softly to them, they wouldn't listen, and if he spoke sharply, they were angry....when we're at that point....we're in apostasy....and rebellion....and are lost....

The Devil speaks soothing lies into our ears to lull us peacefully into his grasp....telling us "Shhhhh....shhhhh....it will all be okay..... you don't need to do anything....safety is right over there, you can make it if you need to....just lie down for a bit....shhhhh.....rest....I care about you....and so do all these people with me....we don't expect you to go to church, callings, or anything else....we like you better than HIM.....the one making you suffer....shhhhhh....you can have all he promises without doing what he says...just lie down and rest...."



I live in Idaho right now.  It seems many people I grew up with or dated or...you name it....are over here.

And amidst all the mormondom where you might think we are safe....I heard another story today of someone I loved whose family fell away and broke apart today while I was in the bank of all places opening a checking account.  I keep seeing people I love fall away, drift off, almost commit suicide....succumb to the lies and I've almost fallen prey to them myself....may I speak plainly? 

As much as we are blessed, there are certain blessings that can only be received in one place - like the sacrament - we can read our scriptures all we want but it won't renew a covenant or wash away our sins so we can walk back to God clean, free, pure and holy.  Nor can we have the inspiration that comes with being clean, free, pure and holy.  We NEED that ordinance. And there is only one place to get it.

For years I haven't felt worthy to go to church, but the spirit kept telling me to go because I needed the sacrament.  Thank heavens I did, though I was being whispered to by the spirit and that little green monster telling me not to, but my children are gaining testimonies and are active in church.

On my mission, I met a man, formerly a stake president.  He had been faithful and devout, and then was released.  He asked the church for help and then - he claims - they refused to help him.

Perhaps.

But is it worth throwing away your salvation over?  Your family?  Your posterity?  The millions who will one day trace their lack of knkowledge of the gospel to you???

 No thank you...

We are to forgive as we would be forgiven.  And if we are without sin....THEN we can throw rocks.    But how many people have depended on us that we've let down???  How many we don't know....

No....we are in no position to judge and we still need that sacrament.  We need to practice forgiveness if we will be forgiven.  We need to go.  no matter the cost - because someone else gave EVERYTHING so we could have that chance but it is ours to make or toss....

He stood and told me "I have the priesthood, I am endowed, I can bless the sacrament and my family, we are sealed, we do not need the church any more.  I do not need them."

I won't write all I've been through in the church - had those talks with my bishop - done some soul searching -  the point is - I'm still here and so is my family, but truly the storms have beat on us and nearly caused me as a father to lose my grip.  But it isn't easy.  I look at a picture of Lehi's dream a friend gave me as a gift once that hangs on my wall....and I wonder, "where am I in this picture?  Am I in the building laughing and pointing?  Am I ashamed of the fruit?  Am I wandering in strange roads and lost?  Am I drowning in the river of sin?  Am I holding to the rod of iron and pressing forward trying to see?" 

66 ¶From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
 68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. (John 6). 

Where else is there to go? 

God doesn't and can't compell us - but I do know when I'm being honest with myself about my abilities, choices and my reasoning.  I lied to try to get out of being Mormon in my prayers to God and asked them in such a way to get the answer I wanted, but I'm not that person anymore...I certainly have much more accountability to be, and much more to repent of, but!

I'm here....and at least I recognize that little green monster. 

I just hate watching him be so damned effective in the lives of it seems too many around me.

To all who might read this...please come back and stand in holy places...stand with me...I'll stand with you...please....we lose too many...we lost 1/3 before this life...no more...please....

We only get one soul.

Please....

Sunday, February 15, 2015

In The Wisdom of Him Who Knoweth

Adam and Eve get a bad rap in most religions.

And if you're Mormon and you defend Adam and Eve.....then you get a bad rap among other religions.

But there's a lot in the story of Adam and Eve that I've never seen before that keeps coming to me as I read the scriptures that just....aren't taught clearly or enough.   Not to say that they aren't, but I don't hear them very much so I thought I'd put them here.

First, it is true that Adam and Eve were going to die if they partook of the fruit.  It was also true they would become as the gods, knowing good from evil.

It was Lucifer, however, who tempted Eve with the last part, and lied to her about the first part.

Heavenly father didn't and wouldn't tempt Eve or Adam.  He gave them commandments so that no harm would come to them.

Heavenly father knew that they would have that knowledge, but he would not tempt them to do something that would also harm them and bring them much sorrow, and instead gave them commandments to keep them from that sorrow.

Additionally, however, the choice to die....was theirs.  It wasn't compelled by God. God did not send them to the garden to die - he sent them there to grow and to learn and to choose for themselves.

