Shattered Silence

Shattered Silence

Friday, May 11, 2018

Song Dissection—"Second Hand Heart" (Pt. 9)

See my introductory post, “Song Dissection – Second Hand Heart (Pt. 1)” for background on this essay project. If you are a new reader, I invite you to listen to the song and watch the official music video below. The lyrics are listed for you to read as well; after which, I will continue to dissect the song and share my thoughts on the lessons that it taught me, which is one reason I love this song so much. Be sure and check back for subsequent updates in this 10-part series. 

* * * * * 


Second Hand Heart
Performed by Ben Haenow
(Featuring Kelly Clarkson)

The light of the morning finds you sleeping in my bed
And it’s not like the stories; it’s never like what they said
I know who you want me to be but I’m just not there yet
Yeah, the broken road’s always been home and it’s so hard to forget

Wait for me now
Will you wait for me now?

CHORUS:

I might think too much, drink too much, stay out too late
I know I’m just a fool, but I swear I can change
I can’t steal you the stars, but I can give you this secondhand heart
All your friends think I’m hopeless, they don’t understand
That this imperfect love can start over again
It’s been broken apart, but will you still take my secondhand heart?

(FIRST STANZA REPEATS)

(CHORUS REPEATS)

FIRST BRIDGE:

If you let me show you, I could love you the same
And I can’t steal you the stars, but I can try every day
Oh, you know they’ll never tear us apart

SECOND BRIDGE:

And I’m just a fool, but I swear I can change
And I can’t steal you the stars, but I can try every day
Oh, you know you got my secondhand heart

(SECOND BRIDGE REPEATS)

* * * * *

“It’s been broken apart, but will you still take my secondhand heart?”

When Jesus Christ appeared to His disciples in the ancient Americas, He declared the Law of Moses to be fulfilled in Him, and that their burnt offerings and sacrifices would no longer be acceptable to Him. In place of animal sacrifice, he taught the Nephites that a broken heart and contrite spirit would be required of all those who professed to follow Him and sought to be like Him (3 Nephi 15:2-10; 3 Nephi 9:15-20).

"Similitude" by Walter Rane
Blood sacrifice began by the Lord's command
with Adam & Eve, after they were expelled from
the Garden of Eden.
When you consider all the blood that was spilt, poured out, and dabbed on holy altars or at their bases over centuries of Mosaic Law, one can only wonder if the Israelites and ancient American followers of Christ ever pondered curiously the necessity of so much symbolic carnage in the name of Deity. Throughout the Old Testament record we can see that some generations of the children of Israel did not fully understand God’s Law with its statutes, ordinances, and commandments; this misunderstanding repeatedly led the Lord’s covenant people into pride, spiritual blindness, and idolatry (Psalms 78:5-8).

As we read the scriptures today, we may wonder ourselves how many more young bullocks, rams, sheep, or pairs of turtledoves would be required for them to finally see the likeness and image of a Messiah in their offerings consumed by flames. Had I lived then, even I would wonder, “Is it enough yet? What more have we to learn about our God?” For when the Lord did indeed come to earth clothed in flesh, He was recognized by relatively few as the promised Son of God during His lifetime, but rejected by the majority of the Jews in Jerusalem and killed by the faith’s highest leaders (John 5:43-47).

I can visualize the Tabernacle in the wilderness where Aaron, the brother of Moses, and his sons worked—within the outer curtains of the structure the dusty ground is wet and muddy, not with water, but soaked with blood and stained crimson. Mosaic Law was given to the Israelites because they brought with them to Sinai the idolatrous worship of the Egyptians; this kept them from the higher law of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Today’s standard for peace offerings and sin offerings are not as complicated, at least in deed. But still, the gift of a broken heart and a contrite Spirit, along with the blessed and sanctified bread and water may sometimes seem to us of little avail compared to the complicated and meticulous grandeur of sacrifice and offerings performed by the sons of Levi.

Latter-day Saints today still kneel at altars
inside holy temples to make sacrifices and
covenants with God.
And yet, that is all that the Lord requires of us—the gathered pieces of our broken hearts, and the low humility of our fallen spirits, given freely over to Him. Like the analogy used by Elder Maxwell in a previous section (See "Part 2" of this series), often our offering to God will seem like a trivial, burdensome dandelion upon the altar of God; but the offering—any offering—is accepted by Him when it is given in humility. I have heard the offering of a broken heart described as godly sorrow, which brings us to God to seek forgiveness. Secondarily, the contrite spirit has been called meekness before God and the willingness to be healed and forgiven.

