It’s odd to write without an event on which to focus. The reality is I am so busy, and so overwhelmed, but am cataloging these days for a future post.
In the mean time, my head goes in circles with the thoughts that possess me these days. I need to articulate them, even if very poorly, in hopes that I may move on (or find insight or validation therein).
About the Trapeze
About six weeks ago I was pouring over the continuing ed classes at the University of Utah in hopes of finding an art class that might fit into my life.
I did not find one.
But there was to my thrill and delight, a trapeze class! Let’s have some exclamation points about that:
Could anything be more grand that to tell my posterity that I was once a flying trapeze artist? Almost as neat as telling them I did circus style horseback riding in my younger years (which I did, for real).
And when I proposed that we take the class together, and it was soundly rejected by Wyatt, I sent a quick email to my ten closest friends in the neighborhood, looking for takers. Unfortunately they all thought it was a joke. And when they realized I was in no way kidding around, they began aheming and looking at their feet (so I imagine) and mentioning kegel muscle problems brought about by childbirth. In any case, they all said no.
And so I forgot about it . . . until I heard this song.
And now I really, really want to take the class again. Any takers?
The Tenderness and Toil
I have a friend who titles her blog “Tenderness and Toil.” And I am in love with this phrase. I really really really want to title my blog that – to plagiarize her genius because I feel like that phrase so profoundly describes my life. I feel like I am a gardener, constantly pulling the weeds in my life, trying to encourage the little things to grow around me. It is work. It is constant, never ending, never easing work. But oh how it has the potential for a great harvest, and how startling it is when there are those little moments of surprising and breathtaking beauty.
The People that Saved Me
I went to dinner a month or so ago with a neighbor girl who lives up the street. She was having a bad day so a girls night seemed appropriate. My sister in law was with me at the time and we talked and listed about the drama of my neighbor’s 20 year old life.
Now this particular girl exasperates a lot of people I know, but to me she just reminds me of myself. I wonder if the people I know now would be surprised at just how much trouble I was when I was younger. Not the “in trouble” sort of trouble, just the attitude and the drama.
And I think about the people that saved me – real, specific experiences of people stepping outside of themselves, out of their convenience and their ease, to help me along in real and meaningful ways. The stories are engraved into my heart and I can never think about those people (there were a lot) without benevolence and joy.
But then I wonder – why me? As I watch my neighbor struggle, or other friends or family – how they struggle with their lives and their testimonies, I wonder: why was I chosen and allowed to have the experiences that I had that made my life swing in the way it has?
It’s a question I don’t have an answer to.
This reality has been on my mind so much these past few months I’ve considered writing a series of stories – “The People that Saved Me.” On the one hand those stories are the most important of my life and deserve to be written. On the other – they are the most sacred and tender that I have, and I’m not sure I can bear to expose them to the world.
We were laughing at Girls Night Out a couple months ago at the “boob jobs” (now my blog will be blocked in certain search filters. Sorry.) that can be viewed at the pool. But some girls were lamenting their own physique and wishing for something (ahem) more.
But this is my current take on beauty (current, because it is ever evolving). I used to think “good for you” when I heard of people and their plastic surgery attempts at being who they wanted to be. I always thought – live the life you want to live, and be who you want to be – I didn’t see any problem with the knife as a way to obtain a self image satiated oneself.
But now I’m not so sure. I mean, I think about the women in Africa with the rings around their necks – their long necks that look like something from a Tim Burton cartoon – both creepy and grotesque in a can’t-take-your-eyes-off sort of way. Or the women in China 300 years ago, where small feet was the cultural definition of beauty, but really all it was was misogyny at is height suppressing the women into submission by literally “binding” them.
And I wonder if my culture is any different. Are we really so enlightened that our definition of beauty is only about beauty? Or is there something more sinister at play? An ideal that we can never attain, and a campaign theme that we will never be good enough unless we do. And is this great lie driven by men to maintain women in their subjection, but perpetuated on women by other women as they attempt to gain power over men?
Is this what Heavenly Father had in mind when he designed our bodies?
Is “being healthy” as the world defines it (working out at the gym until you are toned and defined) more important that being kind? Is being sexy a virtue? Is losing that last ten pounds going to enable you to be a better person, or will it flood you with a vain esteem of yourself?
And when I say you, I mean I.
I went to lunch a week or so ago with an old friend. She was asking me about my life. She told me:
[T]he apprenticeship you are undergoing now as a mom is preparing you for unbelievably wonderful opportunities in the next stage of your life.
And when I talked about the near starvation I feel at times with the pressures of never-time-for-me she said without remorse:
We all must leave the garden at some point.
And then I envisioned me leaving the fruitful garden of eden to go out into the world full of thorns to make my way and find my way back to God. And perhaps my children are my compass and my map, angels incarnte to point me on my way.
And later when I was in the temple, I thought about sacrifice. It is the constant sacrifice of motherhood that makes my life beautiful and worthwhile. And If our sacrifices as mothers are returned to us with interest, and if we are able to choose our blessings, what blessings would I ask for?
Blessings for my children:
that their lives may be filled with deep connection to the Savior
that their lives may be full of joy, deep, real, eternal joy.
that they may inherit the Kingdom of God.
And if there’s any extra blessings left over after all that, I might ask for some time to paint.