Sunday, November 30, 2014

Day 324, November 30

When we need these healing times, there is nothing better than a good long walk. It is amazing how the rhythmic movements of the feet and legs are so intimately attached to cobweb cleaners in the brain. ~ Anne Wilson Schaef

We all need healing times.  Whether we are grieving or whether we are just trying to get through a hard day, we need healing.

As the author of the above says, a long walk can do what other things cannot.  The act of putting one foot in front of the other, that simple but important movement works to un-muddy our thoughts and to remind us of the miracle of our bodies.

Maybe your thoughts are never muddy.  Not so mine.  They swirl around in a murky mess, tangling and twining and twirling. Walking and writing and, of course, praying are the best ways I know to put them in focus again.

Joy for today:  clearing my mind with walking.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Day 323, November 29

At our monthly dinner club last week, the hostess played the piano while the rest of us sang (or, in my case, tried to sing).  Our hostess is an accomplished musician who plays with not only great skill but with great love.  The hymns she played were solace to the soul and balm to the heart.

As she accepted our compliments graciously, I was impressed by how much music adds to our lives.  Even for someone like me, who can't carry a tune in a casserole dish (the actual saying is "can't carry a tune in a bucket," but I liked to add my own Mormon spin to it), music touches my heart in ways that other things cannot.

Music and other arts enrich our lives.  Our families, our churches, our society, our world, would be poor indeed without their beauty.

Joy for today:  being uplifted by music.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Day 322, November 28

It is Black Friday.  I am not a Black Friday shopper.  The crowds and noise send me into overdrive, so I sit home and venture out when things are quieter.

Over the years, I have written several stories for the Chicken Soup collections.  I love the whole concept of Chicken Soup for the Soul.  Occasionally I want to suggest to the editors that they do a Chicken Soup for the Quiet Soul.  My soul needs quiet.  I suspect others do as well.

Though I love to be around friends and family, love church and other gatherings, when I come home, I am grateful for the quiet.   My kitty and I curl up together and absorb the quiet, then we are ready for the world again.

Joy for today:  breathing in quiet.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Day 321, November 27

Today is Thanksgiving.

My heart is rebelling at the concept even as it is embracing it.  What can I say?  I have a fickle heart which feels one way at a moment and another a moment later.  (No wonder my husband is often confused.)

At this fragile moment in time, my heart is embracing.  I think of our newest granddaughter, as fragile as this fleeting moment, and I give thanks that she is doing as well as she is.  I think of my husband, children, grandchildren, and friends, and, once again, I give thanks.  And I think of the Atonement of Christ, the ultimate miracle, the ultimate blessing bestowed upon me, upon all of us, and I give thanks again.

Joy for today:  giving thanks.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Day 320, November 26

And with tears of blood he cleansed the hand,
The hand that held the steel
For only blood can wipe out blood
And only tears can heal. ~ Oscar Wilde

Recently two friends and I were talking about grieving.  Each of us is grieving, in our own way, in our own time, over the loss of someone dear to us--a sister, a daughter, a husband.  Our grief takes different forms, and what works for one may not work for another.

Grieving usually involves tears, but tears are frequently difficult to shed.  For me, an intensely private person, I struggle to hold them back for they show the world my vulnerability.  I work to do my grieving in private, so that no one knows I'm hurting.

In talking with my friends, I realized that maybe, just maybe, I need to share my tears just as I share my joy. And maybe, just maybe, I can find solace in shared tears and strength in shared grief.

Joy for today:  healing through tears ...and friends.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Day 319, November 25

In a Dear Abby column from many years ago, the advice maven said, "Loneliness is the ultimate poverty."

This reminded me of holidays from my childhood, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, where our table was filled with people who had no family and few friends close by.  These were the "forgotten" people of the ward--the elderly, the widows, the people who had nothing to give in return.

Our home was not fancy; the food was not gourmet. But my parents were warm and welcoming, (which trumps fancy any time) and the food was hot and filling.

