Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ON COMPARING.

Here is my favorite excerpt from one of my all time favorite talks, One Thing Needful: Becoming Women of Greater Faith in Christ, by Patricia Holland. If you've got the time, read the whole thing here.

"I am very appreciative of the added awareness that the women’s movement has given to a gospel principle we have had since Mother Eve and before—that of agency, the right to choose.

But one of the most unfortunate side effects we have faced in this matter of agency is that, because of the increasing diversity of life-styles for women of today, we seem even more uncertain and less secure with each other. We are not getting closer, but further away from that sense of community and sisterhood that has sustained us and given us strength for generations. There seems to be an increase in our competitiveness and a decrease in our generosity with one another.

Those who have the time and energy to can their fruit and vegetables develop a skill that will serve them well in time of need—and in our uncertain economy, that could be almost any time. But they shouldn’t look down their noses at those who buy their peaches or who don’t like zucchini in any of the thirty-five ways there are to disguise it, or who have simply made a conscious choice to use their time and energy in some other purposeful way.

And where am I in all of this? For three-fourths of my life I felt threatened to the core because I hated to sew. Now, I can sew; if it is absolutely necessary, I will sew—but I hate it. Can you imagine my burden over the last twenty-five or thirty years, “faking it” in Relief Society sessions and trying to smile when six little girls walk into church all pinafored and laced and ribboned and petticoated—in identical, hand-sewn dresses, all trooping ahead of their mother, who has a similar outfit? I don’t necessarily consider my attitude virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy, but I’m honest in my antipathy toward sewing.

I have grown up a little since those days in at least two ways: I now genuinely admire a mother who can do that for her children, and I have ceased feeling guilty that sewing is not particularly rewarding to me. The point is, we simply cannot call ourselves Christian and continue to judge one another—or ourselves—so harshly. No mason jar of bing cherries is worth a confrontation that robs us of our compassion and our sisterhood.

Obviously the Lord has created us with different personalities, as well as differing degrees of energy, interest, health, talent, and opportunity. So long as we are committed to righteousness and living a life of faithful devotion, we should celebrate these divine differences, knowing they are a gift from God. We must not feel so frightened, so threatened and insecure; we must not need to find exact replicas of ourselves in order to feel validated as women of worth. There are many things over which we can be divided, but one thing is needful for our unity—the empathy and compassion of the living Son of God."

4 comments:

Christina said...

I have read that talk several times and it always inspires me. Thanks for sharing. I shared some thoughts on comparing on my blog today as well- it's in the air I think!

Thanks for all you do here at Mamas Who Know. I love this blog!

Hannah said...

I agree with Christina! This is a wonderful blog. Thanks for writing something inspiring.

Pedaling said...

I don't think I've commented here before...but wanted you to know how much I enjoy your site, truly, one of my favorites. I teach the gospel doctrine class in our ward and this coming sunday we will be touching on the judging of others- I think I will include this post. Thanks so much!

Jeni said...

This reminds me of Pres. Monson's talk about judging at the RS meeting last October. It's interesting how women struggle with that... judging and comparing. I love the story he tells about the dirty window and the laundry. So often the problem is with us and not other people.

I wish I were brave enough to write like this on my blog. {Sometimes I feel others will judge me if I share my true self with them. I've had a lot of bad experiences.} Thank you for your courage to write what you know is true!

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