Thursday, August 13, 2015

Morsels of Goodness

My left wrist's tendinitis I've been babying for over a year finally decided to call it enough. For the first time since 11th grade, I'm in a long-term brace again. Typing and playing music is reduced for the rest of the year. How grateful I am for music students and my children who give me the opportunity to still work with music. And thank you Mac for making a dictation tool on my laptop!  

This will be short and sweet. Morsel's of goodness that are nourishing my soul. First, a poem from a poet I have begun to discover:

Christine Rossetti, Later Life: A Double Sonnet of Sonnets, #5

Lord, Thou Thyself I love and only Thou;
Yet I who am not love would fain love Thee;
But Thou alone being Love canst furnish me 
With that same love my heart is craving now.
Allow my plea! for if Thou disallow, 
No second fountain can I find but Thee;
No second hope for help is left to me, 
No second anything, but only Thou.
Oh Love accept, according my request;
Oh Love exhaust, fulfilling my desire:
Uphold me with the strength that cannot tire, 
Nerve me to labor till Thou bid me rest, 
Kindle my fire from Thine unkindled fire, 
And charm the willing heart from out my breast.

This last morsel needs a little introduction. 

I have had a great desire growing in me over the year: to learn of the searches for truth great minds had embarked on and what they had discovered. I have also felt I needed to be accountable for such searching. So I acted upon this growing feeling last month and registered for classes.  I’ll be working on a second degree, this time in philosophy; one or two classes at a time, going slow and absorbing all I can. 

Then last week, I was at the bookstore purchasing a little book for a friend who had lost her mother recently. Sitting next to that book was another that called to me and I let it tag along to the cash register. 

And it has happened again! I felt a nudge. I acted upon it, and soon after, I am led to find beautiful words that express the feelings I could only feel and stumble to explain. I read them again today and feel such nourishment from truth that I would be greedy not to share it with my "neighbors." 

We will not be able to develop his heart within us with only a surface understanding of our fellow men—or with alienation because of difference, whatever the source of that dissimilarity. In this wonderful world of knowledge it is easy to learn. Is not this part of "the gathering"? We rightly call this age the "dispensation of the fullness of times." Notice that the phrase is plural—“times,” not “time.” We want all the best from every age and corner of the globe. 

… One day my teacher gave me a compass. It was a simple instrument with a sharp point on one leg and a pencil secured at the tip of the other. She showed me that by planting the pointed leg firmly and stretching out with the other leg, I could draw a perfect circle. 
… As I grew I was taught how to draw another circle by a divine teacher, one that encompassed truth, beauty, and goodness. The spiritual compass also has two feet—one I call “the fixed foot," and the other, "the searching foot." We all have this spiritual compass. 
… It took a good measure of spiritual maturity for me to realize that the great question of mortality was not really to find the one to church among all the false ones; rather it was to discover where truth and goodness and beauty had reached their most mature form and plant my fixed foot there. That is the critical starting point: Where will we place the fixed foot of our life's compass?  
There can be no true or complete circle without a center. 
… Placing the fixed foot is only half the task, not the whole of life's journey: We would draw the circle.  
…Truth is too grand to be found in such small dimensions. It is scattered around the world, God distributing his wonders as widely as the sower throwing grain. God would have the harvest cover the whole field. Light is given not only in the scriptures or through prophetic inspiration, but in multiple ways. Our Father in Heaven is a light–giving God and dispenses it as widely as the stars. 
… I have learned that there is a tremendous amount of truth we can circumscribe if we reach out with the searching foot. Is this not as important as planting the fixed foot? We need to get them in the right order, of course. We do not wish to go dancing on both feet through the offerings of the world, picking up bits and pieces of truth here and there without ever taking the time, energy of thought, and introspection to find our fixed point. There is a certain intellectual and spiritual laziness in that approach. Discovering the right midpoint will give us the best perspective of the whole, the broad view from the peak, the best chance of encompassing all truth and avoiding error. Remember you cannot draw a perfect circle without an immovable center point.  
… I believed that my Father in Heaven is a loving God toward all his children. My idea of him was often difficult to align with this rather limited understanding of his interaction with humankind. What of the Chinese? What of those in India? He speaks often of his voice penetrating even the isles of the sea. What about those during the centuries of darkness we call the Great Apostasy? Surely God would speak to humanity through every voice he could find. I firmly believe this. God has many voices. If we cannot hear his voice in that of a prophet or apostle, perhaps we can hear it in that of the sage, or a poet, or a philosopher, or playwright, or an artist. Their voices also find their roots in God. In time, I came to desire—to hunger for, really—these other voices. I sensed I would have to reach my searching foot far afield to bring them into my circle of understanding.  
That reach has made all the difference in my life and in my love of God.  
… Almost always in the Scriptures, light is interchangeable with truth. The light of Christ is his truth—that that which he has given us. With the light of Christ as our foundation, our point of planting, we are free to explore and encouraged to augment. 
… At times, I fear that we receive the Lord’s beautiful light only to continually gaze at it reverently. Is not the purpose of light to push back the darkness? Is it not to see with greater clarity? As the Psalms testify, light was given that we might see with it and discover new and enhancing truth… what I marvel at is how much God has accomplished with ordinary people who are also part of flawed humanity. We can't have pure Saints—or profits, apostle's, or holy man for that matter. We need to quit perpetuating the myth that they exist. 
… Other than Jesus Christ, imperfection has been true for Joseph Smith, Moses, Peter, President Thomas S. Monson, or any other scriptural personality or living leader. To believe otherwise is to deny humanity.… The greatest personalities are still part and parcel of their surrounding culture. 
… I repeat: God has many voices. I believe he desires to get as much goodness, beauty, and truth as he can into the lives and hearts and minds of the people of this world…. “Know ye not that there are more nations than one?” the Lord asked (2 Nephi 29:7). Let us answer, “Yea, Lord, we know. We have reached! We have searched!…”

               ~ S. Michael Wilcox, 10 Great Souls I want to Meet in Heaven, xv-11.

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