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Saturday, February 7, 2009

the wanderering stranger

A couple of weeks ago I was on my way to the doctor's office to get my latest test results. While on the train I decided to listen to the "Reflections of Christ" soundtrack (check it out!) I began to ponder the trail of disaster I have left behind me in my lifetime. I thought about all the people I've wronged, harmed, hurt or ignored. I thought about lives I may have destroyed or changed negatively. I thought about how many times the Savior has come to my undeserving rescue - all the miracles I have benefited from unworthily.

While these thoughts overwhelmed my mind and tugged on my heart strings, the song "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" One of the verses gets me every time:

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood."

I began to weep - which isn't hard for me to do - I admit openly that I am quite the sensitive person and am prone to crying, but not so much in public, in NYC or on a subway. I couldn't help it. Like the song says, Jesus has sought me even when I have ignored him, left him or was trying to run from him. He calls after me by name, with open arms, waiting to see me and hold and protect me once more (but not in a weird, stalker way).

As my thoughts turned to the Savior the next verse hit me with just as much magnitude:

O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;

I began to silently pray to God:

"Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above."

If that wasn't enough the following song was "Amazing Grace" - so obviously the same feelings swelled up within me. As I continued towards my appointment other songs that sent powerful messages to me were "Be Still, My Soul" and then "Jesus, Lover of My Soul"

At that point all of this withholding of tears and sniffling and thoughts swirling around from my mind to heart through my soul got to me. I stopped near a somewhat secluded spot off the sidewalk and just let it out-I was compelled to kneel down right there to pray, but it's NYC so my fear overcame my faith.

Once I was able to regain some sense of "normalcy" I looked up at some a group of small birds washing themselves in the puddles of fresh rainwater on the ground. Maybe I am weird or taking it the wrong way, but it just seem to remind of the Atonement. In some way, it seemed the Spirit was saying - yes, you have sinned and have done some terrible things to yourself and many, many others - BUT - you can be cleansed, made whole again - Christ has died for you TOO and He will accept you if you will accept Him. I love little birds fluttering in puddles of water while the sun shines down on them - it's a beautiful sight, unless they're pigeons.

If this weren't enough of a story I finally made it to my doctor's office. I am sure I scared some people getting an HIV test as I walked into an HIV/AIDS clinic crying my eyes out-but maybe they needed to see it.

I got my results and in case you haven't heard...

After less than a month of medication, my T-cells went up from 360 to 444 and my viral load plummeted down from 68,811 to 476. To be considered "undetectable" my viral load must drop below 48 copies. My goal is to be undetectable before my 30th birthday in July, but in all likelihood - it will happen by the next time I get tested in March.

So, what's this post about? I meant to write it the day this all happened - I had so much to say about the miracle God has granted me. I have so much gratitude for those who fasted with me before I took the medication and for those who continue to pray on my behalf.

I bear you my testimony that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is for everyone; yes, you and me too. He died for our sins, sicknesses, sadness, trials, tribulations, even our lost dreams and so much more - that's why it is infinite. I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that He know me by name and loves me still. It's amazing and truly a blessing.

You have been caught Jey Walking! (Doubt not; Fear not!)


science + skeleton said...

wow. i just spent the afternoon in the temple and didn't think my day could get any better, but then i read this and my faith grew even more. thanks for sharing that. you're awesome.

Samantha said...

Such good news about your health. Yay!

Thank you for sharing your testimony here.

Bravone said...

Jey, I love the sincerity of your posts. I am always inspired. Thank you for sharing those songs. "prone to wander..leave the God I love. Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above." I love those words. They resonate with my soul. The Atonement surely will heal us and the ones we may have injured.

Thank you again. My prayers continue to be with you.


Sara said...

That was a nice post, Jey. I really liked the imagery of the little birds . . . You should paint it or recreate the scene and feeling of it in some piece of art; I think it'd be beautiful.

I'm glad your health is improving; stay strong!

Jordan "Free through Him" Miller said...

The last verse of "Come Thou Fount" has always been close to my heart as well. I can totally relate. God truly has blessed you with a gift and it is a blessing to have you share it with us. Dios te bendiga.

Cherie (and sometimes Senor) said...

Jey--I don't think we ever really talked very much but I have always admired and appreciated your openess and honesty about your life, struggles and the joy you have found in finding your way with the Gospel. This post brought me to tears and I am so thankful you shared it. Music (esp those songs) will get me every time...I think we all get these thoughts when we listen to them. Congratulations on the test results, I'll keep you in my prayers. Hope things con't to improve in NYC!

jey walker gladstone said...

Thank you all for your comments - they carry me forward - especially when I re-read them on hard days.