Some newfound friends have told me about the counsel that Elder Ballard gave to share our testimonies through different forms of media. So, because I love to write and because I love the gospel, I've decided to start a blog of my own. What better way to combine two of my favorite things!
As an English major I naturally get to read so many great works, a lot of classics, but most of the time I read to get the assignment done (or worse yet, I don't read at all), and the messages are kind of lost on me, I think. Then every once in a while someone comes along who makes me sit up and pay attention. This time it was Walt Whitman. Maybe you're thinking, Who's he? or That dead guy who wrote poetry about grass? I thought that too before I actually sat down and got to know him. I'll be honest, I've developed somewhat of an intellectual crush on the guy. It was unexpected, but aren't most of our best relationships and friendships?
The reason I love Walt so much is because of his beautiful messages and the things he chooses to write about. Despite the fact that all the works I read are considered classics, I definitely think some were more inspired than others. After reading him, I've thought a lot about what he was saying and how they relate to the gospel. He talks about the divinity of the body, a subject which was unheard of at the time. People thought he was perverse, but now in the Church, we hear talks devoted to that very subject and how it relates to our actions (Elder Holland). He recognizes the beauty and divinity within each person, which I think is so true and I think the ability to recognize that is such an amazing gift to have. He writes about equality, unity, eternity and our inseparable connection with God. And he says at the end of it all, "It is not chaos or death--it is form, union, plan--it is eternal life--it is Happiness." Does that sound familiar or what?
"Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth, And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own, And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own, And that all men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers, And that a kelson of the creation is love..."
I think that's so beautiful and I love this last line especially, which means that the bulwark or reinforcement of the creation is love. We, and all others things, were created because God loves us, and he has a plan. A plan that includes a Savior, without whom we could have no hope or happiness. But like it says in the Gospel of John, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (3:16). And we haven't been put on this earth alone, but we're all connected; we have friends, family, significant others, just so many people that God has blessed us with, and a common thread that connects everyone. It all speaks of love and mercy to me. That's what I think Whitman is saying. Read him if you get a chance; he's a genius! :)