Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 239, September 31

"Never a daisy grows but a mystery guides the growing."  Richard Realf

I cannot know the author's thoughts, but I believe that God is the "mystery" guiding the growing.  For does He not guide every growing thing?  Including you and me?

The daisy grows with the perfection of one of God's creations.  My own growth is far more erratic.  I grow in fits and starts.  I regress in the same fits and starts.  If only I could pattern my growth after that of a daisy ...

This I know for sure:  God's hand is everywhere, in everything.  It is up to us to acknowledge it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Day 238, August 30

A week ago, NBC aired a special on Mormons.  I thought that most of it was very positive, though I was disappointed that the producers felt it necessary to interview some ex-Mormons.  Not for the first time, it occurred to me that there are many misunderstandings about Mormonism, just as there are misunderstandings about other religions.

One in point is that of Islam.  A couple of weeks ago, I quoted some Islamic beliefs about gratitude, ones I hadn't known.  I found myself nodding in agreement with them,  Why hadn't I taken the time before that to find out more about this culture and religion, rather than simply relying on media reports?  It shames me to admit that I'd allowed prejudice and a good dose of laziness to prvevent me from seeking out the truths found in Islamic belief.

I believe the same is true regarding some individuals' perceptions about Mormonism.  It hurts me to know that many regard my faith as a cult, that Mormon women are perceived as downtrodden and oppressed, when nothing could be further from the truth.  Like me in regard to Islamic faith, these individuals prefer the media's description rather than the truth.

This I know for sure:  truth is truth wherever it is found and should be treated as such.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 237, August 29

In these environmentally conscious times, we are asked to consider our carbon footprint, how much of the earth's resources we are using and how much waste we are generating in our daily lives. I appreciate the reminder to be a good steward.

Today, I'd like to talk about a different kind of footprint, that of kindness.  (You may have noticed that kindness is one of those themes that keeps popping up in this blog.)  Unlike our carbon footprint, which should be modest, our kindness footprint should be ever-expanding.

If you think that's too big a chore, consider that an act of kindness begets another act of kindness, which begets another act ...   We will probably never know the rippling effect of a kindness extended.  Last week I wrote about giving up my airplane seat for a mother traveling with two small children.  What if she decided to help another young mother who needed assistance?  And that mother helped another?

I do not flatter myself that my small act resulted in world peace.  I do, however, like to think I made a difference, however small.

In our church, we have a Primary song, titled "Kindness Begins With Me."

I like to be kind to everyone,
For that is right, you see.
So I say to myself, "Remember this: 
Kindness begins with me."

This I know for sure:  kindness begins with me.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day 236, August 28

I hope you'll bear with me as I share a rather long story.

My husband and I recently retunred from a trip only to discover water damage in our downstairs bathroom.  A call to the plumber later, we learned that our hot water heater was leaking.  It had not yet burst but was on its way to that disaster. The plumber returned.  As it happened, Larry was at home, having not gone to work because of a cold.  Together, he and the plumber took out the old water heater and replaced it with the new one.

In doing so, they accidentally broke something off the air-conditioning unit.  That resulted in a call to an electrician.  (As Matlock said, "Ain't nothin' ever easy.")  The electrician repaired the part and went on his way.

As Larry put away tools in the garage, he noticed that the circuit breaker box was smoking.  He called the electrician, who quickly returned.  They determined that the wires had corroded over time and were now exposed.  (They also determined that this was unrelated to the other problem.)

So why am I sharing this convoluted story?

 If we had not discovered water damage, we wouldn't have called the plumber who discovered that the water heater was leaking.  If  the AC part hadn't  broken during the installation of the new water heater, we wouldn't have had the electrician come.  If Larry hadn't been home from work with a cold, he wouldn't have discovered the smoking circuit breaker.  If the electrician hadn't been close by, he wouldn't have been able to return within minutes and replace the stripped wires.  If the wires hadn't  been replaced, a fire could easily have started and burned down the house.

You may say this is simply a case of coinicidence.  Maybe.  But Larry and I both believe we were blessed immeasurably.  We believe God arranged this sequence of events to prevent a possible house fire and destruction of everything.

This I know for sure:  God is always present in our lives, whether or not we have the wisdom to sense that Presence.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 235, August 27

Charles Spurgeon: There is no cry so good as that which comes from the bottom of the mountains; no prayer half so hearty as that which comes up from the depths of the soul, through deep trials and afflictions. Hence they bring us to God, and we are happier; for that is the way to be happy -- to live near God.

