22 July 2013

They Do Move

"Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."  --Gordon B. Hinckley

Life is beautiful when there is plenty. Plenty of spring. Plenty of autumn. Plenty of love. Plenty of safety. Plenty of health. Plenty of peace. Plenty of sunbeams and flowers. Plenty of friends. Plenty of prospects. Plenty of opportunities. Plenty of ... anything good.

Sometimes, though, it seems like life's about the just enoughs: Just enough health for the day's tasks. Just enough light to see by. Just enough money for the bare necessities. Just enough peace not to go mad. Just enough strength not to break under the last breakup or layoff or disease or friend's betrayal or ... whatever that final straw is.

In times of just enough you find yourself turned into two people: the fragile one who exerts a tight, exterior smile for the world's benefit — and the frantic one who dog-paddles in that dark, roiling interior of pain, doubt, fear or loneliness. It is terrifying because it is just you in there. It is just you in there because such darkness has to be Hidden from the world. No one can really do anything about it anyway.

But still you ask why, how long, what cure, please help.

Answers haven't come right away. Help hasn't come right away. The end — the plenty — certainly has not come right away. Rather, you have to exert Herculean effort just to keep it all together — an intensity of effort you didn't dream could be exacted of you — or should be exacted of you. Day after day. Prayer after prayer.

Because, even though there is One who knows those close-held inner strugglings, One who does have answers — and solutions — there is an economy in heaven. Not that the Lord is stretched for resources, but that the economy stretches us. Makes us more grateful. Resourceful. Childlike. Wise. Strong. Good. A little closer to heaven.

After all, you don't become a god by wasting resources — or time, or effort.

We beg and fret, criticize, implore, fight, stress, curse, and beg and pray some more (because it's been five minutes already — or five days, five weeks ... five years — and it's evident we weren't heard). We expend precious time, breath and strength with worry. While He works.

He sees all. Knows all. And cares. And fixes. Restores. Redeems. Delivers. Answers. Heals.

Often it's a quiet process ... just like everything else in the natural world. Trees don't spring branches overnight; mountains don't form in minutes (at least, not the rock ones); bears can't make winter any shorter. But the winter's not one day longer than is meet.

God knows the breaking point. He knows how far we each need to go. He's been there. And farther. There was no magical-poof deliverance for Him either. It's a rule. One of those immutable laws of nature. He knows. So He has compassion. For us. And He works. For us.

Just enough does not linger any longer than it should. But neither does it last one moment less than is right. And even when it seems He doesn't care, God works. Calmly. Quietly. Efficiently. Naturally. Lovingly. Not rushed. With perfect precision.

We wonder when — if — we'll ever get past the agony of the waiting room. Really, it's just that we're too muddled to see that we're already in the operating room and the Surgeon is working on us — and has been for a while. And may be for a while more. He wouldn't dream of hurting us by hurrying.

And while He does His work of answering the barrage of frantic prayers, recording every drop in the deluges of tears, filling the empty, multiplying what is not enough anymore, binding the broken, restoring plenty and delivering from, what we comprehend, is undeliverable, He also manages to add just enough to our just enoughs to let us know He's there, He's engaged, He has the solution, and He's helping us get there.

Blessings still shower down in just enough dearths. Just different blessings.

Just enough health to do the bare-minimum tasks ... and then a little more. Just enough money for the necessities ... and then, maybe a little more for a want. Just enough peace not to go mad ... and then, an episode of cathartic tears that brings relief, clears our mind and lightens our chest for one day more. Just enough knowledge to take a deep breath, even if it's not enough yet to know what to do. Just enough of whatever you really need (even if you might not know it) to get by for a little longer.

Just enough faith to take one step at a time into the darkness. Halting steps. Trembling, weak-kneed steps.

But steps.

And as we kneel to pray, then stand to step, recognizing that just enough added to our own just enough, the light grows a little brighter. The shoulders a little stronger. The breathing a little more even. The tears a little less frequent, the resolve to banish destructive thoughts a little more active. The ability to recognize that invisible, ceaseless Help a little keener. Thus the courage to take another step a little more available.

And, impossible though it seems, again and again, comfort is found. Line upon line, answers are given. Little by little, the healing does happen. Step by step, the doubt disappears. Here a little and there a little, the miracles occur. Breath by breath, peace returns. Minute by minute, happiness is restored. Inch by inch —

The mountains do move.


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