Friday, August 29


I loved the song "The Prayer," that pretty duet sung by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli. I had the Italian words memorized years before I knew Italian. I still remember digging that CD out in Agrigento, Sicily. After months of church music I wanted to listen to it because it was my favorite song. (And my companion/trainer said she thought it would be okay.) As was my most annoying habit, I started to sing along with Celine. Then Andrea took his turn, and as I sang those old, familiar words my eyes grew wider and wider. The most surreal feeling- my brain realizing it knew the words I was singing this time around.

It was in that same house, and with that same companion, that I was introduced to another song that I didn't understand yet. Have you ever heard Michael McClain's "Gentle?" She listened to it a lot, actually. I don't know if she was trying to get a point across, but I definitely didn't get it. I was too busy working on (and worrying about) all the new missionary things I was supposed to be doing. And having grown up with somewhat of a perfectionist mindset, I was completely incapable of comprehending it, I think. It's weird to remember my thoughts about that song. I was so focused on the "be ye therefore perfect" part of life, I was blinded to the true meaning of that scripture. And the lyrics to the song my companion was so impressed to share just seemed cheesy:

Like a gentle wind can blow the clouds from the sky,
Like a gentle touch can ease the pain of goodbye,
Like a gentle smile embraces empty souls in lonely places,
We should be more gentle with ourselves.

Like the friend who gently builds us up when we're down,
Like a gentle kiss can turn our world all around,
We've been hurt by others often,
We've forgiven and forgotten,
We should be more gentle with ourselves.

Life can be hard but
we need not be so hard
on ourselves,
If we will see

Like the Shepherd leads his flock with gentle commands.
With his gentle voice that only hearts understand.
One thing we can know for certain, He has borne the awful burdens
so we can be more gentle with ourselves.

One thing that I know for certain:
He will bear my every burden,
So I can be gentle with myself.

After 30 years of confiding perfectly in the "wisdom" of others, it has only been lately, I've realized that peoples' perception of me doesn't equal truth. That I'm good enough- no matter what anyone thinks.

Reading these lyrics now is just as surreal an experience as was understanding the lyrics to a song in a previously foreign language. That same scripture about what I thought was perfection, is really about love.

Matthew gave a list of commandments before he told us to "be perfect." That was easy for me to misinterpret, unfortunately. King Benjamin takes a slightly different approach explaining the same concept. Before he reminds them of the commandments they have been given, he makes it clear that they are completely reliant on the Savior, no matter what they do- reminds them of their "nothingness." And then after he tells them all the things they should be doing, he says, "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order."

It was also easier for me to understand the way King Solomon put it: "Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day."

It's my heart that He wants. And my heart is good enough. "Let [it] be..."


Hot Air said...

The same gal who's blog I mentioned earlier wrote on the same subject the day after I started this post(great minds- haha.) I won't quote her, but I liked her take.

Melissa said...

I love the song Gentle. There was a year in my life when I listened to it every day on my way to work. It has deep meaning for me and the words helped me to get through a very difficult time. I love how you connected it to the beatitudes and to King Benjamin. I never had that take and now I have a new way of looking at it. Thank you for writing a lovely post. It was the perfect way to begin a Sunday.

Magirk said...

'Let it be.' I love that.

You know, I first heard that song in college. It's a pretty catchy tune - simple enough to remember.

Over the last few years, I've found myself thinking of that one little phrase - 'we should be more gentle with ourselves' - going through my head at various times in my life. It's like it just comes out of nowhere.

It may be one of those small and simple things that is keeping me from teetering over the edge, ya know?

It definitely takes some practice, for a perfectionist such as myself. But I'm getting better at it, year by year.

I really enjoyed your thoughts in this post. Very well said, and good stuff for pondering. ;-)

Breezi said...

Thanks for the good spiritual thought. Good stuff to ponder :o)