Gratitude Dare, Life Lessons

Day 29: Waiting.

[warning]Warning: This post is two days after it should have been written and it’s still emotionally triggering.[/warning]

Major confession: This is the challenge that is the toughest for me. If something is good, why do I have to wait for it? The only answer I have is Garth Brooks’ Unanswered Prayers.

(sorry for the TV show playing with it. It’s the best vid I could find on Youtube) My dad was a thorough Garth Brooks fan; had all the CD’s (or tapes; some of them were tapes). I heard this song throughout my entire childhood. Still doesn’t mean it’s easy though.

dare

And I know people always say you’ll value it more because you have to wait for it. I am willing to say that that might be true. But it’s still not a comfort when you have to wait.

I was hoping from the get-go that by building up to this for a month, I’d have some answers, but I don’t. I researched it to find answers, but the truth is, I really don’t know. I’m sure it’s pride getting in the way of not knowing and not wanting to accept, and I’ll work on that; But I still just don’t know.

Ready for a secret? We’ve been trying to have a baby for two and a half years. At first it was just the “whatever happens, happens.” But with an already-mature 7 (now eight, and eventually 9-year-old), we didn’t want to stay in that phase too long. The gap is forever growing; and it’s growing rapidly.

And I don’t talk about it because it’s too raw. So very raw. There have been miscarriages, there have been months I was convinced it’d finally happen. And here I am, Nursery leader and baby-less. Sometimes I think I’m finally over it and moved on and then something will happen and I’m thrown right back into it, and it’ll prove how so un-over it I really am. And then I’ll spend countless days trying to figure out why I am still so stuck in the same place. I’m not the type to want pity, though; that doesn’t work for me. That’s yet another reason I don’t talk about it.

Pity is so inadequate when your sister calls you Christmas morning and tells you that your Christmas present is that she gets to hold a new baby soon. And that it’s due on your birthday.  Or all of the times your sister calls to brag about her expanding abdomen. Or the incredible loss and shame when that same sister calls and tells you that the baby you’ve been dreading isn’t going to live in this world and knowing that even though you struggled with your feelings, you never wanted that. Or holding your sister’s hand while she buries the baby she rubbed in your face. And then there’s all of the times she needs your shoulder to cry on because she doesn’t have a baby to hold and you just wish you had the guts to lose it and scream at her that at least it was only one! At least she was barely trying. At least she got to see and hold and caress a body! At least, at least, at least. But you know that wont help. And that even though she is naive, she doesn’t deserve that. No one deserves that. But no one deserves the hurt I’ve had to face, either. And she needs you, and you’re the protector. So you just take it.

Pity doesn’t cover the fact that your ex has had two babies all in the time you’ve been trying.  And that both he and your ex-best-friend he’s currently married to have complained about having so many kids… Before these two were even conceived. It doesn’t help the agony of knowing that they get pregnant with oops babies they don’t even want and you’re begging for a family that isn’t coming. The first one really got to me. I at least had my head on a little better by the time they announced the second one. Wherein they told my daughter (remember, she’s 8), they didn’t even want it, and that it was a surprise.

Or all of the people advising you on how awesome babies are, in case you were needing encouragement.

Or realizing that some of the sunbeams you are watching were born during the countless months you were trying, and miscarrying, and still trying. Or the hours bawling that they’d even call you to nursery! And as the baby-quilt maker for the ward. At the same time.

People mourned with my sister. And I’m glad they did. But no one mourns with me. No one sees my grief. My best friends both know how much I want it, but both admit they can’t really understand. At least they listen. At least they are there for me, but no one else even knows. Because the pain is too real to tell anyone. Not even my mother knows. Well, she knows enough that we never talk about it and pretend the elephant in the room doesn’t exist, but otherwise, she doesn’t know.

I’ve had blessing after blessing where the Lord says he’s so grateful for my desire to be a mother. One time, the person blessing me didn’t even know my heart, started bawling through the blessing and told me that my body would heal itself and I’d be able to bear children. That was a year and a half ago.

And there’s countless conference talks about waiting patiently. President Eyering even gave one recently on having to wait for a baby. I’ve read the talk countless times, begged for everything I could think of, and I’m still here, wondering what my mission in life really is.

And then there’s my husband. At first I think he just wanted a baby because I wanted one. But now… His level of sorrow is just as intense as mine. Mostly more than mine, as now I’m mostly numb.