What beautiful words. 

Most of us, myself included, would rather pass on the sometimes bitter cup from which we are asked to drink.  The pain caused by trials and afflictions of this mortal life sometimes seems overwhelming.  Who would blame us for shrinking from the hard things?

We may think our cries go unheard, our heartbreak unnoticed.  In the depths of despair, it is easy to believe ourselves to be completely alone.   I have been one of those persons.  In spite of everything I know about the Father and His goodness, I occasionally allow myself to believe that He has deserted me, when nothing could be further from the truth.

This I know for sure:  the Father hears every cry and cries with us.  We are never alone.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Day 234, August 26

Miguel de Cervantes -- Tell me what company you keep, and I'll tell you who you are.

You can tell a lot about an individual by the people he claims as friends.  Who  am I comfortable "hanging around with?"  Who are you comfortable hanging around with?  If you have some really great friends, people who lift you up, people who make you want to try to be better than you are, then you are fortunate indeed.

As I related in a previous post, my husband and I traveled to Michigan last week to be with our son and his family for the occasion of our grandson Brigham's baptism.  Larry  was asked to give a talk and I was asked to play the piano.  (I had to smile when I imagined us reversing those roles as Larry doesn't play the piano and I am not a public speaker.)  Larry gave a beautiful about talk baptism, the Holy Ghost, and the Savior.  He repeated something I've heard him say numerous times, something I never tire of hearing:  "If you hang around with the Savior long enough, you can't help getting some of Him on you."

This was not meant as a throwaway remark, for if we hang around the Savior, if we seek His presence through prayer, if we emulate Him to any degree at all, we will be the better for it.

This I know for sure:  if I hang around with the Savior, I know I'm in good company.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Day 233, August 25

Abraham Lincoln -- I am very little inclined on any occasion to say anything unless I hope to produce some good by it.

As always, Abraham Lincoln, whom some believe was America's finest president, says much in as few of words as possible.  This quote especially resonated within me as I think of my own words.  Unfortunately, I've said many things, too many, that produced no good.  In fact, they frequently caused harm.

Why don't I learn to keep my mouth shut when the urge to say something unkind arises?  I'm afraid the answer is very simple:  I want to hurt the person to whom my pernicious words were targeted. 

Likewise, why do I feel it necessary to respond when someone says unkind to me?  Returning unkindness with unkindness gives only a fleeting satisfaction, if that.  But, like so many things in life, I have dug a rut from which it's hard to extricate myself.

This I know for sure:  producing good with words is a choice.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Day 232, August 24

Albert Einstein -- Try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value.

Yesterday, I wrote about succeeding at the wrong things.  Einstein's quote reminded me that we should strive not so much for success but for value.

Value contrasts with success in that value comes from the inside while success is awarded externally.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to achieve success.  The wrong part comes in when we prize it above all else, above family, above friends, above faith.

Sometimes it's hard to recognize true value.  Our world trains us to look at things--and people--in terms of what they cost, what they can do for us.  Value, on the other hand, pays no attention to worldly matters. 

This I know for sure:  value trumps success every time.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 231, August 23

"I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me,
but now I'm more afraid of succeeding at things that don't matter."
Bob Goff

We spend much of our lives trying to achieve success, whether it on the home front, the work arena, or other endeavors.   Success is good.  Success, in the right things, can even be noble. 

How much of my life, though, have I spent trying to succeed in things that don't matter?  Too much.

As a young mother, I wanted my children to look nice at church.  I fretted over it.  I berated myself when they went to church looking less than presentable.  (There was the time when my five-year-old son neglected to wear underwear, a fact I noticed only in Sunday services when I saw him scamper over a pew and his pants slid down. his non-existent hips.)   On those days when the children looked their best, I preened, priding myself on my success.  Looking back, I am ashamed over the importance I'd placed on such superficialities.  Would not the children have been better served if I'd spent more time listening to them, more time playing games or reading with them than obsessing over what clothes they wore to church?

This is a small matter, trivial even.  But it reminds me that chasing after things that don't matter is not only a waste, it is an indictment of my foolishness, my attempts to achieve worldly success.  (Yes, trying to live up to the world's standards can occur even in a church setting.)

This I know for sure:  succeeding at things that don't matter can have far more consequences than failing at things that do matter.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Day 230, August 22

Last week, my husband Larry and I flew to Michigan to attend our grandson Brigham's baptism.  We were fortunate enough to be able to get our favorite seats--Larry got an aisle and I found a window, with one seat between us.  I said a quick prayer of thanks that we would have a bit more room to stretch during the almost three hour flight. 