In Moses’ day, according to the Book of Leviticus, a man or woman coming to the temple with an offering gave the best that they had to God for a sacrifice. If, because of scarcity or poverty, he had none of the rightful animals to sacrifice and burn, he brought what he could, even it was only “a handful of flour” mixed with a little oil and incense; and the Levite priest accepted it “to be an offering made by fire, of the sweet savor of the Lord” (Leviticus 2:2).

Neal A. Maxwell expounded this concept in yet another beautiful way when he said:

 
        “…[R]eal, personal sacrifice never was placing an animal on the altar. Instead, it is a willingness to put the animal in us upon the altar and letting it be consumed! Such is the ‘sacrifice unto the Lord . . . of a broken heart and a contrite spirit,’ (D&C 59:8), a prerequisite to taking up the cross, while giving ‘away all [our] sins’ in order to ‘know God’ (Alma 22:18), for the denial of self precedes the full acceptance of Him.”

          ~ Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “‘Deny Yourselves of All Ungodliness,’” Ensign, May 1995, 68.

No matter what we have to offer the Lord when we come to Him for help or comfort, He will always receive it with open arms and accept it. It does not matter if it’s the first time we’ve ever sinned or the millionth time (because the lifetime sin-count will be high for all of us); Jesus will take the pieces of our tattered secondhand, third-hand, millionth-hand hearts and guide us in putting them back together. From His high cross on Golgotha He lifts us up with Him through our adversity; and from His high throne in Heaven He releases us from sin and guilt by His atoning power, knowing full well that it will not be the last time. Like Paul wrote to the Galatians, “[we are] crucified with Christ: nevertheless [we] live” because Christ died for us (Galatians 2:20).

Monday, April 16, 2018

Song Dissection—"Second Hand Heart" (Pt. 8)

See my introductory post, “Song Dissection – Second Hand Heart (Pt. 1)” for background on this essay project. If you are a new reader, I invite you to listen to the song and watch the official music video below. The lyrics are listed for you to read as well; after which, I will continue to dissect the song and share my thoughts on the lessons that it taught me, which is one reason I love this song so much. Be sure and check back for subsequent updates in this 10-part series.

* * * * *


Second Hand Heart
Performed by Ben Haenow
(Featuring Kelly Clarkson)

The light of the morning finds you sleeping in my bed
And it’s not like the stories; it’s never like what they said
I know who you want me to be but I’m just not there yet
Yeah, the broken road’s always been home and it’s so hard to forget

Wait for me now
Will you wait for me now?

CHORUS:

I might think too much, drink too much, stay out too late
I know I’m just a fool, but I swear I can change
I can’t steal you the stars, but I can give you this secondhand heart
All your friends think I’m hopeless, they don’t understand
That this imperfect love can start over again
It’s been broken apart, but will you still take my secondhand heart?

(FIRST STANZA REPEATS)

(CHORUS REPEATS)

FIRST BRIDGE:

If you let me show you, I could love you the same
And I can’t steal you the stars but I can try every day
Oh, you know they’ll never tear us apart

SECOND BRIDGE:

And I’m just a fool, but I swear I can change
And I can’t steal you the stars, but I can try every day
Oh, you know you got my secondhand heart

(SECOND BRIDGE REPEATS)

* * * * *

“All your friends think I’m hopeless, they don’t understand that this imperfect love can start over again.”

These lines hit home for me because I care a great deal what others think about me; another person’s perceptions of me hold more power for me than I have of my own accord, and my self-esteem rests often in the judgment—good or bad—of others. I’m sure there have been many times in my life that others thought I was a hopeless wreck; some of those times I probably thought I was too. But with my recent success in college and my approaching graduation (after dropping out twice over a ten-year period), I have shown myself and others that I am capable of much more than either party probably supposed.

Errors and imperfections are a part of life for everyone;
thankfully, God allows retakes and do-overs for a fresh start.

