Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Live like you believe

My brother Jim told me a story a few weeks ago that made me very sad and yet inspired.
It's about a young woman from Washington who was murdered in late 1982, a victim of the "Green River Killer".  The serial murderer was caught, after a nearly 20 year killing spree,  and eventually made a plea agreement in Nov 2003, pleading guilty to 49 murders, to avoid the death penalty. As part of the agreement, he faced the family members of his victims as they vented their anger, frustration, and hatred.  This video clip is part 5 of a 5 part series done by A&E. It is a little long, the most important part, the part that touched my heart, is when Mr Rule, father of Linda Rule, spoke to the killer, Mr Ridgway (start at 3:42 and go to 5:09).


I have wondered how I would react in Mr Rule's place. Would I show compassion to one who caused me such unbelievable heartache? Would I choose to put my beliefs into practice, under such extreme circumstances, and live like God wants me to live, no matter how difficult it might be? 
Several years ago I was counseled by a member of my Stake Presidency to let go of a grudge I was holding. I felt justified in my ill feelings, this person had been a part of the most emotional pain I had felt in my life. My family had been disrupted and the hurt and anger I felt was deep and bitter. I did follow the advice I received, and was able to eventually forgive. The odd thing is that the person I was angry with probably never even knew; I was the only person being harmed by my holding a grudge. I hope I have grown since then, that I now would be able to forgive more quickly than I did then. I admire Mr Rule for his desire and ability to live like he believes.
And I have been inspired, as you probably have, by the stories and accounts coming from Japan about the kindness and compassion many of the people are showing in the face of such devastation, loss, uncertainty, and lack of life's necessities. 
How would I act if a life-changing natural disaster hit my town? Would I be willing to share the necessities of life for the well-being of others? Would I live the Golden Rule then, when it would have such real consequences? 
I am grateful for these two recent examples of kindness, compassion, and love, no matter the circumstances. I believe hard things are coming for us, that there will be many opportunities for me to live like I believe in difficult times. A favorite scripture verse is encouraging:
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What makes me stronger

Once in a while I require myself to do something that is difficult. It could be speaking up when I'd rather stay quiet, or going without sugar for a month, or maybe I will read a book that I have to work at, or even invite someone I don't know well over for dinner.
There are not many hills around our house, but the wind blows a lot. When I go jogging I am usually in the cross wind, but for 3 or 4 blocks I 'run' straight into the wind. I feel like one of those cartoon characters whose legs go like crazy but they stay in one place. Then once I turn the corner and the resistance is gone, I feel like I'm going twice as fast as I really am.
Pushing against opposition builds muscles, character and commitment. It shows me what I am capable of, that I can do difficult things.