It quickly became evident, though, that the plane would be filled to capacity, and I resigned myself that the center seat would be taken.. 
Within a few minutes, a stewardess announced that mother with a young child needed two seats together.  Would anyone consider changing seats so that she could keep her child with her?

I volunteered and moved to a center seat in a different row.  Once I was settled in to my new seat, I saw the young mother with a little boy make their way down the narrow aisle.  In her arms was a tiny baby.  I was doubly glad I'd offered to change seats.   I remember traveling with two little children and being grateful for any help given along the way.  The stewardess thanked me profusely and  offered me a free (alcoholic) drink.  I told her that wasn't necessary. 

I relate this story not to "brag" about how generous I was in changing seats, for, in truth, it was a small matter and cost me nothing.  It did, however, remind me that we are all in the position to extend a kindness.  What would our world be like if we each gave a little something extra every day?  Could we offer a compliment on a stranger's beautiful necklace?  Could we volunteer to drive an older friend to the grocery store?  Could we pick up trash in our neighborhood?  The possibilities are limitless.

This I know for sure:  I can't change the world, but I can make my small slice of it a better place.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day 229, August 21

"It is only possible to live happily ever after on a daily basis."-- Margaret Bonanno

I have always been a planner.  I plan each day, each week, each month.  I even plan my happiness.  But when those plans don't work out (as is so often the case), I'm lost.

What can I do to get them back on track, to get myself back on track?

A couple of weeks ago, I had come to the conclusion that I couldn't keep up this blog.  Writing a blog every day seemed overwhelming.  I was more than discouraged and ready to admit that I couldn't keep the promise I'd made to myself.  After a couple of days without writing, I realized how much I had missed it. 

I realized something even more important, though.  I realized that I didn't have to write for a year, or a month, or even a week.  I had only to write this day.  It is the same with happiness.  I have only to be happy for this day. 

This I know for sure:  happiness for a lifetime isn't possible; happiness for a day is.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 228, August 20

Today is my sister and her husband's 39th anniversary.  That her husband, Rolf, has been gone for over two years makes no difference.  Thirty-nine years ago, Carla and Rolf were sealed for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake City Temple.  There, they made covenants to each other and to the Lord.

Those sacred promises carried them through trials that might have destroyed the union of others, including the death of their infant daughter, recurring health problems, caring for elderly parents, and others.

Life throws curves at us all.  No one escapes without walking through the refiner's fire.  Often, more than once.

This I know for sure:  my sister and her beloved husband walked through the fire together and came out on the other side.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day 227, August 19

My favorite people are those who make me laugh.  My least favorite--those who grumble and complain and whine.  (Note to self:  do not be one of THOSE people.)  You probably have people you like to hang out with--and those whom you'rd rather manufacture a root canal than to spend a moment in their company. 

Turns out you were right.  Hanging out with fun people isn't just good for your psyche.  It's good for your body as well.

It has long been known that laughter releases those feel-good endorphins, chemicals that boost mood.  These endoprhins can also reduce pain, lower blood pressure, and improve the immune system.  Doctors are even conducting workshops to show participants how to produce deep belly laughs.

What does that mean for us?

In a world that grows increasingly grim (at least according to the media), we should seek out reasons to laugh.  Can't find anything to laugh about?  Watch re-runs of I LOVE LUCY or THE THREE STOOGES or whatever rocks your boat.  Laugh until your sides hurt.  Laugh until tears run down your cheeks.  Just laugh.

This I know for sure:  laughter is chicken soup for the soul and for the body.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day 226, August 18

As you might have noticed, the theme of gratitude is a recurring one in this blog.  Perhaps because I am trying to find more gratitude in my own life.  Perhaps because I am offended by ingratitude.

Gratitude is not peculiar to Christianity.  Did you know that the Koran teaches the importance of gratitude?  The Koran is divided in to suras or chapters.  In chapter fourteen, we find the words, "If you are grateful, I will give you more.  (14:7)  The prophet Mohammed said "Gratitude for the abundance you have received is the best insurance that the abundance will continue." 

Islamic tradition maintains that gratitude is ranked in different stages.  The first is thankfulness for gifts received from God.  An even higher state is being grateful for gifts not received.  In this state, one understands that blessings are couched in affliction.  The final or highest stage of gratitude is recognizing that no amount of worship or service is sufficient to express gratitude to the Creator and that even feelings of gratitude are a gift from God.

