I was going to respond to a comment to my latest post, but it ended up being long enough to be it’s own entry. I hope you all don’t mind this kind of response.
For Lisa: I?d like to address a few things in your comment, which I appreciated. I hope this isn?t too long of a response, but I?d like to address your concerns.
The first thing is my saying I was sad about my friend. You assumed, and I can see why, it meant I was sad for her choice. What I meant by that was that I was sad for her still being in that decision making process. It?s heart-wrenching, at best. I?m not necessarily sad for whatever choice she makes, just that she?s still in the turmoil. If you get the gyst of my post, it wasn?t about her at all, but about the fact that I am personally not in turmoil, have made my choice, and have found great peace in it.
This brings me to what appears to be the gyst of your comment to me, and feel free to correct me if I?m wrong. You asked a myriad of questions about various paths we can all take. If I can take one of your questions to represent all of them, I might choose this one: ?What if there are more than 2 paths to take?? It is a common question and one I used to prescribe to, one I wished desperately applied to my life.
Years ago, I had a friend who wanted to run a support group for women strugglers. She asked me to assist and I was on board immediately. The thought had great potential. As we were making plans, she began talking about the same thing you mentioned. ?What if someone has found happiness and is happy on this ?otherwise? path? What if there are more than 2 paths to take? What if there were many paths just like there are many different people?? I could see this logic and considered going along with it. Yet, my heart and soul couldn?t manage to stay there. I was unsettled about it, not at ease with that direction, and I couldn?t figure out why. The very week I was in the most turmoil over it, I read an article in the Ensign by Elder Maxwell called ?Becoming a Disciple?. It was so clearly my answer and had such an impact on me, I?ve gone back to it over and over again. I won?t quote the entire article here, of course, but a few statements that I feel apply.
Yet, walking and overcoming by faith are not easy ? No wonder we are given instructive words from Jesus about the narrowness and the straightness of the only path available to return home: ?I am the way, the truth, and the life? (John 14:6). He also said in that same verse, ?No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.? Jesus has laid down strict conditions.
The ravines on both sides of that narrow path are deep and dangerous. Moreover, until put off, the shifting, heavy, unsettling burden of the natural man tilts us and sways us. It is dangerous.
So it is that discipleship, far from being ascetic, is to choose joy over pleasure. It is to opt for the things of eternity over the trendy and appealing things of the moment.
One day, if we remain faithful, we will, as the man or the woman of Christ, know that we, too, please God. Discipleship?s enlarged capacity to serve will bring enlarged joys.
Even after receiving that witness, I tried to live my life on ?another path?. Yet I kept coming back to Elder Maxwell?s words. I kept coming back to the idea that the Lord?s path is indeed narrow, and it is the only way for me to receive his greatest gift. Finally, five years ago, I chose it and my post was about how that choice has utterly blessed me now. I didn?t have to wait for eternity.
There are indeed many paths we can take. There is indeed some measure of happiness to be found in each. Yet, ultimately, there is indeed one Path and one Way. There are ways on that Path and Way which look different from another, yet the absolute truth is going to be in whether we are following the Lord?s will or our own. And yes, I believe the Lord?s will can be found in following the counsel of my LDS leaders and Prophet.
I did not say in my entry that there is no happiness found in a path different from mine. If you recall, I?ve tried another path and had happiness there. Security sometimes. I still remember a few times with fondness where I laughed my guts out. Surely that?s a happy time. But I?m talking about something else in my post. I?m talking about something that transcends even those moments. Transcends even those times when I felt I had ?come home? in intimacy with a woman. Transcends all I had ever hoped to have in any of those ?other paths.? And it is in following the sometimes difficult path of the Lord, the One True Way.