"I testify that the Savior's Atonement lifts from us not only the burden of our sins but also the burden of our disappointments and sorrows, our heartaches and our despair." ---Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
I sit here, quietly alone in my office at work. The light dims, the noises come and go. The building squeeks and squawks as it settlings into the evening like the heavy sun drifting down out of the sky. I am waiting for a phone call, the one that will set me free and let me go home to my family, at last. The computer systems that run the front counters at my office must be replaced. The framework will all still be there when I am done, but the insides, the important parts, will be new and better than before.
In our money saving organization, there is no such thing as techs who drive out to the office and replace everything for you. No, I have to learn to replace them all myself. Matching pink to pink and green to green, one by one until the many plugs and connectors all have a place and the machine whirrs into existance at last.
Now we are at the waiting. The part where the systems are rebooted and reprogramed by invisible hands in a long distance fashion. Still, I must remain to put on the finishing touches and finally have the system up and running for tomorrow.
Silence surrounds me, and I can't help thinking that sometimes, my soul craves the silence. Every once in a while, I need the peace of a moment. A time to reflect, to review, to just think and ponder. My life can be like the replacing of these complex machines. They have been busy and are now used up and wore out. They need to have new software and hardware, to be fixed up so that they run better, and yet, still run very much the same.
There are past parts of me that are no longer important to the person I have become. Things that need to be put away, forgiven and forgotten. Things that are used up after have been reviewed so often. I wonder why it is that it is so easy for me to forgive others, and yet so very hard for me to forgive myself? How can I look at the mistakes of those that I love and forget them, while dwelling on and reliving my own?
What is it that makes it so hard for me to apply the gift of the atonement to my own life? Don't get me wrong. I want the atonement to be for me. I need it to be for me. I pray that it is for me. Yet, there is within myself a sliver (or a mountain) of doubt. I wonder how can a perfect, wonderful and very loving God ever forgive me. I wonder that His love could reach through the darkness that I see and find the me that is within.
Yet, I do know it is true. I know it is true when my children make mistakes, and I love them. I know it is true when I see someone completely turn their life around. I know it is true when I see sorrow and despair.
I haven't figured out why it is so hard to apply it to myself. But my heart still knows it is true.
Like the computers at my work, we have all done things that are in the past. Things that should be forgotten. Unlike my work, the Lord never leaves us to figure it all out for ourselves. He has given us guidelines to help us on our way. Scriptures that teach us of the people that we need to become. He has planned for us because He knew that we would make mistakes, that we would all fall short of what was enough. He made a way for us to come back Home to Him in spite of ourselves. But, we have to be willing to let go of all those things that we are hanging onto that pull us away from Him. We have to be willing to let Him make us into a new and better piece of equipment. The framework will still be there, but the inside of us, the really important parts, will become who He needs us to be.
"If any has stumbled in his journey, there is a way back. The process is called repentance. Our Savior died to provide you and me that blessed gift. Though the path is difficult, the promise is real: 'Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow' (Isaiah 1:18)."
Thomas S. Monson, "Preparation Brings Blessings," Ensign, May 2010, 66