Falling in Love Is Like Being Converted

Jana owned three Chihuahuas. She dreamed of breeding dogs and training them to compete. Elder Johns and I would go to her house every other day to sit and teach her from the Book of Mormon. Elder Kent and I continued to visit her frequently to teach her to pray. After three months of invitations we convinced her to come to church with her family.

I was transferred shortly after. More than a year later I was transferred back to Sedro-Woolley.

Elder Leonard and I knocked on her door the day we arrived from the transfer conference. Every day we had an appointment with Jana we’d try to think of ways to convince her to come to church, to feel the Spirit, to read the scriptures. No matter what we did, she never converted.

Only once she confided in us. On an exchange, she told Elder Hatch and me that although she struggled to understand what the words meant or the meaning of what she read, she knew it was true. When she sat down by herself, and read, and prayed, she knew. Nothing we did convinced her it was true, but she knew because she thought about it by herself with no influence from us.

I think it is the same with love.

I cannot convince a girl to love me. I can plan. I can think it out. I can put thoughts into action. I can say the right things at the right time. I can do everything I think is perfect so that there is no way she can ignore how I feel about her. In the end, I cannot convince her to love me.

I learned over the past year the importance of communication in a relationship. It involves talking and (even more than that) listening. I have just recently become aware of the importance of personal reflection.

Do I think of her when I am alone? When I think of her, do I smile? Does she have her quirks? Do those imperfections make her imperfect or perfect? Do I look up to her? Do I want to help her become better? Do I hope she is thinking of me?

Love is hope. Whether intentional or unintentional, love is not manipulation, in any connotation.


Sky said...

Well said. Absolutely wonderful. You give us a glimpse of free agency that I'm not sure we understood when we fought a war over it. I agree with you completely(except for your title). After we understand we forever have choices only over our OWN behavior, I think we realize the greatest use of our time cannot be to manipulate others to meet our needs, but to decide to love (and it is a conscious choice--some days one we make every single day and hour) as many people as who walk across our path. And if we don't have the love in us, we serve until it comes. It's fascinating to me that I found this golden truth in the 60's turbulence and followed it into the gospel, where it's revealed in all its glory through the life of the Savior. We can't see the reward this will bring--though many of us have felt it briefly--so we often have to take it on faith. But how sad that from childhood, our culture teaches us to manipulate, or we feel we'll starve.
The gospel is completely opposite.
I hope I have not misunderstood you.

Sky said...

Oh, by the way, not that I can actually LIVE these principles. Ha. But, I do try--some days more than others.

Eric James said...

Sister Morgan, you hit the nail on the head. And I am sure there are many more applicable cliches as well.

I agree with what you said about the title. I wrote this last night before I went off to bed and I couldn't think of one that was catchy enough; so I settled.