The Power of Words

 

I was asked what helps me through difficult times. In that moment my mind was stumped as I attempted to search for the answer. Days later the quiet answer arrived.

Words!

Words get me through difficult times. Reading words, writing words and listening to words.

Reading words of another who I can relate to, reading words of passion and pain, reading words that incur warmth in my heart. Writing words that express my emotions, writing with the intention of producing positive thoughts, writing to give meaning to my day. Listening to words in melodious lyrics, listening to words that strengthen my soul, listening to words when I am capable of nothing else.

In words reside the power to change a person, to stir notions of hope, to ignite a flicker of light and inspire an onwards journey. If you write, never stop! If you think about writing, then write!

Write with your whole heart and never look back.

 

Strength in Weakness

Cultivating Heart

“The meaning of awe is to realize that life takes place under wide horizons, horizons that range beyond the span of an individual life or even the life of a nation, a generation, or an era. Awe enables usto perceive in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal.”        {Abraham Joshua Heschel}

At the end of our darkest moments we crawl with the last energy that straggles from our fibres, holding on to the hope of a new day that will be brighter and more peaceful than the last. We grapple for something small to hold onto, something that stays with us in that quiet space where we battle with our demons. Sometimes all we can remember is that there will be a day that won’t be painful anymore and every day is worth fighting for because some day we will reach that perfect day.

In recent physical health struggles where I’m bound to my bed, I’m reminded that this is for a reason. I’m reminded that all of our experiences we live through are so that we can understand. So that I can have compassion for others. So that I can wait in patience for the discomfort to subside. This time knowing that I’m not alone. In these bouts of physical weakness I know that I will be made strong. As the pain gradually fades, my spirit is brought back to its’ still, tranquil solitude where even more so than before I am grateful for every spin the earth makes on its’ axis and for every step I can take. At the end of this suffering I can feel more gratitude for my body that is able, for this human body I have that shimmers in the sunlight; I’m more grateful for the peace of mind, for the sights and the sounds, for the ability to express myself freely through words, and for the ways that I can try harder to love my family.

These times of difficulty when we feel weakened in heart, when we feel broken, when we wonder how we can go on, they change our souls. They turn us inside out, twist us around, and spit us out so that we can be more beautiful than we ever were before.

{ETHER 12:27 “then will I make weak things become strong.”} The Book of Mormon

Lone Raindrops

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Last Monday I moved house again. I have lost count of how many times I’ve moved; of how many times I’ve flicked through old pages holding encounters, woes, stories only I know. It has been 13 days since I wrote in my journal. The turquoise book seemed buried too deep and it felt as though I had too much to write yet I was emptied of writing. Somehow I could not bare the task of writing my thoughts, emotions and events, it all appeared far too heavy and I needed rest from constructing sentences out of pain that produced joy.

Sometimes we need to empty ourselves. We need to let ourselves breathe; let ourselves be still; and let ourselves ponder.

Circumstances arise when we need them and God knows what we need and when we need it most. Our challenges are to bring us closer to accomplishing great things. They provide us with moments to acknowledge our blessings and they are opportunities to be stronger, braver, and more resilient time and time again. Through each challenge we are prepared for the next, we gain more compassion or patience or self-belief. We build upon our foundations with each difficult experience, layering comprehension of this earth life.

‘Imagine for a moment that you are a drop of water. As it happens, you are a very unique little drop – beautifully shaped, with only a cute little distortion in the way you reflect the light. People praise your beauty, and in time you come to believe that you are special.

But as time goes on, you become lonely. You long for the companionship of an other – another drop of water who will love you as you love it and help you feel less alone. You find that other, or you don’t; you fall in love, or you don’t.

And then one day it starts to rain. Seven billion drops of rain fall in a single afternoon and you are no longer alone. Briefly, you touch mitochondria with a single raindrop and before you know it, two have become one. You are still alone, but you are larger than before. With each drop of water you merge with, your entire being expands, until all seven billion drops become one ocean.

And you are still alone. And all is well.’

{Michael Neill, The Space Within -Finding Your Way Back Home}

Why I want to serve a Mission

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Last April I was baptised. I was introduced to the church through meeting missionaries on the street. A month after my baptism I pondered on serving a mission myself; I deeply desired to change lives in the same miraculous way as all of those who had taught me. The missionaries taught me about the scriptures and the gospel, about the commandments and the organisation of the church, but most importantly they taught me how I was loved. They showed me that I was cared for, that I was not alone, that difficult times were to make me stronger, that I was understood, that I had a purpose, and like every other person on this earth, they showed me that I was special.

With them I felt the greatest joys, shared my deepest sadness, and grew to love a God who had always been beside me. Through them, God loved me. Through them, God touched my heart. Through them, God filled me and He filled my life with an unchanging peace, a purity, and a divine intervention.

