Monday, February 23, 2015

Thoughts on a Broken Heart

Hey everybody!!! 

It is a BEAUTIFUL day here in Tegucigalpa Honduras, and I am here to bring you a special message.  But first.... Shoutouts, as always.  Lara, Kailey, Khiabethamente, Mariah and Donny, Lizzie, Jose, Emma-Lee, Sabrina, Crys, Alexa, Joy....   I love you all dearly, as always, and if you ever need advice or love or whatever... Well... I'm in Honduras.  But I can try. :D

Now, onto the email.... As I'm sure you've read from my other emails, life in Teguc is a bit hard.  And as I said last week, I wanted to compare a bit about God and the world and religion and stuff.... So... Here it goes.

Any of you that knew me before the mission knows that I believe that a big part of who we are stems from the experiences we've had in which we were broken and left to fight on our own - and thus we 'become' based on the fights we've come out of (notice that I don't say the fights we've 'won' or 'lost' - winning or losing in these situations strictly depends on your own perspective).  

As I've been living in Honduras, I've come to believe that even more so.  So, my first question is, is WHY do we allow the 'hard' moments to shape us?  Whenever we're getting close to someone, I've noticed that a 'breaking' point in the friendship is when you come out and tell your 'history' or your 'dark side'....  When you reveal the hard parts of who you are and the journey you took to get there.  It's always a gamble, because when you do so, you are putting the most sensitive parts of you out in the open.... Acceptance means deep trust, rejection means salt in an open wound.

And what is really interesting, is that EVERYTHING we do is an outward expression of an inward root - and we have a million subconcious 'expressions' in which we show who we have become every day.

But although I could talk about all of our little habits and the root of them for pages, I really want to get to this idea - we cannot comprehendall that we do and why, and so to help us with that.... We place 'labels' on ourselves. We also do this same thing with other people - categorizing is easier than trying to understand everyone we meet individually.  We do this with 'friend circles,' ranging from best friends to close friends to friends in general, to the everyday cliques we see in school and the workplace, such as suck-ups, burnouts, flirts, jocks, artsy people, etc...  Now, life in Honduras is no exception.  But the 'labels' that we see are a bit different than the ones you live with - and the labels we have for people were not given by US....  But by the people themselves.  And they will defend this 'label' LITERALLY to the death, even if they don't fully comprehend the reason why.... 

They call these labels 'religion'.  

Now, there are HUGE classes of religions here in Honduras, ranging from the largest denominations (such as Catholicism, Evangelists and Jehovah's Witnesses) to a HUGE variety of mini congregations that claim to be part of bigger ones.  All in all... These people are wonderful people, intelligent, loving, willing to help....  and every one, regardless of the religion, will agree that they are focused on the same basic principles of Love, Acceptance, Kindness and other Christlike attributes.  They are all willing to help one another (at least in principle) regardless of the past you express, as I mentioned before.

That is, at least, until you are wearing a plaque representing another religion.

Despite the profound connections that all these people share in general, once you put one 'label' against another, the love ceases and all that occurs on both sides is varying degrees of defensiveness.  Any sign of general acceptance is GONE.  When you put one set of ideals against another, the love turns to war.  We have been the victims of such wars before, being yelled at, spit at and ridiculed in the streets for being 'Mormons.'

But WHY?  Are we not all trying to reach, technically, the same goal?  Why then, are all denominations so at odds with one another?  

Now, I'm sure that there are many of you who are saying to yourselves right now, 'well yeah!  I mean, I would do that if I was talking to someone of another religion.  It would be EASY to just accept them, right?' 
Well, I thought the same thing.  And it IS easy, at first.  But I started understanding a bit more when I bore my sincere testimony to a stern member of another denomination.  I expressed my sincere desire to help people and help them come to a knowledge of the truth that we believe we have - is there anything wrong in that?  Most would say no.  But this woman thought differently.  She responded in something to this extent:

'If all you want to do is 'help' people, then why would you go around trying to convert people to YOUR beliefs, when we've lived by OUR beliefs for generations?  What about our experiences?  WE are who WE are by what we have come to believe.  What about our families that lived and died for these beliefs?  By being here, you are discrediting all that they were, by walking around saying that you have a higher knowledge, and that is NOT helping anyone.'

What would you say to that?  