What beautiful and wise teachings.

This I know for sure:  gratitude is required of all of us, whatever our faith.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 225, August 17

Gratitude and thanksgiving are central themes in the teachings of the Apostle Paul.  Many of his epistles begin with some form of thanks to the people whom he is addressing.

With his own thankfulness, Paul also instructs the Saints to be grateful, declaring that Christian should live lives of thanksgiving as an acknowledgment of God's goodness.  Paul then goes on to say that in giving thanks to God, we find the pattern of how we should treat others.

Many of us praise the Lord every day in our prayers, thanking Him for the blessings which He has bestowed upon us.  Too frequently, though, some of us (myself most especially) forget to give thanks to others in our lives.  One day, my husband spent some time in making certain my car had a current registration sticker and papers.  This required effort, as well as time.

I am ashamed to admit that I take such things for granted.  I expect my car to have a current registration, expect it to be ready to drive whenever I need it.

This I know for sure:  gratitude unexpressed is not gratitude at all.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day 224, August 16

In the 1930s, linguist Benjamin Whorf  posited that language determined the nature and content of our thoughts.  For decades. educators, psychiatirsts, anthropologists, and other conducted experiments, trying to prove--or disprove- this theory.  No one was able to disprove it.  Some professionals took the theory a step further, claiming that our language creates reality.

One study revealed that grateful people have a peculiar linguistic syle.  They use words such as blessings, giving, receiving, abundance, and fortunate.  Ungrateful people also have their own language, involving words such as scarcity, poor, needy, loss, and regrets.

What significance does this have for us?

If we use the language of gratitude, we will likely find that our thoughts, indeed, our very nature, have changed for the better, even when our cirucmstances remain the same.

This I know for sure:  gratitude is a matter of attitude and attitude determines our happiness.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day 223, August 15

Lasting joy is not a matter of what's happening around you, but inside you.--Jim and Cathy Burns

For too much of my life, I have tied my happiness to what is going on around me.  If I've havd a good day, if all goes right in my universe, I am happy.   Reasonable, right?

The trouble is, if something goes wrong, I'm unhappy. And if something goes really wrong, I'm in despair.  I allowed the outside world to determine my joy quotient.    Real joy, the kind that can't be taken from me, needs to come from the inside.

My mind knows that.  My heart has a harder time with the concept.

This I know for sure:  true joy in not found in external circumstances.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 222, August 14

Today is my grandson Brigham's birthday.  It is an especially important one as Brigham turns 8 this year.  In the Mormon Church, children are (normally) baptized at age 8 and make covenants with the Lord..

As Brigham takes this step, I hope he will feel the Spirit.  I hope he will know that his parents and grandparents love him.  Most of all, I hope he will know that the Savior loves him.

Brigham came to our family by way of adoption, a blessing for all of us.  He is full of energy, curiosity, and a touch of mischief.  (Well, maybe more than a touch.)  He charges through life with the enthusiasm of a six-week-old puppy.  He is also filled with a sweetness that can bring tears to my eyes.

This I know for sure:  Brigham is a bright star in my life.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Day 221, August 13

The Savior's parables on gratitude have always intrigued me, especially that of the ten lepers.  (As you will recall, Jesus cured all the men, only to have one express his gratitude for the precious gift of health.)

A more recent incident of ingratitude occurred during the 2004 Olympics.  The Iraqi soccer team had qualified for the Athens games.  This was made particularly significant in that the former Olympic Committee head Odai Hussein, who had inflicted torture upon hundreds of athletes, had been killed after a coalition of American forces and others had  invaded Iraq the previous year.

Competing, now without the fear of torture or death, the Iraqi team stunned the world with their ingratitiude.  Not only were the team members not grateful for their freedom from the brutal regime, they also did not spare words in expressing their disapproval of their liberators. 

One man said this about then president George W.. Bush:  "How will he meet his God after having slaughtered so many men and women?  He has committed so many crimes."  This man compounded his lack of gratitude by going on to say that if he were not playing soccer, he would be fighting as an insurgent against the very forces which had freed him and his teammates.

Whatever one's feelings about the war in Iraq, this egregious example of ingratitude is hard to overlook or to stomach.  Even more so is our ingratitude to the Savior when we fail to acknowledge His hand in our lives.

This I know for sure:  the measure of a man ... or a woman ... may be found in his/her gratitude..

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day 220, August 12

I grew up in the Mormon Church and loved (and still do) the hymns.  One hymn in particular caught my attention and imagination:  "How Firm a Foundation."  The stately rhythm and beautiful lyrics always brought tears to my eyes.  The chorus began with the phrase, "You who unto Jesus, you who unto Jesus ..."

