Wednesday, October 5, 2016

"We are probably those referred to as 'our brother's keepers,' possessed of one of the oldest and possibly one of the most futile and certainly one of the most haunting instincts. It will not let us go.”  
~Norman Maclean

I read A River Runs Through It for the first time when I was 16. Because of where I was at in my life at the time, and what was going on around me, I fell in love with it and it became a favorite. 

There are battles that aren't entirely ours to fight, but that we can't quite walk away from either.  "Strengthen thy brethren" is an exhortation that's very close to my heart, but figuring out what it means in specific situations or relationships can be challenging. 

When it was time to go back to school, the reason I chose nursing is that I hate just standing by when someone is hurt. I need to do something.  If I can fix it, or at least help ease the burden, I feel like maybe things will be OK. I've gotten better at accepting that sometimes all you can do is hold someone's hand and acknowledge the painful reality that they hurt and it can't be fixed, at least right now, and not shrink from that.  But when it comes to spiritual pain, I still struggle to accept when the answer is simply "Watch and pray". 

I forget that that is doing something. You can't give someone your faith. You can bear your testimony, but you can't control whether or not they receive a witness.  You can't take away their doubts or their fears or their sins. You can do everything you can think of to give them love, but you can't make them feel loved. 

When my most important people are broken, lost, hurting or angry, I want to scoop all the little pieces of their broken hearts into my hands and mend them back together. But I can't do that--that is the domain of the Savior, and the Savior alone.  I have seen so much heart crushing of late, and a crushed heart is a deeply difficult thing to hand over, because the very nature of the injury makes it difficult to believe that there is a remedy. So we cover it over with cynicism or anger or bitterness or doubt.  At the exact moment in our lives when we need so desperately to turn towards the things of eternity, we turn ourselves farther away from them.  

When someone we love is facing away from the light of joy, we can't turn them around. All that we can do is be kind, try to exercise love and patience and kindness, do all we can to be one of the lights along the shore, so that when they're ready to come home, there is a familiar face to walk with them.

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