Journal Entry: 1992
“…I’ve also had the experience of meeting and counseling with many members. It is amazing the diversity of backgrounds and experience of the brothers and sisters. It is also heart-rending to feel of their pain. It is a humbling experience to know you are just a man and cannot change some of the problems that exist in their lives. Many times people are expecting answers to problems when they are the one who hold the key to fixing them. I have learned to love all people through this personal experience of sharing. It is easy to judge others on their actions when we have no concept or understanding as to what is behind their behavior or why they act the way they do. Most everyone is carrying scars from relationships gone bad, hurts from life’s experiences, or suffer from feelings of overall worthlessness. Many of these feelings come from what other people have done or said to them throughout their lives. Most of us need to have the fortitude to forgive others for their faults and try to accept them in a true loving manner. This doesn’t mean we reinforce incorrect behavior, but at least we need to be sympathetic and understanding of their situations. As a Bishop I try to get all people to recognize that they can control their life and if they wish to be happy they need to start with themselves. It is certainly not easy, but no one can change unless they first do some changing from within. I can honestly say that I hold no ill feelings toward any member of the congregation and I have come to understand who each member is, and why they act as they do. It still doesn’t eliminate the frustration of dealing with members when they don’t follow through, but it helps me to be forgiving and I try to look at myself and see that I too have problems that need to be worked on. There are days that I love being a Bishop and there are other days when I wish someone else had been called. I think we all feel that way about all of the roles we have in life, be it, father, husband, brother etc.. But like the other titles, the blessing of being the Bishop far outweigh the sacrifice. It has been a great blessing in my life. ”
Since the day I wrote those words in my journal, my experience has broadened but my thoughts on the subject are about same. Most often we do not know the burden that others carry in their lives. It is easy to draw conclusions about who and what other people are about. Seldom do we see the “total” movie of others lives. Instead we see snippets and draw conclusions. It is so easy to do because that is all the information we have available in front of us. However, once you get the opportunity, as a Bishop often does, to sit down and talk with someone who is willing to open up to you their life, more often than not, you gain a greater appreciation for them and the manner in which they have dealt with adversity. I can honestly say, that after having experienced private time together, I always felt more love and appreciation for that person and their families. I believe that when we take the time to get to really know others, we find our bond of brotherhood becomes closer, our empathy grows, and our charity is enhanced. That’s a good thing!