And I’ve got all of this added burden because sometimes, after years of heartbreak every month, I wonder if it’s all worth it. 9 years is a big gap. And I’m not used to babies any more. And I enjoy my free time. And even though women my age have babies all the time, I feel so OLD. But I feel so guilty for those thoughts creeping in; something I’ve wanted for so long and now I don’t? It’s such a complicated place to be. I don’t even really know if I don’t, but the tears currently streaming down my face could testify to the fact that most of this paragraph is a lie I’ve been telling myself to make it okay. To make two years worth of hidden battles I’ve faced somehow be okay. Even wanted.

That’s why I have no advice on being grateful for the chance to wait. Some day, I’ll change this day’s answer in the Gratitude Dare. But for now… for now this is what I’ve got.

A Day in the Life, Gratitude Dare, Life Lessons

Day 27: Negatives

Let me tell you about my night. My husband hit a deer. At midnight. I think my challenge is teaching me hard-core today. The interesting thing is, instead of getting frustrated, my thoughts sound like this:

Thank heavens that the “commuter” car needed repaired, or he would have taken it and this would have been much worse.

We just checked on our insurance. That’s interesting.

Ranger wanted new lights anyway.

I’m so glad he was in enough control to not swerve to avoid the deer. Swerving creates so many more problems. I’m grateful he had his wits about him.

We’re so lucky the airbags didn’t go off.

At least I didn’t buy the new headlights for Christmas, yet.

Any more to the front and it would have been serious damage. Any more to the side and it would have caused way more problems.

It’s nice to have good insurance.

Thank heavens deer collisions count as incidents and not accidents, so our rates wont increase.

Naturally, I’m grateful he’s up and walking around. Probably a little stiff today, and his nerves are probably on edge, and I understand that. But I’m so glad he’s not unconscious on a road somewhere.  And let’s not even get into anything worse.

OuchAt first, Ranger was pretty frustrated and “why did this have to happen,” and I can see his point of view extremely well. I’m selfishly glad it was him and not me. It’s his “baby” as far as cars go. But so much has come up the past 48 hrs that could have come up any other time, so if he was really supposed to avoid the deer, he would have.  Maybe it was to teach me about being grateful for the negatives. Who really knows. But I can say that if we were supposed to hit a deer, this was probably the best possible way to do it.

That is all finding the silver lining. That was a previous challenge. But being downright grateful for the negatives like today’s challenge is ironically in place for (Yes, I mean situationally ironic; or cosmically ironic, you choose…  Grammar Nazi still resides in my head)? It is a bit tougher but still quite doable.

dareInterestingly enough, after working on gratitude and charity all month, it’s pretty easy to be grateful for the negatives. Here’s why: When you’re more focused on gratitude, you’re willing to look past yourself. You’re willing to trust that the higher power knows what he’s doing, that there is a force stronger than yourself that has watched over every step you’ve taken and won’t set you up for a fall that you can’t rise higher from. When you’ve spent all month working on gratitude, it’s even possible to see potential outcomes. This may take care of some problem in the vehicle that we were currently unaware of, or might have saved us from some bigger woe. Who knows. I’m not far enough away from the life event to see anything in focus, but I can see that this was not just some fluke in life. There are blessings I can’t see yet.

And then there’s the other vehicle. Finding out that it needed to stay home for repairs was a pretty big bummer. But look what a blessing it is now with a little more perspective. It had a lower profile and a curvier front end. It wasn’t as highly insured. It has less-responsive breaks. The list is pretty intense.

Needless to say, instead of teaching gratitude, today, life taught me.

Gratitude Dare, Life Lessons

Day 26: Problem Solving

**Sorry this took so long. I got distracted with my map…**

dareIn my family of origin, I was the problem solver. When philosophers discuss how our strengths are also our biggest weaknesses, their discussion holds true in this personal strength. I was so good at problem solving I solved problems that weren’t mine. In recent  years, within my search for “seven,” I’ve learned to let that go; but  I still have to walk a fine line in problem solving. Sometimes I forget that I’ve still got to solve my problems myself instead of expecting them to be solved for me. I also forget that some problems aren’t mine. Interestingly enough, we just had this discussion with our daughter yesterday. We talked about how sometimes God has an answer that he wants you to find and that we need to come to him for help and guidance, because he can see more than we can. Sometimes, however, like with Mohonri Moriancumer (The Brother of Jared), Heavenly Father wants us to come to him with a solution. Today is devoted to recognizing the difference between our problems and someone else’s. It is also devoted to coming up with our own solutions.

