Monday, March 23, 2020

Carry Me, Carry You

My dad has always been a strong and solid man; much like a grizzly bear with a barrel chest, with powerful shoulders and arms that could lift anything. Over the years I have watched those strong arms push wheelbarrows, move furniture, change tires, carry boxes, plant trees, and shovel mountain bench snow. They have done many great things!


I remember a time as a middle-schooler when I was really sick with a sinus infection. I was too weak to leave my bed. Feeling glum and a little bit lonely, I longed to join my family in the kitchen.

My parents' small kitchen, dining, and living room area flowed together into one great room. They were preparing to sit down for dinner at the table, while a tray was being made for me to have in my room. My mom suggested I might like joining the family; I could lie on the blue and white plaid couch that sat adjacent to the dining table.

But how to get there? I was so very weak. My head was sloshy and my skinny legs felt like jello.

Enter my dad!

He strode across my room to my bed and scooped me up and into his arms. He carried me--curled against his chest like a toddler--down the hall and into the living room with ease, so that I could be with my family. It's a powerful feeling, being carried like that by someone who loves you. It feels like a lightening, like relief from pain. It feels like safety, a uniquely meaningful kind of security. It feels like fondness and home.

Our current trials (I see you, Covid-19!) are very heavy. Perhaps now is a time to remember the absolute beauty and necessity of carrying each other through.

In the coming weeks, there will be many among us who will feel stuck, who will long for the comfort of the blue and white plaid couch in the family room. How do we "carry" in quarantine? What can we do? What can we do?

Call. Text. Start with the first five contacts in your address book and reach out to them. The next day, reach out to the next five. Work through your entire address book. FaceTime and Skype and Marco Polo. Send cards or letters in the mail. Leave candy bars on doorsteps! Wave or say hello to everyone you pass on that jogging path. Shop for an elderly neighbor. Share your toilet paper or your pasta sauce. Say I love you.

It was Audrey Hepburn who once said, "The best thing to hold onto in life is each other." To that gorgeous statement I would add, the best thing is to not only hold onto each other, but to carry each other, too. It's the kindest, most compassionate thing we can do.

And for now, we'll do it safely and from a distance!
We'll be great at it.


Monday, November 11, 2019

Good Moms Lend Jackets

"Where did you get that jacket?"

I signaled to merge into highway traffic; zipping down the on-ramp, heading for home. My kids and I had spent the last twenty-four hours visiting with my parents who live a couple of hours away from me. I glanced at my oldest as I moved to the middle lane.


"It's actually Grandma's jacket. She let me borrow it."

"Why?," Lilly asked.

It had been unusually cold for October. Rather than closely following anything the meteorologist on TV had been saying, I naturally "tuned out" at the mention of "arctic chill" and "record lows" as a means of self-preservation. All I knew was that it was cold...and that I had forgotten to bring a jacket to Mom and Dad's with me.

"She was worried about me traveling home without one. She didn't want me to get cold."

Lilly was quiet a moment before she said, "Because that's what good moms do. They take care of you."

To all the good moms out there--to the ones running to the school when lunchboxes are left sitting on kitchen counters, to the ones cuddling the brokenhearted teenagers when junior high is nothing short of sucky, to the ones working as hard in their careers as they are in their homes, to the ones lending their jackets when their adult children forget--I see you. And you are pretty special. You are spectacular.

*Important Note to Self: Purchase a warmer jacket like this one! ASAP!* 


 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Why Are You Sleeping? Part ONE

I love the movie, Finding Nemo!


I'm sure many of you have seen it. (I mean, come on...who HASN'T seen it?!) It's a story about a father and son relationship; about a fish with short-term memory loss, sharks that are vegetarians, and the magic that can happen among marine life stuck in a tank together. It's fantastic!

And then of course, there's the dreaded Darla. The obnoxious and freckled red-head with braces and pigtails. The monster that strikes fear in the very scales of our fishy friends. She's nutty...and I kind of love her!

Nemo--one of our main characters who is taken from the reef from an orthodontist--is meant to be a gift for Darla. When she arrives at the orthodontist's office (who happens to not only be the doctor straightening her gnarly grill, but her uncle as well), hilarity ensues. Nemo plays dead in his plastic "pet store" bag to avoid being Darla's next victim. Darla sees him--eyes closed, belly up--and begins shaking and shaking the bag. "FISHY," she yells, "WHY ARE YOU SLEEPING?"

Why are you sleeping?

I humbly and painfully confess that that is a question I have been asking God lately. As heartache and trial have rained down on my household--like the snap and the flash of a sudden summertime downpour--I have wondered if an ever present and ever watchful God I believe in, has fallen asleep on the job. Hello? Do you see me? I'm right here! Why have you forgotten about me and my family? 

James has been sick for the past year and a half with sinus problems and a post nasal drip that never seems to fully go away. My migraines--an annoying ailment I have suffered with since I was nineteen-years-old--have been coming with a frequency and intensity that is extremely uncharacteristic of my headache history. It's been nauseating, inconvenient, and a little scary.

He and I are a pair! We have been to several doctors, have had blood work and CT scans done, have been prescribed various medications. Eventually it was decided that James required sinus surgery and a deviated septum repair. As for me...my extremely low iron levels warranted weekly iron infusions. For four weeks! (Fun Fact: Iron carries the oxygen in your blood. And apparently my poor brain isn't getting enough oxygen. Which really explains a lot! Ha!)

In the midst of the medical mayhem, we've had jobs to do, kids to take care of, a yard to tend to, a house to maintain. It's been a little intense.

God, why are you sleeping?

One night, in a particularly vulnerable moment, I had a breakdown. James and I were lying on our bed, talking about how downtrodden we felt, when I started to cry. It had become too hard, too much, too painful, too many toos.

As silence settled upon our spirits and filled up our dimly lit room, I recalled something an extraordinary woman, a spiritual teacher in my church, once said: "When you can't give more, when you've gone beyond your ability to give, then sit still. Call on angels to come to you. Be still and get full."

That is exactly what I decided to do, my dear ones. I decided to sit still, pour out my heart and soul in prayer, and call on angels to come to me. Because I can do that. I am divinely entitled to angelic help. We all are. What a gift.

Have you ever called on angels to help you? If you do, they will.

To be continued...



"I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly beings. We are not separate from them...I claim that we live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever...Their love for us and their desire for our well being must be greater than that which we feel for ourselves." --Joseph Fielding Smith    

      

Monday, April 8, 2019

Give It A Name

When I was a young girl, I knew something was "off" despite lacking the words or knowledge to fully describe my innermost struggles.


I mean, how does a child explain being apprehensive about eating for fear of throwing up? How does a child endure a policeman's presentation on "saying no to drugs" without losing sleep and feeling fully the inevitably of developing a personal drug addiction in the near future?! (Or having an encounter with a drug dealer outside the schoolyard!) And how does a child watch Jessica's rescue from a Texas well without feeling positively certain the exact same thing would happen to her?

Monday, December 31, 2018

In The Space Where You Can't See

You ready for this? Because I'm about to drop it...like...it's hot? *insert awkward giggle*


I am no stranger to internet criticisms. Goodness, when you put yourself "out there" on such a public forum it becomes "part of the territory!" A rite of passage, as some may say. I've had everything from my writing style to my parenting techniques to my physical appearance criticized. But today I entered uncharted waters: criticism from women in my religious community. Yowza!