Recently, I watched a very moving and impressive documentary in a series called "The 5000 Days Project." In this film, the director follows the lives of 2 brothers from when they are very young until they both are of missionary age. It was 80 minutes, but I couldn't stop watching it until the end. I really connected with both of the young men. One of the things that it really points out is that they actually have emotions. Most boys and men are expected to just be tough and just "suck it up...like a man." However, this film shows how these two brothers are completely normal and "everyday people." High school football stars, student body presidents, BYU football team members, and missionaries - who have deep emotions and who express it openly.
Sam, the older brother, went to Chile on his mission (like I did) and went through all sorts of experiences that really brought me back to the mission days. He went through some pretty crazy experiences (including the difficult struggle of learning Spanish from knowing nothing as well as living through the 8.8 magnitude earthquake). It is amazing. One thing that stood out to me was when he spoke of how he always thought that he was weak because of his emotions. But as he learned more, he was more able to accept himself and love himself and others as Jesus does.
In one of the videos from his mission, he said: "Loving people kind of hurts..." But it is okay to feel that hurt sometimes because "Jesus wept. The perfect example of self mastery, wept."
I love that. It is okay to weep sometimes. I was reminded of this as I listened this morning to Jesus the Christ and ran. James E. Talmage says:
His mood was adapted to the conditions to which He addressed Himself; tender words of encouragement or burning expletives of righteous indignation issued with equal fluency from His lips. His nature was no poetic conception of cherubic sweetness ever present, but that of a Man, with the emotions and passions essential to manhood and manliness. He, who often wept with compassion, at other times evinced in word and action the righteous anger of a God. But of all His passions, however gently they rippled or strongly surged, He was ever master. (Jesus the Christ, p. 158).
It's okay to weep sometimes. Not prolonging it longer than it should be. But it is okay. He did it, and I can do it too. I am no less manly because of it. No matter what anyone thinks, I did love. I gave love from deep within me. And when you truly love, I think it always will hurt at some point.
That said, I have another deep belief. That even though I feel to weep, "it is better to look up" (Thomas S. Monson). No matter what mistakes may have been made or hearts broken or messes made, it can all be made up with the atonement. The atonement is infinite and continuous.
Elder Wells of the seventy spoke in an address to the women's facility at a prison. He spoke of a grave mistake that he made that took the life of not only his two best friends, but also his own wife. He said that he lived in guilt and pain and what he called a "black and white life" for about a year. Then, one night when he was weeping in prayer, he felt, as it were, the Savior at his side. As he prayed, he said that he felt the Savior say to him: "Robert, my atoning sacrifice paid for your sins and your mistakes. Your wife forgives you. Your friends forgive you. I will lift your burden. Serve me, serve your family and all will go well with you."
Really? Even the mistakes that change your whole life? What about ones that hurt other people? What about ones that cause pain? What about ones that affect the lives of others forever? What about........(and the doubts go on)....
YES! ALL of them! ALL of them are covered. All of them. No matter what people think or say. They are not Jesus Christ. And He ONLY can judge. He only can tell you whether or not what you have done or not done has created any sort of road-block in your eternal progression (as well as the eternal progression of others). And in all cases but VERY FEW, there are no roadblocks that can not be completely removed by Jesus Christ. He actually will use what seems like a roadblock to create a bridge and a fortification for the next step in your progress.
Elder Packer said in the last CES fireside:
Save for those few—those very few—who defect to perdition after having known a fulness, there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no offense small or large which is exempt from the promise of complete forgiveness. No matter what has happened in your life, the Lord has prepared a way for you to come back if you will heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
No matter what I have done, I know that I am going to be fine. And though I have made mistakes (see John 8:7), I know that God is a forgiving Father, who understands my heart's intentions and has known me for MUCH longer than any person who may judge me after knowing me for a mere few months (or even years). Randy Bott said that 99% of everything that we will ultimately be judged by, we have already done before we came to this life. When I read my patriarchal blessing, I know that is true. I'm not going to let what anyone thinks of me (or what I think they think) make me give up all I have worked for in my pre-mortal existence.
One of the greatest influences on us is not what we think of ourselves. Nor is it what others ACTUALLY think of us. What influences our thinking most is what we THINK others think of us. And most of the time it's incorrect.
This may seem like a dark time, but I know that it will be temporary for all parties involved. Jesus did weep, but He did not weep forever, and though hard times happen, He does not want anyone to dwell in pain forever.
And it came to pass that thus did the three days pass away. And it was in the morning, and the darkness dispersed from off the face of the land, and the earth did cease to tremble, and the rocks did cease to rend, and the dreadful groanings did cease, and all the tumultuous noises did pass away. And the earth did cleave together again, that it stood; and the mourning, and the weeping, and the wailing of the people who were spared alive did cease; and their mourning was turned into joy, and their lamentations into the praise and thanksgiving unto the Lord Jesus Christ, their Redeemer. (3 Nephi 10:9-10)