Peace is Love
"We all long for peace. Peace is not just safety or lack of war, violence, conflict, and contention. Peace comes from knowing that the Savior knows who we are and knows that we have faith in Him, love Him, and keep His commandments, even and especially amid life’s devastating trials and tragedies."
—Quentin L. Cook, "Personal Peace: The Reward of Righteousness"
I have a big problem with loving people.
Not that I don't love them.
...It's hard to explain.
Okay. I love people in the way that I love animals and sunsets and brownies. When I think generally about people, my heart goes out to them. I think they are grand.
But when you get down beneath their skin, down to their scars and imperfections, when they really let you in to see who they are on the inside, it's hard. They're no longer an object to love, like a stuffed animal. They're a person, too, a thinking thing that gets hungry and angry and frustrated and misunderstands what you're trying to say. They are capable of hurting you. They can tell you lies. They can keep secrets.
One of my biggest ongoing struggles is continuing in that same patient, sweet sort of love that I can feel really easily for people that I don't know. I believe in being polite to strangers because I think that they are inherently worthy of that respect; my politeness slowly disappears when they're no longer a stranger.
What I've noticed about all of this, through a difficult year and a half of trying to love people who cause me a lot of pain, is that I can't find peace. More than ever I have been searching blindly for the peace that I'm missing.
Somewhere along the way, I realized something. It wasn't that I couldn't find peace because other people were stealing it, but because I wasn't willing to pay the price.
I wasn't willing to give up my defensive grip on my aching heart. I wasn't willing to stop taking offense when others said things that hurt me. I simply couldn't let myself love someone wholeheartedly if I didn't know that they were going to do the same for me.
This is not the way that Jesus Christ loves, and this is why I've been at a loss for peace.
Christ loved without restraint, unchecked by fear of rejection or pain. Christ will always love, even when we've denied Him and told Him we didn't care about Him. Christ doesn't need the promise of love in order to give His heart.
As a missionary, I will meet people like me. I will meet people who have been hurt and aren't willing to put themselves on the line again. I will meet people who will reject me, who don't care about me, who want to make me doubt myself and my cause. I will meet people who are confused, lonely, and shrouded in the darkness of fear.
As a missionary, it will be my job to be Christ's undershepherd to these people. I need to learn how to love as He loves so that I can pull those people out of the darkness enough for them to see His light.
I need to be able to be hurt and rejected again and again, and still kneel down at night and thank my Heavenly Father for my day.
I will have to figure out how to look into the eyes of someone who says things that hurt and tell them that I love them, and truly mean it.
I know, now, that the only way to find peace in my own life is to be willing to do all of that. Peace, like Elder Cook said, "comes from knowing that the Savior knows who we are and knows that we have faith in Him, love Him, and keep His commandments, even and especially amid life’s devastating trials and tragedies." I need to show Christ that I am willing to become a true disciple, able to withstand trials and tragedies, heartaches and disappointments, not only for Him but for those He loves the most: everyone around me.
We are all worth love. Even ourselves; especially ourselves. When we love Christ, He can teach us how to love ourselves fully, and then in turn how we can love others.
Christ has already paid our price; we need to be able to pay the price that He asks of us: love one another.