Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Elder Brother

It's almost 3am. I woke up about an hour ago to see an amazing moon hovering over the tops of the trees. It was so beautiful I decided to go downstairs and set up the telescope on the front porch. After several unsuccessful attempts, (I am hopelessly tech-retarded) I came back upstairs, crawled in bed and had to settle for looking at the moon and stars through the window instead. I laid there for a while looking up at the clear summer night.
Staring at the stars always makes me think of heaven and God and my purpose here on earth. Perhaps that's why, I'm not sure, but as I lay there my thoughts turned to my Savior and I recalled again the beautiful details of an experience I had as a young girl. I don't know why but I feel really impressed that I should share it here.

To put it mildly, I didn't grow up in a very loving and nurturing home. But despite this upbringing, from my earliest memories I was deeply aware that I had a Father in Heaven who knew me and loved me. As a child there were many times when I would cry myself to sleep at night and the only thing that comforted me was the sense of His love and understanding for the trials and abuse I endured. I never doubted his existence or His love. I knew I was a daughter of a Heavenly Father and that he loved me. He gave me hope that one day I could have the life I wanted; filled with love, acceptance and goodness. I held onto that hope and it carried me through until the day I kneeled across the alter from my husband in the House of the Lord.

Although I had a deep and abiding love for God, my Father in Heaven, I am ashamed to say that at that time in my life I did not share the same affection for my elder brother and Savior. I remember struggling with this for weeks feeling guilt that I had such great love for my Heavenly Father but I felt little emotion toward His son, Jesus Christ. I'd been taught in primary (Sunday school) that Jesus had lived a perfect life and had never sinned or made a mistake. He was tutored by the spirit and angels administered to Him teaching Him of His role and mission in life. I vividly remember the thoughts that ran through my head one day as I played outside in an old shed that I used for my playhouse . "If I had angels by my side helping me, I think it would be much easier to be perfect." In my young heart there began to grow an ignorant resentment that he was somehow given special privilege. I began to feel that it wasn't fair, that He had been given an unfair advantage. I'm embarrassed to confess that I felt this way but at that time in my life I was really struggling with feelings of self worth and was facing some personal problems that left me feeling far from perfect.

Not long after having these thoughts I had a dream. In my dream I was outside by the same shed playing with my sister and best friend. I soon found myself alone standing in the tall summer grass. I turned to see where they had gone and saw instead a figure dressed in white standing just a short distance from me. Immediately I recognized who He was and felt of His divinity and love. All prior feelings of resentment melted away but in his presence I was flooded with a wave of embarrassment as I recalled my recent thoughts. I came to Him and began to cry as I fell to my knees in shame. He never said a word to me and I never saw his face but my heart learned volumes of his love and mercy when He put his arms around me and pressed me to his bosom. Words cannot express the warmth and peace that I felt. I never wanted to leave his embrace. I woke from that dream, my pillow wet with tears, still feeling the warmth of his arms around me. I think back on this experience from time to time (as I did tonight) and cherish it in my heart. Years later when I was in high school, I wrote this poem about my dream.

My Elder Brother

Radiant Robes of the purest white,
glowing like the sun.
All in shame, I fall to my knees
as I recognize the Son.

It was his eyes that never I saw
or His facial features
and yet I recognized His hands,
I knew he was my teacher.

Not a word was spoken,
nothing could be said.
No answer to my worries needed,
my spirit had been fed.

The warmth and love I felt for Him
as I wept upon his robes
His warm, gentle hand assuring me
that I'd never be alone.

How this vision given to me,
one night in a dream.
Has brought His spirit closer to me
when in times of need.

Now I know without a doubt
the love of my Elder Brother.
To know of His sacrifice for me,
so I may live forever.

All at peace I am inside,
when I think of your warming embrace
I could have lived forever there...
in your arms, with a tear-stained face.

By Andria Cole 12-12-94