Monday, June 22, 2009

Entirely and Utterly Alone...?


Tonight I've received a very tender mercy. I've been so grateful, and so fortunate to have Adam as my eternal companion. His love and tenderness, service and devotion towards me is something I could not have comprehended three years ago as one of the "fruits" of marriage. I knew I loved him and that he loved me and he would be good to me, but I didn't realize the literal meaning of companion that he would become.

Through my pregnancy, Adam has been a rock, a comfort. He has been there every step of the way, but tonight I realized there are moments of this pregnancy that I have had to do alone. One example is the terrible morning sickness, particularly in the first days when I couldn't keep anything down for longer than 20 minutes for about 48 hours. Now as I near the end of the pregnancy and experience the pain that comes only at night time forcing me out of sleep and into a thousand different positions until the pain in my lower right back subsides I again feel alone. I spend hours in middle of night alone contemplating my thoughts, working through the pain, longing for sleep, and feeling despair.

Tonight I turned for comfort in an unlikely source. Youtube. A few weeks ago I discovered the Mormon channel on facebook through LDS.org. I have linked it HERE. There are videos with short messages from Prophets and Apostles that are great for a little spiritual uplift. While I was watching a few, I felt like I should go ahead and use my time in the night to finish last April's conference talks. We were in New York over conference weekend and I have the podcast on my ipod. I finished the Saturday talks and decided to listen to the Sunday talks. A memory of my missionary brother reminded me that the talk his mission president had highlighted, the one he felt most anxious to hear was Jeffery R. Holland's talk on the Atonement. I started with this one.

Tears filled my eyes when I began to listen as he said "my Easter-season message today is intended for everyone, but it is directed in a special way to those who are alone or feel alone or, worse yet, feel abandoned... In short it can include all of us at various times in our lives.To all such, I speak of the loneliest journey ever made and the unending blessings it brought to all in the human family. I speak of the Savior’s solitary task of shouldering alone the burden of our salvation. Rightly He would say: “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me. . . . I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold [me]." The message goes on to document the last few days of our Saviors life. I wanted to share the most poinient moment of the talk for me:

The loss of mortal support He had anticipated, but apparently He had not comprehended this. Had He not said to His disciples, “Behold, the hour . . . is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me” and “The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him”?

With all the conviction of my soul I testify that He did please His Father perfectly and that a perfect Father did not forsake His Son in that hour. Indeed, it is my personal belief that in all of Christ’s mortal ministry the Father may never have been closer to His Son than in these agonizing final moments of suffering. Nevertheless, that the supreme sacrifice of His Son might be as complete as it was voluntary and solitary, the Father briefly withdrew from Jesus the comfort of His Spirit, the support of His personal presence. It was required; indeed it was central to the significance of the Atonement, that this perfect Son who had never spoken ill nor done wrong nor touched an unclean thing had to know how the rest of humankind—us, all of us—would feel when we did commit such sins. For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone.

Brothers and sisters, one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said, “I will not leave you comfortless. [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you].

What a beautiful message that felt directed to a sad lonley mother in waiting. Someone who felt physical pain as well as emotional. Although my feelings of lonleyness came from the dark hours of the night when the world was still and the light far off, therefore, perhaps justified...I was quickly reminded of the atoning sacrifice of our Savior and the pure love of Christ which will not leave me alone, even when if feels like understanding is far off.

I know that as I sit here in the dark alone, I am not alone and I feel comfort. I am grateful for the atonement and for the perfect understanding of our Savior. I know that I am not alone. I will finish with Elder Hollands concluding thoughts: "This Easter week and always, may we stand by Jesus Christ “at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death, for surely that is how He stood by us when it was unto death and when He had to stand entirely and utterly alone."

For the entire talk click HERE

1 comment:

Brad and Stephanie said...

Melissa you are such a strong and beautiful women! I had the same thought early in the mornings when I would sit there with tears running down my face. I felt like I was alone in so many ways near the end of my pregnancy I was afraid nervous and SO TIRED!!! You are strong and you can do this! Heavenly Father will hold you in his arms for as long as you need him. I love you girlie! What I realized after I had Ethan was that was part of the bonding process I think it was part of what made me realize that I would do ANYTHING for the little boy. You are such a wonderful mommy already!