For my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, I gave them a conversation. I knew they had no interest in receiving a physical gift. But I figured they would love to do a little reminiscing and discussing their favorite topic–New Church teachings and how they have “worked” for me. So, I told them.
It helped me to think ahead. With some reflection, I felt newly grateful for certain teachings that were instilled so deeply that I didn’t even feel them leading my life except at critical moments. These include:
Knowing that evil must be put away before one can receive good, but also knowing that it’s never too late.
Knowing that our job is to focus on being useful.
Knowing that the Lord reaches everyone. When I hear a truth spoken outside of a church teaching, it is just as true as when it’s written in the Writings.
Knowing about life after death. This gets bigger the older I get. The New Church has always “done death” very well in my opinion–grieving, mourning, celebrating, anticipation of the future. It is a deep well to draw upon at the passing of a loved one, and I notice it most when I’m surrounded by people who have only the vaguest notion of the afterlife. What a lot they are missing!
Nowhere was I more grateful for my past than in the realm of marriage, though much of it was not on my mind until I met Mark at age 30, at which time I thought, “Now I know what all the fuss is about!” I felt I’d been given an instructor manual, with some idea of how to proceed and what to expect..
For instance, I didn’t expect the thrills and chills to last forever; it was almost a relief when we got past that first phase and could get on with our (mutual) life.
Knowing about colds in a marriage. When colds come, I recognize them for what they are. I once heard a Lutheran minister lament all the challenges to a marriage. He mentioned difficult children, financial stress, career challenges. “Wow,” I thought. He really missed the boat. He never even mentioned the real (internal) cause that derails marriage: colds towards each other. Colds that can appear to come from myriads of external circumstances, but whose source is always hell. External factors are not going to kill a marriage; but hellish spirits will do it every time we give them the chance.
Finally, knowing that life is messy, and thank goodness it’s not my job to figure it out for everyone else! When things get crazy and I’m not sure how to think/speak/act, I try to remember that with the entire power of the heavens brought to bear on this situation, finding an entrance wherever possible, any good that can be found, will be.
This does not mean every teaching has “worked” in my life! But that is the topic for another article.
My parents, as you can guess, were delighted! It was fun for them to hear that some important teachings have really made a difference for me. My mom brought out a bookmark I had cross-stitched for her decades ago. On one side it says “Trust in the Lord and Do Good” and on the other, “Do not fret because of evildoers.” I smiled; it is perfect for her! So I guess we’ve helped each other through the years.
Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.Psalm 37