To my shame, I would occasionally grumble about our holidays always being shared this way.  "Where would you have them go?" my father asked when I complained one Thanksgiving upon learning that three widows would be joining us.  "Somewhere else," came my selfish response.  To this, my father said, "They have nowhere else."

The poignancy of this conversation, more than 50 years ago, causes tears to sting my eyes even today.

Joy for today:  remembering my parents.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Day 318, November 24

A painful time in our life is what I call a “healing crisis.” We are letting go of something old and opening to something new. ~ Shakti Gawain

It's difficult to let go of things.  Whether they be material things or feelings or expectations or whatever.  Sometimes it is even difficult to let go of grief.  If I let go of my grief, will I also let go of precious memories?  But if I don't let go of it, I am in danger of losing myself.

As in most of the "biggies" in life, I do it in bits and pieces.  I let go of part of the grief and hold onto another part.  In time, perhaps I will be able to let go of that as well.  Then comes another challenge:  replacing the grief with something else, opening myself up to something new.

Joy for today:  letting go and opening up.

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.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Day 310, November 16

A human being is part of the whole, called by us "universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, has thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest-- a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. ~ Albert Einstein

Einstein's words came as an indictment for me.  He's right--I have imprisoned myself in my care and love for "a few persons nearest" to me.  I need to broaden that.

Our area has been hit hard by what the meterologists are referring to as a polar vortex.  In a word, it's cold.  It's really, really cold.  And this from a woman who runs consistently hot!

Lately my prayers have included those who don't have shelter or heat or warm clothes.  In particular, I pray for the small creatures who are without shelter and warmth and ask for the Lord to soften the hearts of those responsible for them.

So, maybe, just maybe, my heart is trying to expand, to free itself from its self-imposed prison.

Joy for today:  widening my circle of compassion.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Day 309, November 15

"The future is an unkonwn, but a somewhat predictable unknown.  To look to the future we must first look back upon the past.  That is where the seeds of the future were planted."--Albert Einstein

"To look back upon the past" can mean many things.  To look back upon my ancestry, the legacy of family, I read family journals, letters, talk with those who remember those times.  How grateful I am for those who kept histories and records of nearly a century ago.

"To look back upon the past" can also mean acknowledging the seeds I've planted, whether for good or for ill, and see what they have brought forth.  Some of those harvests have been wonderful; some, less so.  I bear a responsibility for both.

Joy for today:  looking back and look forward.

Day 318, November 22

When you really listen to yourself, you can heal yourself. ~ Ceanne Derohan

Do you listen to yourself?  Sometimes I don't.  Listen to myself, that is.  I am too busy paying attention to the buzz of noise from phones, televisions, ipads, and all the other things that make up our lives.

If I truly listened to myself, I think I would hear needs too fragile to be expressed.  Those oh-so-fragile needs are probably leftovers from past hurts and heartaches.  Precisely because they are so fragile, I bury them, afraid to allow them to be viewed, much less voiced aloud.

Maybe I would learn that I need someone to listen when I tried to sort out mixed feelings about my childhood.  Maybe I would learn that I need someone who listens without judging.  What would you learn if you genuinely listened to yourself?  Try it and see.

Joy for today:  listening and healing.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Day 308, November 14

"None of us were meant to match. We were meant to fit together. Two identical puzzle pieces don't fit.'"--Beth Moore

Sometimes I wonder why Larry and I can't match better.  He thinks in linear terms, and I think like a bowl of spaghetti.  He likes cars and machines.  I like pretty necklaces and my kitty Harley.  These are some of the more obvious differenes.  Deeper are those in how we try to reach our goals.  Though we have the same goals for our family, our eternal progression, we go about achieving them very differently.

When I look at my children and worry over them and their mates, I see many of the same things Larry and I struggle with.  We each want the other to be more like ourselves.