Now, he knew they would choose to partake, but it is also not in the nature of God to keep us from exercising our free agency to receive blessings or to choose to lose them - that is the central part of our creation and very existence!

Adam and Eve both chose to come to this earth....all these things regarding mortality were known beforehand in the premortal existence.  We knew them, and God knew them - sometimes I think, despite our vast doctrinal knowledge of the premortal existence, we forget to apply this fact to Adam and Eve and in the garden of Eden.

But going farther.

We have often remarked that it seemed that God gave a contradictory commandment to Adam and Eve - to be fruitful and multiply - and also to not partake of the fruit (I'm noticing a potential pun in here on the word "fruitful").

And yet....this seemingly contradictory commandment was Adam's reasoning for deciding to stay with his wife.  Had not the commandment to "be fruitful and multiply" not been given before his transgression - a seeming contradiction - Adam would have had no reason to stay with Eve after her transgression or even to join her!

Additionally, while Eve was deceived, Adam was not, but he made a decision, like Christ, to die so that others might have life and he partook of the fruit to keep his father's commandments.  Adam willingly laid down his life - he had that power given to him to do so, just like Christ, through the choices and the state that he was in to be like Christ in this regards.

While Christ experienced the pain of all mankind's sins, and hadn't ever experienced sin, so Adam also fell from the presence of Heavenly Father through his choices in order to keep God's commandments and to remain with his wife, so that others might live.  Adam fell into mortality and the shock to them and their souls was beyond our comprehension who are "born in sin" as Adam knew a life without it - and so did Christ.  He was like Christ in this regards.

Now, many Latter Day Saints say that if they hadn't transgressed their bodies weren't capable of having children - I can cite the scriptures which do not say that they could not have had children in their innocent state, but only that they would not - 2 Nephi 2:23.

Additionally, I know many have thought it strange that they weren't given any clothing in the garden - but then we do know from latter day revelation that the clothing God did give them was a covenant, or part of one.  However, it is not in the nature of God to confuse or give us things before we are ready.  Giving them clothing before they realized a purpose for it or of it would have been in many ways contrary to the nature of God.  When they realized their state, Satan gave them a cheap knockoff, but when it was realized what was needed in their counsel with God, God made them a proper set of clothing with a covenant from the skins of other animals.

Lastly for this brief series of thoughts:

23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of
innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
 24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

 25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. (2 Nephi 2) 

Notice that with the state of innocence, they didn't have joy - because they knew no misery.  Joy is possible because of a knowledge of misery which is one of the purposes of this life - to experience misery and to know joy if we choose it. (The greater the misery, the greater the joy!)

To finish it off, I love verse 24 and how these things were done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.  None of this was an accident.  It wasn't compelled, it was a choice, we chose it, and God allowed us to choose it.  This wasn't some train-wreck set in motion by a short-sighted Heavenly Father or two bumbling fools running around naked in a garden (though I can't say two people eating fruit they aren't supposed to while naked has ever had such an effect as it did with those two). 

There was wisdom here.

Even if we are born into some war torn world or a defective body in this life or with a defective brain, the grace of God and the atonement covers and fixes and can fix all such things - and it is completely contrary to the nature of God for us to be placed in these situations, lives and bodies without our agreement to them or a premortal understanding of them.  

All of these are the plans of God.

And despite them, and because of them, we will be and are blessed. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Tying My Wife's Shoes

She sat in her wheelchair, impatiently yet patiently waiting for me. 

She knew I could only move so fast with her three children, a little one tugging at me and an older one having a fit about how she didn't want to look stupid at church with the wrong kinds of socks and crying about not being able to find any.  The oldest groaned about getting up early, heaving those heavy sighs around the house indicating he wasn't happy to have to do this or anything.

I let the complaints wash over me and enjoyed the little one tugging at me as I tended to my work. 

As I unlaced the shoes, her legs, that once had gone hiking with me, had taught me to dance, had gone for walks on the beach, now hung emaciated, blood pooling in her legs from lack of use, and immobile and essentially...useless.  All they could be used for now really was to wear shoes, and that was just so they wouldn't get colder than they already were from not getting any use.

Shoes.

She used to wear nice shoes. 

She used to love nice shoes.

Now, shoes were just a matter of convenience really.  A burden, really.  She couldn't put them on herself much anymore except for her crocks and even then required help.  They were just one more item in a long list of items that needed to be taken care of that she couldn't do herself anymore as she increasingly became helpless.  As she watched me work with her shoes, she not only saw me prep to put them on her for her, she also saw the years rendering her entirely immobile, confining her to a bed, to watch her children come and go but not be able to share those experiences with them because she couldn't follow them or keep up with them anymore.

