change of heart

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning . . June 12. I just got home from a 3-mile [one hour, 15 minute] walk at the high school track. I listened to Mormon Interpreter’s commentary on Alma 5-7, our Gospel Doctrine lesson for today. I can’t even explain how much I am beginning to love the people [scholars, authors, experts] who take time each week to teach me more about the scriptures. I love their voices, I love their humor, their humility, their knowledge, their faith, their convictions. Each one of them has children, friends, family who have strayed from gospel truths. They know the pain of loving someone who has left the gospel. They know the struggles and challenges of waning belief.

Today’s lesson was on having a mighty change of heart, among other things. It asks whether we have had that change and if we still have it. If we still feel it.

I remember having a change of heart. I remember wanting to be a covenant daughter. I was teaching Primary and all of those simple basic lessons, gospel principles and ideals came flooding into my life. I wanted to have that. Truthfully, I kind of felt like a freak — not having those in my life — and trying to teach them to children.

Little by little the desire filled me until I finally went and discussed my situation with Bishop Redmon. What an experience. I had already worked with several previous bishops, Bishop Jaggi, Bishop Isom, Bishop Redden. I really didn’t think there was a chance in heckola that I would ever get back to the temple, but with lots of time, lots of self-reflection, repenting and forgiving, I was on the path.

I remember that day in many ways, like it was yesterday. And in others, there are lots of details I’ve lost over time. I remember walking into the endowment room and seeing my entire family there. I couldn’t figure out how they possibly knew I would be there that day and it slowly dawned on me that Mom must have told them. She was the only one I had told about the goodness seeping into my life. She was the only one of the bunch who I had called and told the day and time I’d be there.

Hmmmmm. What mothers will do for their children.

As I listened to the lesson a couple of times this week, the thought came rushing back to me that I need to be diligent in protecting and preserving my change of heart that happened beaucoup [the real spelling of ‘boucou’ or ‘boocoo’] years ago. I need to be, at the least, . . at the same level of commitment, belief, assurity, action, faith that I was at 25 years ago. But, of course, the better goal is to grow above that earlier level. I need to be improving and climbing, ascending. Certainly not at a 50-60 degree angle or anything like that . . . but even a 1-2% improvement each year.

Last week when I was at the Leon Rollins family reunion at Meeks, I felt myself receding inside my little safe place. I didn’t want to talk to people. I didn’t want to share my story and my shame. I didn’t want to tell anyone what’s been going on in my life the last couple of years. I didn’t want to be visible. I didn’t want to feel. I for sure didn’t want to cry.

But Sunday during our testimony time, I was suddenly thankful to recognize how important God is to me. How very important His Son, Jesus is to me. How very important both of them have been in my ‘getting back to who I am.’ In feeling whole and full and better. And I couldn’t just sit there. I exclaimed that I Stand All Amazed at the love They have offered me. And I still do today.

I’m grateful for a Primary calling years ago that planted seeds into my heart, enough for me to want to be cleansed and fixed and reconstructed. And I’m grateful for the lesson today of how important it is to hold on to that and take an inventory each time I’m in a reflective situation [taking the Sacrament, in the temple, on Sundays in general] to determine how I’m doing.

I might be losing everything else around me, but I’m choosing to hold on to this.