"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Luke 23: 34)I love this scripture because I would not have survived this first week of my senior year without it.
I have been planning a Shakespeare independent study since October of last year. This project has months of my time invested into it. My guidance counselor has lied to me, my supervising teacher has ignored the situation, my principal won't speak with me, my mother doesn't know how to help me, and I don't know who else to talk to anymore. I can't explain their reactions, other than to assume that they're all hoping I'll lose interest in my project and go away. But I believe too much in what could be accomplished to let that happen.
I've been bringing my scriptures to school in hopes that they'll be a measure of comfort to me in my (mostly) silent frustration, and the Word of God is once again my only link to sanity at a time when my life is saturated in madness. However, my friends have also taken it upon themselves to contribute to my burden with snide comments about my faith. "Do you have those weird Worship CD's from the TV commercials too?" was the question that my long-time friend asked me yesterday, even though I've never disparaged her for being an atheist a day in her life.
My head tells me to say, "it mattereth not, I am not angry." (Alma 61: 9) But I have been lied to and deceived so many times in the past few days, how can I say to myself that I'm not angry when that's exactly how I feel?
But I am blessed. I am blessed with a look into the Savior's heart, and to know how he felt when his disciples doubted him. I am blessed to know that I can turn to Heavenly Father and His Son in prayer, and to receive the comfort that they have provided for me. I have been blessed with resolve to continue fighting for the chance to write this play, and to give the student body an opportunity to grow and to understand the relevance of Shakespeare in their daily lives. And as I continue to tell myself that the minor setbacks "mattereth not," I'm beginning to believe on His words. My stubbornness has ebbed enough to allow me to be patient, and the wait does not seem so long, but also no less urgent. I prayed to know how to be calm yet persistent, and I've been blessed with that understanding.
As I reflect on the past few days, I realize also the opportunity that has been given to me that I never would have had if everything had gone according to plan. As I was leaving the classroom of the one teacher that believes in my project as much as I do, my old Publications teacher asked me if I was still interested in being the editor of the school newspaper. I accepted, and now I have the only student forum under my direct influence. And believe me, if I wanted to, I could drag the administration through the mud. But part of saying "it mattereth not" is to forgive the trespasses of all men. And even though I have a responsibility as a student journalist to remind the administration that the student body has a voice with concerns, that voice is more likely to be heard when it isn't dripping with disdain anyway.
Such is the life of a writer; not for the faint at heart, the timid, the weak, or the prayerless. And without a doubt in my mind, I attribute the gains that I've made to my Father in Heaven, and never to my own understanding. His spirit is what allows me to stand firm in this modern-day lion's den without fear, to walk boldly across tightropes because I know why my poise is solid, why my balance is centered, and why my heart is true.
I may not understand why others have treated me so harshly; but when I think about how much I've gained from this experience, I can say with tested and mature confidence "it mattereth not."