Sunday, February 5, 2012

bearing and enduring

Because of life circumstances both for me and my wife, I feel like the best part of charity I can study for the next several weeks are the twin attributes of "charity... beareth all things... and endureth all things." It seems like everything has been thrown at us lately--physical, emotional, mental, social; illnesses, disappointments, failures. Sometimes it feels like there's no point in trying to become more charitable because I don't even have time to talk to people outside of work and school tasks! As I'm trying to stay afloat and support my wife through some of her personal trials, I think charity could help me understand why we are asked to pass through fiery trials and how I can learn from them.

Bearing and enduring seem to be almost the same thing. However, I think there is a significant point setting the two apart: bearing most often refers to the act of taking a heavy burden upon our shoulders, while enduring indicates action being taken despite our burdens. For example, when the sons of Mosiah went to teach the Lamanites, they faced the mockery of the Nephites and the rejection and hatred the Lamanites had developed from generations of false beliefs about the Nephites. They were full of faith, but they still began to lose hope, and as they were about to turn back, the Lord told them, "bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success" (Alma 26:27). Likewise, Alma's followers made a covenant at the waters of Mormon to "bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light" (Mosiah 18:8). From these scriptures, it appears that "bearing" is about allowing heavy loads to be placed upon us without losing hope or faith, or even helping others with their burdens so they can remain strong.

Enduring, on the other hand, is about perseverance. In fact, the Spanish translation used for the phrase "endure to the end" is "perseverar hasta el fin," which directly translates to "persevere until the end." You may also notice that "endure" comes from the same root as "duration," which indicates something that lasts for a long time and doesn't decay or buckle under pressure. This root, the Latin word durare, actually means "to harden," kind of like steeling yourself against a heavy burden.

So as I share what I learn about both bearing and enduring all things, I hope you will keep in mind that we need to not only allow trials to come upon us without complaining or losing faith, but we also need to keep moving forward as much as we can, remaining on the path that leads to the Father without any deviation. I hope I can be that strong as I seek to bear and endure all of the things that are going on in my life now.

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