Certainly I am a prime example of the ebb and flow of testimony and religious activity. I grew up not knowing any God, and soon after I made covenants to follow the God I found, I became disenchanted with Him once again as I pursued forbidden paths. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I came back; and in more recent posts (see “15 Years a Mormon—A Reflection”—November 2017) I’ve shared my wanderings back to that fence that ten years ago I straddled between a religious life and a nonreligious life. Doors that were once closed are now unlocked and ready to be opened, though presently I choose to stay in the faith.

I’ve always tried to keep my blog compelling, and I am compelled by personal tales shared in truth and vulnerability. I have told my tales of struggle and triumph in the hopes that others may be inspired; but I do admit to worrying a great deal about what others might think when I share old doubts that I had once conquered, but am suddenly reliving. I lose sight of what it means to repent and be forgiven, and I fail to remember that repenting and forsaking our sins and shortcomings does not mean that we will not make the same mistakes again. The beautiful thing about the gospel of Jesus Christ is that perfection is sought after, but not attainable, and we all get as many do-over’s as we need.

I'm discovering just how fragile faith is, as challenges have more
than once stripped my base of testimony down to its roots.

In my head I make up scenarios of people gossiping about me when I’m not around, and they say, “How can he be doing that again? I thought he moved on; I thought he was past that stage of his life. I guess his repentance wasn’t heartfelt; I guess he didn’t try hard enough to change.” In reality, I think these made-up conversations are expressions of my own conscious awareness of my struggles and how I feel about them, rather than how most others really view me. In my circumstances, it is probably not all my other friends who think I am hopeless, but me thinking such thoughts about myself.

While I could probably have a very heated debate with my imagined gossipers about why I am not a hopeless cause, and how I can start over again at square-one, convincing myself of that is a bit harder. Bouncing back from mistakes has never been my strong point, and my slate is never quite as clean as I’d like it to be after erasing my errors. Truly, I am my own worst critic and my own worst enemy; we all likely are, in one way or another. When I am faced with such critical decisions—sometimes questions of faith, sometimes questions of life or death—I have to travel back to the roots of my being to rediscover, again and again, why I choose to be present and accounted for.

Building upon foundations of faith can bring me back to higher
ground, and back again into the enlightenment of God's truth.

With my faith, these are doctrinal concepts such as, “Do I believe in God? Do I believe that He loves me perfectly? Do I believe He has power to help me if I ask Him?” Though the answer has not always been in the affirmative when I am living in dark moments, I usually come back to the light with a resounding and peace-lending “Yes!” With my life circumstances—living with physical disabilities and mental health challenges—the fundamentals I come back to are questions like, “Who are they that love me and would miss me if I were gone, and how can they help me through this difficult time? Do I believe that things will eventually get better? Can I hold on long enough to get past this most troublesome moment?”

Wilford Woodruff, fourth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints once admonished:

          “Put your trust in God and rely on his promises, living up to the light and knowledge you possess; and all will be well with you whether living or dying.”
          ~ Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, ed. G. Homer Durham, 260.

Though not particularly profound, I have long loved this quote because of its back-to-basics approach. Whatever we have available—be it faith, family, friends, or other beneficial resources—we should utilize them as we carry on along our journey; this includes reaching out to loved ones when we are struggling, visiting a professional therapist, talking to ecclesiastical leaders, taking time for ourselves, and practicing self-compassion.

Imperfection is expected of all; indeed, it is the one character trait that we all share as human beings, and which can be anticipated with 100% certainty. While others may judge us (or seem like they are), they cannot escape the same fate of failing at one thing or another, just as I do. Whether or not we can start over again—and again and again!—when we do imperfect things is the true test of our character and our faith. And when I do find that my faith is in need of repair or renovation, it’s helpful to remember that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love me perfectly in my imperfection; and that divine love provides the eternal blueprint from which I can reconceptualize my existence, reframe my challenges, and reconstruct my faith.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Song Dissection—"Second Hand Heart" (Pt. 7)

See my introductory post, “Song Dissection – Second Hand Heart (Pt. 1)” for background on this essay project. If you are a new reader, I invite you to listen to the song and watch the official music video below. The lyrics are listed for you to read as well; after which, I will continue to dissect the song and share my thoughts on the lessons that it taught me, which is one reason I love this song so much. Be sure and check back for subsequent updates in this 10-part series. 

