Friday, November 7, 2014

wandering in the wilderness

(class assignment, hence the length of the post)

I didn't always love the Spanish Book of Mormon. 

Not even after months and months of reading it. It was just a book to me.

I suppose, it had to be this way. 

September 29, 2013. The sun sneaked in through the wooden slats covering the window. Eyes open, back flat, sheets tossed to one side, I laid in quiet silence. I was becoming slowly aware of the inevitable back pain from the ancient dirty mattresses that we were forced to sleep on. I wondered if the floor was more comfortable.  I waited in peace before the phone alarm rang, ending my tranquility. 
'Another day in this country,' I grumbled so unwillingly in my head.

I flopped out of bed. Glancing over my shoulder to see my companion do the same. I knelt down, and prayed. I did not want to be there. But I pretended that I did. I was a robot, passing through the normal morning routine. I sit at my desk, with my mind and heart thousands of miles away, wandering in its own wilderness. 

"Wondering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood
Jesus sought me when a stranger"

I clenched my Spanish Book of Mormon, walked to my bed, and sat down. I read. And read some more. I had read the Book of Mormon over ten times in English, yet, now I was reading lines and words and characters that I did not understand. I did not love this book. It wasn't my book yet.

I slammed it shut. My heart's frustration began leaking through my eyes. I let my head fall back on my pillow. I looked at my watch. It was 11:23 am. But what I really saw was a time clock telling me 11 more months as a missionary.

My vision blurred and the tears streamed down my face, soaking my pillow. I looked up at the wall. Perfectly hung by scotch tape on all four corners was a painting of Joseph Smith's first vision ripped out of the latest Ensign. Time stop. In this instant I knew everything was true. Yes, even the book that I held in my hands that I didn't understand. God taught me something. Actually, He let me feel His love that morning and a reminder to His daughter in the small town in the middle of Argentina that He was aware of her needs. That was my life changing morning.

"O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to theeProne to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I loveHere's my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above"

It was this morning I began living the Book of Mormon. I now knew who Lehi, Nephi, Ammon, and Alma were. All these lives and characters who were once just a part of history became now part of my story. Our lives and experiences had common threads. 

We were both missionaries. We both knew what suffering felt like. 
We both had prayed earnestly, spending much more time on our knees. 

I wondered if they had moments like I had. Searching in the wilderness for a concrete understanding of what I had always been told was true. 

I was in my own wilderness. 

I came from a wonderful home up above, where life was perfect. I lived with a Heavenly Father who loved me. But then came to earth, where challenges and trials became more every day life. 

Like Lehi, he left his precious jewels and riches, a comfortable bed and home, a place where his family resided, and he left for the wilderness. It was in the wilderness, that Nephi and Lehi's and every other Book of Mormon protaganists greatest learning experiences took place. Nephi ventures into the wilderness, after the death of his father, and feels that he is a wretched man. It was then that he pleaded with God for help and support. It was in the wilderness--away from their comfortable home-- that Alma and Amulek were trapped in the prison walls, seeking a solution from God. It was granted. It was in the depths of the wilderness that Mormon--the only righteous man held up to his standards to be an example for the rest of the people.

We've all been in our wilderness. 
Its in the wilderness that we have to learn to survive to become something. 

I was in my wilderness for a long time. Over seven months, I struggled and suffered, patiently waiting for my exit. For now, I realized, it is better to be in the wilderness. Its God's way of refinement.  And because He does that,  He gives me enough to survive in this wilderness. 

I'll choose to stay here in my new wilderness. 

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Maira Gall