As a child, I translated those words to "Yoohoo unto Jesus, yoohoo unto Jesus ..."  (My southern roots were showing, I suppose, as in the South, people often give a "yoohoo" or shout a "holler" to neighbors and passers-by.)  I never considered my innocent translation to be irreverent--I saw it as speaking to Jesus with the familiarity of a friend, which I considered Him.

In 1985, the Church redid the hymn book, adding new hymns and changing some of the words of others.  "You who unto Jesus" was changed to "Who unto the Savior."  Though I understand, mostly, the reasons behind the change, I regretted it nonetheless.  I had long since realized that we were not really singng "Yoohoo unto Jesus," but I still cherished those sweet mistaken words.

This I know for sure:  I can still give Jesus a "yoohoo" because He is, and always will be, my Friend.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day 219, August 11

When I first heard the phrase "tender mercies," I knew I had heard the words of angels.   For where do tender mercies come from but the Lord?

Evidence of the Lord's tender mercies are all about us ... if we but care to look.  I see His mercies in the recovery of a dear friend after she endured months of grueling chemotherapy.  I hear His mercies in the voices of my grandchildren.  I feel His mercies when I utter a prayer.

The Lord's tender mercies are much like His miracles.  We have only to be attuned to the Spirit, to be sensitive enough to look, to listen, to feel.

This I know for sure:  His tender mercies are there for all of us.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Day 218, August 10

 "Talking is like playing the harp; there is as much in laying the hands on the strings to stop their vibrations as in twanging them to bring out their music."--Oliver Wendell Holmes

What a lovely anology, comparing talking to harp playing.  Unfortunately, my talking rarely has that perfect balance of sound and silence as that of the music of a skilled harp player.

Too often, I am impatiently waiting for the person with whom I'm talking to stop her prattle so that I can talk.  Obviously, my words have more importance, more significance.  Why should I be forced to wait for her to run down until I can impart my nuggets of wisdom?

And isn't that a sad commentary?

This I know for sure:  I learn more in my silences than I ever do in talking.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day 217, August 9

I am a part of all that I have met.   Alfred Tennyson

Alfred Lord Tennyson was a gifted writer and poet.  His words hold as true today as they did well more than a century ago when he penned them.  For better or worse, we are, indeed, part of all that we have met. 

I am a fan of suspense novels.  Detectives maintain that the perpetrator of a crime, whatever that may be, inevitably leave part of themselves behind.  It may be as insignificant as a speck of pollen which will then lead the police to track down the bad guy.  It may be more significant, such as a hair follicle or  blood.  The point is, something is left behind.

In the same way,  each encounter with another leaves us marginally changed, and, sometimes, profoundly changed. I wonder what I leave with those who have encountered me. Did the store clerk remember that I was impatient on a particular day and transfer that sme impatience to the next customer?  On another day, did the driver who wanted to change lanes in front of me note that I slowed down, thus allowing him to do so?  Did that inspire him to let another driver do the same?

I wish I could say that I am always considerate and kind, but, sadly, that is not the case.  My encounters are frequently marked with impatience, frustration, and, occasionally downright rudeness.  Doesn't say much for me, does it?

This I know for sure:  just as criminals do, we leave trace evidence behind.  We would all do well to make certain that evidence  is of our better selves.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day 216, August 8

I find inspiration for this blog in the strangest places.  The other night, my husband had on a movie (I can't remember the title).  In it, the main character says, "If you want to SEE  a miracle, BE a miracle."

What a great quote.  I frequently ask the Lord for miracles.  I ask Him to soften my hard heart.  I ask Him to bless friends and family members who are struggling with health, financial, family, etc. problems.  I ask Him for all sorts of things.

Perhaps He is waiting for me to do something.  I can't heal anyone, but I can pray for him.  I can send a card or deliver a plate of donuts (that I  have bought, not made).  I can't erase the financial problems of a friend, but I can listen while she worries aloud over them.  I can't make a recalcitrant grown child return to the Gospel, but I can hold my friend while she cries about that same child.

No, I'm certainly not saying that I can be a miracle.  But maybe, just maybe, I can ease someone else's pain, if only for a moment.

This I know for sure:  though I can't be a miracle, I can be a friend.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day 215, August 7

You may have noticed an absence of two days in this blog.  As I wrote, I had resolved to give it up.  I couldn't keep going.  Or so I told myself.  Then the Universe or the Lord (I'm thinking the latter) intervenes and gives me reason--or a sign--to start again.

