I have always been one who loves my anonymity. That may sound ridiculous to many of you who see me posting stuff on the web all the time. But honestly, to me, 80% of that is business. I probably wouldn’t do so much of it if I didn’t think it necessary to building my career as a musician and author. But there is a quote by Elder Neal A. Maxwell that has nagged at me for years. The first part of it I include to give context for the last part – which is the part that has nagged at me since I was 15.
Whenever Church members speak of consecration, it should be done reverently while acknowledging that each of us “come[s] short of the glory of God,” some of us far short (Rom. 3:23). Even the conscientious have not arrived, but they sense the shortfall and are genuinely striving. Consolingly, God’s grace flows not only to those “who love [Him] and keep all [His] commandments,” but likewise to those “that [seek] so to do” (D&C 46:9).
A second group of members are “honorable” but not “valiant.” They are not really aware of the gap nor of the importance of closing it (see D&C 76:75, 79). These “honorable” individuals are certainly not miserable nor wicked, nor are they unrighteous and unhappy. It is not what they have done but what they have left undone that is amiss. For example, if valiant, they could touch others deeply instead of merely being remembered pleasantly.
Remembered pleasantly. Ouch. I think if I were asked what I thought people thought of me, I think most who knew me would at most remember me pleasantly. Some might not even do that. I don’t mention that in any depressing tone – like I said, I love being anonymous. I like being somewhat invisible. Even what voice I project is usually hiding behind a position, whether it be business, a calling, or a duty. I wouldn’t likely be saying and doing those things completely on my own. But am I touching others deeply? According to Elder Maxwell, if I’m not, then I’m not being valiant.
I guess that’s one of the reasons the Lord gives us callings – to get us out of our comfort zones and nudge us to reach out and touch others deeply. But the Lord also expects us to do many good things of our own free will and choice. That doesn’t mean we should aspire to high positions. It means we should constantly be striving to serve, in any way possible.
I’ve heard it said that we can’t truly be doing good if we are not making enemies along the way. I suppose that sounds a little pessimistic, but there’s some truth behind that. Jesus made more enemies than anyone else in His day, and not because He was trying to. He made enemies because He always tried to touch others deeply, serve, and show love to everyone he met. Doing that strikes a few nerves, but it also touches hearts deeply.
It’s too easy to walk through life quietly, keeping to ourselves and minding our own business. We have the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Short of horrid sin, is there anything satan would want us to do more? If he can get us to tiptoe through life anonymously, then he wins. Another valiant spirit passed through unnoticed. (And if you don’t think you were a valiant spirit in the premortal life – just do some scripture and soul searching. It’s too obvious to miss.)
I may be naturally quiet, but I don’t want to be the type of person who is merely “remembered pleasantly.” I want to touch others deeply.
But instead of choosing to feel guilty about it, I think I’ll just change.