Since Rick was home, we showed him the source of Isaac’s woes. He sterilized a razor blade and went to work, trying to ease some of the pain by releasing the build-up of fluid that was trapped inside the injured toe. Unfortunately, it was to no avail, and Ike’s only relief was the ten minute soak of the salted bath.
The thing that struck me about this situation was that I had no idea that my son was going through this pain. This festering infection was affecting him badly, but I was totally oblivious because it wasn’t affecting me in the least. Here he was, day in and day out for the last several weeks, dealing with this discomfort. And the pain grew and grew because nothing was being done about it, and couldn’t be done, because he hadn’t come to me for help.
Last night we took him to Urgent Care, where they gingerly inspected the toe and declared that a chunk of the nail needed to come off. Ike took it like a champ and hasn’t complained about any pain since its removal.
I tried to tell myself that I DID have every right to feel that way. But after a while, the story wasn’t fun to tell anymore. Instead of feeling justified, I felt guilty. I started feeling like I was hiding something from the Lord. I stared feeling like I was lacking. Like my light wasn’t shining as brightly as it had a few months earlier.
Then General Conference happened. Leave it to Conference to point out my shortcomings. Talk after talk seemed to say, “Wendy, it’s time. Move on. Forgive. Be humbled and repent!” And every lesson and talk at church, and the Visiting Teaching message, has had the same invitation: take your pains to the Lord and get rid of them. Forgive and be whole!
Sister Neill F. Marriott shared that when she partakes of the sacrament, after praying for forgiveness of sins, she asks, “Father, is there more?” And then she said the thing that made me know that I am NOT justified in harboring these feelings of bitterness:
When we are yielded and still, our minds can be directed to something more we may need to change—something that is limiting our capacity to receive spiritual guidance or even healing and help.
For example, perhaps I have a carefully guarded resentment toward someone. When I ask if there is more to confess, that “secret” comes clearly to my memory. In essence, the Holy Ghost is whispering, “You honestly asked if there was more, and here it is. Your resentment diminishes your progress and damages your ability to have healthy relationships. You can let this go.” Oh, it is hard work—we may feel quite justified in our animosity—but yielding to the Lord’s way is the only way to lasting happiness.
What a beautiful way to feel chastened.
Like Isaac’s toenail, no one could see my pain and anguish. It was a secret I thought I was keeping from the Lord. It wasn’t hurting anyone. But, OH! was it hurting me! The only way to get rid of these feelings was to go to the Lord. I knew that He had the ability to help me and to heal me.
In going through the forgiveness process (and it is a process), I try to think of the reasons that could be behind the way we were treated the way we were. I’m sure I won’t ever know exactly what the other party was thinking or going through, but I am choosing to believe that there must be a really good reason.
President Monson reminded us that:
There is really no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus the commandment: “Judge not.”
Tonight, I have in mind the charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient.
I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful... in times of weakness or error on the part of others.
Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down. It is resisting the impulse to become offended easily. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings.
Is it okay to feel let down or to feel angry? To feel hurt or like you were just sucker-punched? I think so. But the thing is not to let it fester. That’s when it becomes a painful thing that, though it remains unseen from those around us, impedes us and our progression.
Only when we get rid of it, can we be healed.