He’s My Brother, Not My Heavydirtysoul

To some I may seem

Happy and free

And lost in a dream

That only I see.

Perhaps I have left

Open and wide

Every secret kept and

Mistake that I’ve tried

While slowly falling

Apart at the seams,

Silently wishing for

Answers to things.

Restlessly writing,

Expecting to see

Deep understanding just

Handed to me.

Eventually kindness

Really will win

Reason refine us,

Intolerance dim.

No one controls the

Game in our heads

Myths, like vitriol,

Erode trust instead.

Antagonism comes

Not from outside but in,

Tells our will to succumb

To our own reflection.

Oh, to live lightly,

Devoid of all strife,

In harmony politely

Singing through life.

To truly be free

Requires one thing:

Acting on truth

Chosen while fumbling.

The vacuum of logic

Misses the noise,

Excludes the melodic

Fanfare of joy.

Reason, to some,

Offers sound that is hollow, but

Measured and steady it

Supplies guides I follow.

Unless I dig deep

Into my hidden thoughts,

Chattering voices will keep

Intruding like discarded flot….som(e)-

day what I’ve unlearned

About living life–

Like worth is earned, a

Test that stifles

Hope—will be forever burned.

Open arms before me, but

Useless, for I believe a debt of

Gratitude makes the way thorny,

Harrowing what was kept

Til my soul pays back the gift.

Seems kind and brave

Your wish to rescue

Each soul you can save

So they don’t struggle too.

Trusting another to make

Experience their tutor

Rests heavy, asks me to take

Deep breaths for mein bruder.

Allow him his journey.

Yield, for he’s worthy

I wrote the first half of this poem as a challenge to refocus my brain on the date of publication. The bolded letters tell their own tale. I spent the morning in a nearly catatonic, sobbing guiltfest. I couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong. I knew I wanted out of this abyss, and I nearly asked my husband to take me to a hospital so I wouldn’t take “the easy way out.”

But I hung on. Once the kids were all cared for, he took all of us to a place that added perspective to our Memorial Day and saved me from my false, fearful self. Life is short, and I decided to stay and work through the mess. Isn’t that what this time is for?

As I worked through it over the next few days, I realized that my brain had finally shut me down to say “enough is enough” because I was making myself a martyr for a family member who I thought needed rescuing.

And the real issue was that I didn’t trust this person to struggle in the ways needed. I couldn’t tolerate the discomfort of seeing this person come up short where I thought I could make up the difference. Furthermore, I not only got in the way of needed growth, I also created more hurdles. Then there is the matter of my behavior that screamed “I don’t trust you,” which only undermined the confidence this person had struggled so much to build.

The second half didn’t completely come to me until speaking with my brother about overcoming the worst of our depression. We realized that we have burdened ourselves with this belief that overcoming this challenge means we owe it to our Savior to prove we were worth the sacrifice He made by putting our experience to work in saving others.

Which is great if you’re just trying to meet them where they’re at and patiently support and encourage them until they’re ready to consider a new perspective and work their way through the messiness of life. But this idea that we need to rescue someone from going through what we went through, or what we think we can help them avoid, ultimately short-circuits their growth.

Trusting those whom we would help proves that we trust God when He gave himself as an offering for the sin, hurt, and hardships we would go through. He asks only for a broken heart (being teachable) and a contrite spirit (recognizing our missteps and needs as a broken person) for us to feel the effects of His grace (see 2 Nephi in The Book of Mormon).

He provided justification–proof that we are worthy of His gift–as soon as he submitted to the plan of mercy. If we martyr ourselves in the name of justification, it indicates we don’t trust that Christ satisfied justice already. And I would say this mindset comes more from a misunderstanding of the Atonement or from following examples of people just doing their best, not from a desire to reject God’s gift.

By living life from a place of hope and abundance, instead of a place of fear and scarcity, we show our gratitude by becoming the person we were meant to become (see Matthew 25:14-30). Aligning God’s greatest gift–the Atonement–with our true selves amplifies Gods light for the world to see (see Matthew 5:13-16). I believe that is what is meant by serving our God. That light helps a brother, who may feel weighed down by a heavydirtysoul as he travels his long, long road. At last your burden is light.

Note: I was thinking specifically of my brothers as I wrote this piece. These thoughts apply to anyone, of course.

