Elsewhere I have written and spoken about the nature of my spiritual journey. It has required patience and a willingness to accept a certain level of unresolved tensions. This means not always having snappy answers to stupid questions, and just being willing to accept that, and just continuing to do what I need to do, what I know I must do, without being able to explain myself in terms that will be acceptable to everybody. But most of all it means listening very carefully to where and how the Spirit is guiding me, and following what the Spirit tells me. Prayer and listening are my life lines.
I love the Book of Mormon image of the Liahona, that miraculous compass that pointed Lehi and his family in the direction they needed to go, so long as they obeyed the commandments of the Lord. When they failed to heed the Lord, the compass stopped working. That's my life. Isn't that all of our lives?
Sometimes I do better than others. I'm a sinner. I screw up all the time. But over time I've observed that some sins, one particular sin, actually, screws up my spiritual direction sense far more than any others. And that is pride.
There's the pride of thinking I know what I need to do all by myself, which causes me to become complacent in my prayer life. How could that not mess up my direction sense? There's the pride of wanting to rationalize or justify all the other sins. Because without pride, the other sins, in themselves, are just sins, just errors that I can work on and turn around. But with pride, the other sins start to become bricks in a wall that I build between myself and the Spirit.
But there's also the pride of thinking I might somehow be better than others. My way is better. My arguments are better. My insights are better. Those things become bricks in a wall between me and you. And that cuts me off from the Spirit as well.
Life is a journey, not a fortress. It's not about building the biggest, grandest, strongest edifice of pride. It's about finding the path, finding the way, and continuing to move forward. Leaving the fortresses behind.
And it's about linking up with all the other fellow travelers, working together to find the best way, supporting each other in a journey that takes a lot out of us. It's about learning to accept the travel limitations of others; never leaving someone behind because they're limping, or because they need more time to investigate alternative routes. It's about never abandoning each other, even after we've had a big, huge argument about who should be in the traveling party and what supplies we need. I realize that some of you I have the hardest time with are the ones I need the most.
Please don't leave me behind! I promise never to leave you.