And then I realize that that won't work either.  What if Larry and I were identical?  (Well, not really identical, but you get the point.)  Neither of us would be happy because we would only reflect each other, rather than complement each other.  I don't want to wake up in the morning and see a carbon copy of me.  Yuck!

I want to wake up and see the person who completes me, who understands me, who puts up with me, who loves me despite all of that putting up with.  

Joy for today:  fitting.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Day 307, November 13

"I am me and that is good enough."

I found this in my son Rob's blog.  This is not the first time I've quoted Rob.  It probably won't be the last.  He has an insightful way of expressing himself and possesses a sensitivity that surprises me at times.

Have you ever wanted to be someone else?  (If not, stop reading.  This blog is not for you.)  If you have, if you are like me, and want to be someone else, with someone else's talents and strengths and gifts, you know that it can be a frustrating, even painful, experience.

I want to be Alanna.  I want to be Janet.  I want to be Amanda. I want to be Alisa.   I want to be Marilyn and Laurie and Jeannie and Audra and  Marian and Tami and Leslie and Karen and Beverly and Barbara and Stephen King!  Well, really, I don't want to write horror as King does, but I would like to have his talent and command of the language.

Instead, I'm just me, with all my foibles, weaknesses, and sins.  Not to mention a few eccentricities which my family likes to remind me of.  And so I keep trying.  To be a better me.

Joy for today:  being a better me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Day 306, November 12

Last week, a friend and I were emailing back and forth as she waited for news about her mother's health.  (Her mother has cancer.)

We talked about the fact that Heavenly Father loves her mother even more than she does, that His love is perfect and infinite.  Of course, the Atonement came up.  I reminded her (and myself) that the Atonement makes up not only for all of our sins, but also for all of our suffering, pain, and tears.  Isn't that amazing?

Christ's Atonement is so vast, so far-reaching and yet so intimate, so personal.  That is the miracle.  We have only to accept Him into our lives to make the Atonement ours.

Accepting the Savior into our lives, making a covenant with Him requires we have a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  That is difficult for those of us (me) who have a proud heart and a rebellious spirit.  When will I ever learn?  I continue to be amazed at the Savior's patience.

Joy for today:  realizing that the Atonement can be ours.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Day 305, November 11

"Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a teardrop". ~Anonymous

This weekend has been a roller coaster of emotions as Larry and I returned to Utah for the first time since my sister's death.  The reason for being here--to see a new granddaughter--is a cause for joy.  There was much smiling.  There were no kisses, unfortunately, because Julie Nadean was born a month early and had to be protected from any possible infection.  But I did get to hold her, to tell her that Grandma loved her and would always love her.  And then there were teardrops as I saw familiar places where Carla and I used to go.

That pretty well describes life, doesn't it--smiles, kissing (even in my dreams), and teardrops.

Joy for today:  having reasons to smile, dreams of kissing, memories with teardrops.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Day 304, November 10

A new granddaughter arrived four weeks early.  It was scary and worrying and wonderful.  Steven and Melinda's sweet Julie Nadean burst into the world at three pounds and one ounce.  Incredibly tiny.  Incredibly perfect.  Incredibly welcome.

Prayers and fasts were offered on her behalf and that of her parents.  They still face a long road as Julie works to gain weight and grow stronger.  Each ounce gained is a cause for celebration.

Joy for today:  rejoicing in this new life.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Day 303, November 9

Yesterday I wrote about clouds.  Today's post is a different take on the same.

As a child, I saw animals, trees, dragons, fairies, and even the occasional cow in clouds.  My active imagination knew no boundaries.  As an adult, I lost much of that ability.  My mind was cluttered with the busy-ness of life. Important things, I told myself.  Necessary things.  And maybe they were ... are.  But how sad that I lost so much.

Where did that creativity go?  Did it just evaporate?  Or is it still there, buried beneath worries, grief, and other burdens that make up so much of this mortal existence?  I don't know, but I'm going to try to unearth that child-like imagination.

