I've had a number of things on my mind. Some of them are paradoxes. Some may be called paradoxes. A lot of them relate to humankind, my brothers and sisters. I figured I would share a few of them here.
The Everything/Nothing paradox
In Elder's Quorum this week, the topic of the discusson was Elder Uchtdorf's talk from last general conference entitled 'You Matter To Him' (click on the name to read it, I highly recommend it!).
In the talk Elder Uchtdorf states that man is nothing, and that man is everything. It's something that I've pondered and thought about.
Man is nothing
Compared to God, man is nothing. If I think about it, my comprehension of things is nothing compared to God's. My physical strength can only move very small objects, at least in comparison to the rest of the environment around me. I can't create planets, set up solar systems, and plan galaxies. I'm one person in a sea of over seven billion people (and growing). Even our planet is a small object in a larger solar system. Our star is one light in a sea of countless other lights. Simply put, I'm a small speck when it comes to the whole universe.
Man is everything
On another hand, all of God's effort is directly for the well being of man. The creation of the universe, the dance of the planets, photosynthesis, the earth and everything on it. God's entire focus is on us. D&C 18:10 states: "Remember, the worth of souls is great in the sight of God". I find that intensely amazing. I'm am nothing, yet my worth is great in God's eyes.
Elder Uchtdorf goes on to speak about the dangers of pride and how Satan strives to mislead us by appealing to the extremes of the paradox. Sometimes, he tempts us ignore the fact that we are nothing. We become swollen and prideful. Sometimes, he tempts us to ignore the fact that we are everything. We begin to feel powerless and insignificant. We feel forgotten by our Heavenly Father. We feel like He doesn't care. I can see that my path relies on embracing both sides of the paradox. Feeling the humility that comes from being nothing, yet feeling the love and the power that comes from being everything. It can be a tricky scale to balance.
The Worth of Souls
Going back again to the scripture I shared earlier. "The worth of souls is great in the sight of God". When I think of it now, it makes me think of another scripture. D&C 88:15 states "The spirit and the body are the soul of man". I am a being made up of two parts: a body and a spirit. Together, they are a soul, and they are of great worth in the sight of God. It's led me to a number of thoughts.
I've disparaged and hated my body for many years. I've believed that my body was something bad and foul, something to be demonized and hated. I realize now that my body is a gift of God. It is something that I need to treat with respect. I need to take care of it and meet it's needs. It is a valuable part of me. I also have a spirit, which is also equally valuable. I need to take care of it's needs as well. Often times, it's a tricky balance between satisfying both of their needs, as well as learning what is a 'want' rather than a 'need'. Neglecting either my body or my soul leads me down paths that are not healthy.
I have a degree in computer science and I sometimes use computer concepts to try to understand things better. Most modern computer programs have an interface. The interface lets us, as humans, interact with the computer. The interface lets us send messages to the computer and receive information back. I've lately thought that I have three interfaces. One: my body. My body lets me interface with the mortal world and interact with the objects there. Two: my spirit, which allows me to interact with the diving. Three: an interface between my body and my spirit. The two are able to communicate and interact with each other. It's often a very subtle interaction. What influences one of them tends to influence the other. If I'm not getting enough rest, it's difficult for me to feel inspiration. When I read my scriptures, my body tends to feel calmer.
Other random thoughts
I had a very interesting and insightful discussion with a friend of mine last night. We talked a lot about love, sin, Utah culture, etc. I had recently had a very positive and uplifting experience that helped me feel very loved. I realized that I was trying to mentally discredit and sabotage the experience I had. As I called my friend up, he was able to hand me some thoughts that I found were very helpful. I started to tell myself 'I deserve to feel loved. I am loved. I need to be loved.' I realized that the love that I seek is very much like the love of my Heavenly Father. A love that sees my potential, my worth, where I am, and doesn't seek to try to abuse or use me. I realize many times in my life I've just wanted to scream out 'I just want to be loved!' I think a good many of the world's problems could be solved if people actually would feel a Christlike love for each other.
As our discussion continued, I realized that I need to feel God's love for me. If I'm not feeling it, I'm more vulnerable to being tempted to do something to try to fill that void in my life. Sin tends to cover up my real needs. It pretends to fill the void. Yet, it can't fill my need for love the same way that God's love can.
As our discussion continued, my friend expressed that he felt that Utah LDS culture could be very judgmental. I honestly have felt the same way at times. The worst culprit in that has been me. I've been very judgmental and unloving toward myself for years. I feel like I've looked at God and the gospel, and only seen one half of it. I've only been seeing the justice side. The side that speaks of punishment and guilt. Many times I find myself ignoring the other half of the gospel, the mercy side. The side that speaks of love, forgiveness, and redemption. I believe that Heavenly Father is a perfect balance of justice and mercy. How He makes it work is beyond my comprehension most of the time. When I realize also that Heavenly Father acts out of love, some of His acts that seem to lay on the justice side of things, also speak of the mercy that He has. It's a very interesting point of view.
To give a personal update, I have been feeling better. By feeling better, I mean I'm actually feeling emotions again. I've felt fear, anger, joy, sadness, excitement, nervousness, and all sorts of other emotions. I'm grateful that they have returned. I honestly think it is healthier for me to feel, acknowledge, and honor these feelings. I still don't have many things figured out. I still have a lot of questions. I still feel there is hurt to work through. I just feel like I'm moving forward once more.