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 lds.org. 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.