I haven't gotten up to bear (bare?) my testimony in probably a year. Half the time, I don't have the desire to. The other half are times when I am boxed in on each side with six people to my left and six to my right. I'm serious. This happens so often. And I usually don't want to go through the process of climbing over everyone to get out. I'm sorry! I always try to sit in the middle to be considerate of others. I hate when I have to climb over other people so I try and reduce that for other people as much as possible.
But. Today I only had one person blocking me from the aisle. That was primarily what sparked my desire to get up today. Because it would be convenient. Yes. I said it. So I am waiting for my turn to go up on the front row of the chapel and thinking about what I want to say. I don't know what it is about that podium but when I get up there, I have to speed through all my thoughts as fast as possible or else I will forget everything. I don't get too nervous speaking in front of people but I do worry I'll forget everything I want to say. But, I didn't want to just get up and rush through my testimony like I always do. I wanted there to be a trace amount of conviction behind what I was saying. So I took the risk of not remembering what I would say. I didn't sound very eloquent and I stumbled over a lot of thoughts but at least I feel I was able to feel what I was saying rather than just say it.
I didn't want to adjust the microphone because they had so many technical issues with it earlier in the meeting. So I left the microphone where it was...and it was higher than my eye level. That's okay. I got the indication that people could still hear me so I proceeded to speak. Timidly. Making eye contact with the mic a few times. Anyway so I finish my testimony and sit down. Brian, a guy in my ward, stands up and I realize the mic is midway down his chest and I realize, "oh my gosh. I am so short. The mic was at my eye level when I stood there but its level with his chest." It caused me to wonder...could people even see me over the podium?
Needless to say, it was a contender for one of the best fast and testimony meetings I have experienced. The testimonies were all so strong and full of conviction and sincerity. There was such a strong peaceful feeling. There wasn't a single person who was getting up just for the sake of getting up to check it off their list for the month. But I feel that is so often the case in testimony meetings. Anyway so usually I zone out during testimony meetings but today I was acutely listening to all the testimonies. The next thing I know, I look at the clock and its 9:55 am. Sacrament usually ends at 9:35 and I am usually the first one to notice when a meeting has gone 10 seconds over time. But today I was just so encapsulated by the testimonies that I had no thought or desire to watch the clock. It was beautiful. People are beautiful.
In Relief Society we learned about fasting. It was very appropriate. We started out talking about how two means counts as 24 hours and got into a discussion on length of time. It was mostly a positive discussion on the benefits of fasting longer. Then a friend of mine asked if there was an official statement about how long to fast. She suggested we shouldn't become like the Pharisees where we get so concerned with counting the hours that we lose the spirit of the fast and what our actual focus is on. I appreciated that.
My ethics class had a discussion about this. In the church, the leaders have to teach principles as black and white. They give us the ideals partially because if they were to teach us the grey, they would have to go through every possible shade of grey and what scenarios and conditions it is okay to not meet the ideal. And that could take a lifetime or more to spell out.
Elder Hafen gave a wonderful talk about the ambiguity that exists between what is reality and what is ideal. I feel that as christians, it is our responsibility to figure out how to deal with the fact that we are given principles in black and white and we have to find out how to apply them in grey situations. Here is a link to the talk. It is an absolute must read.