Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Something Good

In the popular television series The Middle is a character I adore.  His name is Brick, played by Atticus Shaffer.  Brick is the cutest little kid, with a brilliant mind and a quirky little habit I love.  When Brick makes an observation, he often bows his head and repeats his declaration in a whisper.  It is rather like Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, when they are singing:  "Somewhere in my youthful childhood, I must have done something good.  Something good."  Another great character is Squid, from Larry Barkdull's Cold Train Coming.  Squid also has Brick's habit of repeating himself, to himself.

I doubt if the creators of these two characters are even aware of their coincidental similarities.  This makes me wonder if the behavior depicted is a common tic or quirk.  Probably some psychologist, somewhere has described the phenomena and named it some syndrome or other.  If it hasn't been named yet, it will probably become known as Brick Syndrome.  Personally, I'd rather not know about any of that.  I like the quirk because it seems so pleasantly self affirming.  Comforting.  Brick and Squid and Maria need assurance that they understand something correctly.  So do I.

I had such an affirmation yesterday.  I was in a conversation with a dear friend of an other religious persuasion than my own.  She is not affiliated with a church, but is deeply spiritual.  She has a well founded aversion to organized religion.  Organized religion, in general, has not made much of a name for itself.  Today, she zeroed in on a particular problem in the LDS Church, with which, if her observations are correct, I could only agree.  She was exasperated that a young woman, presently in her care, had been sexually abused by her father, a prominent member of the church.  She claims that the girl had sought help from her Bishop, who instead sided with the Father, and never reported even the possibility of the abuse to the authorities.  While that is unacceptable on the part of the Bishop, I also realize I am only hearing one side of the story.  Still, taking the story at face value, my friend has a legitimate beef with the Church, especially since her experience has persuaded her that such problems are endemic; a further conclusion with which I whole-heartedly disagree.

We most certainly are going to experience calumny as Joseph Smith predicted, since we are a church operated by flawed and imperfect individuals who, when all is said and done, still have our agency.  Never-the-less, it is my conviction that the Latter-day Saints are no less than outstanding in their remarkable devotion and determination to love and lift and brighten the world around them.  Typically, Latter-day Saints seek to do the right thing!

Shortly after the aforementioned conversation, Dora phoned to tell me Rex had passed away.  His devastating illness had come on quite suddenly and had taken his life in just a month.  During that month, their home has been graced with repeated visits from their Bishop, their Home Teachers, Visiting Teachers, High Priests Group Leadership, fellow Sisters from the Relief Society and brothers from the High Priests Quorum and, of course the Spirit of the Lord.  They have been given blessings, loaves of bread, meals, even assistance and instruction in Rex's bedside care.  They've been given phone numbers to call, day or night, listening ears, affirming testimonies and enduring, timely love.

Perhaps we have our wicked moments,
Our times when things aren't going so good;
But somehow in the fabric of all we're about
There's mainly just a pattern of good.

Something good!

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