If you read my past post HERE where I shared the news of my divorce (which is official and finalized, by the way—no 90 day wait after all), then you read that I listened to Jack Marshall’s talk on CD called Calming Storms - Overcoming Hurt, Injustice and Anguish the week before receiving the news myself. I have been wanting to do a review on it for weeks, but have been unsure about how to explain how much it helped me without sounding like I was tooting my own horn. More about that at the end of the post. Can you make it that far? My mom and (I’m pretty sure) my sister Sheri both had Brother Marshall as an institute teacher and told me how much he loves to tell jokes. I was in one of his BYU Education Week classes before and he definitely did! He starts this talk on CD with several jokes. I’m sharing this one just for my several Idaho blogging friends.
The first man had married a woman from Iowa and had told her that she was going to do the dishes and house cleaning. It took a couple of days, but on the third day he came home to see a clean house and dishes washed and put away.
The second man had married a woman from Illinois. He had given his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes, and the cooking. The first day he didn't see any results, but the next day he saw it was better. By the third day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done, and there was a huge dinner on the table.
The third man had married a beautiful girl from Idaho. He told her that her duties were to keep the house cleaned, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed and hot meals on the table for every meal. He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything, but by the third day some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye, enough to fix himself a bite to eat and load the dishwasher.
After the jokes, Brother Marshall starts talking about the importance of forgiving the person who has caused us hurt or anguish. Of course, it is a commandment to forgive others. He quotes Terry Warner from Scapegoating and the Atonement (Side note--That sounded like an interesting book so I looked it up, but couldn’t find anything with that name. I found a talk on CD called Why We Forgive by C. Terry Warner. Now that’s on my list to listen to! And I saw another book he wrote called Bonds That Make Us Free: Healing Our Relationships, Coming to Ourselves that I would like to read someday too.) Back to Brother Warner’s quote. “The sin of refusing to forgive involves us in the sin of refusing to accept Christ’s forgiveness.” This reminded me of something I learned when I read The Peacegiver: How Christ Offers Heal Our Hearts and Homes by James L. Ferrell. (Although I have to say the book was not one of my favorites, I did learn something about forgiveness from it which I will never forget. Someday I’ll have to post about that.)
He also quotes Wayne Muller’s book Legacy of the Heart: The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood (another one that looked interesting and I found the book you can read a little of online).
“For to let go of the ones who hurt us is to let go of our identity as the one who was hurt, the one who was violated, the one who was broken. It often feels like the bad guys are getting off scot-free while we are left holding the bag of pain.”
While I don’t think I have had a problem with forgiveness in my case, I have felt exactly like this quote. It’s hard to explain without going into details, but I’m sure that most of you have felt similarly at one time in your life to varying degrees.
Brother Marshall uses many scriptures of how Jesus handled injustice and betrayal and uses the examples to teach us how we can be like him. The one part of this whole CD that stood out the most to me when I listened to this just days before my life was changed was the story behind the two short verses about Simon of Cyrene in the Bible. “Who?” you may be asking.
When our dear Savior was forced to carry the crossbeam to his crucifixion, he became weak and tired and the soldiers pulled a stranger out of the crowd that had gathered on the street.
Mark 15: 21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.
The Bible doesn’t tell us anything that happened while the two walked along together so we don’t know what was said, but apparently even in the midst of this overwhelmingly painful physical suffering, Jesus thought of others. How do we know?
Romans 16: 13 Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell in his talk A More Determined Discipleship in 1978 gave his apostolic view that this Rufus spoken of so briefly years after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, is Simon the Cyrenian’s son Rufus. Paul even used the words, “chosen of the Lord” to describe him. So apparently, whatever Jesus said to Simon on that day changed Simon’s life and made him and his family become Christians.
Brother Marshall says that when he read Elder Maxwell’s words on this, he thought to himself, “Marshall, do you think there could have been other things on Jesus’ mind that day as he marched to Golgotha to have nails driven through him then to reach out and minister to another person in his hurt, in his betrayal?”
After I listened to this CD, the only thing I could remember from it to blog about was this story. After I was in the middle of my own pain and suffering, days of feeling like I was in a bubble where nothing else seemed to matter, I remembered this. How could I follow Christ’s example? Reach out to others during my own suffering. Forget myself in service. Please do not think I am boasting of myself here. I would just like to testify of what I learned to be true through practice. I still wish I did more.
But while I could barely find the energy to get out of bed, to cook (and you know I love to cook) for my family, to clean, in the middle of that, I decided that I needed to find ways to serve others. I did not do anything dramatic. As a matter of fact, I only did things that I often do—take dinner to a family, mail cards to a few people to thank them for things they’ve done, take balloons to a friend on her birthday, listen to a friend going through a divorce herself (without being able to tell her about mine yet), things like that. But it helped me. It helped me see how much others are going through and it helped me see how others overcome their trials and I could too.
I bet you’d find it hard to believe, but during this time, a friend of mine moved to a new city, a little girl in our ward died, a wonderful woman in our stake (used to be in our ward) died, two friends were going through their own divorces, a woman in our ward had a mini-stroke and almost died, several family members found out they’ll have to move due to an increase in rent, another friend lost her house due to foreclosure, and lots of other trials all around me. Thinking of them and serving them, even in the little, insignificant ways that I did, helped me to see outside of my bubble and was like therapy to me.
I am so grateful for Jesus’ example to us. I’m grateful that I was able to listen to this CD and apply a part of it when I needed it most.