Recently I was on a phone call with a realtor in Canada. We exchanged the usual pleasantries and began to settle into a business discussion. Then off the cuff, she simply asked me “By the way, how are you? I mean, how are all of you there in America? I am so sorry about what has happened in your country-I mean, with the Capitol riot and all…?” She was so genuine, sincere, and compassionate. Holding my phone, I froze.
Do you remember ever being on a playground as a child and getting injured-perhaps in a fall or something? You dust yourself off, tell yourself you are fine and move on. Then some kind person reaches out-maybe they touch your shoulder, look you in the eye, and they gently query “Are you O.K.?” Maybe this is when the tears spring to your eyes. This was what happened to me when the realtor gently queried. Her compassion took me off guard. I choked out a brief, respectable response. We had our business discussion. We exchanged amicable goodbyes. We hung up our phones. For a few minutes, I let the sadness of what is happening in our country right now sweep over me.
America is ill and in need of a doctor. Fortunately, God sent us a doctor, even President Russell M. Nelson. He helped us “come home” even before the pandemic arrived. We had gospel, home-centered gospel learning in place before the world returned home. Our prophet is ahead of our situations. In a recent interview between two of my favorite women, Sheri Dew and Wendy Nelson (wife of our prophet) Sister Nelson shared the following:
“Exactly a year ago, December 2019, I looked at our 2020 calendar to see where we would be going, where we were traveling. And looked from January through July, every single month, there was a huge trip, and arenas, huge arenas, booked. And I thought, ‘OK, well, this is what we’ll do.’ And I knew that in between those, there was at least one huge trip a month that in between, we would be doing local opportunities to be with our local congregations. There I am, I’ve sort of got my whole head set into this is how it’s going to be in 2020. And suddenly, in early January, I looked on the calendar again, and everything’s gone, meaning all those trips were gone. So this is early January, this is pre-COVID. And I said, ‘Where did those trips go?’ And he said, ‘I just felt like we didn’t need to do them. I just felt like I should take those off the calendar.’ So there is a prophet in the land. His name is Russell Marion Nelson.”
We are in good hands. We are further blessed by our apostles, disciples of our Savior. We can look to them as well. President Oaks recently stated “We peacefully accept the results of elections. We will not participate in the violence threatened by those disappointed with the outcome.”
May we all follow our doctor/prophet’s orders and choose peace in our hearts. The adversary would have us choose contention. No thank-you. As we try to “Hear Him”, contention creates static in the communication wires. This makes us “hard of hearing”. (As a side note, I recently learned that cortisol-the chemical by-product of internalized contention which often correlates with negative stress-can be addictive. Cortisol is very hard on the body-lots to research there if you are interested.) I love these words from Sister Nelson on her and President Nelson’s feelings on contention:
“To hear Him, what I’ve learned is we absolutely remove anything that prevents the Spirit from being in our home in full abundance. An example is zero contention. I thought that was an impossible thing. And until I really started to study what the Savior taught the Nephites, and to say “contention is not of me.” And so, literally, if we would be watching a movie, and there would be contention, he (President Nelson) needed to turn it off. If there was a sporting game, but it became contentious rather than competitive, he would turn it off. So anything that offends the Spirit —contention. We’re extremely careful about whatever we watch, a movie, etc. Our home is designed by both of us to make sure that the Spirit can be there and full abundance so that hearing Him is always on our mind.”
We know from the scriptures that contention comes from the devil: “For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but isof the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.”-3Nephi 11:29
There were those in the Book of Mormon who recognized the adversary and turned away from his tactics: “Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God.
-3 Nephi 6:13.
I would like to be like these people, and like the people of whom Alma said “I verily believe that there are some among you who would humble themselves, let them be in whatsoever circumstances they might.” -Alma 32:25
God needs a humble, peace loving people. I want to be better. When the banner of kindness is raised and goodness is on parade, “I want to be in that number, when the Saints Come Marching In.” I want to love purely, with humility, and without guile, no matter what.