If her back or even her legs itched?  She couldn't scratch it anymore.  Those days were gone as the disability ravaged her body from its own effects in combination with three child births.  Now, even putting on shoes was its own exasperation.  Those little things you take for granted, that you don't even think about, but will notice if they aren't done right such as the sock seam running under a toenail, or the tongue of the shoe not being properly positioned, the laces snugged just right...can't be done herself anymore. And nice shoes? She's down to two pairs of crocks and a pair of black Nike Jordan's with pink hearts on them, cute, but totally not the style she ever wore and just a matter of convenience.  On the upside, shoes never need be replaced because she doesn't wear them out.  The same pair, year after year after year.

And out of her love she didn't dare complain, she was just happy not to have been abandoned as happened to so many with her disease.  Husbands who decided this was more of a burden than they could carry, served divorce papers, took the children, and placed them in nursing homes to atrophy and die.

It isn't perfect but we figure it out, forgive, repent, apologize, press forward and try to make it the best we can. 

What lies ahead in the years to come, I don't know.

Helpless doesn't even begin to describe how I feel as I have to do more and more just to make life functional.  Becoming aware of how she likes her socks put on so that they don't drive her crazy, paying attention to tags that she can no longer fix that itch and drive her crazy, learning how to part her hair so she doesn't feel like a freak in public with that annoying part-gone-awry that drives so many of us nuts before we leave the house....

How does it end? 

I don't know.

Overwhelmed?  Yeah.  And starting a new career and raising three children while I have to leave her at home now and even leave her behind as I head across the state to start working a job to earn pay for us to move into a new place by my new work.  The world rushes around me and yet I have no idea how I am going to make it work.

Peoples' criticisms of me or even of her fall on deaf ears anymore for how hard we do or don't work at this or make it work.  It is our own path that others haven't walked.  Even if the path looks similar, we are different people carrying our own hidden burdens.  We each have to walk our own path the best we can. 

Walk a mile in someone elses' shoes?  It isn't possible.  It never will be. 

I don't have energy to try someone elses' shoes, or even to criticize their footwear.  I got my own path to walk, with my wife rolling beside me with three children in tow, an uncertain path ahead of us that doesn't look too favorable.  Whether you are grateful or not, or think your path is harder or easier....it doesn't matter, except I wish you well. I have to focus on the path ahead of us, and I don't have energy to do much else and hope that I don't slow others down from their important journeys in this world.

For now, I focus on making the laces "just right" because she can't do it herself.  I pull the tongue out and turn her socks so the seam doesn't bother her as her feet prepare to hang uselessly and untended for the rest of the day as the world and we march on our way while she sits in maddening discomfort that even medication can't fix most days for those little things she can't do herself anymore.

Curse the disability?  It doesn't do much good.  I've tried.  It is still there.  I'm still here.  We're still here.  But not as much as we used to be.  And yet more than we used to be as we become grateful for those small details we used to take for granted, thankful for them when we get to enjoy them.

So I focus for now, just for a moment, and let the world go on its merry way because I have work to do and its more important than almost anything right now.  I don't know how I'll do what else is going to come, and nothing else matters but for just this moment, I'm tying my wife's shoes.






Monday, January 26, 2015

Called to be a Friend

I got a phone call the other day.

2 days before Christmas, actually.

One of the sisters on my home teaching route was in the hospital.

I've never met her before.

I *JUST* picked her up actually on my route within the last couple weeks actually.  I hadn't had time to meet anyone.

Her husband isn't a member of the church.

And she's in the middle of labor and wants a blessing.

Bishop: "Can you go right now?"

I got a friend because I haven't been able to get ahold of my companion in forever and raced right over there.

In I walked.  This beautiful young lady on my route that I've never met before.

Curled up in pain.   Wanting a blessing.

And didn't know who her home teachers were.

Wow...there is something so special about a woman with child or in childbirth that really just makes you aware that you are standing in the presence of the gateway between this world and that one....

I gave her a blessing and my friend anointed her with oil.

In that blessing?

She was blessed that her family would be sealed by the priesthood in this lifetime.

She's also in the Relief Society presidency.

She's never had a home teacher visit in her time here.  I was the first.  And here she was in labor.

After that it turned out her husband was in the USMC the same time I was in the navy.   And he likes guns as much as I do.

We hit it off.

Yesterday I gave four priesthood blessings to people who needed them (my record is twelve in a row I think and that left me pale and weak because it is physically demanding).  One family was very hurt their home teaching families have never come over and don't know who to call for a blessing and it felt like nobody cared about them.