3 thoughts on “He’s My Brother, Not My Heavydirtysoul

  1. (Wow.) I hope it’s okay to leave some comments here. First of all, may I say, again, that I really appreciate that you share what you have to say. I think you really have a gift with how you present thoughts through words. It is interesting to note that what printed out on my printer is not all that is showing on your blog. Not only did the transferred copy leave out a few sentences that seem to be directly connected to the picture that did not transfer, but all the links to scriptures, etc. were left off. Oh, well. I read the entire entry anyway.
    Second, it sounds to me like through allowing your initial “guiltfest” to not take over, but by “hanging on” you were able to allow the guilt to dissipate and more positive thoughts to be introduced. Whew!!! I for one, would like you to stay around for as long as possible, even beyond when I die.
    Thirdly, I wanted to comment on your references to “….about living life–like worth is earned, a test that stifles hope” and “…open arms before me, but useless, for I believe a debt of gratitude makes the way thorny, harrowing what was kept ’til my soul pays back the gift.” Also, ” We realized that we have burdened ourselves with this belief that overcoming this challenge means we owe it to our Savior to prove we were worth the sacrifice He made by putting our experience to work in saving others.”
    I realize those last quoted phrases were in the context of the realization you had come to in an afterwards situation. The phrase “…proof that we are worthy of His gift…” is a now phrase. Yes, worth isn’t earned, but we still don’t have it. The gospel message indicates that we are not worthy, but because He is worthy, we can be included in that worthiness to be reconciled to our God, through the sacrifice of Christ. This may seem like semantics, but it is not. It is one of the basic differences between one interpretation of scripture and what the New Testament actually says. I could go on about this, but suffice it to say I was really glad to read your last paragraph that says:
    “By living life from a place of hope and abundance, instead of a place of fear and scarcity, we show our gratitude by becoming the person we were meant to become (see Matthew 25:14-30). Aligning God’s greatest gift–the Atonement–with our true selves amplifies Gods light for the world to see (see Matthew 5:13-16). I believe that is what is meant by serving our God. That light helps a brother, who may feel weighed down by a heavydirtysoul as he travels his long, long road. At last your burden is light.”
    Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for sharing your realization that if [we] try to save people, make ourselves martyrs, prove our own worthiness, try and make up the difference in ways we think others come up short, we show distrust in what Christ has done for us (and them), already. (We might as well self-flagellate.) The phrase in your poem that says “…open arms before me, but useless, for I believe a debt of gratitude makes the way thorny, harrowing what was kept ’til my soul pays back the gift,” which was written, as I understand, after the conversation with your brother, and which, I am understanding, is the [your] old way of thinking, is familiar belief I have heard over and over from individuals trying to live the LDS faith. Thank goodness we do not have to pay back the gift, but just accept it. This is the “good news.” Of course, we are going to show the acceptance of that gift by implementing it through the attitudes, motivations, and behaviors that result it, but thank God, and I mean that, thank God that it is a gift and not something to be earned.
    Anyway, I have gone on long enough. I would appreciate your permission that I could use your poem and subsequent thoughts with any individuals who I may counsel in the future. I have counseled many over the years regarding “not throwing the baby out with the bathwater” when they realize the God they were taught to believe in, because of incorrect scriptural usage or interpretations, is not the God Who is there to worship. Thanks again for your beautiful soul.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Share said my little dream, share, oh share!
      And I thought of you as those words that I added post-publication unrolled before me. I have many times considered the comment you made about grace as we stood in my room the Memorial Day of 2014. You were on your way back from Fairview and brought me a gift for my new baby (who has your middle name, something I learned after but still strikes me as significant). You saw a painting of Christ reaching to help a struggling child (who may have been helping her younger brother, interestingly) and you bristled at the idea of grace being there for us “after all we can do.”

      I have thought about what Nephi’s words mean to me and how our culture has worshiped a self-martyrdom that, I believe, no prophet ever intended. Thank you for your words. And if you ever comment longer than the initial blog post, then perhaps you’ve “gone on long enough.” Even then, it would be worth the read.

      Like

      • I must have been very tired when I wrote the part about my baby having your middle name. That child was born in Colorado, which would have made your return trip from Fairview a rather circuitous one 😂. Or else you have a very manly middle name 🤔

        Liked by 1 person

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