It’s been a rough start to the new year with flu and snow days, and a crazy bout of electricity loss and propane leaks that left us with an out-of-home experience. It wasn’t exactly a fresh start. Yet sometime in the vicinity of the new year, I chose a word to focus on for this year: light.
I decided to study scriptures that talk about light using the Topical Guide. I found some gems. Some were familiar: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalms 119:105). Some were visually beautiful: “And He shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clearing shining after rain” (2 Samuel 23:4).
Some verses were intensely thought-provoking, like this one:
“And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; which light proceedeth forth from the presence of god to fill the immensity of space– The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God, who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:11-13)
My favorite included the word light in a new (to me) name for God.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
This was fascinating to me. I love the idea of God being the Father of lights.
Burdens Made Light
Truthfully, I was sad when I had finished reading all the scriptures in the Topical Guide, so I reviewed them. I wasn’t ready to let go. As I sat looking at all of my sticky note tabs, I noticed the older ones I had used when i studied burdens sticking out in their now dull orange and green (compared to the purple I had used for light).
I sat thinking about other uses for the word light (like when it refers to weight as opposed to visual light) and how it can relate to burdens.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).
I imagined all the things weighing me down as boulders in a large knapsack. I could feel their weight. My concerns for my children and family. My fears for people around me and their choices. The pain of missing family members who have died. Pregnancies lost. Children sick. Children who have been abused. My worries about people suffering near and far away. I imagined myself attempting all of my daily tasks while carrying these heavy burdens. I could feel at times one more than others as it poked into my back. The weight was more than I could possibly bear. How was it possible for this to be made light?
I was instantly reminded of the brother of Jared. I have never built a submarine-like boat to carry my whole family across a sea, but I have looked ahead at what is to come for my family or others and wondered, “O Lord, wilt thou suffer that we shall cross this great water in darkness?” (Ether 2:22)
I raced to the book of Ether to see how the brother of Jared took his rocks to the Lord to receive light.
I could see me preparing my own rocks to take to God; choosing prayerfully what I really should bear and what was not mine at all. I could see myself studying them carefully so that I could see them and understand, through God’s light, what they really were. They were clear, but still so heavy. I could see myself climbing the mountain with my rocks in my own hands, approaching the Father of lights. Through the love of His gracious Son, the Light of the world, each of my rocks was transformed. Perhaps I read too much science fiction, (though that is NOT possible!) but I could imagine my stony burdens being made not just physically light, but into light. Beautiful, shining, swirling orbs of marvelous light. I gratefully and tearfully placed each orb back into my sack.
The Journey to Light
As I floated down the mountain and throughout the days ahead, I still had much to learn. Bearing light is a skill. Sometimes my faith wavered and I could feel my orbs lose their light. I needed to return to the mountain often. At first, each trip was arduous, but slowly, I was becoming stronger. I learned to not pick up rocks that were not mine. New burdens came and I would again have to return to the mountain. Some burdens were corrupting and could change every orb back to stone at once. The journey up the mountain became familiar and beautiful to me.
As I’ve continued to study light and ponder my inspired imaginings, I’ve realized how far I have to go before I can gracefully hold on to light. A friend said that even blessings can be heavy and hard to bear. Sometimes it’s not just trials or struggles, but blessings that we need made light These imaginings remind me that the effort is worth it. The effort to climb to the Heavenly Father and learn to bear light
What if we need our specific burdens made light to become who God know we can be? What if the light of that burden changes the way we see ourselves and others? We may become more sensitive to others and we can gain specific knowledge that can help us serve. Our burdens made light can help us prioritize. I imagine the Father of lights allowing us to have burden at least partially because He knows He has the power to make them light. Just as the brother of Jared needed light on his journey, we need light throughout our lives. Our burdens can become the light by which we see.
Britt grew up in a family of six brothers and one sister and gained a bonus sister later. She camped in the High Sierras, canoed down the Colorado, and played volleyball at Brigham Young University. She then served a mission to South Africa. With all of her time in the gym and the mountains and South Africa, she was totally prepared to become the mother of 2 sons and soon to be 9 daughters. By totally prepared she means willing to love them and muddle through everything else in a partially sleepless state. She is mostly successful at figuring out how to keep the baby clothed, or at least diapered, though her current toddler is challenging this skill. She feels children naturally love to learn and didn’t want to disrupt childhood curiosity with worksheets and school bells. She loves to play in the dirt, read books, go on adventures, watch her children discover new things, and mentor her children. Her oldest child is currently at a community college and her oldest son is going to high school at a public school. She loves to follow her children in their unique paths and interests. She loves to write because, unlike the laundry and the dishes, writing stays done. Whenever someone asks her how she does it all she wonders what in the world they think she’s doing.