My roommate Kate brought me back an olive seed from Israel. Both she and Neisah asked Kara and I if we had any souvineer requests. Kara's was sand from the Dead Sea, mine was an olive seed.
Years ago I remember a special fireside held for, I think the youth in my ward. The part I most clearly remember was the telling of how olive oil was extracted back in ancient Israel. How the olives are placed in baskets, and then a huge weight applies so much pressure to the olives until finally the seed is extracted from the olives themselves and oil leaks out of the olives. The imagery here was then likened to the suffering of our Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane.
An article by Truman G. Madsen written in 1982 talks about this imagery,
"The garden on the mount is called Gethsemane. Geth or gat in Hebrew means “press.” Shemen means “oil.” This was the Garden of the olive press. Remnants of ancient olive presses near cisterns that preserved the costly oil can still be seen in upper Galilee and in Bethany.
As one stands in this Garden of the olive press—the setting for the Atonement—it is sobering to visualize the purgation of the olive and the intense, seemingly unending pressure which caused the precious oil to flow. Indeed, the symbolism of the place is inescapable."
I am grateful for the small token of the olive seed. I am so humbled by Christ's sacrafice, not just for all of mankind, but for me, individually. That my sins, my pains, my sicknesses, my heartaches, caused "even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men" (See D&C 19:18-19).
We all know that sometimes, oft times, this life is hard, the paths to follow unclear, the trials long, and sometimes we don't feel worthy, or good enough. We feel like we've failed so many times in so many ways. But then we must remember that at least one felt we were worth it, we were "bought with a price" (See 1 Cor. 6:19-20) as it were.
We are trusted to be on earth at this time, flaws and all. He love us, He gave Himself for us. If He and the Father felt we are worth it, then who are we to disagree? To live to beneath our potential? To give up? We are God's children, Jesus Christ is our brother, our Savior, our friend.
One of my all time favorite scriptures sums up what I'm trying to say,
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)
I love this song in any season.