Monday, September 26, 2011

Forget-me-not: Be patient with yourself

This weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the broadcast of the General Relief Society Meeting. The first few talks seemed a little dry—I could sense drowsy people all around me—but then President Uchtdorf got up to speak and he gave a magical talk. It was absolutely fantastic—one that will not soon be forgotten. If you haven't watched it yet I suggest you watch it now, whether you're a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or not. It's too beautiful to ignore.

(And just so my non-LDS friends know, President Uchtdorf was a pilot and he makes an aviation joke every single time he speaks, even if it's just to say, "I suppose you're all wondering what this has to do with flying a plane..." It's kind of his trademark, and it makes the first few minutes of his talk terribly funny—"Perhaps that's why I like it so much!" *laughter*—but only if you know that he does that. He's also German but he speaks English impeccably well, though with a slight accent.) it here or below:

Today I want to talk about the first petal of President Uchtdorf's forget-me-knot, that we not forget to be patient with ourselves on our journey to perfection.

Several months ago Andrew was called as the ward organist, which means that he has to get to church on time—early, even—in order to play the prelude music. We have 9:00 church and it's difficult to get everyone up and ready to go on time. We're not always late to church but we certainly don't have a great track record. Andrew, though, is now on time every week. He leaves about twenty minutes before I leave with the girls but he takes the car and we walk. The church building isn't too far away and we like to be in the habit of walking places—last year we had 1:00 church and we walked every week—this year we've been driving more since we're usually leaving the house hopelessly late, but I did walk the girls to church while Andrew was in Ghana. He was called as the organist soon after he arrived home.

A woman stopped me in the hallway the first week Andrew played the organ.

"When I saw you walking to church today I thought that maybe Andrew was out of town again but then we walked into the chapel and there he was playing the organ! I did't know Andrew could play the organ!" she gushed. "Does he play the piano, too?"

"He does," I told her—I don't know many people who can play the organ and not the piano.

"Do you?" she asked.

"A little," I answered, "But I can't just flip through the hymn book and play anything like he can."

"So you're trying to tell me that he speaks, like, ten different languages and plays the organ and the piano!? Does he ever make you feel that you're, like, completely untalented?"

I was speechless.

I hadn't ever thought of it that way—nor had I ever felt so untalented than at that very moment.

I know my husband's amazing—I married him, didn't I? But oddly enough, my husband thinks that I'm amazing and he never makes me feel untalented—he married me, remember? We both have our strengths and weaknesses—sometimes they complement each other and sometimes, unfortunately, they don't—but we're both talented! My husband may be able to play the organ at church. He may be able to speak Arabic. He may be gifted in statistics and computers and tomato-sauce-making. But that doesn't mean that I'm not talented.

I can run a marathon. I can speak Russian. I can crochet and french braid and do the cow face pose.

I can do lots of things!

There are things that I could get better at (most things, actually) but life is a long journey so it would be unfair for me to expect myself to be perfect at everything (or anything) now, and it's unfair for me to compare myself to others. President Uchtdorf said, "We spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others, usually comparing our weaknesses to their strengths. This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result we never celebrate our good efforts because they seem to be less than what someone else does."

Instead of comparing myself to others and bemoaning my inability to be good at anything, I need to celebrate my good efforts and "be patient with the small successes in [my life]....These successes may seem tiny to [me] and they may go unnoticed by others but God notices them and they are not small to him."

Our successes aren't small to the Savior, either. Jesus' life was the epitome of perfection and yet he came to die for my sins—little, imperfect me. The words of I Stand All Amazed come to mind:

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.
I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,
That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.

Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me.
Oh, it is wonderful! Wonderful to me.


  1. I'm pretty sure I've stuck my foot in my mouth trying to compliment their significant others. *sigh* President Uchtdorf is amazing and this talk was (as usual) incredible. I'm glad it's a concept that you already have in control.

  2. You're using "in control" as a relative term, right? Because I wrote this for me as much as for anybody...I mean, if I had it under control it shouldn't have bothered me when she asked if I felt least, I think so. :)

    And everyone sticks their foot in their mouth sometimes. I'm positive she didn't mean to sound so...shockingly derisive...about what she said—she really is a sweet girl, so I'm sure of it. But still, it kind of cut at the time. Anyway...