Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Leaf

Last week, I randomly checked my Sitemeter because I wanted to see how low my readership can go. Apparently, I'm barely a presence in Blogdom lately. Maybe you've noticed?

Anyway, I am in turns amused, creeped out, stumped at the Google searches that land random strangers on this blog. But last week, I was . . . I can't even describe it. Haunted. By this search:

"what is the thing that makes a person happy in this life"

Oh, my goodness. I can scarcely begin to imagine what makes a sad soul look for this on the internet. If you're still out there, if you're still searching, you'll end up here now. Please keep searching --  you will find what you're looking for. Try I find great solace in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. His atoning sacrifice gives me hope when all else seems to crumble. Your shoulders may not be broad enough to bear your burdens, but His are.

So. I've been thinking about this little question for a solid week. It has been foremost in my thoughts as I have cleaned up the mess left after the holidays, felt the strain of my body trying desperately to recalibrate "normal" hormone levels and emotional baselines, and dealt with the stress of energetic and rambunctious little boys home from school and confined to the indoors by crazy amounts of snow, wind and a biting, humid, Arctic-worthy and uncharacteristic deep freeze from which I'm worried we may never thaw.

I have felt like a train with one wheel off the track, like my spiritual download was interrupted in transit, like patchwork seams that don't quite line up, like someone half-way erased all my clean lines and hard edges. And I have wondered, really, what is that thing? What makes us happy in this life?

There are so many answers. I know all of them. I have studied them in every Sunday meeting, seminary class, and personal session of scripture reading since I was old enough to comprehend it. My holiday season this year was a contemplative one, as I tried to figure out how, exactly, those answers are supposed to be able to help me bear the weight of this role -- the role that I have chosen to fulfill, the role that I truly and wholly love, but struggle to do well.

Today, we blessed our beautiful baby girl -- our Miscellany. She was held in the circle by her wonderful Daddy, two grandfathers, 5 uncles, and even a great-uncle. Her 10 little boy cousins (and Lucy!) watched as her name became official in church records and listened as she was given a lovely and inspired blessing. After church, the entire group of 27 gathered back at our house for a whole lot of togetherness and delicious soup. It was a choice day: laughing and eating, eating some more, a lot of gratitude, and some more eating. We know how to have a good time in this family, that is for sure, and it always -- ALWAYS -- involves food.

So, one tender mercy was followed by another, and I have slowly, slowly begun to emerge from my funk. I hear my husband make idiotic noises and faces on the off-chance that this time, she will laugh. (She just did!) I hear Lucy, my sister's little girl, call Miscellany her sister. I watch my little rough-and-tumble brood of boys pretend to have a sleepover in the upper tented bunk of MayDay's new big boy bed. I hug a mother-in-law we worried over as she underwent a dual kidney-pancreas transplant. I spend the evening playing cards with my mom and my sister and bask in that great feeling of being completely comfortable in your own skin, unapologetically yourself. I feel the strength of my husband's humble embrace as he tries desperately to hug me through the hardest parts. I feel needed, loved, supported, held up, gently -- or not so gently -- reminded that I am not just part of something bigger than myself, but essential to it. They always work -- those little moments. They always -- eventually -- give me the kick in the pants I need to stop dwelling on the bad stuff that happens in between all the good.

That's my new leaf, friends. I will not get stuck in a rough patch and refuse to remember the happy times that may have happened even 15 minutes before. The irony? Guess where you land if you Google "what is the thing that makes a person happy in this life"? It links you to the YouTube video I posted of U2's acoustic version of "Stuck in a Moment", and as much as I love the song, I didn't really listen to it until now:

You've got to get yourself together
You've got stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it
Don't say that later will be better
Now you're stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it

And if the night runs over
And if the day won't last
And if your way should falter
Along this stony pass

It's just a moment
This time will pass

This year, and in all future years, I will not dwell. The end.

post signature


  1. A lovely thought, and a great reminder. Sounds like your days have been rich with what matters most. Happy new year!

  2. I love how such a small thing can set our minds and souls really searching. I love the thoughts you have here. It seems so easy, and yet, it somehow isn't. But it really is. I love the idea of not dwelling on things and moving forward. Usually I'm okay at doing that, lately not so much.

  3. I love your posts! You write so well. Thanks for your thoughts.

  4. Sounds like such a wonderful, blessed day.

  5. This was the perfect blog to read after my self-imposed two-week break.

    Thank you.

    WV: caring. Pretty cool.

  6. This addresses a conundrum I've been pondering these last few months: How does one learn from the past without dwelling on it? It's such a balancing act, isn't it? Learning how to hold on to the lessons that make us better people without being paralyzed by the humiliation, or hurt, or loss that was the package in which the lesson was wrapped.

    Thanks for giving me more to consider! Sounds like you had a heavenly day!

  7. So very lovely to see you posting again, and what a lovely way to start yourself off. I love this post, love you dearly and was so happy we could be there yesterday.

    Today, we must spend much time talking of nothing so that I can once again feel full.

  8. I linked to you from Mormonmommy and want to thank you for your post there as well as this one. Your thoughtful entries provided me with some insights and solace as I find my way back to "Joy in the Journey" following several years of devastating losses as well as my husband's serious health challenges.
    You have touched my heart and I am grateful.

  9. So excited to read you again - as I haven't posted anything in a while, except bits and pieces here and there - happy to hear about the love of family who brings us back to our feet.

    Can we please have a new picture of Miscellany????

  10. Great post, as usual. But I'm dying to know about the upper tent bunk--did you decide to get the same bed we got? Does he just love it? Do the shelves fit under? I guess I should just email you huh? I hope you are well. Your baby is sooooooo very beautiful. As are your boys--my friend just had twins (babies numbers 4 & 5) and I keep thinking about you and your boys as I read her blog. You are FANTASTIC!

  11. So, so beautifully put. I'm in so much the same place (Claira was blessed this past Sunday as well), and I'm just smiling like mad right now because in understanding you I feel understood. Simply lovely!

  12. Awww...that was an awesome way to start the New Year! You are amazing in the way you think/write/teach! I needed to hear that.

  13. What a beautiful reminder of all that we have.

  14. I would like to FRAME paragraph #9.
    Beautifully put, as always.

  15. I was going to blog kind of about this, but I'm glad you beat me to it. So... ditto!

  16. Just found you through MMB. What a treasure! Thanks. And I'm happy I'm not the only one who scrutinizes her clicks-in, or whatever you call them. :)

    The Damsel in Dis Dress

    (Open ID doesn't seem to like me today)

  17. Beautiful thoughts. Thanks for sharing them. You write so well.
    Came here from somewhere else. Cute blog!
    Congrats on your awesome blessing day. Sounds like it was wonderful.

  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  19. I think it's amazing how easy it is for me to forget that simple lesson, that this too shall pass.

    Thank you for this reminder.

  20. The sweetness of heaven comes with these new little spirits from heavenly spheres and we are blessed by their presence in our lives. No wonder I love being at the side of birthing women...just to touch that slice of heaven for a moment strengthens me.
    Really sweet post. One that be a grand memory someday and you'll be so glad you wrote it down!

  21. Such a beautiful reminder.

    Here from MMB!

    Tammy and Parker
    @ParkerMama on Twitter

  22. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Good stuff that I needed reminding of.

  23. I just discovered your blog and absolutely love it. I wanted to say thanks for your heartfelt words. I needed them more than I realized.

  24. Stumbled on in here in the middle of the night, it was dark, what can I say . . . and love your content, but this is the post that reeled me in:)

    Be back frequently . . .



Sock it to me!