* * * * *
– 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?
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)
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
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.