Monday, April 20, 2015

Empathy and the Atonement

Hey fam, I can't believe it's so close to seeing you again. Mother's day and then July 11th flying home.

Me and Elder Thompson performed Savior, Redeemer of My Soul and we did it perfectly. It was such a fun piece.

Karrie by far is our most important investigator she's made so much progress but she had a really trying experience at Church yesterday. She felt like the Sunday School lesson excluded her when they were teaching of the blessings of Church membership and that the Melchizedek Priesthood is God's only medium of how we can heal someone else. And then in Relief Society she didn't feel like she fit in.

Almost everyone in her family has been very antagonistic about her decision to join the Church and her friends have been angry with her for it too. And then to have no social support when she reached out for it at Church was super discouraging. She is going through more than I can fathom right now.

I feel so much pain for her right now, you would not believe. Not that I've experienced what she's going through but because I've had my own darkest hours. Let me relate what I've learned about the Savior from this. 

The Savior had to have been the greatest empathizer even before he entered the garden of gethsemane. He had himself undergone the most exquisite pain that anyone would ever go through before the Atonement, fasting for 40 days, being completely rejected by His beloved nation of Judah, judged by them that sat on Aaron's seat guilty of blasphemy when they themselves were breaking that law worthy of capital punishment in the greatest degree (Lev 26).

I give it as my opinion that he suffered the physical and emotional torment because the whole sum of human experience was revealed to him in the garden and on the cross. Surely the spiritual punishment and separation were inflicted from the Father, but the the emotional and physical pain must have at least in part come from beholding perfectly what we would suffer and then his perfect love and empathy would have caused Himself to feel it too. He was never burned at the stake like Abinadi and others, never would have cancer, but those things must have been revealed to him and just beholding our suffering must have caused Him to feel it too. 

The degree to which I love Karrie and understand what she is suffering I feel it too. From personal experience I know to some degree what she must be feeling. And how equisitely I feel a part of her pain. To say that we it's not necessary to feel pain when another is suffering is to ignore and turn away from what they are experiencing.

The Savior felt greater torment and pain emotionally and physically that were possible to men, for even before the Atonement he would suffer "more than man can suffer even unto death." That was even before the Garden of Gethsemane. Then when he beheld through revelation the human experience he would perfectly understand and feel it with us. Surely His empathy and perfect commiseration with us is one of the great mysteries of who He is, for He certainly weeps with us and relives His own sufferings as we watches and is with us through our own darkest hours.

For the first time in a long time I am alright. I have undergone so much these last 12 months. A poor decision to change a medication for depression led to the greatest migraines and depression, and with the faith and prayers of family I recovered enough to stay on a mission. But I was burned out beyond all measure and insomnia and three difficult companions in a row for different reasons followed. It was a long road of recovery. But oh how much greater is the suffering when you see and understand another as they go through their own darkest hour.

I am so thankful that our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ don't turn away from us in our trials. It would be so easy to look away from it, but they choose to not only understand but to be with us in our trials. They don't choose to ignore or turn away from our sufferings, but their understanding causes them to feel it too, and how it must torment them. The fact that the Savior had suffered an infinitely greater burden does not diminish their own suffering when they see their children's pain.

I love you all so much and can't wait to see you again,
Elder Szendre

P.s. I'll atttach some pictures.

 1. Our "functional companionship" haha

2. Second tour of the capital. The House of Representatives.

3. Aww yeah fisher of men

4. Huckleberry Ice cream at the Garners! Have to huckleberry picking sometime soon.

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