First of all, we must weed out the problems that aren’t ours. While I was processing this concept, it got so complicated in my head, I drew a “map.” Then I showed it to my friend and she was so distracted by the boxes and the arrows, that for her I made it more complicated. Sorry if you fall into the latter category. If you do, create a nice  boring outline and work with that. ;c)

How you solve the problem depends on what the problem was. If there was one cut and dry solution to every problem, it’d sure make life easier, but since we’re here to gain experience, I can be grateful that there isn’t. Let me know how it goes. 🙂

Gratitude Dare, Life Lessons

My Long-Forgotten Thank You: Grandpa

I needed to share, today.

At first, I was going to look up an old junior high teacher [Mr. Cleaverly, if you ever find this you’re awesome. Some day I’ll thank you properly] to thank for today’s personal challenge, but yesterday something my soul has been processing for a while finally came into focus.

I was delving into my soul in order to figure out just what was nagging at the back of my mind. I learned so much about myself, but this isn’t the place. In my research, I discovered a “connections” category. Basically, the circuits in the world around us keep us connected to family, ourselves, our body, higher powers… and our angels. The source of the information discussed how “angels” is a term that is vague. It’s left for interpretation, or for whatever level of understanding you’re at. Some feel it’s guardian angels, some feel it’s loved ones that watch out for us, and often, it means something different to each individual. I take that to mean, it’s something that no one person has complete information on. It’s divine. So, I considered it for a second. And my soul just seemed to scream that I was missing something there. I can’t explain it; something happened. And as I looked into it further (it was a mere second, I swear. The information was just there), my grandpa came to my mind.

When I was a child, my grandpa was sick. I don’t remember a healthy grandpa. His life consisted of his hospital-style bed, his lift chair, a walker with tennis balls on the legs, and the occasional drive to the middle of no where. People would tell stories about how hard-working he was, how much he did, and that working was part of his core value; but to the child I was, that was all foreign. The soldier, the farmer, the provider, the man – these were grandpa in a past life. I had no concept of how much that had to eat at him, stuck to his house with everyone helping him instead of him out helping the world. To me, he was the man who always spoke in a whisper, could never pronounce my name right, and who gave me quarters until the quarters ran out; then he gave me candy. Grandma always made sure he had candy to give. When I look back with 28-year-old eyes, I see so much more. I would love to go back and re-live that time with him! As a 28-year old, I am able to see that with a mother who was ill, a grandmother that was busy, a dad that worked far from home, and siblings that I raised, Grandpa was my guardian. He watched me. He gave me everything that he had: love, quarters, candy. I think he alone saw my pain.

When I did counseling at the beginning of the year, the counselor asked me to relax and go back to a time in my past; a meditation, if you will. We walked all over my house, all over my side of the mountain, and all over my grandmother’s house [we lived near each other, in a wood… over a creek, that I counted as a [tooltip text=””over the river and through the woods…”]river[/tooltip]]. In that entire universe I’d created for myself, there were only two people. Me… and grandpa. In all of the bustle of the world, I was forgotten by everyone but him. I raised myself. I don’t blame my parents, or anyone. My mom had a lot on her plate. My dad did everything he could for us. But that is the truth. I’ve never shared it with anyone (that I didn’t pay to listen to me), because I didn’t want to hurt my family by its confession. I bawled then, too. Suddenly, though I’d felt alone my entire life, I realized that my grandpa had always been there for me. Watching me. Offering advice. I’d never accepted it. As a kid raising herself, the person that reaches out with his soul is scary. But as an adult… I bawled and bawled to learn that I was not alone. That I was never alone.