* * * * * 


Second Hand Heart – 
Performed by Ben Haenow 
(Featuring Kelly Clarkson)

The light of the morning finds you sleeping in my bed
And it’s not like the stories; it’s never like what they said
I know who you want me to be but I’m just not there yet
Yeah, the broken road’s always been home and it’s so hard to forget

Wait for me now
Will you wait for me now?

CHORUS:

I might think too much, drink too much, stay out too late
I know I’m just a fool, but I swear I can change
I can’t steal you the stars, but I can give you this secondhand heart
All your friends think I’m hopeless, they don’t understand
That this imperfect love can start over again
It’s been broken apart, but will you still take my secondhand heart?

(FIRST STANZA REPEATS)

(CHORUS REPEATS)

FIRST BRIDGE:

If you let me show you, I could love you the same
And I can’t steal you the stars but I can try every day
Oh, you know they’ll never tear us apart

SECOND BRIDGE:

And I’m just a fool, but I swear I can change
And I can’t steal you the stars, but I can try every day
Oh, you know you got my secondhand heart

(SECOND BRIDGE REPEATS)

* * * * *

“I can’t steal you the stars, but I can give you this secondhand heart.”

Moses knew that even while humankind was incomparable to the
glory of God, we were our Father's most prized creations.
When God revealed Himself to Moses, speaking to the prophet face to face, He said, “Worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten” (Moses 1:33). Everything that fills the great expanses of space and time was formed and arranged by the priesthood power of the Great Jehovah, acting under the instruction and divine commission of his Father, Elohim—the Almighty God. It was by Their word that unorganized matter was gathered, collided, and joined together over billions of years to form the planets, stars, and galaxies which were then gradually set into motion; and it is by Their eternal laws and power that the celestial bodies of the universe are governed.

After seeing the earth upon which he stood and all its inhabitants, Moses “greatly marveled and wondered” at the creations of God (Moses 1:8). The experience left him astounded, and in great awe at the power which God possessed. “Now,” said Moses, “for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed” (Moses 1:10). The prophet knew early on in his communion with God (through which many more things were revealed) that the works and wisdom of the Almighty were grand and glorious.

It is humbling to know that among all of Heavenly Father’s vast creations, we, His children, are His most prized and precious! Sometimes throughout life there are moments when we are touched with the Holy Ghost so powerfully that we cannot help but desire to fall to our knees in worship of the Great God who made us and first loved us. I know there have been times when my offerings to the Lord have not seemed sufficient compared to all the He offers me, including my daily breath and life (Mosiah 2:21). Indeed, I have felt that even if I could steal the stars and present them to my Father as a gift and token of my devotion, still my gift would be secondhand to the Being who made the stars and placed them in the heavens.

"Gethsemane" by Adam Abram
Copyright © 2018 by Abram Arts LLC
In essence, we can never repay God for the supernal gift of His Beloved Son (John 3:16). We can never repay Christ for His pain, suffering, and willing death upon the cruel cross. Christ’s atonement is not “Rent-to-Own,” so to speak; it is not the one prized thing in the department store window that we stare longingly at with our hands stuffed in our penniless pockets. “If only…” is not a phrase that should ever precede our desire to know Christ and feel His power. The atonement is ours if we want it—it was always ours! The Savior holds the keys to our salvation, and the door is unlocked; we only have but to knock to be let in and partake of it (3 Nephi 27:29).

We are not making payments toward our salvation or resurrection. Living the commandments is not a deposit into the eternal IOU account held by the Lord. The price is paid, the deed is done. Jesus Christ saved us all; and all He asks is that we follow Him. He doesn’t want the stars; I’m sure He has a great view of them from His throne at the right hand of God the Father. He wants us to use the gift He gave us, not strive to earn it, or feel that we fall short of it. He wants our hearts to stay close to Him, no matter how many times they’ve been broken and mended—the Great Physician always has power to heal us. And hearts continuously healed by the Son of God will help us reach higher for that place where we can catch the view of those stars right alongside Him, which He offers to the faithful, even “all that [the] father hath” (D&C 84:38).

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Song Dissection—"Second Hand Heart" (Pt. 6)

See my introductory post, “Song Dissection – Second Hand Heart (Pt. 1)” for background on this essay project. If you are a new reader, I invite you to listen to the song and watch the official music video below. The lyrics are listed for you to read as well; after which, I will continue to dissect the song and share my thoughts on the lessons that it taught me, which is one reason I love this song so much. Be sure and check back for subsequent updates in this 10-part series.