At any rate, I've realized that...home teaching is what holds the church together.

I've failed in this calling too much too often.  And I'm not going to anymore.  I'm simply called to be a friend, I'm going to be a friend.  My companion today stood me up and not even with a good reason today.  Fine, he needs to repent.  Be more accountable.  I'm going to go and do the work anyways, with or without him and hopefully get him along as well.  Help him find his spark.  But I'm tired of people feeling left out.

I had people in TEARS yesterday with very badly needed blessings.  Did you know by the Aaronic Priesthood you can summon the ministering of angels?  Yes, you can do that as wel and wow when I do that in a blessing....people need that.

So I don't know if I'll be any good but I'm going to do my best but after being there for a fellow vet to bless his wife when he can't yet right in the middle of labor, and being able to comfort her and thereby comfort him...wow...yes....it's time for these things and for me to do these things.

If I was going to make a suggestion though, it would be to let families know who their home teachers are and not visa versa - or not solely visa versa.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

GOT MY DREAM JOB!!!!!!!

Wow, it's been an amazing day. I got my dream job. I'm going to be taking a position at a prison here in the state in mental health. The pay is good for being where I am in this field, as the mental health field does not generally pay that well.

But then, I didn't go into this job for money.

I was worried they didn't want me because it was taking so long. So i called and she thanked me for getting ahold of her. She apologized for the wait and said she was scattered and understood if didn't want to work with someone so scattered. I told her I was quiet during the interview because i was having a hard time not screaming like a little girl and jumping up and down while I was there. I heard the spirit say in the interview "this is it!" To wait this long has been very hard and a severe trial of my faith. I also NEEDED this break.

It has been a hard hard road to get to this point. Hardest thing I've ever done. Even the military nuclear power school was easy compared to this. My partner at school was a PhD from UC Berkeley, and a professor at a university here in the area. He dropped because of the pressure.

 Failure certainly wasn't an option in our situation. I  nearly had a mental breakdown trying to complete this program. Which is fine for anybody I suppose, but when you're a psychologist, that is not allowed to happen. It means you are unfit for the field and are a risk and a danger to others. So you either hold it together, or you pack your bags and find something else. You need to be taking care of yourself.

This job is emotionally and mentally demanding in a way no other than I've ever done.  It's not that other jobs arent demanding it's that...if you're off even a little bit while you're in with a patient it can literally cost a life.

You can't be worried or thinking about things at home while you're in a session with somebody else. Your stress in your life can't carry over into theirs. And when you're under as much stress as I was to keep that from spilling over into everything and hold it together...it was the hardest thing I've ever done.

You sit in rooms full of brain hackers who can see things you try to hide. They pick up on it and.... guess what?  "We have concerns this may not be for you..." and you can't just quit and start somewhere else. But they will drop you to protect the field and patients.

At any rate, I'm going to soon have a house with room for guests, a nice piece of property, my boat and everything else I ever dreamed of. And more I can't write here.

The most important part to me is that I was told this was going to happen and I said that this was going to happen and several recent priesthood blessings. A number of priesthood blessings I've seen come true so quickly has made my head spin recently. It gives me hope. There are so many blessings that I want so very badly that I don't know how they will come to pass. But I now know they will. And I wait and prepare for them.

For now....I haven't just survived.  I have started that climb to the top. I will soon be able to give those I love all I wanted to.  Just as my patriarchal blessing says.

I wait and prepare in the meantime.

I know that there are other blessings coming. To my dear friends and family and readers, this is a sign that the rest of the blessings are coming. Be patient and faithful no matter how hard it is, they are coming. They will come just as surely as the sun rises and sets.

I am patiently and faithfully waiting for my blessings with all my heart and hope you do too.  I am diligently waiting! I can't imagine a world without God's promises and blessings. It is all I have waited for and held on and lived for.

Hold on and be faithful!

I got my dream job. My blessings have and are coming true!  Thank you friends and family for your love, support,  encouragement and prayers and I love you eternally for it. I wouldn't and couldn't have made it without your love, support and prayers.

Hold on and be faithful in the refiner's fire.  Victory is so so so sweet. And. .. it has only begun.  I will see you there and be waiting to see you :)

f.b.vb...







Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Winds of Life


While I've been focused very heavily on a particular few blessings I want *SO* badly - I got told I need to count my blessings.

There's a few blessings I want *REALLY* bad that I couldn't dare hope to dream could come true that...well now...they look like they might have drifted away.  I'm not sure really.  Either way I'm quite powerless, even though I've done everything I could possibly do that the Lord has allowed to prepare for them and hold on to their possibility of happening. 

