Sunday, June 23, 2013

chapter a-closing

I woke up super early this morning with a lot on my mind. (The early wakeup was unfortunate since my cute four-month-old chose to sleep a record 10ish hours, but hey, we're all doing what we can here.)
This is long but it's my blog and I do what I want so stick with me here, if you would.
(1) There's a guy in the Book of Mormon and his name is the Brother of Jared. Yeah, I don't know why either. The story goes that because God told him to, he built these enclosed ships that his people needed to hop into in order to travel for a long time. So he says to God, look, we need to figure out how to (a) breathe and (b) see; what do I do here? God says, essentially, breathe by putting holes in the top and bottom with a little stop. Uncork it when you need some air and re-cork it when water comes in. And about the seeing, well, "What will ye that I should do?" Yes, in this story, Brother of Jared presents God with two problems, and God responds with specific instructions on one and a basic "Welp, what do YOU want me to do?" on the other. The Brother of Jared ends up finding a bunch of stones and asking God to touch them to light them up so they can use them as little lamps, and God does, and voila.

For years, I have always pictured the Brother of Jared kind of sheepish in that moment of saying, "Um, how about these rocks?" [Cringe.] Think that would work? Sorry if that's lame. This is all I got." And sure, there are a million things that he could have done, and that would have been better, but he thought of stones, and he had stuff to make the stones, so he threw the idea out there and hey, this works.
I feel like that a lot, like I'm supposed to do something but don't know exactly how, so I come up with something and then feel dumb about it but offer it up anyway because, well, it's the best I've got.

(2) In another part of the Book of Mormon, this kid named Ammon is flipping out with joy over how well all these people he taught are doing. He ends up saying that there is no one in the world who should be more grateful than he is. And I totally get that. "Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away..." Later on he uses the word "mindful" a million times, saying God is mindful of him, and mindful of his friends, and mindful of every people. No wonder he's thrilled.

(3) I woke up thinking about a talk Henry B. Eyring gave recently about how we all have LIMITS and that is okay. He even highlighted the importance of "balancing a desire to do all you can to help others with the wisdom to be prudent in meeting your own needs to retain your power to serve." WHAT? Re-read that for a second and just marvel with me at how wise that is. "Whenever you have cared for someone for even a short time, you have felt love for the person you served. As the time to provide needed care grew longer, the feelings of love increased. Since we are mortal, that increase in love may be interrupted by feelings of frustration and fatigue." And then later he says, "You will be strengthened and yet inspired to know the limits and extent of your ability to serve. The Spirit will comfort you when you may wonder, 'Did I do enough?'"
I feel like his whole talk was saying, hey, it's okay to be tired, and frustrated, and also strengthened, and if you need a breather, take a breather; there's nobility in napping once in a while, people!
(4) On a nostalgic whim, I got the New Testament batch of Scripture Scouts (yep, circa 1987, ring a bell?) a few weeks ago and on it there is this abnormally catchy little tune about the story of the loaves and fishes, and the chorus says, "Whatever you have is enough, says Jesus. Whatever you have is enough." Kind of lame? Maybe. Kind of awesome? YES. Whatever we have IS enough.
Today marked the end of four years in Young Women for me, three and a half of them as president, and my emotions are all over the map. I imagine there is a long and guttural German word for how I'm feeling that smooshes gratitude in with grief and relief and pride and sadness and nostalgia and accomplishment and delight and exhaustion. 

I feel a lot like the Brother of Jared, a little sheepish about how random and dumpy my best was sometimes, and grateful that God just kind of said, "Welp, that'll work." I feel a lot like Ammon, because there is NO ONE, and I mean no one, who has ever had more reason to  be grateful than I have, for my life and my fam and my calling and my friends and my opportunities and...I could go on a while so get comfy. I have felt how MINDFUL God is of me and of all of us, and guess what? It's a lot. 

I also feel like the weary caregiver in Eyring's talk, because I want to go-go-go but also need to admit that, surprise surprise, my own well is pretty darn dry and with all that is going on with my life and my fam, I gotta kick back and meet my own needs to, as he says, retain my power to serve. And just like the cheesetastic Scripture Scouts say, whatever we have is enough. There are things I would do differently given the chance, and I ache wishing I weren't so grouchy, or self-centered, or frazzled, or anti-froof, and I wish I'd had more time and energy to give at various times, and I wish I had been more sensitive and aware with different girls and their adult-sized challenges through the years, but I also firmly believe that whatever we have is enough. It feels pretty good to know that I gave what I had and God knows m'heart and guess what? Whatever I have is enough, and I've given it, and for now, my turn at this is over.

I have a hundred funny stories to share about our little gang of YW, and several dozen heartbreaking ones, and a bunch more in between, but for privacy's sake I'll save those for somewhere and sometime that's not the world wide web. I will say, though, that I expect to feel a little funny, a little in-betweensies, a little off my game, for a while since being in charge of the YW has been such a part of my identity here in Iowa, and that even though I'm kind of relieved, I am also a little devastated, and this change is a big loss for me, one for which I will allow myself space to grieve. 

Buuuuuut, I might also take myself out to dinner on Wednesday, just because I'm free. :)