Fruit of the Tree

I wrote this post a month ago. I’m just getting to where feel comfortable publishing it.

When I started having anxiety and depressive symptoms, I had no idea why.  I thought I was perfectly fine.  There was something wrong with my lungs, there was something wrong with my heart, there was something wrong with me physically.  It couldn’t be in my mind.  I was a Molly-Mormon, perfect girl raised in a perfect Mormon family.  Why would anything be wrong with my mind?

I didn’t know then what I know now on a deeper level.  There are two parts to my mind.  One part is divine, a spirit, came from God and destined to return to him.  The other part is fallen man, living with other fallen men, in a fallen society.  Within that society there is a social construct.  It is important to differentiate what that social construct is as opposed to God’s law.  They are two very different things, although they do overlap in some ways. 

Social construct is all too familiar to a young mom like me.  You wear shoes to the grocery store.  You don’t park in the handicapped parking spots.  You drive on the right side of the road.  When you go to church you dress nicely and sit quietly.  These are social constructs.  They are the ways that man has devised to live together and avoid conflict.  Children are notorious for disregarding social constructs because they don’t know them.  They run out into the road, they scream in sacrament meeting, they tell the bank teller she’s fat.  And yet, the scriptures are very clear that they cannot sin.  They are incapable of sin.  What does that say about social construct and sin?  They are two different things.  They may seem the same, but they are not.  Ignoring or breaking the social construct and the rules of nicety that we have set up may be sin or it may not be.  God’s law is not based in behavior. What is God’s law?  God’s law is very simple.  We are to love God and love one another.  The Savior says that upon these two hang all the laws and the prophets.  The thing is, love cannot be seen.  It exists within the mind and heart.  Love doesn’t manifest itself in what we wear, how quietly we sit in sacrament meeting, or how careful we are to obey traffic rules.  Love is difficult to measure and more difficult to define.  In the Book of Mormon the Love of God is symbolized by a tree that has fruit which is white and delicious.  The followers of Christ are drawn toward the tree, a symbol of Jesus Christ.  The Savior has said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  Jesus Christ himself was the Love of God made flesh.  He came to show us what love looks like.  To learn more about this parable in the Book of Mormon, click here.

I love this image. In the Book of Mormon, an entire parable is given centered around a tree that symbolizes Jesus Christ. When we eat of the fruit of this tree, we make a spiritual connection with God through his Son. This connection makes us happy and whole.

I mentioned, in one of my less controversial comments in Relief Society on Mother’s Day, that I am always amazed at how quickly my children are able to find the Savior in every picture.  The spirits of the children of God know their shepherd.  They know Jesus Christ, and they are naturally drawn to him.  As we learn of him through the scriptures, our spirits help us to make sense of this world and how He would have us live in it regardless of social construct.  He teaches us how to love.

In the meantime, the schools, our families, the legal system….they teach us how to be fallen humans.  They teach us to survive, to lie, to hide, to fear.  Most of all, we are taught to follow the rules.  You have to figure out who the biggest baddest person in the room is, and make sure you make them happy.  Who has the biggest gun?  Don’t get in their way.  Game the system, take what you need, look like you fit in.  If it’s in a gang or in a church, dress the right way, talk the right way.  Learn the rules and follow them.

As I have worked through my recovery, I have found myself in conflict with my social construct.  The way a Mormon woman is supposed to look, feel, and act.  I’ve found that the woman I was created to be is different than the one I’ve been trying to be all my life.  Maybe that’s why I have empathized so strongly with my bisexual friend.  Our journeys have not been so different.  She has found that in her recovery, she is no longer the person she needs to be, or at least appear to be, to fit in.  In being true to her own core self, she can no longer be what others want her to be.

As I gain strength, the need to fit into my social construct fades.  I quiet my fears, question my lies, come out of the shadows of my hiding place, and relax my grip on the need to survive.  I see myself as a lily in the field, created by God for his purposes, provided for by his divine plan with sun, wind, and rain.  The social construct that was my prison, is now behind me.  Like a chick leaves her egg, I leave the fallen construct behind, and search for my Master.

Come learn of me, and listen to my words.  Walk in the meekness of my light and I shall give you peace.  For I am Jesus Christ.  Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  He doesn’t care what I wear or how beautiful I am.  Whether I am rich or poor is unimportant.  He wants nothing from me.  He only gives.  Love.  Once you have it; once you’ve eaten the fruit of that tree, you know what to do.  You give that Love to others.  You call to everyone you can see to come and eat the fruit.  It doesn’t matter if they are in the depths of the river or headed to the building, everyone needs to have it.  Love.  Unconditional.  No social construct.  No guns.  No biggest, baddest guy to fear.

A society of love is heaven!  If each person is eating from the tree and passing that love around, there is peace and happiness.  Our differences are not important.  Our sins are swallowed up.  Our natures are changed.  We have become a new people.  His people.  We have no need for the cage of social construct because we are naturally looking after the needs of one another.  It isn’t forced.  It comes from a changed nature.  A reborn person.  No longer fallen, but saved.

There are a lot of lies that Satan tells us, but the one I have the most difficult time with is the lie that social construct IS God’s law.  That if I please everyone around me, I have pleased him.  If I upset those around me, I’ve upset him.  The scriptures are full of examples that teach us that this isn’t the case.  Many of the prophets of the Old Testament were murdered because they upset the social construct.  They pleased God and enraged those around them who propped up and profited from a fallen system.  Jesus Christ, the Word and Love of God made flesh was the most offensive of all to the social construct of his day.  They not only murdered him, they tortured and humiliated him.  Still, even two-thousand years later, he continues to lift and inspire those who own him Lord.  They can’t kill what lives inside our hearts.  We’ve tasted the fruit!  It doesn’t matter who is upset by our determination to love and share Him. 

I don’t have a lot of followers on this blog.  I make no money.  This blog exists for a single purpose.  To bring me away from my social construct to Christ.  The reason it must be public is that courage is required to complete this process.  I don’t completely understand it myself, but I have to do this in the open.  Maybe it’s because every time I tap “publish” I am letting go of that need to write something people will like.  No one is required to witness this.  No one has to agree with it.  It is personal, it is sacred, it is my story.  My journey to Jesus Christ.  It’s real and raw and for many, including me, incredibly painful; but I know that in the end, He is the only one who will heal my depression.  Because of this, my blog is a vital part of my recovery journey.  I feel the mocking eyes of those in the building, but my eyes are not on them.  I’m at the tree.  I am ever his humble handmaid.  On my face.  At his feet.

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