Who am I to judge another
When I walk imperfectly?
In the quiet heart is hidden
Sorrow that the eye can’t see.
Who am I to judge another?
Lord, I Would Follow Thee
I have a friend who has suffered for years with depression, and at certain points along the way of her hard journey, she has been bedridden. A few years ago, as she was starting to find her way out of a serious bout with this depression, she had an unusual impression.
“Go visit the women in your stake.”
She took this prompting seriously, and dedicated a year and a half of her life visiting around 500 women, most of them in their homes. Many of them didn’t know what to make of it at first. Is she trying to sell me something? What is this about?
It was simply about following God’s will for her — and was something that has blessed many women’s lives, including my own.
One of the things that strikes me most about her experience (besides her incredible courage in facing her fears and her trust in God to act with such faith) is this:
“Michelle,” she says, “if there is anything I learned from that experience, it’s that every person, without exception, is dealing with something.” Because she took the time to visit women in their homes, in their own safe space, and because she had no other motive than to reach out and listen, women responded. They opened up. They got real about how hard life can be.
I’m reminded of something President Henry B. Eyring said in a talk years ago:
When I was a young man, I served as counselor to a wise district president in the Church. He tried to teach me. One of the things I remember wondering about was this advice he gave: “When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time.”
I thought then that he was pessimistic. Now, more than 40 years later, I can see how well he understood the world and life.
All I would add to that wise idea, based on my friend’s decent sample size in Mormonville, Utah, is that you will probably be right almost all of the time.
In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can’t see.
The next time you ask someone how they are doing, take a few seconds to look her in the eye and wait and listen. Maybe she won’t feel like opening up. But maybe she will. Or maybe the Spirit will at some time prompt you to do something that she might need, even if they don’t ask.
And watch for how God might be wanting to reach out to you in your own private struggles. He is real. He loves you. Tender mercies don’t always come in the way we want or expect, but they do come. They are real.
One last link I wanted to share is this beautiful talk by President Thomas S. Monson. The story of Tiffany moves me to tears when I read it.
And this quote from the talk is one of my all-time favorites:
“My dear sisters, your Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there.”
I pray that you can feel God’s love today. And know that He knows what is in your heart and life, and that He will even consecrate your trials — as He did with my friend’s — for your good and the blessing of others’ lives…in His way and timing.