Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Occasions & Transitions

Our society has a lot of great celebrations to mark happy and momentous occasions and transitions. As one who generally balks at riotous living, I am grateful for meaningful opportunities to act in a crazy, joyful manner contrary to my nature. We also have rituals to assist in coping with heartbreaking events and death. Generally these occasions are less than riotous, though not all of them are depressing. In the case of funerals, I’m grateful for Truth that by and large bypasses the depression. Appropriately, some events in our lives have no community based rituals to assist affected individuals in their journey through many of the 'shadows of death'. The community wide affects of events, such as the death of a marriage through divorce, are most suitably confronted privately. These events offer meaningful opportunities for deep personal enlightenment.

Recent events of grave infidelity and betrayal by an individual within one of my Tribes, as Oliver DeMille calls them, have offered me and many of my associates an opportunity to seek after that personal enlightenment as a means for coping with the damage to our hearts and our community. Providentially, within this struggle I have found a greater propensity to love Mercy more. Almost of its own accord, my heart reaches out to this child of God who is still a model for me of so many great qualities. Because of this, I find myself reaching out to my Savior with renewed faith in and understanding of His Mercy that He offers me. Unexpectedly now, I have even more profound reasons for celebrating the occasion of His birth.

Merry Christmas!!

Ummm, don’t even think about asking about the identity of this individual. I simply won’t answer. And please don't post it if you know. This family has suffered enough.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Finding Joy in the ONE

OK, here’s another song that has recently risen in status from ‘mildly annoying’ to ‘rather irritating’. (And don’t get me wrong. I really don’t hate every hymn in the LDS Hymn book. It’s just that the ones that challenge me are more fun to write about.=] ) It’s a lovely song, I’ll admit, though somewhat grudgingly:

Count Your Blessings

Sung Brightly (Ummm, are you kidding me?)
1. When upon life's billows you are tempest-tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings; ev'ry doubt will fly, And you will be singing as the days go by.
3. When you look at others with their lands and gold, Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold. Count your many blessings; money cannot buy Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.
4. So amid the conflict, whether great or small, Do not be discouraged; God is over all. Count your many blessings; angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.

The Chorus, in particular, has wrecked havoc on my sanity:
Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your blessings; See what God hath done. Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your many blessings; See what God hath done.

The following scripture has helped me understand my challenges with this hymn:

But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:40-42

There are a lot of tasks our family could be running around stressing about. During this holiday season, one of the things I’ve worried about is my own aversion to the task of ‘counting our blessings’.

Just after the Thanksgiving holiday, there repeatedly entered into my heart the desire to redecorate my web browser theme. I ignored the idea for a while as unnecessary. When I finally took a moment to make the change, I began searching, as I usually did for browser decorations, under flowers. Only this time the thought occurred to me that with so many choices I should narrow it to what I had professed casually in the past to be my favorite flower, the daisy. And suddenly my eyes were so ‘tickled,’ as my grandmother used to say. Each picture of a daisy brought me so much joy. I searched out other websites for daisy pictures and found joy in the grand varieties of daisies.

I was completely amazed and beyond grateful at how much joy those pictures brought me. This experience reminds me of some things we’ve learned about Diabetes in our journey with Merisa who was recently diagnosed with Type 1. Put simply, Type One Diabetes is a disease where the body no longer produces the Insulin the body needs to absorb glucose. We’ve learned that exercise can also help the body absorb glucose. So if her blood sugar (the amount of sugar in her blood) is high, then exercise can bring it down. If her blood sugar is too high, however, only insulin will bring it down and exercise will only cause very harmful stress to the body.

So, our family has been experiencing lots of stress lately as financial pressures continue to mount, despite two years of efforts to relieve those pressures after Rob lost his job. I truly believe that it’s really come to the point where more “careful and troubled” effort on our part is not going to help. Rather, we need to choose “that good part, which shall not be taken away from” us. Sometimes that means just resting from all of our cares, including from all the voices around us with good intentions or not. And sometimes it means listening to the one thing our Father in Heaven is trying to tell us, even if He’s just telling us to look at pictures of Daisy’s on the internet.

So, in all our craziness I have no problem singing the song this way:

Count your blessing; Name it ONE, ONE, ONE! Count your blessing; See what God hath done. Count your blessing; Name it ONE, ONE, ONE! Count your single blessing; Love that special ONE!