When I go to the temple, I take my patriarchal blessing with me.  It is in my temple bag and it always gets taken with me.  I pulled it out to read it in the celestial room. 

There are so many blessings in there that I've overlooked in my hyper-focusing on certain wonderful things that I want so so so badly.

But more than that, the blessings I've wanted so badly, the lord showed me that those are icing on the cake because there's some even-more amazing blessings coming.

But I have to build a foundation for them.  I can't get so focused on one blessing that I stop working on all the others.

You can't build a life on a single blessing.  

I hope my blessings come true - at least the way I understand them.  I pray.

I feel like I'm just beginning to understand the atonement, my energy is increasing finally from school, and I'm going back to searching for work now more permanently. I'm finally beginning to understand and feel peace and then...it looks like some very very cherished hopes are being given to another.  I don't know what's going on.

It wouldn't be the first experience like this in my life.  I already watched that once on my mission with my then-fiancee who ended up sleeping with and marrying a convicted and registered sex offender, and getting dumped 142 days before I came home.

Amazing how your sense of direction gets twisted around when you head down that path...

I was faithful and had a knock-out-success of a mission and working to be faithful for and to her, the one who said she'd be waiting for me, that we'd be apart for a time, wasn't there when I came home, like she promised.

So much for promises.

I even got permission to call her and I gave her a blessing over the phone and gave her a warning to choose wisely - or she wouldn't make it.   As things got more twisted around, I got accused of unrighteous dominion and...you name it...because of a blessing that wasn't just inspiration, that's common sense and standard doctrine and teachings in the church and life.  Choose carefully!  Or you won't make it!  It shook my testimony about myself and my priesthood for years.

But then, now that I look at it, while there are some pretty successful psychos in the church, I wasn't the one who was a convicted sex offender, while my companions and I were running 1/5 to 1/3 of the quarterly mission stats in terms of the work in the mission field.

I don't think it was me that was the problem.

Later she found me online and wanted to be friends and I was like, "Why would I want to be friends with you? My testimony has been shaken for YEARS after trying to help you! Are you kidding me???"

That's the thing about chastisement from the Lord - he gives it because he loves us.  He that will not bear chastisement is not fit for the kingdom of the Lord (Doctrine and Covenants 136:31).  I've been chastised by Bishops, Mission Presidents, in blessings.....I've learned to appreciate it because it jerks my attention and gives clarity where I've been missing things.  I so don't want to be lost.  I've seen what happens when we are lost and it isn't pretty.  Even Joseph Smith got some serious ones - but those were very clear and given out of love and concern because of his station and responsibility and the Lord's concern for his soul.

I'm not even that great of a catch I think, but...seriously?   Pick someone else but not a recently convicted child molester and don't sleep with him, seriously!

Well, we all have choices to make.  My lesson was simply hat there are no promises or guarantees even when you're trying your best.  

Well...you sit on that fence long enough, you're going to get hit from both sides. And probably succumb to the one that offers more instant pleasure like so many of us do as faith fades and we lose confidence in ourselves and the small acts of faith that make the huge difference become increasingly difficult.That's what happened to her, sadly.  She wasn't doing well when we talked years later either, just as was warned.

This is a warning for myself and a wakeup call to myself as I look back on my life as much as it is a note of caution for anyone.  None of us are infallible.  We need to get off that fence and firmly plant our feet and keep planting them.  I've been on that fence before and it's not a good place to be.

There are dearly loved friends in my life I'm watching have an incredibly difficult time and I am powerless to help them the way I want to and I fear - I tremble with heartbreak - eternal heartbreak - to think that I am watching them go down just as I watched my ex-fiancee go down.  There's more to this story that I'm not sharing about my ex-fiancee, I can say that her patriarchal blessing was true, and her falling confirmed it.  It definitely drew my attention to the inspiration of those blessings.  I still marvel at it years later.

I even got two overtures of suicide from people in my life recently, one asked for help and one didn't.  I pray that nothing happens bad of a permanent nature.  I keep putting their names in the temple and asking others to pray because there isn't much I can do.  I'd be there in a heartbeat if I could, we all know what that powerless feeling is like where we can only watch.  It sucks.

Meanwhile....I keep having to look forward.

Build all those blessings and let the hand of the Lord work.

It's hard.  I feel peace, but it's hard.  And I hope my fears aren't realized and my faith is justified.  I hope I get my blessings. I hope my friends and family are okay.  All I can do is press ahead, and make sure I'm not on that fence myself and pray and build as best I can.

And keep remembering them and praying for them.

An Abrahamic Sacrifice to stand by and watch and leave it in the Lord's hands.  Gosh I pray things don't go south.