Are Not We All Prisoners?

READER POST: A friend came to visit me today. I haven’t seen her in a while, but I do know that she is there. She is one of a very few people in my community who has shown me love, support, and empathy after a series of painful life struggles led to my divorce. She brought the kids and me a little Christmas gift and wrote me a sweet card. She also listened. She listened to my fears. My hopes. My frustrations. My vulnerabilities. My anger. My sadness.

She listened.

Without judgement. Or advice-giving. Or minimization of my feelings. Or telling me to get over things. Or telling me it didn’t happen that way.

She listened.

I realized this was a gift, too. It is a gift to be able to talk with someone and feel safe. It is a gift to have someone validate my experiences. It is a gift to have someone take the time to listen and empathize.

Later that night I was scrolling through my social media feed and noticed that the task for LDS Light the World Christmas initiative for this particular day was to visit someone who was imprisoned.

I realized I was that person.

Tears of gratitude welled in my eyes and rolled down my cheeks. I’m a prisoner to my feelings. And to my thoughts. And to my victimization. I’m living within prison walls made up of deafening silent words that whisper “You are not worth it” and “You were never enough.” I’m a prisoner in this community who is judging me with untruths. But my tears overflow as the gleam of one brilliant shining truth cuts through the darkness: I cannot change anyone else’s actions or opinions or judgments or thoughts. But I can change mine. I can change the victimization that enables me to be a prisoner to the hurtful thoughts that others would have me believe.

The parallel realization hit me later that night: This is what Christ does. I don’t see him. But I know he is there. He is one of very few people that will not shun me. He shows me love and support and empathy unmatched. And he listens. Listens to my fears. My hopes. My frustrations. My vulnerabilities. My anger. My sadness.

He listens.

Without judgement. Or advice-giving. Or minimization of my feelings. Or telling me to get over things. Or telling me it didn’t happen that way.

He listens. Because he was also a prisoner, was also in a community that judged him with untruths. He listens because he knows.

He brings me gifts. The gift to talk with him and feel safe. The gift of validating my experiences. The gift of listening and empathizing. He bears my burdens. He releases my chains. He succors me. And then he offers his scars for my shackles.

I am the recipient. The prisoner. He comes to visit me, the imprisoned prisoner. He knows. And he comes. Are not we all but Prisoners, waiting for our burdens to be made light by his easy yoke? Yes. Yes, we are. I feel a sense of peace and warmth as I know that today he came to me, the prisoner, in a visit from a friend.

~Lesley~

READER BIO: Lesley Anne is an RN by trade, but feeds her dominant right-brain by embarking on various creative endeavors, such as photography, writing,  and design. She is a single mother to 4 young children, all of whom love art, play-doh, and dance parties in the kitchen. She comes from a heritage of Mormon pioneer-stock and appreciates her roots.  Lesley has found her own deepening journey of faith to be rewarding, even though difficult at times. She strives to help others experiencing similar situations. 

NOTE: Guest submissions are received with appreciation and in general good faith. Although reasonable, respectful efforts are made to verify the content, ultimate and exclusive responsibility for published reader submissions rests with its author. Sisters Quorum cannot guarantee the veracity of guest content.

The Sisters Quorum would appreciate hearing your stories. Feel free to comment on this post or see our Submissions page

Please like and follow Sisters Quorum on Facebook. You can find us by clicking here.

white-lotus-wallpape2

2 Replies to “Are Not We All Prisoners?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.