* * * * *


Second Hand Heart
Performed by Ben Haenow 
(Featuring Kelly Clarkson)

The light of the morning finds you sleeping in my bed
And it’s not like the stories; it’s never like what they said
I know who you want me to be but I’m just not there yet
Yeah, the broken road’s always been home and it’s so hard to forget

Wait for me now
Will you wait for me now?

CHORUS:

I might think too much, drink too much, stay out too late
I know I’m just a fool, but I swear I can change
I can’t steal you the stars, but I can give you this secondhand heart
All your friends think I’m hopeless, they don’t understand
That this imperfect love can start over again
It’s been broken apart, but will you still take my secondhand heart?

(FIRST STANZA REPEATS)

(CHORUS REPEATS)

FIRST BRIDGE:

If you let me show you, I could love you the same
And I can’t steal you the stars but I can try every day
Oh, you know they’ll never tear us apart

SECOND BRIDGE:

And I’m just a fool, but I swear I can change
And I can’t steal you the stars, but I can try every day
Oh, you know you got my secondhand heart

(SECOND BRIDGE REPEATS)

* * * * *

“I know I’m just a fool, but I swear I can change.”

In the infamous first chapter of Romans, Paul seems to condemn homosexual and lesbian behavior, while also reminding the Roman saints of the age-old sin of idolatry. For many gay Christians like me, this chapter has been personally read many times in hopes of finding clarity and understanding. However, I will not be arguing that subject today. What I like most about this chapter of Paul’s epistle comes before the heavy subjects, when the apostle is speaking of those who have experienced the glory of God, but have not acknowledged His divinity; they do not thank God for His goodness toward them, but instead become “vain in their imaginations,” then, “professing themselves to be wise, they become fools” (Romans 1:21-22).

This reminds me of the words of the ancient American prophet Jacob, who said:

          “O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. ...
          “But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God” (2 Nephi 9:28-29).
Lessons are often learned from
the times when we play the fool.
I have been alive for almost 32 years, and I can look back on my life experiences and see many times when I thought I was wise, but it’s clear to me now that I was really a fool. I can see now what my parents and leaders must’ve meant when they said to me then, “You’ll understand when you’re older.” In past blog posts I have discussed my reasons for setting my faith and religion aside while I pursued paths that I was certain were better for me (see “The Greener Side”—August 2013 and “The Best and Worst of Times”—June 2014). In the short run, those paths were traversed far too quickly for me to really gain anything meaningful from them then; but in the long run, those paths set the mark for my journey through adulthood as a disciple of Christ.

I have learned that when I act foolishly, God does not ask me to mope back to the beginning and start over, just to end up hitting all the same potholes that got the better of me the first time through. He simply asks me to find a different path that still leads to Him, and pursue it, letting Christ cover up my footprints on the crooked path behind me. That’s what I think of when I go to my Heavenly Father in prayer and acknowledge my transgression or sin—I admit that I have been a fool, that I have been prideful, trusting in my own limited knowledge instead of in His infinite wisdom. I ask Him for forgiveness, and promise Him that I can change—not a vain declaration that I will show Him what I can do of my own strength—but a testimony that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

Friday, February 23, 2018

Song Dissection—"Second Hand Heart" (Pt. 5)

See my introductory post, “Song Dissection – Second Hand Heart (Pt. 1)” for background on this essay project. If you are a new reader, I invite you to listen to the song and watch the official music video below. The lyrics are listed for you to read as well; after which, I will continue to dissect the song and share my thoughts on the lessons that it taught me, which is one reason I love this song so much. Be sure and check back for subsequent updates in this 10-part series.

* * * * *


Second Hand Heart
Performed by Ben Haenow
(Featuring Kelly Clarkson)

The light of the morning finds you sleeping in my bed
And it’s not like the stories; it’s never like what they said
I know who you want me to be but I’m just not there yet
Yeah, the broken road’s always been home and it’s so hard to forget

Wait for me now
Will you wait for me now?

CHORUS:

I might think too much, drink too much, stay out too late
I know I’m just a fool, but I swear I can change
I can’t steal you the stars, but I can give you this secondhand heart
All your friends think I’m hopeless, they don’t understand
That this imperfect love can start over again
It’s been broken apart, but will you still take my secondhand heart?