Thus... I come to the center of this email.  These are my thoughts on a broken heart - if someone comes to you and tells you that WHO YOU ARE is wrong...  That ALL you believe and ALL you've become was for not.... What do you say?  Obviously that is not our goal as missionaries, but all too often, that is what they hear.  If you walk into ANY given room full of a certain religion, they are going to talk a bit liberally, correctly?  For example.... How many of you, when surrounded by a large group of Mormons, have proudly announced 'Well hey, WE have the right religion ANYWAY right??  WE know the full truth.'   

I know I have.  But it would be a bit different if you were the only Mormon in the room right?  You wouldn't THINK differently.... But you definitely wouldn't be quick to denounce the beliefs of hundreds of others either.  Take that a step further, and imagine if you were trying to defend a belief in God Himself against a room full of professed athiests.  Even though YOU KNOW it is true, your voice would be lost in the war of comebacks, telling you that there is NO way you can prove there is a God.

So here is the Big Dilemma....  Every one who belongs to a given religion by choice stands as firmly there as we do where we stand.  And, even if we come to 'agree to disagree', there are fundamental beliefs that we won't be able to bring to harmony.  The same applies to any deciding difference in people, be it religion, political party, family ties, choice of friends, among hundreds of others.  They all stem from our inward roots... And who can deny the center of who we are?

So now.... In this unsolvable problem....  I want to tell you why I'm serving a mission.

Based on the choices I've made and the situations I've been placed in in my life, I've also developed my own 'roots' - many of which stem to the same basic principles of Love and Acceptance.  Those principles are what I crave and what I LOVE to give.  They are, in many ways, part of me (of course, I am far from perfect in application....  But they are what I aim for, at very least).

But, during my life, and especially during this mission... I've come to a realization.  

I Am Not Perfect.  

The experiences I've had make me biased.  The past I've lived make me prefer one kind of person as a close friend as opposed to another.  The life I want makes it so that I would accpet everyone - but I'd be quicker to accept 'one' kind of person as a partner than another.  In other words.... Although I am who I am by cause of what my 'broken heart' has given me, I cannot say that: 
'Therefore, all that I have come to believe is correct, and therefore... My basic 'labels' are correct as well.' 

But if that's the case....  Why am I a missionary?  

Well....  The answer I have for this question is the same I have for the 'unanswerable' question I gave earlier in the message.   

A Broken Heart.  

But... Not mine.

Christ came to the world in the most humble of circumstances, and He spent His whole life teaching what is generally accepted as 'the truth'... And yet He was rejected.  And yet despite the fact He knew He would be rejected, he willingly gave His precious life for us - who today dispute over who knows Him the best.  Isn't this kind of missing the point?  I am a missionary, because I do not only believe, but I KNOW that this is His Church.

But that's not all.  I am here, because I have humbled myself and recognized that my understands are not perfect... And therefore.... I needed guidance from someone who had an understanding higher than my own.  So, I kneeled before my Father in Heaven, and I asked and PLEADED to know what was the path that HE wanted for me.  And I recieved my answer.  

And THAT... That is something that no one can deny.  Because above all.... I KNOW that He wants to help us.  And if that is the case....  If we deny His help because 'we already know and we ARE who we ARE...'  Who's heart is truly broken?

And finally....  Why am I a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints specifically?  In addition to the answer I recieved to my prayers.... There's a book that I've read.  They call it Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  And if I want to depend on He who had a perfect broken heart....  Why should I not read a book that claims to be a testament of Him?  And not only that... If this book is true.... We can come to know for ourselves what 'religion' is His.  

You all know what book this is.  And, if you want to know why I am representing this church right now....  You're going to have to read this book and ask Him who cannot lie if it's true. 

I could lie.  I'm not perfect.

But He won't.  

Please.... Read this book.  If you do, you will know how to love with a love more pure than the love we've learned from our own lives... We can learn to love with God's love.  Pray about it.  He'll answer.

Congratulations Sister Belkis Gonzalez
I know that if we were to humble ourselves and be willing to listen, we would be able to conquer the unanswerable question... And why?  Because we wouldn't be following our own broken hearts.... But we would be trusting in someone who can heal them.

I am also grateful to say that another wonderful woman has come to know for herself that this book and Church are true....  Belkis Gonzalez was baptized yesterday by someone that is like a father to her.  Congratulations to her.  She is the happiest she's ever been, in her own words.

I Love You All.  My prayer is that we can find peace....  And I know that we can do so if we would only be willing to give ourselves to Him.  Just try.  Come and See.

Elder Kristian Huff

Song of the week: Round and Round by Imagine Dragons

No comments:

Post a Comment