Saturday, August 29, 2009

Do not pass go, do not collect $200, just read these essays

These two essays are amazing:

"Hope Arising from the Ashes of Grief," Part 1 and Part 2

I will say that I had the privilege of also talking with these women. I saw a presentation they did a few months ago and was so impressed. Amazed, really. I have since had personal discussions with each of them (one is a good friend of mine, and the other has become a friend). When I talked to them this week about their essays, I heard even more.

Moved to the core, I dropped to my knees in gratitude for the blessing of hearing their stories. Of knowing them. Of feeling of their spirits, their faith, their perspective.

If you have ever felt life was unfair, or that some pain is too great to overcome, or that God is not aware, read these essays.

If you know someone who has lost a child or has experienced other heartrending grief, please invite them to read these essays.

Have you ever had those thoughts creep into your mind, like "How can God allow such terrible suffering?" Or, have you heard someone question the existence of God altogether because of all the suffering we see across the world?

You know what I am going to say. Read these essays.

These stories to me communicate so clearly that God is so aware of ALL His children. That pain does not mean He is not there. That, in fact, sometimes pain is the thing that can help Him help us help His children.

And help Him help us, too.

Enough from me. Read the essays. You'll be glad you did.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"You Mormons did it again!" (We have to do better!)

Yesterday, we went with some friends to a mountain resort close to our home. For an amazingly reasonable fee, we enjoyed our fill of fun activities in the glorious beauty of the Wasatch Mountains. I couldn't get John Denver out of my head (tweaked, of course): "Almost heaven, Utah mountains...."

We had a conversation with these friends that disturbed me, however. They are not LDS, and they recently moved here from a place they loved. I see them observing our culture with a measure of interest, curiosity -- and sometimes annoyance.

"What's up with the drivers around here?" they asked. "No one follows the speed limit."

When our friend actually tries to drive at 65, she feels like she's a hazard on the road. She talked also of people driving too fast in neighborhoods where there are small children. "Don't these people have children of their own? Don't they understand?"

I realized that isn't the only indication of a dismissive attitude about the law.

I came out of the services for the Oquirrh Mountain temple dedication, disheartened to find, yet again, numerous cars parked illegally. Like blocking the fire lane illegally. This happens ALL the time, even sometimes during regular Sunday meetings. I see the same behavior anytime there is a big activity at the schools -- cars parked in fire zones, in bus zones, in pickup zones. I saw something similar at the mall the other day.

My husband recalled an experience when living in England years ago. An irate man came into Sunday meetings one week, saying, "You Mormons did it again! You parked in front of my house!" Clearly this was not ok with him, and it was not doing a good thing for building a relationship of trust and mutual respect. Someone had the gall to accuse the man of false accusation. "How do you know it was us?" (It happened every week on Sunday at the same time. It doesn't take much to see these kinds of patterns.) Not cool.

President Monson spoke today about how part of the reason we have a temple in Frieberg, Germany, is because the government had been watching the Church for a long time, and felt that the Church was a trustworthy institution, thus granting the wishes presented.

I thought about our friends, watching us as Mormons here, seeing an obvious disconnect between what we believe and what we do. I think about that man, watching Mormons each week showing blatant disregard and disrespect.

And I many people are watching us and not liking what they see?

I'm the first to want to jump to our defense with sweeping generalizations and stereotypical slurs against Mormons. That said, this pattern is something that shows some evidence of something amiss. Is is arrogance? A sense of entitlement? Thinking that little things don't matter?

I imagine someone not of our faith who sees such "little things" as being evidence of something bigger. I imagine that someone coming into our parking lot today, when most people know that we are attending the dedication of a building we consider most sacred. And I imagine that person driving away, perhaps never to come back, seeing such a blatant and obvious and repeated disregard for the law.

Yes, I know I'm getting preachy here. But I believe people ARE watching. And I believe integrity demands that even in the little things, we strive to truly be honest in all we do. It's what we covenant to do.

"At all times, and in all things, and in all places," friends. Even in parking lots. Even when we are in a hurry. (Note to self, as one who tends to have a lead foot.) We can do better. We need to do better.


"When members don’t live the teachings, it can be a stumbling block to those who do not belong to the Church."

-Elder Quentin L. Cook, "Our Father's Plan -- Big Enough for All of His Children"

Friday, August 07, 2009

Random Thoughts

I just added a bunch of friends, all of whom I have met through blogging. For all that I have a love/hate relationship with blogging (sometimes I have let it suck too much of my time and focus), it has really changed my life in so many wonderful ways. And one of the greatest impacts it has had has been allowing me to connect with some Really. Amazing. Women.


I am down to less than two weeks until school starts and I am feeling so sad. My list of all the wonderful things we were going to do (no, really, THIS summer we were gonna tackle them) seems so terribly un-checked-off.

My mind goes back to Young Women's days, when I was tortured by the goals I set and never accomplished as I would have liked to, when my leaders had to finally help me see that I was already accomplishing much in my life. That just because my life and my lists didn't match up perfectly didn't mean I was a big failure.

Sometimes I wish I had a leader to sit me down and tell me that same thing now. Sometimes it makes me want to get rid of the lists.

We did make it to the library this week, though.

But then I think -- why does the list need to involve GOING somewhere in order to be legitimate? Sometimes I wonder if there is an unwritten something that makes us all think that motherhood is about doing stuff that is tangible and list-able. Maybe sometimes (more often than not?) it's not. So much of it is just about being here, isn't it?

And that's some of what is interesting, too, about summer. I feel more than ever during these weeks and months that a key part of my role is just to be here. To facilitate the flow of life. To help, to answer questions, to keep tabs on who is where (and, on good days, on who needs to do what -- I shouldn't tell you how many times we have forgotten Webelos. Sigh), to call out "Who's dat?" whenever I hear the door open, to smile and hand out snacks when friends come....

It's no wonder some of those to-dos don't get done, because there are so few actual stretches of uninterrupted time!

(I am going to cut myself some slack, too, because I feel yucky most of the time. These last few months have been HARD. Migraines stink.)


Hubby is busy busy busy. We look forward to things maybe calming down here in a week or two. Or not. Does it ever really calm down?

Hm. Better go for not.


I haven't even written about how I have not attended my ward this year (or I wrote and forgot). (Health issues and early (EARLY!) schedule didn't work together.) With the ward boundary changes that happened, I have actually attend this other ward for longer than I was with my own ward.

I get to give a talk next week on the temple. I look forward to it.