Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I recently posted on Facebook:

Life is hard. The end. Seriously. The details in each individual's life don't even have to be known for us to have a little compassion and realize that life is hard for all of us. There is always another trial around the corner.
However, life is beautiful too. I dare say, it is more beautiful than anything else it can be, will be, is. Yes, it sometimes takes great effort to see the beauty beyond the thick fog that trials and hardship can lay before us, but it is possible. Focus on the light, focus on the love. There is beauty all around. Find it.

Here's the thing, it's not just the beauty that gets lost in the fog of trials, but, sadly, the people do too.  

On another blog, a friend commented that she hopes her daughter, and who her daughter truly is, doesn't get lost in the school evaluation process.  I've been there and done that and it is valid concern.  Four out of the five children in my home have been through rigorous testing and evaluation processes, usually being prompted by behavioral problems and challenges.  And it's always a concern of mine that who my child is and all the good that comes with that isn't lost in the process.  I don't want my children to be treated merely as a list of diagnostic codes.  And I don't want those codes to define them.  I don't want others to simply see them as ADD, or Anxiety Disorder, or Asperger's, Eating Disorder.  I want others to see them as the kind, intuitive, creative, generous, brave, curious, funny, caring, problem-solvers that they are.

But you know what, it happens to me too.  To all adults really.  What I mean is, what I don't want to happen to my children, I often do to myself and I think as adults, we do it to ourselves a lot.

With all that I have been individually going through lately, I have a tendency to define myself as depressed or numb or even lazy.  And I have to remember that's not who I am.  It may be how I am from time to time, but never who.  Just as I have to remember, and help others remember, that those things are not who my children are, but rather a symptom of what they are going through, I have to give allowances for myself and other adults as well.  

My dear sister recently bought me an apron.  I love aprons.  Mostly because I am a very messy cook.  I love to cook and I am actually pretty good at it, but I am not a tidy cook at all.  But that's beside the point.  The point is the apron.  Why an apron?  Because it is me.  When she gave it to me she said, "I bought this for Christmas for you, but I want you to have it now.  I want you to have it to remember who you really are.  Think of it as your superhero cape.  Put it on and remember who you really are."

And you know what, when I put it on I feel so much more human.  That might be because when I am putting it on it usually means I am doing something to require the apron, but... I do feel so much more me when it's wrapped about my waist.  I feel like I can do anything, be anything.  I can create and love and nurture the way I long to, the way I was born to.  I feel my strength and human compassion come back to me.  I feel invincible.  I feel like people can see me, like I can see me, through the fog of life's challenges.  

When I was contemplating these things this week, my mind recalled an address by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The following is quoted from his address entitled, Forget Me Not:

A while ago I was walking through a beautiful garden with my wife and daughter. I marveled at the glory and beauty of God’s creation. And then I noticed, among all the glorious blooms, the tiniest flower. I knew the name of this flower because since I was a child I have had a tender connection to it. The flower is called forget-me-not.
I’m not exactly sure why this tiny flower has meant so much to me over the years. It does not attract immediate attention; it is easy to overlook among larger and more vibrant flowers; yet it is just as beautiful, with its rich color that mirrors that of the bluest skies—perhaps this is one reason why I like it so much.
And there is the haunting plea of its name. There is a German legend that just as God had finished naming all the plants, one was left unnamed. A tiny voice spoke out, “Forget me not, O Lord!” And God replied that this would be its name.
Tonight I would like to use this little flower as a metaphor. The five petals of the little forget-me-not flower prompt me to consider five things we would be wise never to forget.
The Five Things President Uchtdorf suggests we not forget, which have greatly helped me keep perspective and to see through the fog, are:
*First, forget not to be patient with yourself.  We all at some point have to realize that being perfect wasn't/isn't the plan.  Perfect isn't required, not in anything.  Progress, yes.  But cape or no, I'm not a superhero or superMom,  I am a daughter of God and that is good enough... it is good and it is enough.
*Second, forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice.  Here we can consider the difference between staying up all night with a sick or frightened child verses staying up all night making fancy hair-bows for a child.  I'm pretty sure we can all chuckle to ourselves and see the difference and know when we've foolishly sacrificed.  We are wise, when we let ourselves be.
*Third, forget not to be happy now.  Something I had called to my attention recently was that I have hope in the future, that eventually everything will be alright, but that maybe my faith and hope in the now is a little lacking.  I strongly believe that eventually, God's justice and mercy will make up for all my hurts and pains and all my weaknesses and shortcoming.  I have a strong faith and hope in the eventuality of it all.  But, as was brought to my attention, maybe I don't have the best faith and hope in the now.  That Christ's Atonement can heal the hurts, stop the pains, strengthen the weaknesses and fill in the gap of shortcomings now, today; not just eventually at some later date at the end of my days or at the time of judgement, but now.  Be happy today, there is hope for today, for every single today.
*Fourth, forget not the 'why' of the gospel. Here I can only quote directly from the address as my words would be insufficient-- 
In our diligent efforts to fulfill all of the duties and obligations we take on as members of the Church, we sometimes see the gospel as a long list of tasks that we must add to our already impossibly long to-do list, as a block of time that we must somehow fit into our busy schedules. We focus on what the Lord wants us to do and how we might do it, but we sometimes forget why.

My dear sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is not an obligation; it is a pathway, marked by our loving Father in Heaven, leading to happiness and peace in this life and glory and inexpressible fulfillment in the life to come. The gospel is a light that penetrates mortality and illuminates the way before us.

While understanding the “what” and the “how” of the gospel is necessary, the eternal fire and majesty of the gospel springs from the “why.” When we understand why our Heavenly Father has given us this pattern for living, when we remember why we committed to making it a foundational part of our lives, the gospel ceases to become a burden and, instead, becomes a joy and a delight. It becomes precious and sweet.

Let us not walk the path of discipleship with our eyes on the ground, thinking only of the tasks and obligations before us. Let us not walk unaware of the beauty of the glorious earthly and spiritual landscapes that surround us.
My dear sisters, seek out the majesty, the beauty, and the exhilarating joy of the “why” of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
*Fifth, forget not that the Lord loves you.  Again, I quote from Uchtdorf:
You are not forgotten.
Sisters, wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love.
Just think of it: You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious Being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time!
He who created and knows the stars knows you and your name—you are the daughters of His kingdom. 
And I add to that, our children are not forgotten either.  No matter what fog of circumstance and trial surrounds them, God sees them, just as He sees us.  We are all His children and we don't have to put on a cape, or apron, for Him to acknowledge us for exactly where, how and most importantly, who we are, His beloved children.
Whether you feel like you are getting lost, or your children are, remember that you are never lost to Him who loves you most.  

1 comment:

Cynthia Isom said...

Another beautiful post, my friend. I needed to be reminded. Thank you!