(FIRST STANZA REPEATS)

(CHORUS REPEATS)

FIRST BRIDGE:

If you let me show you, I could love you the same
And I can’t steal you the stars but I can try every day
Oh, you know they’ll never tear us apart

SECOND BRIDGE:

And I’m just a fool, but I swear I can change
And I can’t steal you the stars, but I can try every day
Oh, you know you got my secondhand heart
(SECOND BRIDGE REPEATS)

* * * * *

“I might think too much, drink too much, stay out too late.”

This one is pretty simple: We all have problems. No one is exempt from personal struggles and challenges, and some of those challenges can keep us from having a healthy, personal relationship with God and our Savior. The Apostle Paul taught the Romans in his epistle that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” but that our redemption comes “freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24).

Though it may seem harmless, over-
thinking is one of my downfalls.
For some of us, drinking alcohol and staying out too late might very well be among our biggest vices; but arguably, there is excess as well as moderation and dearth in all things—even the things we deem as generally “okay.”  Sometimes a little indulgence can do us good, like around the holidays when we eat more, spend more, and hopefully love a little more than usual. Other times, we may need to regulate our habits, or cut out behaviors that are causing us stress or harm. I cannot offer any insights on drinking alcohol, at whatever frequency one might; and though I consider myself more of a night owl by habit, I’m afraid that my advice in that regard is also scarce.

Thinking too much, however, is a problem I personally have. It is part of having obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety disorder. I overthink and overanalyze just about everything. I get stuck on certain thoughts for hours sometimes, looking at them from every angle, even the impossible ones that I know are outlandish and would never happen; with OCD, this has been referred to as “looping.” I also worry and get anxious about how other people perceive my words and actions, and criticize myself a great deal for doing things “wrong”—something I am working on changing.

But there is some good that can come from it. I love my attention to detail, even the tiny things that I think other people don’t notice, like remembering birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions and trying to help others celebrate them. I also enjoy having a heightened sense of how others are feeling and being able to read emotions and body language, because I pay close attention to those things; it helps me guide my actions and words so that I can comfort others, make them smile, or offer reassurance when I am sensing a need for those things.

The book of Proverbs offers the common wisdom, “For as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). The Apostle Paul encourages this Old Testament advice in his counsel to the Philippians, too:

          “… Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things
          “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9, emphasis added).

Though Paul surely personified all of these virtues himself, still he knew and acknowledged the source of goodness and virtue—The Holy Father and His Beloved Son. And with His perfect life, as our Exemplar, Jesus Christ invites us all to follow Him back to the Father by abiding by the things that we learned, received, heard, and saw in Him. Note also that Paul’s instructions were not just to think on the good things of God, but to act upon them—to do. The famously-quotable American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

In living a life of faith, our words and our
actions should always fit comfortably
together.
Perhaps the cliché, “Actions speak louder than words,” is so frequently used that tracing it back to its author of origin would be difficult; but both quotes here are applicable in this case. It is not enough to merely think of our God and our Lord and to acknowledge Their divinity. Our choices and actions, how we treat others and conduct ourselves, ought to be a reflection of our internal foundations of faith and trust in the Godhead, and not just a deceiving outward display of the sackcloth and ashes of faux humility and penitence.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Song Dissection—"Second Hand Heart" (Pt. 4)

See my introductory post, “Song Dissection – Second Hand Heart (Pt. 1)” for background on this essay project. If you are a new reader, I invite you to listen to the song and watch the official music video below. The lyrics are listed for you to read as well; after which, I will continue to dissect the song and share my thoughts on the lessons that it taught me, which is one reason I love this song so much. Be sure and check back for subsequent updates in this 10-part series.

* * * * *


Second Hand Heart
Performed by Ben Haenow
(Featuring Kelly Clarkson)

The light of the morning finds you sleeping in my bed
And it’s not like the stories; it’s never like what they said
I know who you want me to be but I’m just not there yet
Yeah, the broken road’s always been home and it’s so hard to forget

Wait for me now
Will you wait for me now?

