Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Not Tough Enough...more 7 yr old wisdom

Recently, Brigham asked me why I take medication.  I thought about the Coumadin, the pulmonary embolii (blood clots in the lungs), and Factor VIII (blood clotting disorder) and said, "Son, it's complicated."  Can you blame me?

Well, Brigham did.  Blamed me, I mean.  He looked disgusted and said, "You know why grown ups say things are too complicated?"

Of course, I had to ask, "Why?"  I am nothing if not curious.

"They say it's too complicated because they are not tough enough to answer the question that was asked."

Ouch!  Not tough enough huh?  He had me right where he wanted me, and yes I found a way to explain to him why I take the Coumadin, blood clots and all. After all was said and done, I was actually quite pleased with my explanation.  Apparently he was pleased with it as well because he asked me to repeat the whole explanation again and again to his older siblings later.

A dear friend of mine used to have a plaque on her wall that said, "Parenting is not for wimps." So true. Being a parent stretches us in ways we could not possibly imagine when we are young and childless. Fortunately, just as I was able to find an answer to Brigham's question when I pushed myself a little more, as parents we find the inner reserves of strength when we are pushed to our imagined limits.  So dear friends, when you feel like you are on the rack being stretched beyond your breaking point...know that you are not alone. Be tough. You are stronger than you know. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On Being in Charge of Yourself...a kid's philosophy of life

After church last Sunday, my brood and I piled into the van.  I noticed that my 13 yr old, Caleb, hadn't put on his seat belt so I said teasingly, "Son, I know that seat belts are 'cool', but neither is being dead."

My seven year old, Brigham, spoke up, "But Momma, then you get to go to Heaven."  Uh oh, I've probably just scared him for life! Quickly I attempted to recover by telling him that yes Heaven is great but we don't want to go earlier than we are supposed to. 

He pondered that and said, "Yeah, if you die young you can't get married, have kids, be in charge of yourself, or play video games."

Ok, the marraige and kids were givens, but "be in charge of yourself and play video games", where did that come from?

I've been thinking about that conversation.  We can guess what "being in charge of yourself" means to a seven year old, but I couldn't help but wonder, will he be disappointed when he grows up?  I mean do YOU feel in charge of yourself? Really?  What would that look like for an adult?  My first thought was to be free of fear.  Or how about free of debt?   Free from addiction?  Can I ever feel in charge of myself while I am overweight???


This is a lot to think about, perhaps I'll take a break and go play a video game.  Maybe Brigham has the purpose of life right after all.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Maze of Depression

Not to long ago, I wrote about the Monster Under My Bed.  I am happy to report that I have (for now) banished the monster.  Banished? Befriended?  Hmmm.  Anyway, today I want to share a little about how I won that battle.

I guess I had been somewhat depressed since before I wrote that (ha, it is hard to admit it still), and this last week or so, the depression had gotten pretty bad.  I kept telling myself that "happiness is a choice", and I really wanted to believe that it was.  Yet, the depression felt like a maze and for a time I could not find my way out.  I tried all the things that have worked in the past.  The most helpful thing was, of course, prayer.  I can't say enough about that, but that is a topic for another time.  When we pray, God often helps us through other people and that is what I want to share today.

I am pleased to tell you that I found my way out of the maze.  It wasn't easy.  It is interesting how it happened. You know the cliche "misery loves company"?  Well, it sounds terrible, but it is true. One of the things that helped was hearing other peoples struggles.  Someone I know recently had a house fire.  They were very close to losing not only their home but their lives.  A short time before that, they had a scare, wherein one of their children almost died.  Hearing her share the story with a group of moms I was with brought tears to my eyes even though I knew the little boy in question was alright.  I felt full of compassion for what this family has been through, and at the same time, I felt strangely comforted.  It was like I mentally put an arm around her and said, "Life sure is hard isn't it?  I'm having a hard time too, but we'll both get through it."  I feel a closeness to her just because she shared.  Another day at a church party, a new friend shared a struggle her family had had.  The topic came up very naturally in the conversation, but it made me feel a closeness to her as well. (Thanks Nicole and Anjanette) Some how in all this, I realized I needed to share too.  It is unfortunate how reluctant we are to talk about depression, and yet talking is so helpful.  Finally, I told my husband and a few friends that I was struggling. And slowly...with prayer, hearing other people's struggles and sharing my own, I found my way out of the maze. 

Now back to enjoying Christmas!  I hope Christmas is a joyous time for you, but if you find yourself lost in the maze, pray and share with a friend...I think it will help you both!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Tradition...What shall we call Him?

What shall we call Him?  So often at Christmas time we hear the lament that people have forgotten the real meaning of Christmas.  In an attempt to keep that message constantly before my children, and myself during this wonderfully busy time, I started a tradition of studying the names of the Savior.  After all, when a couple is expecting a baby, they spend much time pondering a name, so what better way to celebrate our Savior's birth than to focus on His many names?  

Good Samaritan

In my search to learn more about the names of Christ, I came across some wonderful surprises.  Good Samaritan was one of them.  BYU Professor, John Welch, enlightened me in a talk he gave about the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  He begins, "This parable’s content is clearly practical and dramatic in its obvious meaning, but a time-honored Christian tradition also saw the parable as an impressive allegory of the Fall and Redemption of mankind.

“. . .The man who was going down is Adam. Jerusalem is paradise, and Jericho is the world. The robbers are hostile powers. The priest is the Law, the Levite is the prophets, and the Samaritan is Christ. The wounds are disobedience, the beast is the Lord’s body, the [inn], which accepts all who wish to enter, is the Church. … The manager of the [inn] is the head of the Church, to whom its care has been entrusted. And the fact that the Samaritan promises he will return represents the Savior’s second coming.

"This allegorical reading was taught not only by ancient followers of Jesus, but it was virtually universal throughout early Christianity, being advocated by Irenaeus, Clement, and Origen, and in the fourth and fifth centuries by Chrysostom in Constantinople, Ambrose in Milan, and Augustine in North Africa. This interpretation is found most completely in two other medieval stained-glass windows, in the French cathedrals at Bourges and Sens."

Reading this article really opened the Parable of the Good Samaritan for me.  I am strengthened when I picture myself as the traveler, hurt and broken, and the Lord, the Good Samaritan coming to bind up my wounds.  It is easy to for me to imagine because He has bound up my wounds so many times before.

 I highly recommend the entire article, “The Good Samaritan: Forgotten Symbols,” John W. Welch, Ensign, Feb 2007, 40–47 which you can find here.

And naturally finding these new truths in an old story, brings a question to my mind. . .what messages are hidden in the other parables, waiting for me when I am ready to receive them?  There's a Christmas gift to "unwrap".