There's a question I've been wrestling with for the past few days...
It has to do with God's love, and it also has to do with my low self-worth. Any issue I've had lately has stemmed from that. My beloved sponsor tells me that we all have weeds that need to be plucked, and as I read those words (emailed lovingly to me), I could see weeds in my mind's eye. Having grown up farming, I'm no stranger to weeds.
But what sort of plant am I?
And suddenly my mind's eye took hold of me, and I saw the small, flaky, almost snow-like seeds that drift into my yard every spring. My neighbor has a Chinese Elm Tree.
It's solid and all. I bet SHE loves it. It's probably the most fertile tree in town. Seeds fall from her tree into my yard, and it makes me want to take a blow torch to my lawn.
Because I KNOW.
I KNOW what happens to those seemingly innocent flaky little seeds. They take root. They don't take much to thrive on. I mean: I live in an arid dessert, for crying out loud. The fact that I can get half a garden to grow is something of a modern-day miracle.
But those seeds? They don't need any focused attention... they only need to be in the background and they only need to be ignored.
If I don't deal with them, they spring up, take root, and then proceed to HAUNT me. I have baby Chinese Elm trees all over my yard. They're slowly eating away at the plants I actually LIKE. I wet the elm trees down, soak them overnight and intend to pull them out.
But I never do.
Or I try to and it never works.
Oh, how I HATE those blasted WEEDS. That's what they are. Just because they're actually TREES to someone else doesn't mean they're trees to me. They're weeds to me, and they are UNHOLY.
And there they were: in my mind's eye (as if hanging out and destroying my yard wasn't enough).
They're growing so close to me -so intertwined with me. They have the potential to CHOKE me out if I leave them alone. If I leave them in the background and simply ignore them, they will take over.
But I'm in the process of soaking them. I've rented a Heavenly Back-Hoe (it was free. sweet deal) and I'm working HARD on getting rid of them.
When the seeds to my weeds fell, I was very young. I was very, very young. So the Chinese Elms have grown up with me.
GETTING RID OF THEM MAKES ME FEEL VULERNABLE.
I want them gone, but I'm feeling naked without them. I'm feeling shaky. I'm nervous and scared in some ways and ready and willing in other ways.
I feel like a naked, brave baby.
No really. I do.
And I have to say that as I see those bloody elms (ARG!) in my mind's eye, I see myself as a little child, caught in the middle of them.
I was a really cute little girl...
Can I just tell you a story? Just real quick?
When I was six months old, a man (who my mom swears was a model of some kind) was standing behind my mom in the grocery check-out line. He told my mother I had the most beautiful eyes he'd ever seen, and then he insisted that I pick out some candy for myself.
I was six months old. But apparently even THEN I had an eye single to the glory of chocolate.
My chubby little fingers landed on a pack of Rolos. The man purchased them for me, and my Mom viewed that candy bar exactly like a Blue Ribbon from the county fair.
"Look what I did!"
She put me in the back of her car on a blanket, and drove home while I made a gigantic chocolate mess.
I was a darling baby.
And the answer to my question that I've been struggling with lies there-in, caught up in the middle of weeds and elms and a face full of melted caramel: babies.
Q: How is it that God can love me JUST as much as he loves my sister (who is, by all accounts, Alicia version 5.9million) and the drug dealer on Main Street and Humphrey Bogart and Hitler and Princess Di?
(I asked my husband this, and he started to give an answer and suddenly stopped himself and said instead: "How are you feeling about this?" Apparently, someone has been reading recovery materials, haha.)
And my answer? Babies.
We are all babies to the Lord. We're all darling and standing in the check-out line at the grocery store. And the Lord is looking on us and saying, "Awwwwww... that is the prettiest person I've ever seen."
The Lord sees through all the weeds to the original plant, the original core!
He created Babies, and He loves His Babies.
And Humphrey Bogart is my brother which thing I never had supposed.
I never could wrap my brain around this concept, see, because I didn't believe I was worthy of that much love. I still don't fully grasp that concept. I know it, but I don't FEEL it. You know?
So when a gorgeous woman sits in front of my husband, I'd love to see her as a baby instead of being plunged down into Traumaland.
THIS is my question for General Conference. THIS is what my heart is open to learning of: Love.
But mostly Love.