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Sunday, September 11, 2005


Day Two and the Blessings Begin

Yesterday, to start out my reading of the Book of Mormon, I started with all the pages of introduction and then skipped to the beginning of 3rd Nephi. This is how I like to read the B of M. I start at 3rd Nephi, read to the end, then return to the beginning and end at 3rd Nephi. I do this for two reasons, to avoid 1st Nephi chapter 1 burn out. I can't count the times I've started to read the B of M and have never gotten past the first chapter; and to avoid the big depressing ending. I begin my reading near the highlight of Christ's visit to the Nephites and end there as well. It's a win-win situation.

Last night I considered the goals I would like to achieve through this reading. President Hinckley has promised us "an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God."

Elder Russell Nelson promises us, "Do you want to improve relationships in your family? Do you want to get rid a bad habit? Do you want to increase your spiritual capacity? Read the Book of Mormon!" ("A Testimony of the Book of Mormon", Liahona, Jan 200: Ensign, Nov. 1999, 71)

I decided my goals would be:

1 Relief from Guilt. Aside from studying for weekly church assignments, it's been a long time since I had the habit of regular scripture study. I admit, that when I do it, I am greatly blessed, but I also admit I am what we call in our family; a Wicked Sloth-Monkey… that is someone who is quick to make mischief, but slow to do good. Now if I functioned on a higher spiritual level I would have listed "Reap the spiritual benefits of regular scripture study" as my goal, but at least I'm an honest Sloth-monkey. I'm tired of living with the guilt.
2 Peace through Trials: My family is undergoing a very stressful situation nowadays( In addition and unrelated to goal #3) and I NEED A BIG PIECE OF PEACE! I've prayed and fasted about the situation, and my stress levels have reduced dramatically, but other times I let my imagination run wild and dwell on worst-case scenarios. I’m having a hard time practicing my personal mantra "Worry is an insult to God". So Lord, if you're serving up Faith, Trust, Hope and Peace, I'll take a double portion of Peace, thank you."
3 Better Relationship with my Youngest Son aka LHS (Large Hulking Son): LHS is 20 years old; a drug addict, rude, selfish, ungrateful, and many other negative adjectives I could throw in there, but I think you get the message. I'm dealing with an angry addict without my husband's help since he is still in Pakistan till we sell the family business and he can join me here in the UAE. My husband is Pakistani and we have lived there for the past 5 years. We have been struggling with his addiction for 4 years now. We couldn't find any NA or AA programs in Islamabad so we sent him back to America to live with his older brother. He was supposed go to NA, and college. He didn't go to NA. He did a year of college (high all the time) and got kicked out of his brother's house very quickly for not staying sober. I went to the States too in an effort to help, but there isn't much you can do for someone whose personal goals are to try every kind of drug he can find. Since returning to Pakistan 2 years ago he has been in "rehab"(locked up in 3rd world insane asylums with no rehabilitation counseling) in Pakistan 3 times. Hashish is his drug of choice, and we disapprove of his use of it, but we know it is his abuse of powerful prescription drugs easily available in Pakistan that will quickly kill him. LHS's abuse of prescription medicines is the reason we moved to the UAE 4 months ago. We are hoping the "geographic cure" and the tough anti drugs laws of the UAE will be enough to keep him sober.

So, now you know what you hope to accomplish through this challenge. This morning, as I was driving back from dropping my daughter at work, I was thinking about how strained my nerves are and how LHS has been getting the best of me lately. I'm ashamed of the yelling and cursing (Mine: yes, push me to the brink and I can curse enough to make a Marine blush.[shakes head sadly]). I've been considering a ToughLove stance (yep, read the book). I want to stop giving him cooked food and clean laundry. I've even considered giving him his college money and telling him to go back to America and fall face first into his old habits again.

It's like having a large untrained dog in the house. He eats ¾ of the family food budget, makes ¾ of the dirty laundry and household messes, but he does almost nothing we ask in the way of family service and is emotionally abusive. My daughter says he must have some great form of social retardation. Since he was on drugs for so many of his formative years he's never learned how to deal with people or his problems without drugs.

I remembered how I once trained our dog, Wafadar, the only dog we've ever owned as a family. She was shy and afraid of humans since she had been abandoned and abused on the streets. I made myself the source of all her food. I sat and talked to her while she ate. I trained her to sit,fetch and come by patiently rewarding her tiniest achievements. If love could train an abused and socially retarded dog, couldn't I use the same techniques for LHS?

When I arrived home at 11am he was just waking up. (Surprisingly early for someone who stays up ALL night.) He asked me to bring him a diet Pepsi and two cigarettes from the store downstairs. I could feel my anger rise and I began to rant, "Why don't you just take a stake and pound it through my heart?"etc, etc. Then I began to calm down said, "LHS, you and I are eternally and irreversibly linked through the most sacred link possible. You can't hurt yourself without hurting me. Don't ask me to buy you cigarettes because I'll never do that."

"What proof do you have?" (of the link) He asked.

"That's a truth that both my religion and yours believe and that's enough proof for me," I replied. Islam believes that "Heaven is under the feet of your mother." He knows that and he believes that. If he would just live like a practicing Muslim, my problems would be ½ over.

A few minutes later, he asked me to press his shirt as he was getting ready to go to college. I started to refuse and remind him how often he refuses to do anything I ask of him, but instead, I said I would if he would give me a hug and tell me thank you when I was finished. He did so. I then told him, "I want a hug and thank you whenever I give you any service so you will remember that you are part of a loving family. I want a hug before you leave the home and a hug when you return." He didn't laugh or insult me. He looked touched. He sought me out a few minutes later to hug me before he left. We were both misty eyed as we hugged for the first time in a long time.

If you've ever had to deal with an angry addict, you know what a miracle that moment was. I can only credit this sweet moment to inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Day two of the challenge and the blessings begin.

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