Monday, September 1, 2014

The Parable of the Sprained Ankle

I have been reading a lot of Jesus the Christ this week, so I will now explain this week in the James E. Talmage style that is currently permeating my thought process:

There was in the land of Honduras a sister missionary who, being influenced by the entertaining but potentially  dangerous idea of a Hunger Games activity planned by the elders in her district, sought a high place in which to hide herself and avoid being utterly destroyed in said activity. Due to the exaustion and standoffish attitude of her companion, the missionary sought after her hideaway alone. Upon locating a likely place to climb and find safety, she attempted to scale to the potential sanctuary and fell, striking her foot sharply in the descent. Despite her best efforts at shrugging it off and thinking positively, the missionary was diagnosed with an esquince, which being interpreted is sprain, and was impelled to stay in her bed all the week long, bemoaning her moment of foolishness and changing her ice packs during all watches of the night.

But Elder Talmage does not just give the parable, he gives the interpretation. So let's look at this week's mishap from a gospel standpoint. Sometimes in life, we put ourselves in dangerous situations, but they don't look very dangerous. Maybe we only sidestep one or two minor commandments to get there. We don't mean to fall, but we put ourselves in a good opportunity to do so. We won't always fall. I was not the only one looking for a good place to climb that day or any day, but I am the only one who had an accident. Not everyone is going to fall prey to the same problems. But just because our friends can come out of a situation that could be spiritually dangerous without a scratch doesn't mean that everyone will do so. So we put ourselves in the situation, and sometimes, we fall. And then three things happen: we cannot do what we want to do, we cannot do what we need to do, and we cannot do what we are called to do. More on that.

1. We cannot do what we want to do. I spent the last week in bed with my foot elevated. It didn't matter that I would have liked to visit the people here that I love and want to help progress. It didn't matter that I wanted to write in my journal. It didn't matter that I wanted to get outside and breath clean air. I couldn't do anything but lay there and allow my foot to heal. That was lame. And boring. And surprisingly difficult.

2. We cannot do what we need to do. Getting my own food, changing my own ice packs, washing dishes, taking a shower that lasts longer than five minutes, you name it. If it was a necessesity that involved getting out of bed, I couldn't do it. And I had to let people help me. That was a pretty humiliating experience, not being able to fulfill my own needs. But Heavenly Father helps our humiliating experiences become humbling exeperiences, and He uses our mistakes to teach us.

3. We cannot do what we are called to do. 18 months wasn't a long time in the first place, but now that I am down to less than 20 weeks, losing a whole week of the Lord's time was unacceptable to me. The pain in my foot was only matched by the absolute knowledge that I had a work to do and I wasn't doing it. Lame, lame, lame. But I literally could not do work. I couldn't walk. So there was nothing to do but know that my two minutes of poor decision making would have a much longer time of relash.

We put ourselves in dangerous situations in life when we step out of holy places, and we fall when we sin. The spiritual damage we can cause is easily more painful and much harder to fix, at times, than a sprained ankle. Like it or not, we all have to go through the long and arduous process of repentance, and sometimes we even need other people, like a bishop, to help us. We can no longer enjoy the gladness and confidence waxed strong by virtuous and righteous living. We become incapable of fulfilling our spiritual needs by worthily partaking of the sacrament and living our covenants. We absolutely cannot work in the realms that God has called us to, because we cannot have the constant present of His spirit. And that hurts! Ibuprofen does not get rid of that! The good news is that we can heal. In the same way that our bodies have the capacity to heal themselves because of divine design, our Father sent us a Savior so that He can heal our souls. But we can avoid the pain that is sure to accompany our healing if we will skip those two minutes of poor decisions. We can't write off commandments as minor. We can't make excuses to leave our holy places. An accident won't always happen, but it's better to not take the risk than suffer the consequences. Long story short: keep the commandments, in this there is safety and peace.

So other than staying in bed, I went for an X-ray, I went to the hospital, I got another X-ray (hey, how much do we charge for those in the States? Because at the clinic they're only $20 and at the hospital they're only $2. That's a steal) I almost got a cast but didn't, I have a perscription for an ankle brace that I will receive on Wednesday, I made a lot of new friends in the branch by staying in the house with them all day long, and there was a miracle: We were inspired to call the Sister Leader Trainers and they came and stayed with us for three whole days so that there would always be someone to stay with me and someone to go teaching with Hermana Davila. They are the best people in this mission. We love them.

I should have some great stuff to report next week. I will actually be able to leave the house when I've got my brace and Elder Alonzo of the 70 is coming for a conference this week, so that should be great! I love you all, I hope you have a wonderful week, and remember--avoid poor choices! Sprained ankles hurt!

Hermana Pickett
X-ray! No broken bones here! 

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