My mom was in town this week (see Facebook for copious pictures) and we had a chance to talk about, well, just about everything. One of the things we talked about was the idea of commitment in the rising generation. She mentioned hearing some general authority or another talking a while back in a meeting about a current concern with the youth being that they just won't decide to live the gospel--they are wishy-washy in their adherence to gospel teachings, and complacent about finding and holding onto testimonies.
It is kind of a standing joke, almost a cultural icon: the eternally uncommitted 20 (or 30 or 40)-something male who just can't seem to pull it together long enough to get married or have children or, just, you know, GROW UP. The Peter Pan syndrome.
But it isn't just men that fail to launch, or women to whom they won't pledge. What I've been thinking is that what makes people commit to any cause, is that they feel the fire of it deep in their heart. What makes you speak out, march, pledge, donate time and treasure is a deep-seeded feeling of belief that what you are doing matters. That it makes a difference. That it might change the world, or at least your corner of it.
In the Book of Mormon, the direst descriptor given to any fallen people is that they are "past feeling." I wonder if this past-feelingness is becoming epidemic in our society. We speak so often about being desensitized to violence, but my thought today is the violence is only one of so many things we are desensitized too. I fear that with so much to fill our time, we have lost the ability to be still and allow the Universe to show us what it has to teach. To let the Holy Ghost feel up the empty recesses in our souls instead of more activities. More media. More noise.
In my Sunday School lesson today there was a quote from Brigham Young that you have probably heard about "the fire of the covenant." I remember a wealth of experiences both as a youth and as a young adult that seared that covenant into me, leaving a permanent impression on my heart. A fire I've learned to recognize and feel as the burning of truth and testimony.
I pray that the youth the Lord causes to be put in my way will feel. That they will feel anything. That they won't succumb to the fashionable ennui that is so common to teens in any age, and maybe most particularly to teens of this age. And that on the other hand they won't immerse themselves in false emotion so there is no room for the truer, deeper feelings the Lord would have them experience.
This epidemic of snark spills over into other areas of their lives as well. I see youth so unwilling to leave the nest, to serve, to try their own strength. Too many without a cause to hang their lives on. We cannot falter in our own dreaming and striving. We must show them how glorious and satisfying life can be when you have the courage to covenant, and to live those covenants. It takes courage to feel, to feel deeply and to be vocal about those tender and vulnerable feelings. We are in need of heroes with such courage.