Monday, January 11, 2010

Badge of Honor

I’ve come to understand that this life is a continuation of the spiritual battleground that started in heaven before we came to earth. And if this is our mortal battleground in defense of our spiritual home, there are a lot of people I know who have sacrificed much because they love God even more.

Their examples to me have made deep, profound impressions I my soul. I am a better person because I know them, for they teach me that this life is bigger than them. This life is our time to prepare to meet God.

So I thought about badges. You know the kind war generals get because of their bravery and/or sacrifice. The ones they wear so proudly on their lapels for a job well done.

One night I lay awake for a long, long time, thinking about those badges, those honors that come to those who fight. Then I began to see the faces and feel the hearts of so many people who - because of their fight, their bravery, their sacrifice - have in a way, saved me. Protected me. Taught me the way back to Heavenly Father.

Some of these badges have been earned because of trials. Because of heartache. Because of sorrow.

I know a mother of 10 children who was married for 29 years. Her children were her collection, her hobby, her occupation. Then, she found out that her husband not only had cheated on her but he took all the equity out of their house. He left her literally homeless. That was almost 15 years ago. Yet, this amazing woman carries HAPPINESS as her Badge of Honor.

Some Badges of Honor have come as a result of cultivating the divine that is in us, allowing those who have the opportunity to share.

I have a friend that I have known 20+ years. Recently, we were able to get together, to reminisce as well as talk about our lives to date. In the corners of my memory I remembered him extremely concerned about an older sibling who had made choices that withdrew her from the Spirit of the Lord. Her action also had brought natural, necessary consequences. I remember him telling me, “I hope someone will love my sister as God loves her. I hope someone will cherish her as much as I do.” Twenty years had not diminished this tremendous quality in him. This man, now a father himself, continues to carry COMPASSION as his Badge of Honor.

Some badges have come from the willingness to submit to God’s plan – no matter what the consequences.

A family I know found out four days after Christmas that their father has leukemia. He has six children, four still at home. He’s only in his forties. And while feelings of anger or numbness or denial could overtake their life, they have chosen to live the better part. Their desire to fully experience God’s great plan of happiness, in spite of what we mortals would consider devastating, is recorded in their blog dated today:

Husband speaking: “I can’t say this was a good day; in fact, it was probably the most morbid day of my life. My stomach was upset, my heart was beating fast and I was tired. And then to add insult to injury [my wife] made me write mine own obituary, plan my funeral, and took me out for two hours looking at grave plots, headstones, and caskets. I picked out a really cool Colorado Blue Casket. I kind of like our headstone too. [My wife] has this idea that she needs to get all this stuff taken care of so she doesn’t have to worry about it anymore. I guess that’s ok.”

Wife speaking: “The Doctor told me to do it. I know some people might have a hard time with this but this is the best thing for me. We are getting all of this done, we will put it in a binder, file it away, and then have great hope for the future that we won’t have to get it out again. If the Lord sees fit to take [my husband] during this next year, we will be prepared and that is a good feeling. I would encourage any of you to take a moment and talk to your spouse about their funeral arrangements. I know I was surprised by a few things.”

Without reservation, this family wears the badge of NO REGRETS. They are enjoying, in every sense of the word, God's great plan of happiness!

So my question for me is, “What’s my badge? What am I willing to learn, to fight for, to do? What am I willing to sacrifice because I love God more? What is my Badge of Honor?”

1 comment:

  1. I think the common element is they have felt and know God's love for them. They know that He loves them.
    It is life changing to experience such a change of heart. Pres. Uchtdorf said in this past conference "When we truly understand what it means to love as Jesus Christ loves us, the confusion clears and our priorities align. Our walk as diciples of Christ becomes more joyful. Our lives take on new meaning. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father becomes more profound. Obedience becomes a joy rather than a burden."