“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them…I destroy them…” These are the famous words of Ender. They sum up so much of what I wish to share. They are profound. Take time to identify your “enemy” and you’ll see what I mean. Is it my family members, my co-workers, my neighbors, myself? Define enemy: a thing that harms or weakens something else; a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something. Now, again ask yourself about your enemy?
The problem I have with myself is that I don’t really understand weight. Yep, I said I don’t understand weight. There are two definitions. 1) A body’s relative mass or the quantity of matter contained by it – the heaviness of a person or thing. 2) The ability of someone or something to influence decisions or actions. I believe we are always confusing the definitions. We end up placing them on the wrong issues. Allow me to expand.
Atlas, from Greek mythology, was a legendary Titan. He was in a lot of stories, including a story with Hercules. Atlas led a battle of Titans against Zeus which lasted for ten years. Eventually Atlas was singled out by Zeus and forced to hold up the heavens as a special punishment. There are several images of him holding up the world or carrying “the weight of the world” on his shoulders. It is the symbolic image of man’s struggle with internal turmoil. How often are we weighed down by this feeling? Actually, I find it ironic that a feeling, something that bears no actual relative mass can create such heaviness because of the influence it plays in our decisions. This cancer inside of me is probably one of the heaviest things I have ever carried, yet, it mays next to nothing. It pulls at every part of my life and the lives of those around me. It is pulling them toward a vortex, an endless hole of despair that really doesn’t exist because the Plan of Salvation leaves to place for it.
Nonetheless, I continue in the same pattern of thinking that I have always had. It is a pattern similar to many. I believe that gravity’s pull on my body is more important than my spirit’s. I beat myself up over what the scale say about, pretending that this number measuring pounds or kilograms defines my character. I highly doubt that when I am face to face with the Savior he will ask my weight. He may ask well I took care of the body He gave me but I can’t see Him asking for a number. In spite of knowing this, I frequently assassinate my soul for not being physically correct. As a result, my weight problem becomes even heavier to carry. In turn, I punish those around me by making sure they experience the same misery I feel by vomiting my emotional weight all over them, sometimes even blaming them for the way I feel about myself.
How, you might ask, does this relate to Ender from the beginning quote? I am finally, at age 38 getting to know my enemy. I am learning what I want and what I believe. I am beginning to understand how I love myself and quite frankly I have not done a good job at loving myself enough. In the past 6 months (yep, it has been almost 6 months since the first doctor’s appointment), as I have confronted the idea that I am enough…me, Mary, this girl is exactly the way the Lord intended her to be, flaws (or delayed blessings as Elder Eyring calls them) and all. Ironically, as I have been working to understand myself and relinquish the pain-staking idea that I have to be perfect inside and out, I have not only felt lighter, I have become lighter. I’m not trying to lose weight anymore. I am trying to acknowledge the weightier matters. I thought, at one point, if I didn’t look a certain way then Josue would leave me for another woman. He didn’t, despite my efforts to convince he would be happier. I thought, at one point, being the best at my job would make me more desirable. It didn’t, despite my countless lost hours away from home. Turns out, that when I allowed others to accept me for who I am, the way I am, I like me better and the weight of the world melts away.
I would encourage everyone to take a hard look at themselves. Ask how your enemy is destroying you and seek to love yourself at a level that becomes indestructible. Let those around you love you the way you will learn to love yourself…the way the our Father in Heaven loves each and every one of us.