My dark wounds have been made light and my burdens have been made easier to carry. Maybe this sounds crazy; to devote 18 months to spreading the word of the gospel in a country I don’t yet know. It can be anywhere in the world. This time last year my motivation to work, to wake up in the morning, to smile, was the hope that someday soon I could travel somewhere beautiful again. But when I travelled before, in all of the excitement, self-discovery and exploration of foreign lands, I needed greater purpose. It was not enough to be helping small communities to live environmentally friendly and though I adored their simple, authentic cultures I could not refrain from questioning the deeper significance and finding none. They were just living, and I was just living. I wanted more. I wanted to get to the root, to the beginning, to the foundation of creation, to my exact natural being. Something has changed within me, and I want to inspire that change in others whether it’s related to religion or not. It doesn’t matter if people don’t accept my religion or if they don’t want to talk about God; it matters only that they know they are loved. That’s the reason I will serve a mission…to love the people who need loving, who have been hurt, wounded, broken-hearted, lonely, and lost so I can remind them that they have a purpose too.

{thank you: http://wind-rose-grace.tumblr.com/ -for the quote}

 

5 Words, write a Story

My sister and I strolled through Rochester High Street before we walked laughing into the crepe cafe, an aroma of sweet melted chocolate drifted through the air as we found our booth tucked away. We sat there drinking hot chocolate, sharing some of our latest poems. My inspiration had felt stumped, motivation to write had dwindled. What was there to write about? There was nothing exciting happening; my senses were not being elated; romanticism had evaporated; it was only a dull world I could now see.

Then I remembered an activity a friend had introduced to me whilst we sat in a cafe on a hot summer’s day.

We gave each other 5 words and with these five words we had to write a short story as fast as possible.

This is what happened:

Story Skye:

ANGEL MOUNTAINS SNOW AMAZEMENT SPARKLE

One day an angel appeared in front of a young girl called Kizzy! She was hiking up high in the mountains, and the lights she saw made her look up in amazement. The angel gave off an amazing heat which made the snow melt beneath Kizzy’s feet. The angel didn’t say much but the look in her eyes made Kizzy know and feel that everything was going to be okay! And with a flutter of her wings and an epic sparkle, she was gone, and Kizzy was alone on the mountain.

Story Kizzy:

FLOWERS PANCAKES RAINBOWS UNICORNS LIGHT

In a distant land far, far away from the earth, far from this universe and anything we know to be true, is a planet inhabited by wild unicorns. They leap and gallop and spend their days helping people. Rainbows shine through the sky from their planet and they fly along the beams to land on the earth. Their light makes them so bright they are invisible to the human eye, only their myth lives on to tell the tales of their mysticism but no-one believes they are real. The unicorns fly here and there doing good deeds for people. On their planet there is an abundance of beautiful, exotic, colourful flowers more glorious than anything you’ve seen before. One day a unicorn named Skye saw a young girl making pancakes on her own. The young girl wished for friends to share them with, for laughter, and for happiness, so the unicorn Skye built a rainbow and travelled down to the earth. She transformed into a girl and went to this young girl’s house with a bunch of these wonderful flowers. Together they made the sweetest pancakes, laughed, danced, and joked until the sun set across the houses.

Try it some time 🙂

Teaching with Missionaries

My religious journey has progressed so that now rather than meeting up with missionaries each week to have lessons, I am going out with the missionaries to meet other people who are interested in the gospel. Now I am learning how to teach others about the joy, peace, and spiritual fulfilment that comes with understanding our interpretation of God. Because everyone has a different interpretation of God, I thought I could never accept God to be man. Yet I’m here, testifying with every fibre of my being that God lives and loves every one of us and I’m here sharing this message so that we may all have the option to follow this path.

Yesterday we taught three individuals entirely unique and entirely interesting. The first one, I will call Gary. We walked into his bedroom that was adorned in ACDC posters, a desk covered in paints sat in the corner and a gentle purple butterfly duvet cover was made on his bed. Gary was a short man, slightly hunched with shoulder length soft brown hair and stubble. I missed his eye colour; his gaze refused to hold mine as he spoke whilst perched on the corner of his bed looking towards the wall talking about ancient civilisations and religions. A cat leapt down from the top of his window-frame and crawled around our legs. As Elder Andrews and Elder Reynolds taught Gary about God’s plan for us I noticed that his forearms stretched down into tennis-ball sized disfigurements over his elbows. His fingers were bent like claws and he mentioned he had a disability. His beliefs were primarily based upon Paganism but he was willing and open to learning more. Although he had this interest in learning, he was also more interested in talking through the lesson. I recognised how God reaches the sick and afflicted, how this pain gives us an opportunity to seek God, but that we have to be willing to listen to God and His multiple ways of communicating with us.