Joy for today:  setting my imagination free.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Day 302, November 8

 ""In the Bible clouds are always associated with God. Clouds are the sorrows, sufferings and providential circumstances, within or without our personal lives, which actually seem to contradict the sovereignty of God. Yet it is through these very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith. If there were never any clouds in our lives, we would have no faith. 'The clouds are the dust of His feet" (Nahum 1:3). They are a sign that God is there.'"--Oswald Chambers

IIt seems that I've had too many clouds in my life in the last year.  The death of a dear friend, that of my sister, and of two sweet aunts brought me to my knees.  And then I realized that that was just where I needed to be.  On my knees.  There, I was reminded to humble myself and to beg for the Lord's mercies, which He, of course, extended liberally.

Joy for today:  having clouds in my life to remind me of faith's sustaining power.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Day 301, November 7

"If we want to walk in the Pure Land all the time, it helps us to let go of the things that keep us from being in the present. It can be done when you drink your juice or your tea. Drink in such a way that the Holy Spirit is present in you. You have enough already to be happy now. Nourish yourself every day with the wonderful things that life has to offer you. Nourish yourself in the present moment." ~Thich Nhat Hanh No Death, No Fear

Over the last years, I've realized that I am frequently not present.  I'm physically there, but my mind, my heart  are elsewhere.   Too much of my time was spent in worry over the future.  I worried about my dear Carla.  I worried about my children.  (I still do.)  Would Carla get better?  (She didn't.)  Would my children make wise choices.  (Pretty much they do.)  My worry didn't do a thing except to prevent me from enjoying and embracing the RIGHT NOW.

I'm trying to do better.  I'm trying to do better in a lot of things.  Not a whole lot of success so far, but at least I haven't given up on myself.

Joy for today:  being there.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Day 300, November 6

Today is my mother's birthday.

Mom has been gone for 17 years, and I still miss her.  I want to show her that I love her.  I long to share my delight in my grandchildren with her.  I want to tell her that I finally sold a book to the publisher I had been submitting to (and being rejected by) for the last 30 years.  I have so much to show her, to share with her, to tell her.

My husband pointed out that Mom knows.  She knows everything and has been watching out for our family for all these years, just as she did when she was here with us.  Mom never had much in the way of material goods, but she had a quick sense of humor, a quest for learning, and a no-nonsense way of getting things done.

Mom would have been bewildered by and, quite frankly, impatient with the air of entitlement that is so prevalent in our society today.  She would have said to those who think the world owes them a living, "Get up.  Get moving.  Get doing."  Good advice whatever our circumstances.

I guess I inherited some of that, because I, too, can be impatient.  I don't let it bother me because I figure if I can have some of my mother in me, I'm doing okay.

Mom worked hard all of her life.  She gave generously, paid tithes and offerings, and remembered her grandchildren with cards and calls and silly gifts.  On one visit to the family, Mom snuck rocks inside her grandson's backpack.  He carried them all day before realizing what she'd done.  Go, Mom!

Joy for today:  remembering Mom.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Day 299, November 5

I found the following in IMPRIMIS, a publication of Hillsdale College:

According to the Oxford English Dictorinary, the Latinate word "compassion" means, literally, "suffering together with another--it's the feeling or emotion, when a person is moved by the suffering or distress of another and by the desire to relieve it."

The author, William Voegeli, goes on to differentiate between having intentions to be compassionate and actually being compassionate.  As I read and then re-read his essay, I was struck by this distinction.  How many times have you heard "If you need anything, just call?"  Perhaps you have even said those words.  I know I have.  Later, I cringe, because if I were truly compassionate, I would have made a specific offer.

I believe the difference between having good intentions to be compassionate and being compassionate is action.  When my sister died, many friends showed compassion for our family.  In Carla's ward, friends showed up with meals, with offers to drive her (Carla's) granddaughter to daycare, with unexpected hugs.  I received cards (all of which I kept, needing to read and read again the loving words).  One dear sister offered to come every day to take care of our cat while Larry and I were away from home.  (As it was, we had already made other arrangements, but I will never forget her generous offer.)  Prayers were said and heard.

