Some years ago I had a dream I was sitting with my Bishop. (A bishop is kind of like a priest, or reverend in my church.) We were in his office and he was sitting across from me at his desk. We were just sitting there.
My eyes snapped open and I woke up from the dream with a gasp, as though I just had a nightmare! What else was strange about that dream was that that bishop had just been asked to be the ecclesiastical leader of our area and it had only been a day, maybe two since he was ordained.
Why would such a mild dream wake me such a manner? In the morning, with the memory of the strangeness still fresh in my mind, I knew; I needed to see him. So I made an appointment as soon as I could.
In the days that elapsed between my dream and our appointment, I thought a lot about what I would discuss with him, how I would explain to him how a dream had led me to him and what he would think about that, being a new leader in the church. It wasn't until the day of the appointment that I finally understood what it was I needed to tell him. That is not what this story is about. It's about a few small words he said in our meeting.
After pouring out my trials and my tribulations to him he said, "I love you". Of course it was not a proclamation of romantic love. It was something else. He repeated it, many times throughout the conversation. At the time I took it as an affectionate way of saying, that he loved me as one of his parishioners and that he would be there for me through my trials. I was appreciative and went my way, but since have wondered over and over what was the importance of those events?
By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.
-Alma 37: 6-7
This takes me back even further into my past.
I was struggling with everything in my life. I was having health problems and depression and I hated my neighborhood and felt very lonely. I couldn't get a bearing on why I was here or what I was doing with my life. I hated myself, I hated my life. I had always done everything I was supposed to, but I still felt I had no direction or purpose. Life was just wearing on me and my bad health, mental and physical intensified the feelings.. I prayed. I prayed in my empty bathtub as a matter of fact. Locking myself in my bathroom was the only me time I ever got.
My prayer was answered. He said to me, love. Love is your answer. Love one another, love him, love her, love you.
You would think as a person born in a Christian household this would be a concept I would have already grasped, but I didn't. Truth is I really struggled with loving people. I didn't love myself, due to the pressures, abuse and disdain put upon me by others as a child, and I struggled to feel love for anyone except my children.
I needed to learn how to love everyone. Not just those who were convenient to love. Not just my babies and most of the time, my husband. Everyone. This is why my life felt empty. I wasn't open to love and I wasn't giving love to all.
Don't get me wrong. I was super nice. But deep inside I did not have a love for all people. So, over the next handful of years, I tried to emulate a Christlike love and in so doing, I learned to love people better and it truly blessed my life.
So, how does this fit with the story about my dream? Well, just today, I was ready for the answer that started 4 years ago. You see, God can spin a web that we can't even comprehend. It all comes together but we usually don't see the connections or at least not until much later.
"I realized, he was speaking with inspiration from God, about what I needed to hear- 'I love you.'"
I was struggling again with new problems. They never go away you know, they just change in to different problems. I was in the shower and I had prayed for something recently. Something to help me over this bad spot. I remembered that awkward meeting with my old bishop and I realized, he was speaking with inspiration from God about what I needed to hear. I love you. My heavenly father wanted me to hear with my own ears that He loved me. Not my just my bishop, it was Him. It took me years to hear it, but when I really needed to know, it was there.
There were some other things that came of that meeting as well, but now it's all come full circle.
Trust in God's timing. Just keep doing what you are supposed to be doing and things will work out. It's true faith.
I think Heavenly Father is always trying to teach us something, and send us messages. How often are we listening? I know that God is much more patient than we are and he will get his message across eventually.
How important is Love in this life?
Love is positive actions and good intentions.
It's everything. Love is not a euphoric feeling when we have romantic feelings for someone. Love is positive actions and good intentions. If only everyone treated everyone else with love, the world would be a near perfect place. There would be no hunger, very little suffering, no loneliness.
One key component to loving others I see people miss the mark on all the time is that they are waiting for the other person to treat them with love first. They wont give respect unless they get some, they won't be kind, until they are. It's very difficult to be loving to a person that is not loving, kind or respectful at all. But it's not our place to judge. That love and kindness they don't deserve, may be just what they need.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
1 Corinthians 13:4
Often people have been damaged emotionally and even physically and that is why they act so horribly. It's a monumental task to be the bigger person. Believe me I know! When someone is rude to me I just want to destroy them! But I know better. So I try not to. I try to be the bigger person and put myself in their shoes. No doubt, some people are just bad apples. But truth is, we don't know why. So just try to love them anyway.
I know! It's so hard sometimes. I have been struggling with it my whole life! I feel the injustice of being mistreated and abused, I do! But mistreating and abusing back is not the way.
We need to help heal the hearts around us the way we want to have our heart healed. We all want to be a happy and carefree person but sometimes our past's hold us back.
Take heart, it gets easier as you exercise your attitude towards love. I doubt I'll ever master it, but I hope to one day look back at my life and have very little to be ashamed of.
Some things that may be holding you back from being a loving person could be your past, as I stated before, your health both mental and physical and your lack of understanding.
If you have a difficult history, you may feel vindicated in treating people the way you were once treated, or are still being treated. That's not an easy thing to overcome. It's only through studying the way that the savior treated others that you will ever be able to overcome, along with a lot of patience and prayer.
Your health could be a huge hurdle to this. People who are in physical pain often may have a hard time controlling their emotions and thus their attitudes towards people. Also you may be depressed or have anxiety that can hinder your ability to think through your reactions to others behavior. Sometimes depression and anxiety are a product of difficulties in our lives and will pass without any intervention with the exception of time. Sometimes, people need more help, counseling, dietary changes, supplementation and medication.
The biggest hurdle is not understanding what love really is. You cannot love someone if you have never been properly taught how to love. If you need to learn more about love, watch people who give a lot of their time to others, people who serve, people who are kind and charitable and study and read about Christ.
I believe love can overcome almost anything. My marriage is proof. But we had to make the conscious decision over and over again to actively love each other and take actions accordingly, like forgiving each other for everything. Over and over and over. Choosing to say sorry when we knew we had offended the other, not because we were always wrong but because the other person was more important than our pride. We serve each other each day, even when it doesn't benefit us at all. I clean the house endlessly and run boring errands like grocery shopping and the horrific task of paying the taxes. I do all this out of love and he does all the heavy lifting, literally and sometimes figuratively when I have a migraine or am having health issues. It all says love. It all means love and none of it is a feeling or state of being. It is all positive actions and good intentions.