At times in our lives we have the spiritual capacity to focus on the programs of the church and the details of the gospel. I'm referring to things like magnifying our calling, attending the temple, doing our visiting teaching. These things are important to our salvation, of course, and I'm not suggesting we stop doing them. When we do these things we are blessed, and blessings from God are invaluable in coping with our challenges.
Being in this circumstance is wonderful, it is a blessing in and of itself. This way of living isn't spiritually exhausting (unless perhaps you are the bishop) and we are left with some energy and efforts, that unfortunately we often devote to concern for the salvation of those around us. I lived the majority of my life this way, and I foolishly spent my "spiritual resources" as it were, on judging and worrying about the way other people were clearly falling short in these areas. I was self-righteous and constantly concerned with how to make others better.
Then something happens and our world as we know it vaporizes around us. All of our spiritual strength goes to focusing on the essentials of the gospel. We are so depleted of "spritual resources" that it is all we can do to have meaningful prayer with our Father in heaven, try to understand the atonement, and develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.
It is in these moments that we really appreciate the gospel for what it really is. We are too consumed with grasping for so much as a seed of faith, that things that we used to be so concerned with fall by the wayside. Is my invitation to the relief society activity cute enough? What did I wear to church last Sunday? Can you believe the remark Sister Jones made in Sunday School? I'm so glad my children never behave that way during Sacrament meeting! Oh my goodness is she really bearing her testimony AGAIN? It's really too bad other people aren't making it a priority to be at the ward activities.
During some of my darkest days, and at times more recently, I find myself sitting in church trying to hold back tears, appreciating any kind gestures, and occasionally trying to make a kind gesture myself. I am thirsty for the promptings and the peace of the spirit and when I feel them my heart sings. I go to church because I'm desperate to feel close to my Heavenly Father and not because it is the hub of my social life. I am so focused on resisting the urge to stand in relief society and shout "I'm hurting! Someone love me!" that I am hardly aware of what anyone else is wearing or saying.
What seemed so important before, now seems so trivial. And the people I need to forgive now aren't the ones who previously seemed inadequate, but the ones who naively seem totally adequate.
I'm always looking for the silver lining to this grisly problem, and I'm so grateful for an opportunity to see the gospel for what it really is, and to try to extend some leniency toward the people who are doing their best to sprititually survive as well as the people who have been blessed to avoid such devastating trials and therefore lack the empathy and forgivenss that comes with such trials.