Some time ago I tried my hand at writing an article about an admirable elder. Later a friend told me that this elder was shocked to read my article. He had not expected me to portray him so deeply on the basis of our limited acquaintance. When I heard this I had to laugh. Sometimes we do not need repeated contact with someone, yet we can touch his spirit. In moments of mutual responsiveness, if we can quiet our hearts and “listen” to the other person, we can hear the voice deep within his heart.
He Edifies His Children According to their Endowment
This same principle of listening is also suitable for learning the Lord’s teaching. In the common view, the Lord is lofty beyond our reach. But my experiences these past few years have given me a conviction: if we are willing to quiet our hearts, we can easily listen to the Lord and understand the Lord’s message.
The Bible portrays motherhood as being like the Lord’s agent in the human world. Because the Lord does not bring up each person individually, he created motherhood. This is a beautiful ideal, but if we test it in the real world, we find that mothers can’t always live up to their entrusted task. In discharging their sacred duty, many mothers can be faulted for doing too little or not enough. But the Lord, like an ideal parent in the human world, knows that after children leave the nest, they will no longer be covered by parental wings. Thus the Lord offers teachings suited to each child’s makeup, to strengthen the child’s ability to face the world’s hardships.
The Lord’s teaching comes through a myriad channels. It may come through textbooks that we can see, or through experiences with the non-physical world. One of the best avenues for learning is being put through adversity. According to modern-day Dell learning theory, effectiveness increases as we move from looking to listening to diagramming to physical operations. When one learns by overcoming difficulty, the result is superior in comparison to textbook learning. The more unbearable the difficulty, the more directly one is lead into higher realms, thereby furthering life of the spirit.
The Cruelest Blow Awakened Me to Life’s Value
Because I grew up in a family that was imperfect in many respects, I yearned to run away from an early age. As a result, I resorted to marriage as a respectable way of entering a new family, but then I was rudely awakened. The heaven I had anticipated turned out to be more hellish than before. While going through endless wear and tear on my psyche, the question that came most often to mind was: Why should we rescue the world from apocalypse? If the apocalypse were really to destroy all bodies and souls beneath the seventh level of Heaven, as our Master said, such a total calamity would be an answer to my prayers!
But in those agonizing days of waiting for death, the Lord gave me a gift. It began with being reduced to a bloody pulp in an accident. Then came surgery to correct the injuries from my accident. Then came more surgery to correct the aftereffects of the first surgery. What seemed to be a cruel blow somehow caused my awakening. Eight months of convalescence were an extended vacation I could not have taken any other way. In the warm solicitude shown by friends and family during my hospital stay, their love for me became apparent. From my new perspective I learned to value myself and affirm my existence.
Going through this gave me a new experience of adversity. The Lord’s gift was a pill with an ephedra coating. The first taste of that coating was bitter beyond words, but the closer I got to the center, the more I found an indescribable sweetness. The Lord is never far away: his emanations always hover about you solicitously. The Lord is the good physician whose reassuring words are heard in the emergency ward. The Lord is also in my co-striver Min-si: while I grappled with the agony of living on, she casually told me a story that comforted my hurt and resolved my great doubts.
The Lord is not far, and he bestows his gifts in remarkable ways. The Lord also appears in humble forms at our side, to give secret help at opportune times. As long as we can quiet our hearts, we can sense the Lord’s pervading love. As a recipient of the Lord’s “gift,” I also received his love. From his love I learned to love myself, along with all people caught in their mortal coils. Never forget that the Lord’s lessons are trials aimed at recovering our original hearts that may have been lost among the red dust. From this, we move onward to fulfill the mission for which we were incarnated in this world.