It has been quite a while since I posted on my blog. Turns out I was indeed very ill and after several ER visits and emergency surgery have been recovering from the major surgery.
Christmas and New Years were spent in bed recuperating. Too tired and in pain to attend church, I did find myself watching EWTN Catholic television to bring some spirituality into my room. BYU TV is regrettably mostly sports and repeats of series. Mormon Channel, which I had really enjoyed listening especially continuous Christmas music, resumed its looped programming. I am sure with time it will produce more content and what a wonderful station it will become. There must be many others like me who are bedridden and wish to be spiritually fed.
We had a few church visitors during my convalescence but there seems to be a quota of three meals provided per family event. When my husband became ill while I was helpless, we sure felt like the beaten man on the side of the road needing assistance but none was offered. Sad but true. We realized that childless and no close family meant that we were at the mercy of church members for compassionate service. That is a crucial difference between LDS with big families and those with none. It is assumed that family will be available to assist ill family members be it children or extended family. To this end, families can care for their own with little assistance from the Church. For those of us without family network, the Church should be the second tier of assistance. Unfortunately, our ward is filled with young couples in higher education often struggling to manage little ones. They cannot offer their time or help to non-family members. We learned that we were on our own and cannot or should not expect compassionate service from our ward—at least without demonstrating how we have assisted others. All we needed was someone to vacuum the living room but as women of the church eschew homemaking duties in order to elevate their spiritual duties to those of the level of the priesthood, in my opinion, they have lost the core meaning of Relief Society: Charity and Compassion.
Do not mean to use this platform to be negative, but rather to show this event renewed my desire to be more contemplative because as one learns with walk with the Savior on a moment to moment basis, the more natural it will be to stoop down and assist the beaten fellow along the life’s path. We are to give compassion freely, without quotas, and without a balance sheet. We can only do so with love of the Savior swelling our hearts. Does not matter how often you attend sacrament meeting if your heart is only towards your own family and not the greater church family. Indeed, we hear time and time again how family takes precedence which is great if you have an extended family but for those childless couples or even as just a single person this means abandonment. Any fool can love and serve their own, but it takes a heart closely aligned with Christ to recognize that those without families have even greater need for compassion, love, and inclusion. How do we develop this cardio enlargement? We learn from the consummate shepherd, Jesus, and seek the ONE most precious in his sight.
What practical steps to become more contemplative? Prayer, Prayer, Prayer. Conversation with God is the direct path to inspiration and revelation. Personal tutoring from the Divine will polish off our rough edges. Make the mundane significant. Help the helpless. Recharge our spiritual batteries. Prayer must be as fluent as our mother tongue. A contemplative life is a Christ-centered life. Mine happens to include specific set times during the day. It may initiate with a hymn but definitely occur in a quiet, secluded atmosphere.
So, even if ward members are too busy to serve non-family, with a contemplative spiritual life we come to see that the Savior is never too busy to extend mercy and compassion to the helpless. He will even call in what I call “the professionals” ie the Holy Ghost and angels for supernatural support. Now that I am recovering I am able and willing to assist others who also have no family support. I believe God cares little if we have a huge family if it means we neglect those without family.