Friday, September 06, 2013

Live more than one life - read biographies! Research your family histories! (And her-stories :-)

I understand that saying, Today is the first day of the rest of your life. I am living proof. I am a "convert" to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If I had not accepted the challenge and invitation to listen to the missionary discussions when I did, and made the changes required to be baptized, then I was probably going to end up where I was headed. Every day I still have the opportunity to stay the course or make changes to keep me aiming toward my goals. Becoming a member of the Church helped me to find my goals and understand how to work to reach them. Being happy is one of my goals :-D

Making sense of feelings, longings, my particular talents and interests was a huge part of my investigating, and continuing to learn about the Gospel, and the Restored Gospel. <3 The interest I have in genealogy, family history, is a Major part of my life, and I have my own mother to thank for that, and my Nana, too. However it is the appreciation of their interest in genealogy that I got from my testimony in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I really do appreciate the genius of our being in families to learn and grow, to prepare to return to our Heavenly Father through coming unto Christ. That love that we develop when we come to know our family through researching our family history is real. It is that love that changes us! It is a good change, too. I am grateful for that power in my own life.

There is a Lot more to it though! It is not just me, not just me and my future-self who is being affected by the changes and choices that I am making today. I am changing my past self, too. As I learn about the people in my family history (and the lives of other people with whom I get to help research their family history) - I learn from their stories, without having to totally go through those things myself. I see my own story, my history, in a new light. How we judge ourselves really does affect how we tell our story (even if we only ever tell our story to ourselves).

You have witnessed this, right? You start out telling a story of something that happened to you & with each subsequent retelling it changes a little. You draw different lessons from it. You emphasize different points. You gloss over or, in hindsight, flesh out other details, since you know the final outcome. Only - that's the thing! As time goes by, with more life experiences coming on, with feedback from others (& from yourself!) even the "final outcome", the take-away, changes. Your take on that story's experience and what it "fit-you-for" in the future comes into clearer perspective. Maybe it's like re-reading the scriptures - we get out of them what we need right then, when-ever we are reading them <3 So, I am back to the notion of Today is the first day of the rest of your life, meaning the future. Not Only that though, but Today is the first day of the rest of your life, meaning the your past, the first half of your life. You look at your past differently as you grow in appreciation for the hand of the Lord in your life and in the lives of your loved ones. It makes us value our life thus far in a different perspective as we come to recognize how (like in the Footprints poem) the hand of the Lord has been in our lives all along (in our past, present and future), no matter what. Got it? The missionaries changed my life (helped me come unto Christ and Want to change my life by following Him): changed my future life, and changed how I understand my past life. Repentance and forgiveness changes everything! Now, here is the Amazing part! Not only has my life changed for the (eternal!) better, but for each member of my family for whom I am able to enable them to receive their temple ordinances - that changes everything for them, too!!!! It changes their future of course, to accept the covenants for themselves, enabling them to progress. But it also changes the value of their past at having prepared them for their future.

How does this apply in your life? What is the difference between a relationship that was a real aggravation, that later, when you really got to know that other person, changes into a great bond of sympathies? What makes the difference? It is that insight of understanding, and kinship.
Write in your journal about how you feel now about something, or some one. Go back later & reread that entry. Did your understanding and feeling about that whole thing change? (Make a hypothesis - will it have changed?) How do you think our ancestors feel about their lives on this earth now, especially those of our ancestors who are deceased? What if that was you? (We are projecting here....) How would you feel if one of your descendants had heard the story of, say, your exploits as a teenager, and decides to follow your daring lead, OR NOT! If we can learn something for our edification from our family stories - Win Win!
We win because we didn't have to go to jail to learn to not (take your pick) and our progenitors have some satisfaction of having those experiences finally count for some good!

We will have to ask them some day when we see them again. ;-D

Meanwhile I am very thankful for missionaries who helped me and help people all over the world come unto Christ, learn who they really are and to change how they value their lives. It can change everything!

See the good in yourself!

I just listened to this - and it is not just about Change - it IS about Transformation - becoming a new creature in Christ!
Thanks to Lisa Marie Richard for pointing me to that.