Next we were to meet *Rachel. She had called four times because she was early and waiting in the cold for us to meet her so already we were anticipating the lesson with caution. Rachel was Indian with long thick black hair and large glassy brown eyes wearing camel-toned workman boots and joggers. She greeted us with a tear trickling down her cheek and distress oozing from pores in her dishevelled face. She said she had diabetes, had left her money at home and needed food and sugar straight away; the missionaries took her to a cafe to buy her food and sat down to talk. I joined them as Rachel told us she could see spirits, that she had good thoughts as well as evil thoughts trying to take over her mind. She said she felt good and strong and faithful, sometimes. On other occasions the darkness crept in and took her sanity as though she owed it for her sins. Spirits told her to get baptised, to be cleansed of her sins, and she wanted to. She needed our help and we had been sent to her. Months ago I had prayed to God asking, how can we stop this depression? How can we feel God’s love through depression? Is schizophrenia an attack from the opposition? Is a relationship with God enough to heal these illnesses? Is a relationship with God the solution instead of drowning in numbing medication? I was intrigued by Rachel’s life and her story and I was desperate to discover if the Lord could be almighty enough to heal this woman.

The missionaries and I took a break for lunch; they went to their flat to prepare hot food and I went to the library with a hot chocolate and my packed lunch. I walked up beside the park to re-join them and sat upon the entrance gate waiting. I gazed out at the stretching snow covered fields, wind whipped my hair and a flock of dark birds glided left then right then landed and shot up then dived then swept left and landed in synchronisation riding the current. Everything worked, everything harmonised and everything mattered. We approached *Tony’s flat where we climbed stairs to a damp scent and carpet blanketed in coarse, white dog hair. The lounge was cold as Tony had no wood for his fire resulting in regular early retirement to his bed where it was the warmest place in the house. Tony was an older gentleman with a blonde ponytail and beard, yellow teeth, wearing a colourful abstract jumper. His living room walls displayed Led Zeppelin memorabilia, an empty ashtray was on his coffee table, and his  beautiful husky visited each of us as we sat down on cream leather sofas. Our purpose this lesson was mostly to listen as Tony told us how he gave his time to charitable causes by helping the homeless. Through his past addictions he was able to share experiences and be the example to the people he helped that a positive future was possible. Giving his time pro-actively was admirable but he could not retain his negative thoughts about society. He saw so much of the destruction, the lack of gratitude, the lying, the neglected, but in a brief moment I explained how connecting with God helps you to overcome these thoughts and focus on the positive so that you’re able to contribute with peace of mind, so that God is always on your side and so that your head is clear for your heart to love. A busy mind prevents the heart from loving, and that’s the reason we are all here. To find God, and to love.

Helping a friend is helping yourself

Last night my friend and I had arranged to do some vegan gluten-free baking and after a busy day I relaxed my body into the sofa and closed my eyes in satisfaction with the small tasks I had accomplished. As I scrolled down my Facebook newsfeed I came across a friend I had met only a couple of times, post a call for help. She was moving and her father had broken her foot so she needed help loading a van. I immediately contacted her and cancelled the evening of baking feeling the need of assisting this woman who was unable to complete her moving alone. I walked to her house as darkness was falling. She said that her male friends who she’d known for years had refused help because they feared damaging her furniture and I was grateful that I could be there to help, honoured even to be helping such a courageous, independent, beautiful woman. Her neighbour appeared a little later as we gradually cleared her hallway of vintage furniture, old books, and classic designer clothes.

Her home reminded me of a self that I once was, years ago, before I travelled . I felt as though I had forgotten this part of myself that loved checkered pencil skirts, the smell of old books, and spending an evening painting. My belongings had been scattered again and I had not been surrounded by own style and my own preferences. I had been lost in the work of The Lord, consumed by the desire to learn the scriptures and to progress in the Kingdom of God so much because that was all I had to hold on to. While everything around me seemed challenging and regressive I held tightly to God’s words hoping and praying that I would achieve the things I needed to continue moving forward and to continue creating a life that I wanted to live rather than being engulfed in a world I had begun to detest.

And from this act of service I was offered a vintage rocking chair and luxurious hot chocolate infused with orange teabags that the three of us sat and drank. These two women spoke about their health, one had recently passed kidney stones and had revelation about taking care of her health. The other woman had an eating issue and was underweight. As we talked, we listened, we advised, we cared and we understood. Each of us had been in situations where we knew no way out, we had felt alone and had no-one to turn to. But now, I turn to God. I turn to Jesus Christ. And I know that they are there, listening to my every word, eagerly awaiting for me to ask for the things that will get me out. When the time has been right I have been lifted up, lifted out of a dark place and knowing that God wants to help me; that gives me hope. It gives me hope that whatever happens there will be an end and a new beginning. That whatever situation I am in, I am never alone. And that through the turmoil and distress, some day there will be peace and joy. The peace and joy is possibly the greatest gift we can receive and every ounce of suffering and every minute of crying is worth it to come out on the other side being wiser, bolder, and brighter.