Sunday, November 23, 2014

Day 317, November 23

The holiday season beginning with Thanksgiving and lasting through New Year's Day is nearly upon us.  For many it represents family, friends, faith, and, of course, food.  All good things.

For some, such as myself, it also represents a test:  can I make it through this time without my sister?  I suppose I will, for what choice do I have?  I tell myself I should have a list of worthy projects, fulfilling projects, service projects.  After all, isn't service supposed to ease heartache?

To an extent, it does.  But only to an extent.  I know, I know, we aren't supposed to have doubts that service dissipates pain and sorrow--it's practically anti-American and certainly anti-Mormon to even suggest such a thing. (Have you noticed that I've used the word "supposed" three time already?  Those "supposed to's" in life can be real downers.)

But even with my list of "supposed to's," even with the help of family and friends and faith, grief creeps upon me.  I think of Carla when I'm wrapping a gift.  I think of her when I see little children giggling for we spent many hours giggling together as little girls and then as mothers and grandmothers of little girls.  I think of her when I see a blue Subaru on the road--she loved her Subaru and even named her.

I think of her all the time.

Joy ... and sorrow ... for today:  thinking of my sister.  And remembering.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Day 316, November 22

Healing is impossible in loneliness; it is the opposite of loneliness. Conviviality is healing. To be healed we must come with all the other creatures to the feast of Creation. ~ Wendell Berry

Whether we are dealing with grief or just with the ordinary trials of everyday living, we need others. An introvert, I am comfortable being alone for much of the day.  But sometimes my soul and my heart crave the company of others, the give-and-take and exchange of ideas and feelings, the sharing of hearts.

When I am in a good place, I remember that I need to give back.  Perhaps someone else is lonely and needs me and whatever I can offer.

I love the final words in Berry's quote:  "... the feast of Creation."  I paid particular attention to the capitalization of the word "Creation."  To me, that implies that Berry was referring to the Lord's Creation.  We are all products of the His loving hands.  And in feasting with other creatures at His feast, we are not only healed, we give healing in return.

Joy for today:  coming with all other creatures to the feast of Creation.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Day 315, November 21

Clearly in our world today it is a rare and precious thing to have a testimony that God our Heavely Father lives; that His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior and Redeemer ... The profound blessing of having a testimony of these truths cannot be measured or ever taken for granted.--M. Russell Ballard

You need not be perfect to have a testimony.  You need not have rid your heart of all unkind feelings or your mind of unkind thoughts to have a testimony.  You need not have given up every sin to have a testimony.   Our church buildings would be empty indeed if only the perfect, the completely pure in heart and mind, and the sinless attended.

No, you need not have any of these things to have a testimony.  All you need is to believe that the Father and  the Son love you and that They live.  They live!  That is my testimony.  That is my miracle.  That is your miracle.

Joy for today:  having a testimony

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Day 314, November 20

I've referred in previous posts about our church's Primary Sacrament Meeting Program.  This year I was given the opportunity to write the program for the children in our ward (congregation).  It was my privilege and delight.

This past Sunday, one of the Primary workers presented me with a stack of thank-you notes from the children.  No store-bought card with flowers and fancy verses could compare to these hand-written notes with "original" artwork.  My heart melted a little with every card I read until it was a big puddle of love.

I looked at the painstakingly printed names of each child.  "Thank you Sister Choate for writing our program," one card read.  Some, from children too young to print, had only pictures.  I treasure each card and will probably show them off to anyone who comes to visit.

Joy for today:  being reminded of Heavenly Father's littlest angels.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Day 313, November 19

"Grieving can strip us of our mental structures, and disconnect us from the other forms in our lives: possessions become devalued in the face of sorrow. You are now primed and ready for that shift in consciousness that the universe asks of each of us. "

I found the above in a group of writings about grieving.  The words struck a chord in me as I realized that grieving had indeed stripped me of my "mental structures and disconnected me from the other forms in my life."  What had once seemed so important faded and, in some cases, disappeared in the face of my sorrow.  What did a writing success or anything else matter compared to my loss?

Lately, I've begun to find pleasure in some things again, especially with the birth of a new granddaughter.  How could I not take joy in this tiny scrap of life who is fighting so hard to eat and to grow stronger?  She reminds me that there is much good in life, even when my heart is still aching, still hurting.

Joy for today:  remembering there is much good in life despite pain.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Day 312, November 18

The angels of light bring the air alive reminding me the time of inner growth is at hand.~Terry Lynn Taylor, Angel Days

I am trying to figure out who--or what--the angels of light are.  Are they friends who shore me up when I am down?  Or are they the new souls who have just come to earth in the guise of grandchildren?

I have felt the brush of angel wings when my granddaughter hugs me.  I have felt the brush of angel wings when I picture my son gazing in awe at his two-week-old daughter.  And I have felt the brush of angel wings in the touch of my husband's hand.

Joy for today:  knowing the brush of angel wings.

Day 311, November 17

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. ~ Sharon O’Brien

Often I don't know what I'm going to write in this blog.  Sometimes a quotation, like the above, will inspire me, but I still don't know what I want to say until I start writing.

Does that sound strange?  Perhaps it is for some.  For others, like me, it is only through writing that we know what we are thinking, how it makes us feel, what we want others to know about us.

For the past four years, this blog has been my form of expression, saying through the written word what I do not have the ability or talent to say aloud.  It is my journal, but it is more.  It is my testimony, my value set, my belief system, my sense of self.  And, most of all, my gratitude to the Lord for His unending patience, infinite love, unfailing grace.

Joy for today:  finding out what I am thinking through writing.