On the day we traveled for Grandpa’s funeral, when I was seventeen, the roads were icy. We had moved about 5 hours from my grandparents by then. It had been a hard year, and my dad was overseas. Mom, who hated driving but didn’t trust my driving skills yet, was taking us over a mountain pass. Suddenly, an ice patch threw us into the bank of snow that was the only barrier between us and a huge drop over the side of the mountain. I remember thinking “Really? Like this trip isn’t hard enough! Why would something like this happen!” But there was no damage to the vehicle, my mom had enough experience to mutter under her breath, take a deep sigh to calm her down, check the car, and continue on our way. Just around the corner from where we were (we’ll say 500 feet because it sounds good, though I really had no way to judge distance), There was a moose standing in the middle of the road. Moose are big and solid. They don’t give. Especially not for a little 90’s model Mazda. Had we been going the speed posted, we would have had no time to stop, would have skidded right into it, and I wouldn’t be telling this tale. People don’t just survive a moose-collision. And need I remind you that on one side is solid mountain, and on the other is sheer cliff? Later, after we’d arrived and before the viewing, mom talked to me. She told me that the ice was nothing compared to the stuff we’d driven over safely. She’d also told me that it had felt like the whole vehicle had been pushed. She also felt grandpa nearby. I’d always loved that story, and it has always stayed with me as an anecdote of miracles and angels, and survival stories. But it came to light more to me over the past 12 hours. Secretly, I’ve always felt like that story was for me. I don’t think mom told anyone else, and even though it felt shameful to think that although Grandpa would want to save the rest of his posterity, he did it all for me; I was that special.

That is important. Above all else, that speaks to me. That in a full car, Grandpa protected us to save me. And I know there would be many benefits, but somehow I feel special enough. If I were in the car by myself, and if it had been something besides a funeral, I was still important enough to save. As a girl that struggles to understand love, even love of God, that message comes screaming through. My grandfather has taught me love. Even when I didn’t know it. Even when it took 28 years for me to get the message. He is my example of my Heavenly Father. He is my example of love.

All of this flashed back to me in milliseconds, and suddenly, when I mentally fixed the broken connection in my soul, It was like plugging in a floodlight. I was so full of joy, my eyes could not contain it. Tears streamed down my face. I don’t think it was all my joy, and all my tears. I think that Grandpa was just as glad to have that connection fixed. Suddenly, he was a part of me. Like he’s wanted to be my entire life. He’s stood at my door and knocked. And knocked. And knocked. And I finally know it’s safe to open the door.

He is my guardian angel.

And I thank him.

Archives, Life Lessons

Archive: Letting Go

***Archive: This post was published on a previous blog and transferred here.***

Letting Go” From The Grace Awakening by Chuck Swindoll

To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring,
It means I can’t do it for someone else.

To let go doesn’t mean to cut myself off,
It’s the realization that I cannot control another.

To let go is not to enable,
But to allow learning from natural consequences.

To let go is to admit powerlessness
Which means the outcome is not in my hands

To let go is not to try to change or blame another,
I can only change myself.

To let go is not to care for,
But to care about.

To let go is not to fix,
But to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge,
But to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
But to allow others to affect their own outcomes.

To let go is not to be protective,
But to permit another to face reality.

To let go is not to deny,
But to accept.

To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,
But to search out my own shortcomings and to correct them.

To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
But to take each day as it comes.

To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,
But to try to become what I dream I can be.

To let go is not to regret the past,
But to grow and live for the future.

To let go is fear less
And love more.

This past week, 2 main concepts keep coming into my mind. Life does that, sometimes [Well, I’m not going to give life the credit, I’ll give it to the divine plan and the powers of the human mind], giving you a theme for the day.  The two focuses of my life right now are letting go and agency. The two concepts are friends holding hands, really; walking side by side. Letting go is allowing others their agency, while reserving your own. It’s sorting through what you do have control over and what you don’t. All anyone really has control over can be summed up into 3 things: personal thoughts, personal feelings, and personal actions. Everything else is someone else’s control/agency.

I’ve been thinking about my daughter, and how she can ride a bike but wont let herself; and how she can swim, if she’d just trust the water. Letting go, to me, is like that. It’s realizing that the water is not your enemy, but your friend. It’s realizing that the bike works with you, not for you. Letting go is just…trusting. And not the “okay, world, I’m going to jump, you’d better catch me.” but, “Lord, I know that you see what I cannot, and I’m okay with that.” Letting go literally, physically, feels different. I had no idea! Letting go is a calming in every muscle, because when you are calm, the water lets you float. When you relax, the bike lets you balance. And when you let go… life does the same. I wish I knew how to spare the world of so much fear and negativity, because I see how hard it is to not let go (and quite frequently have to remind myself of the difference), but I never learned that skill. Instead, I ache for a world – for loved ones – and pray that someday, they can learn for themselves

to just let go.