Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lift Where You Stand

This week I shared with Anziano Burton a photo and quote: "Tempered glass, like tempered steel, undergoes a well-controlled heating process which increases strength. Thus, when tempered glass is under stress, it will not easily break into jagged shards that can injure.  Likewise, a temperate soul—one who is humble and full of love—is also a person of increased spiritual strength. With increased spiritual strength, we are able to develop self-mastery and to live with moderation. We learn to control, or temper, our anger, vanity, and pride. With increased spiritual strength, we can protect ourselves from the dangerous excesses and destructive addictions of today’s world."- Elder Kent Watson, October 2009 General Conference
Lessons from Home: When Tempered Glass Meets a Pebble
I remember listening to that talk in 2009.  I think about being "tempered" often, as well as the idea of the refiner's fire, that the mission is burning away infirmities to leave behind pure gold.

Well, Ferrara's hot enough.
It's good to see perspectives outside my own.  When I came to Ferrara six days ago, I was just sad.  Sad to leave Padova, sad to leave my missionary friends (and my Italian friends), and sad to be serving in an infamously difficult city in the mission.

And then I got here... and I saw the ancient streets, the huge castle in the middle of the city, the gorgeous parks and big blue sky... and I was still sad, because all I was thinking about was "This place is small and not Padova."

Now I'm realizing that attitude is horrible and frankly stupid.  I need to remember that I'm in Italy, that I live in a historic city that people all over the world would gasp and gawk at were they to spend five minutes here.  Besides, all that talk about Ferrara being a hard city?  Sure, there aren't many people who stop to talk to us on the streets, but we have more investigators than I ever had in Padova, and four of them have baptismal dates.  Four!  That's amazing!  I'm actually really, really excited for this transfer now.  Good things are coming our way.

Anziano Marin is a character.  He's tiny, smiley, and soft-hearted.  His face doesn't express much of how he's feelings, but his hands start moving and he says things three times when he gets excited.  It's really funny.  Both of us are kind of shy and quiet, but when we get into lessons we work well together and teach with power.  I think we'll get along really well.

Our apartment is comfortable.  It even has air conditioning in our bedroom, and that's rarer than gold in Italy.  There's lots of things to be happy about, lots of things to be grateful for, if we just smile and look for them.

I'll miss Padova.  I was "born" there.  I'll miss the good people.  But things change, and I love that.  Now I'm here to make more friends, to love more people, and to help in every way I can.

We met with a wonderful old woman from the branch here on one of my first days.  She called this city "Ferrara la Dormente".  Some famous Italian said it.  It means "Ferrara, the Sleeping".  And isn't that the truth.  This is a tired little town, but it just got some new blood, and I really feel like I can make a difference here.  That's a good feeling.

Find where you can make a difference.  All of us have a purpose, and we're happier when we're fulfilling it.  I encourage you to find yours, to really identify and pinpoint it, and then use it this week to make somebody's day.  After all, spreading joy to other people is what brings the most joy back in the end.  Elder Holle sent me a wonderful email this week that mentioned Alma 41:15.  Beautiful concept.

Lift where you stand.  I think about that a lot.  Sometimes I wish I could just jump up and change the whole world, but I'm stationed here.  I have a job to do.  If I lift where I stand, and you lift where you stand, we can carry anything.  I believe that.

Much love from the land of the best food in the world.  Here's hoping I let it get to me.  I weigh less than 60 kilos.  Mamma mia.

Anziano Burton

1 comment:

  1. Lift where you stand - wonderful advice for all of us. And the tempered glass is an every day process for some of us that can't quite let our weaknesses go. Enjoy some pasta for me & once in a while look at one of those old buildings or statues and think, " Aunt Lisa would love that!".