02 March 2009

"My" Place

It's funny, the things that can get you thinking.

I've parked in the same spot to pick my boys up from school for the last two and a half years — until about a month ago. Someone new showed up. Just once, at first. And then for the next few days I was parking there again. Mr. Gray-Truck-With-a-Camper would get there after me and park right in front of me. I figured he'd realized that was MY spot and buzz off. Not so! He then started getting there earlier than me.

I go almost 10 minutes before the bell rings to avoid the school zone, double-parked nonsense that happens near their school. This guy started coming extra early to beat me to MY spot. (If you check the county assessor's web-site it does say that chunk of land belongs to me from 12:55pm-1:10pm M-F. Really. I'm not lying. Okay, my fingers are crossed.)

A few days ago I was out running errands and got done early. But if I had driven home I would have had to turn around and leave five minutes later so I went to the school really early. Mr. GTWaC was already there. In MY place. Why should my kids have to walk 10 extra feet for crying out loud! ;) The nerve!

We also had our church congregations re-arranged a couple of months ago. I have a big family and teenagers that like to sit with their legs stretched out so far to the sides that only three people fit where 12 could...so we need most of a large pew. In our old congregation we always sat in the same spot. It was the "Harris row". Right behind the "Crouch row" and right in front of the "Skinner row". The only time we didn't sit there was if there was a baby blessing and we didn't get there early enough to stake a claim on our row first.

Well, now we are in a new congregation. Actually, our congregation was split up and put into other existing congregations so we came into a ward where families already have "their" established "rows". I always feel like we are stealing someone's spot. And to make matters worse, my three sons participate in a sacrament ordinance for the first 25 minutes of the meeting so they don't sit with us and we have to save their seats. I feel so rude telling people the seats are taken, but really, the boys need to sit with us when they're done. A few times people have moved our son's things and sat down anyway. While the boys are passing the sacrament they are looking at us like, "What's up with that? Where are we supposed to sit when we're done?" Alas, for now, we still don't have a "pew" when we meet in our new congregation.

All of this got me thinking for the past few weeks about "my place". One of my favorite quotes is by C.S. Lewis, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."

I wasn't made for this world. I belong to a Father who lives in a glorious heavenly home and this life is just a probationary period until I can hopefully return to where He is. In John 14:2 Jesus Christ said, "I go to prepare a place for you." But this is conditional upon me living worthily. It seems like the adversary is trying to push me out of my place continually. D&C 93:49 reads, "...pray always, lest that wicked one have power in you, and remove you out of your place."

Where is my place in God's Kingdom here on earth? Where must I stand to be "steadfast and immovable"? Am I supposed to just stand my ground...and get run over? Is that really being Christlike?

Many, many times in my life and again just recently, I've gone through experiences where someone did something that was offensive and I've tried to lovingly and often firmly let them know that it was unacceptable. I've felt I needed to stand my ground, stay in my place, and be uncompromising. It has caused heartache on both sides. I wouldn't budge. Neither would the other person or people. I've felt pushed around. I've felt jostled. I've felt like I've been steamrolled. By people I love very much even. But I'm looking at the bigger picture here. Temporary pain or suffering here is worth my place being held for me.

This is how I read this passage of scripture, found in D&C 90:36-37: "But verily I say unto you, that I, the Lord, will contend with [Michelle],...and chasten her until she overcomes and is clean before me. For she shall not be removed out of her place."

Heavenly Father allows Satan to push us around (buffetings, or repeated heavy blows, of Satan) to see if we will stay in our place and not be removed from it. That was the plan. It's the whole reason we are on this earth. We can't quit the conflict, or walk away from the onslaught. It was designed to reveal our true character.

I don't have to apologize for my beliefs. I know most people don't understand them. That's okay. But being a Christian doesn't mean laying down, curling up into a ball, and taking abuse either. (I know, parking in my imaginary spot isn't abuse and I will resist the occasional urge to egg his truck.) But I've certainly been persecuted and judged for what I believe.

I have been accused of being un-Christlike when I've stood my ground. A double standard that I don't get, really. You can abuse me and because I profess to be religious I have to take it or I'm wrong?! I have to point out, Jesus Christ constantly put the Pharisees and Sadducees "to silence". He flat out told them when they were wrong or twisting His doctrine or sinning or neglecting their priesthood duties. He even warned his followers to beware of their teachings.

It's going to take me a long time and I know I'm going to get knocked around a bit, but there is merit in making the effort to learn my place and stand firm in it.


Marylin and Jimmy said...

Well said!! I get you on all fronts! I can't stand when someone gets in "my" spot or seat or whatever! I too think that it takes strength to stand unmovable in a ever changing world and decreasing moral society!! Seriously why don't we hang out more? The conversations we could have!! Love ya

Sara said...

I REALLY appreciated this. I needed the reminder!
p.s- I'm sorry you don't quite have a "row" in our new ward. I know I can speak for many others as well my family, that we are glad your with us and we would gladly give up "our row" if you needed a place to be!

see you friday!

Keri Miller said...

You are very very profound! thanks.