Monday, June 18, 2012

Consider the Lilies  This is a beautiful song. But I don't like watching their faces.

Well, I’m getting married in 13 days! Before you think that’s what this blog entry is about, I want to say that people have a lot of different reactions when I tell them how soon it is. Some people say, “Whoa! That’s so soon! Are you ready? How many people are you preparing for? Where are you getting married?” etc.  Up until yesterday, my answer for these questions has been, “I don’t know.”
Now, it's true that I’m a pretty Type B personality, and people generally can tell I’m laid back, but when I’ve told people I don’t know what’s going on with my wedding, some have become almost angry at my lack of “control” over what will happen. I especially have enjoyed discussing my wedding plans with people who I know are control freaks. These are my Type A friends who don’t let their 3 year olds out of the house unless they have their shoes on the right feet, pants on frontwards, and absolutely, under no circumstances, in a (gasp!) costume. They are also careful to arrive to everything 10 or 15 minutes early and think the sky is falling if they’re later than that, even if it’s a very casual meeting with a friend.
If you’re Type A, I don’t mean to make fun of you. And if you’re dying to know about my wedding plans, we got temple clearance, and it will be in the Portland, Oregon temple on June 30th at 4:00 PM, and we’re not having a reception. The only thing really up in the air is we don’t know if Jeff’s kids will have permission from their mom to be sealed to us by then.

Are you more comfortable now?

There have also been some things going on at work where it’s clear that some people really seem to need control, and have had a hard time delegating certain tasks to others. I’ve been wondering why I feel so laid back about things, why I don’t really have a drive to plan my wedding to the last gritty details, and why I’m totally fine walking through a grocery store, calm and expressionless, with my irrational, screaming toddler dragging his feet behind me. And why I send my little brood of kids outside alone all the time. . . NOT to a fenced backyard. Why can I stay at a park for HOURS relaxing and playing with the kids and totally lose track of time, while other moms I know are on a tight schedule and tend to get anxious about all the tasks they’re not completing at home? I think other people think I’m weird, negligent.

I think, in my 32nd year, I have discovered a spiritual gift of mine. I TOTALLY understand and take to heart this scripture:

3 Nephi Chapter 13 (from the Book of Mormon)

25 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked upon the atwelve whom he had chosen, and said unto them: Remember the words which I have spoken. For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to bminister unto this people. Therefore I say unto you, ctake no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than draiment?
 26 Behold the afowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the alilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin;
 29 And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.
 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if 
ye are not of little faith.
 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
 32 For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
 33 But aseek ye first the bkingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. aSufficient is the day unto the evil thereof.

Now, it is clear that Christ is not telling us to just be lazy and not work. I mean, these are his 12 apostles he’s talking to! If you think they didn’t have a huge work to do, you are wrong! But, for me, He’s putting things in perspective. What happens if I spend my day focusing on HIS work rather than MY work? So, dinner doesn’t get made, so we have nothing to eat. BUT, the kids are in good spirits, I throw PB&J at them, and they feel calm and secure, having been treated with love and consistency all day long. And, I feel the approval of Heavenly Father.
Okay, here’s a much more serious one. . . What if I take the kids to a nature park and let them run WAY ahead of me, so I can’t see any of them anymore. These are my lilies of the field, how they grow! They are feeling nature deeply, like animals. They are doing what children have done since the beginning of time, instinctively exploring and learning through their natural environment. One of them gets to a street crossing, isn’t watching, and gets hit by a car. I think a lot of people freak out at this point. I would freak out too, but for a shorter period of time. A lot of parents would blame themselves, and I honestly would not.
People, in general, think they can control everything. Look how we build these huge, tall skyscrapers. What a feat! How advanced we are! Look how we can take bare earth and turn it into THIS! Then there’s a tsunami and the skyscraper and everyone in it dies.
In the case of one of my kids getting hit by a car, how do I know that wouldn’t have happened with me watching, or that it wouldn’t have happened the next day in a different circumstance? Parents are SO JUDGMENTAL of each other. Sometimes bad things just happen, and it’s nobody’s fault, and there’s no need to place blame, it just is. Recently, there was an almost-two year old who drowned upside down in a clothes washer in a matter of minutes while his/her mom was doing something else. This little toddler was “helping” his/her mom do the laundry. I cannot tell you how many people I heard tisk-tisking this mother and blaming her. Are you kidding me? A mom involving her toddler in the daily work of the household? This is one of the best ways to teach and spend time with your kids, and help build their confidence. This is a bad thing that just happened, and I applaud this mother who was doing everything right. Incidentally, the people I heard bad-mouthing her were people who have never had children.

We are a society afraid of death. In nations where low-risk births are routinely done at home with a certified, trained midwife,  infant/maternal mortality rates are WAY lower than in the U.S. So why, in the U.S., do we freak out if we hear someone’s having a home birth? Why do the grown children of elderly cancer patients keep pushing for their parents to have yet another chemo regimen that only makes their parents sick, emaciated, and miserable for 3 more months of life? Sometimes death is not the worst thing that can happen to you. Personally, I want to go out clothed like the “grass of the field”, trusting that there is something better, more peaceful, more beautiful on the other side.
And how we grow from experiencing the hard things of life! If you think of a time when you’ve really had to forgive someone. . . someone who did something UNSPEAKABLE, did you understand life better through that experience? Did you understand God better through that experience, and your relationship with Him? If you’ve felt incredible physical pain, don’t you have compassion and understanding for those who have also experienced that kind of pain? We are often afraid of the hard things in life, and they keep us from living life fully, and even normally, as it was meant to be lived.

I think my gift is that I can understand this scripture. I’ve had some really hard things thrown at me, and I came out of those things stronger, with greater understanding, and with LESS FEAR. The scriptures tell us we won’t be given anything we can’t handle. I take this to a really primal level. I get really frustrated if I have to try to force or control something. My head gets hot, I’m irritable, I say ridiculous things. It is when I give up control that I feel free and at peace. I feel like I really could handle ANYTHING, including the death of a very close loved one. He has promised that He will take care of me, and He has, and I believe Him.
This has all been mind vomit. I don’t think I closed even one of my arguments.  I just think we need to live fuller, simpler lives where we trust each other more, blame each other less, and trust Heavenly Father the most. There is no need to put every thought or person into a category. Most things and people just. . . are. The way things are, are the way they’re supposed to be. No need to squish and force and confine them. My wedding will happen, no matter what, whether I freak out about it or not.
I don’t worry because I believe “all these things will be added unto” me.

 Jude, almost ready for the day

 Eddie and Jeff (Jeff is the man I love)
Leila with her new cousin, Amelia (born in May 2012)
Thanks for reading.