A Girl in the War

This was a big week. I had some realizations that have helped my life continue to click into perspective a little more.

This was also a big week on the world stage. Another attack happened in Manchester, UK, and this time the target was girls and girlhood and mothers and motherhood.

This week had me thinking about and studying war. In the U.S. we are removed from much of the horrific violence happening in the world. We grieve with those who suffer in catastrophic ways and wonder, how can life still be so challenging when what we are called to pass through seems like so much less?

Although the U.S. is not in combat and no one has made a formal declaration, we are at war. That our foes are diverse, large and small, does not make our daily fights any less significant. Each of us fights to bring goodness into the world in our individual spheres. Some fight against self-destruction in the form of suicidal thoughts, some deal with intractable chronic illnesses. Others are enlisted in battles to make the world a friendlier, more just place. Others wage the war of art.

I know incredibly gifted women whose challenges are great and who wrestle with creativity, with finding how to bring their voice to the world, who joust with feelings of hopelessness, who struggle living in not yet. I am one of those women, too.

One of the adversary’s tactics in this war is to make women feel weaker than they are; to get them questioning their contributions; to throw them into spirals of inadequacy; to bring them down by any possible means; to make whatever suffering they’re going through seem interminable and pointless; to encourage retreat into self instead of connection with neighbors and the great stream of world ideas; to promote perfectionism and comparison; to doubt their art; to have them considering the idea that women are overly emotional and not powerful healers of hearts.

With an array of evil in the world, our call is to muster goodness. Our call is to bring the brilliance of our gifts to bear, fully, without reservation, on the evils and problems of the world. Good wins. The helpers win. Whatever good that you want to share, start sharing it. Right away. We need what you have.

Keep going, keep fighting. Don’t give up. You may not have asked to be in the fight you are in. Your courage and stamina may be flagging. You may be two steps from surrender.

I know, though, that if you just hold on long enough, the long night will fade to dawn. It will. Having been plunged into thousands of dark nights, I know that you must wait and wait and wait and choose life again, again, again. You are blazing a trail for others to follow. You are gaining the knowledge you will need to save yourself and others. You are preparing to muster the troops. When the time comes, you’ll be ready. Maybe that time is now.

***

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On Thursday my friend Morgan and I went to the Springville Art Museum, where we saw some monumental sketches by Arnold Friberg. If you zoom on this photo in you can see the milky silhouettes of God and Jesus Christ speaking to Joseph Smith. This is the perfect 1 Photo for the week.

Joseph Smith asked a question. He didn’t ask to become a prophet or to go through the trials he went through for the sake of the truth. In one of his early spiritual experiences, an angel appeared to him:

“He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.” Joseph Smith—History 1:33

We might have to risk our reputations or our names for the sake of the work God asks us to do. People might not appreciate what we are trying to accomplish. People might willfully misunderstand us. Nevertheless, we are called to “go forward and not backward . . . and on, on to the victory!” (D&C 128:22).

Women’s voices matter. Voices from the margins matter. We have a stake in this fight. Let’s speak up.

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