CHORUS:

I might think too much, drink too much, stay out too late
I know I’m just a fool, but I swear I can change
I can’t steal you the stars, but I can give you this secondhand heart
All your friends think I’m hopeless, they don’t understand
That this imperfect love can start over again
It’s been broken apart, but will you still take my secondhand heart?

(FIRST STANZA REPEATS)

(CHORUS REPEATS)

FIRST BRIDGE:

If you let me show you, I could love you the same
And I can’t steal you the stars but I can try every day
Oh, you know they’ll never tear us apart

SECOND BRIDGE:

And I’m just a fool, but I swear I can change
And I can’t steal you the stars, but I can try every day

Oh, you know you got my secondhand heart

(SECOND BRIDGE REPEATS)

* * * * *

“Wait for me now…will you wait for me now?”

An Old Testament proverb reads, “Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured” (Proverbs 27:18). The ancient Israelites looked forward to the coming of the Messiah, who would rescue them from bondage and save Israel, His chosen people, in the Lord’s kingdom. From Moses, to King David, to Isaiah, waiting on the Lord was a common theme of daily religious worship, and a reflection of our need for the Lord and our reliance upon God for sustenance and salvation.

Waiting on the Lord's timing can often
try our patience and our faith.
Animal sacrifices and burnt offerings were prepared in the Israelites’ portable Tabernacle in the wilderness of Sinai, and in the Temple of Solomon and Herod’s Temple, both at Jerusalem, as a foreshadowing and preparation for the sacrifice and atonement of Jesus Christ—the Lamb without blemish—which was later achieved by the shedding of His own blood as the Only Begotten Son of the Father. These ordinances kept God’s followers clean, pure, and worthy before the Lord, and restored the favor and protection of the Great Jehovah upon the children of the covenant.

Isaiah’s prophetic promise was that “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, … shall mount up with wings as eagles, … [and] shall run, and not be weary … [and] shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). He added that the children of God have not and cannot perceive with their earthly senses “what [the Lord] hath prepared for [those] that waiteth for Him” (Isaiah 64:4)—an abundant promise from He Who holds all things in heaven and on earth in His power.

"When the Angels Come"
by Clark Kelley Price
Copyright © 2012 by the Artist
When we wait on the Lord by trusting in His power and goodness; when we talk to Him often in prayer and crave His blessings and mercy; when we are patient with His timing and will for our lives; when we repent often, seek His forgiveness, and move forward with hope and reassurance in His atonementwe are waiting on the Lord. We are acting as His servants, His disciples, His stewards in spreading the message of His love and divinity to the world. But the Lord reassures us, saying “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” because He has promised to shoulder the yokes of life with us if we will but come unto him (Matthew 11:28-30).

I like to think that the Savior would be the best partner to have if I were carrying a yoke and pulling a heavy load behind me. I don’t imagine Him going too fast for my comfort level, but not so slowly that I would fall behind on the path or not gain from the experience. Though His abilities and skills are far above my own—indeed, perfect in every way—I don’t feel that He would ever use His power or strength to push me too hard. Shouldering a burden with Jesus at your side seems like the best way to go about performing your necessary labors.

Our pace in life is not really as
important as our direction.
And when the road becomes too rough and the load bears down too heavily, I like to think that Jesus waits for us until we are ready to put our feet back on solid ground. However, from my experiences with adversity, I feel as if the journey doesn’t stop as Jesus waits for us, but that He keeps the cart moving forward, shouldering the entire burden Himself, so that when we are ready to try again, we don’t have to pick up in the same spot where we succumbed wearily to our trial; instead, as we press forward under Christ’s strength, we do not fall behind, and we are that much closer to our destination than if we had tried to carry the burden ourselves, and had fallen by the wayside under the significant load.

The Lord Jesus and His Father know our capabilities, needs, wants, desires, talents, weaknesses, and frailties—and that is why They wait for us, and work with us. One step at a time is just fine for Them, as long as we are progressing in Their direction. But as aforementioned by Elder Neal A. Maxwell in Part Two of this essay, we are not expected to compete with or match our Father and Savior—yet. “Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels,” the Lord told his Saints in modern days, “wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected” (D&C 67:13). While waiting upon the Lord for answers or direction might try our patience and commitment at times, it’s good to remember those periods (certainly in my life, at least), when the Lord waited for us to learn by our own experience the good from the evil (Moses 5:10-11).