I don't think its likely I have much in common with Elder Holland. For starters, he has a work ethic, personal discipline, spiritual enlightenment and dedication that I can only dream of.
That being said, he's long been one of my favorite speakers, because, well, who doesn't love Elder Holland's talks? They are emotionally moving, spiritually powerful, and intellectually strong. But one of the other reasons that his talks in particular stick out to me is that he often speaks on themes that I frequently find in my own writing, thoughts, and conversations--aspects of the Gospel and doctrine that are often on my mind and are particularly moving to me. He speaks regularly of the reality that we are never alone, that the Lord knows us individually and personally and loves us, that there are angels everywhere, that we should always have hope, and that we should be of good cheer. These are the thoughts I find myself coming back to over and over and over again in my own studying and pondering.
When I heard him make the statement above during an interview on the Mormon Channel series "Conversations", it immediately resonated with me and has stuck in my mind.
"One of the gifts given me is. . .I'm a believer". I finally realized this about myself a few years ago. Faith is, for lack of a better word, natural to me. That isn't to say I haven't strived to develop this gift and to develop a deeper and stronger testimony, because I very much have. But I was given the gift of belief, much of it comes relatively easily to me, which in turn makes hope and being of good cheer relatively easy.
I needed to remember that, to express my gratitude for it, to realize that I ought not be frustrated or inpatient when those I love struggle to reach a point of belief, or even seem uninterested in believing. I spend most of my time on seeking to better understand, because belief comes easy for me. I realized that several years ago, and I needed to be reminded that I am only able to spend as much energy focused on developing understanding because I don't need to spend a lot of time developing belief--in the deepest parts of my heart, I never truly have any doubts. And that is a very much an unearned and all too often undeserved gift, but I am so grateful to the Lord for choosing to bestow that gift upon me. More times than I can count, it has been the glue that has held my life--my self--together. I pray always that I might be more worthy of that blessing, and make better use of it in blessing those around me.