During testimony meeting
today, a tall, dark, and handsome guy bore his testimony. He sounded a bit southern, and sure enough, he said he was from Lafayette, Louisiana. (He pronounced Lafayette like this: "luh-FAY-it," and I felt like I was home for a minute.) He explained that he was not a Mormon and that today was his first time at church. I was extremely impressed by this guy because on the outside, he certainly played the Mormon part: crisp, blue button-up; nice tie; and clean-shaven face. He was fairly well-spoken, too, for it being his first time talking in front of such a large and unfamiliar group. Even people who have grown up in the Church are visibly nervous when they speak before the entire congregation -- not this guy. He even said "In the name of Jesus Christ" at the end of his testimony.
The meat of what he said, though, was the best part. He spoke about how he was a recovering drug addict who had been sober for nearly a year. He said that during his addiction, he witnessed the work of the Lord in his life many times, but didn't pay attention because he was selfish. He made choices solely on his own and with only himself in mind. Then I guess about a year ago, he began to make decisions a different way. He started to consider what God would have him do. And -- here's what really impressed me -- he let himself "be comfortable being uncomfortable."
Comfortable being uncomfortable. What a concept! I think that is much of what life is all about. I believe as Mormons do -- that the natural man is an enemy to God:
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Book of Mormon, Mosiah chapter 3, verse 19)
We are on this earth to be better than when we started, and that's uncomfortable. It's uncomfortable to be patient when we want something right now
. It's uncomfortable to extend a hand of love to someone we dislike. And it's uncomfortable to live a set of commandments that -- although we believe -- are peculiar to others.
You don't have to be religious for this concept to mean something. It extends to secular matters as well. Learning new things and acquiring new skills are probably things that most people would say are valuable. They're also uncomfortable. Being back in school, for example, is not easy. It's uncomfortable. So is working. So is being an informed citizen. Would I rather watch movies all day? Kayak on the lake or work on my tan? Sure. But that's not what life is for. It's for being better than I was a month ago, a year ago, ten years ago.
If you believe in utilitarianism and objectivism, you might say people are motivated by self-interest. You might say the ultimate goal of individuals and society is to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. I don't buy that. I say life is about change, and change is uncomfortable. We are here to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
Thing I'm thankful for: testimony meeting! I wish it could last for three hours!