First, let me explain that I am technologically challenged.  Five months ago, my husband put Pandora (a music app) on my phone.  He chose music I'd like, which includes what I call soft rock. Today, in hainging up after receiving a call from him, I accidentally pushed the Pandora app.  I hadn't meant to and was, in fact, annoyed with myself because once it's on there, I don't know how to stop it.  (Hence, the technologically challenged part.)

To continue with the story, Anne Murray's beautiful tones wafted from the phone in "You Needed Me."  My annoyance forgotten, I listened to the lyrics ...  and tears rolled down my cheeks.   Would that I had a voice like hers, instead of my pitiful croak.

But that's not the point.  "You Needed Me" was what I needed to hear.  Not that anyone needed me at that moment, but I needed the Lord.  I needed His presence.  As the song progressed, I cried harder because I amended  the words to the Lord, "I needed  Thee."   I shouldn't put it in the past tense:   I need Him.  Every moment.  Every hour.  Every day.

So, I'm back, sharing my mixed-up story with anyone who cares to read it.  The truth is, my followers (all 33 of them) don't need my blog.  But I need to write it.  I walked away and found I couldn't stay away.

This I know for sure:  the Lord has a plan, for me, for all of us.  And sometimes He, in His infinite wisdom, points out that plan in peculair, poignant, and perfect ways.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Day 214, August 4

A few days ago, I resolved that yesterday would be my final blog.  I had run out of things to say and the heart to say them.  In addition, I was feeling sorry for myself that my blog reaches so few people, attracts so little interest.

And then something happens.  Someone gives me a bit of encouragement.  Someone thanks me for saying what they needed to hear that day, and I start to think that maybe, just maybe, I can write one more blog, that I can continue for just one more day.  And isn't that all there is, for any of us, in any endeavor, to do it just one more day ... and then one more day after that.

Yesterday I talked about persons enduring chemotherapy, holding on for one more day.  Unfortunately, I know too many people who have suffered through chemotherapy and I know the courage, the faith, the persistence, the refusal to give up, it takes to get through one day, then another and another after that.

My own crisis of faith is puny in comparison.

This I know for sure:  I may not be able to write for ten more days, for five more days, or even for two more days, but I can do it for this day.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Day 213, August 3

A talk in our ward's (congregation) Sunday meeting focused on enduring to the end.  That is a popular theme in Mormon culture, perhaps because we must all, in our own way, endure to the end.  Sometimes that end is simply the end of the day.  As a young mother, I doubted somedays whether I would make it to the end of the day. 

For an individual undergoing chemotherapy, enduring to the end means holding out and holding on through months of sickkness and weakness.  For my sister's mother-in-law, a valiant lady who suffered from severe dementia, enduring to the end meant living with the loss of dignity and awareness.

Each of us face different kinds of ordeals.  We can help each other in this journey we call life by recognizing when another is struggling and holding out a hand.

This I know for sure:  the refiner's fire is no respecter of persons, and we will all be required to step in to the flames.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Day 212, August 2

Finding the right words to say to someone who is grieving isn't easy.  It stumps me every time. And, sometimes, to my shame, I avoid saying anything at all.  You know what?  That is exactly the wrong thing to do ... or not to do.

You'd think that the writer in me could come up with the right words of comfort, words designed to ease suffering and pain.  But it doesn't matter that working with words is my vocation and avocation.  Dealing with grief is just hard.

When confronted with the situation of trying to find words, I pray silently, pleading with the Father for His help and wisdom.  Sometimes He provides the words for me.  Sometimes, though, the words simply aren't there.  On those occasions, I wrap my arms around the individual and hug her.  The tears flow freely, on both sides.

This I know for sure:  grieving is a work that has to be done.  It is our job, as friends, to help others through it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 211, August 1

Ancient scripture, in describing a people who obeyed the Lord's commandments and prospered, states, "... and they lived after the manner of happiness."

Wouldn't it be great if we could all say that we lived after the manner of happiness?  Part of what contributed to this people's happiness was that they were productive.  They worked the land; they fashioned tools and other things from metal and ore; they supported themselves.

On those days when I am creative and busy and serving others, I am happy.  On those days when I am feeling sorry for myself, when I wallow in bed, I am distinctly less happy.

You would think I could make the connection.  Doing equals happy.  Not doing equals unhappy.

This I know for sure:   the Lord's ways bring happiness.