Friday, December 14, 2012

Heartsick

I've always felt rather blessed to live in America, to have the freedoms and safety that I do. As a mother, that gratitude has increased tenfold. I've watched tragic circumstances around the world and observed mothers who have been forced to watch their children grow in the midst of war, of death, and of destruction. I've often wondered how you could do that without your heart breaking every time you looked at your children, knowing the odds of their survival would be slim, and the odds of normalcy in their lives would be slimmer still. I've often prayed for those families and thanked God for my own blessings of peace and safety, for the opportunities to raise my own children without such threats looming immediately over our heads. I don't know why I've been so blessed, but it's a blessing that is never far from my mind.

Today, as I've watched the news about the horrible shootings at an elementary school in Connecticut, I've been bombarded with mixed emotions. As always, when something so tragic happens, it reminds me that my time with my little ones is more precious than I realize. It reminds me to be a little more patient, to be a little more thankful, and to hug them a little bit tighter. It's more than that though. There's sheer, indescribable horror at the thought of how something so truly awful could take place. It's heartache and heartsickness. It's anguish that so many little ones had to die and that so many more will carry scars of this day for the rest of their lives. It's no wonder that we sometimes live in such a broken world. We're marring the generation that will carry life forward.

Tucked in these emotions, I find a lack of comprehension. We live in a place of relative safety, and yet, we bring the echoes of war to our own doorsteps. Somehow, we're forgetting the blessings we have and using the double-edged sword of freedom to chip away at our security and our future. Somehow, we're losing the ability to think of the needs of others above our own. It's only happening one person at a time, but that connection to our fellow men seems to be dwindling.

I don't claim to know what the solution is. But, I do know that sweet, innocent children dying is not it ... A friend talked about the Savior's words:

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. (Holy Bible, Luke 17:2)
I have to admit that these words are a pretty accurate description of how I feel ... It would be easy to get lost in the bitterness of having to rear children in a world that showcases such hatred that even the youngest and most innocent of us are no longer safe. It would be easy to let the darkness of such moments overwhelm us. But, it would just feed the problem. Rather, today, I think I'll snuggle a little more with my children, perhaps read with them by the Christmas tree, and pray that, perhaps one day, we'll see the miracle of peace on earth.

Today especially, I find myself more thankful than I can say for this Christmas season. For the reminder that, though we face tragedy and sorrow, there is a Savior. He lived as man and He lives again as Deity. It may or may not be soon, but one day He will come again. Hearts and lives will be whole and safe and happy ... and that's a hope worth hugging a little more tightly this day.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Broken

I've thought for a long time about whether or not I want to write this post. Really, I've wanted to write this post, but I've been uncertain about sharing it -- mainly because it's just a little too personal.

There are times in my life when I feel broken -- so broken that I find myself wondering if that brokenness is something people see when they look at me. Do they see that part of me that aches so much that, at times, I can't meet people's gazes? Do they sense that there are parts of me that feel like they'll never be whole again? Do they see the lack of depth in my smile as I give every ounce of effort to holding back the tears that just won't dry up? Do they see how shattered I feel trying to hold the chaos at bay so that I can be an anchor for my girls?

There are times when I think I'm a whole mess of brokenness, but, after all, aren't we each just as broken in our own way? It seems that often, it is our human hodgepodge of brokenness that shatters peace and comfort and opens the door to such hurt.

We'll likely all have to pass through experiences that make us feel broken, used up, and wasted like an empty shell.  There will be people or trying times that shatter us at our very core. We'll do what we always do -- scrape the pieces together and try to reshape our hearts, our minds, even our very lives, as best we can. We'll stumble through the rubble, and eventually we'll rebuild. Sometimes though, even when we've healed and rebuilt, the splinters of our brokenness will resurface like a painful reminder of just how far we have yet to go. Those days are the ones that would make it easy to get lost in the ugly, the bitter, or the broken ...

Most of the time, those splintered days are ones that I manage to avoid -- by sheer force of will, a whole lot of grace and mercy, and a truly blessed life. Every now and then though, I have my own splinters that work their way to the surface, leaving me with nothing more than a desire to curl into a ball and have a good cry. I've learned that, while the pain doesn't last long, it's something that demands acknowledgement. Sometimes, it takes working through worries or stress. Sometimes, there is no solution other than holding on to a sliver of hope that tomorrow will be a brighter day. Those are the days when waking up, getting dressed, and going through the motions of the day is a bigger success than any major accomplishment.

The brokenness, while not something I'd seek out -- and which, quite frankly, I'd just as soon not allow to visit me -- is, in it's own way, healing. It forces me to take time occasionally to sob out my frustrations, it reminds me to write about my challenges (often, it's easy to journal only about the good things and not how I've worked through the unpleasant things that are by nature a part of this life,) and, in the end, the occasional bout of brokenness, reminds just how whole I really am. 


Monday, December 10, 2012

Dear Monday,

Please note that I am trying to begin my week on the right footing. Instead of my Monday caffeine (yes, it's become my once a week happy place) I am walking into work with a water bottle full of lemons and, well, water.

Due to snow and frigid temperatures, I was unable to go out for an early run. Hence, I will be requiring a break in the weather and snow-free roads around, say, 12:30 or 1:00 p.m. I will need about 30 minutes or so, at which point, the scheduled weather may resume as planned.

Sincerely,
Trying to Make Healthy Choices Before the Holidays Blow Up in my Face

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Compassion of the Lord ...

Sitting in church, thumbing through my scriptures, I came across a scripture that I love.

32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.
33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.
(Lamentations 3:32-33)

It reminds me an awful lot of a quote I've shared before. George Q. Cannon has said,
The Saints should always remember that God sees not as man sees; that he does not willingly afflict his children, and that if he requires them to endure present privation and trial, it is that they may escape greater tribulations which would otherwise inevitably overtake them. If He deprives them of any present blessing, it is that he may bestow upon them greater and more glorious ones by and by.
I truly believe that, while He allows us to walk through the fires of trial occasionally, God does not willingly afflict or burden us. I think that, at times, He can see how we will grow if we are allowed to carry burdens that come our way. In those times, as we take our path through life's learning opportunities, I believe that He is a compassionate God, that his heart aches for our pain and suffering, and that He cheers on even our smallest successes during those moments. He knows it is tough, and I have often seen him compensate with blessings in other areas as I've wrestled with my own trials. God loves us. I know He's there ...