My point?  These dear friends acted.  They are exemplars of compassion, of love, of the Savior.

Joy for today:  understanding what compassion is .. and what it isn't.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Day 298, November 4

We are approaching the time of gift-giving.  For some it is a stressful time.  For others, joyous.  No matter where you fall, you will probably be searching for at least a few gifts during this season.  Finding the right gift is sometimes difficult, even stressful.

When I ran across the quote below, it reminded me about choosing gifts thoughtfully.

"Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of the character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning." ~ Lydia Maria Child, Letters from New York

What speaks to you?  Is it flowers, as Ms. Child writes of above?  Is it beautiful music?  Is it a new book?  My sister loved flowers.  When she was alive, I frequently sent flowers to her.  For me, flowers are okay, but I prefer a long-anticipated book.

Showing the we love somone, that we value him or her, means zeroing in on what speaks to them. I remember one Christmas many years ago, I gave my husband a leather-bound journal.  I was very excited, believing that he would want to write in it as I did in my journal every night.  I even pictured the two of us writing together.  (What can I say?  I was young and naive.)

It was a perfect plan, save for one flaw:  Larry doesn't like to write.  I knew that, but somehow I brushed it aside when I chose the journal.  I wasn't getting him a gift; I was getting myself one.  Since then, I've tried to do better in the gift-giving department, but I still fail occasionally.

Joy for today:  giving from the heart.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Day 297, November 3

Today is our granddaughter Reynna's 15th birthday.  Reynna is in that in-between stage, neither child, nor woman, but a delightful combination of the two.

She loves her parents, karate, her little brother Christopher, all things to do with hair and makeup, Seminary, choir, Joe-Mama (cat) and Ginger (dog), her Young Women's class at church, and her grandparents.  I think Larry and I used to be higher on the list, but we've been demoted over the years. (My demotion happened early on when she went to school and found out that chocolate was not a vegetable.)

Reynna has a quick sense of humor, a sharp mind, and a loving spirit.

Joy for today:  loving Reynna.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Day 296, November 2

Two days ago, I wrote about a young man preparing to serve a mission.  What I didn't include was sharing what happened after he spoke.  His mother and two sisters sang a hymn "I Know That My Redeemer Lives."  One of my favorites, this hymn was made even more beautiful by this lovely threesome who honored their son and the congregation with their lovely voices.

This hymn has a special meaning to me as it was sung at my sister's funeral (at her request).  When I hear the words "Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives; I know that my Redeemer lives," I puddle up.  In fact, it was all I could do to stay in Sacrament Meeting as tears were stinging my eyes.  I focused on the beauty of the voices and made it through.

Joy for today:  remembering that "my Redeemer lives."

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Day 295, November 1

"I never knew I could suffer so much. And then, at the same time, you think; now I'm ready to open myself up to life in another way, to make it worth something and make it about the right things and not waste time." ~ Gwyneth Paltrow, Vanity Fair

Shortly after my sister died, my son Rob sent me a card with the counsel "You've served your sister well.  Now it's time to serve someone else."

I recognized the truth in the advice even as my heart rebelled against it.  How could I possibly open my heart to another, especially when there was a hole big enough to drive a semi-truck through?

But I resolved to try.

At the same time, I was assigned to be the visiting teacher to a sister in our ward who is not able to attend church.  This sweet lady is paralyzed on one side after suffering a stroke and lives in a care home.  I decided I wouldn't be a "once-a-month" visiting teacher.  I would visit as often as I could.  With each visit, I brought a treat--chocolate, of course--and took delight in my new friend's pleasure in the small gift.  Soon, my visits became more than a church calling and turned into a joy.

My son was right:  I need to serve someone else.

Joy for today:  learning from a son.