Perhaps it’s time I analyze the world in general.

I haven’t done a real post in about a month.  Life got busy, but life is always busy.  Sometimes it gets so busy your brains almost fall out.  That’s where I went, but not because I’m some psycho over-scheduler or anything… stuff just happens.  Trips to see family, trips for family to see you, Christmas (enough said), children in hospital, loved ones in hospital, and somehow all the regular routines and demands of life don’t take a break during that time (food prep, laundry, housekeeping, obligations at school and church, etc.).  I’m not complaining because a quick look back at your own calendar probably reveals a really similar cacophony of activity.

Anyway, when life gets a little …. shall we say “challenging?”…there are usually a lot of lessons to be learned.  Here’s some of the stuff I’ve been thinking about lately.  (I’m not promising it’s profound or unique, but it’s where I am right now.)

  • When things are so busy, it’s hard to maintain function.  This helps me understand why it’s important to keep our lives as simple and focused-on-the-essentials as possible.  It almost leaves room for crisis, which is sure to occasionally come along.
  • Also, we can go into superhuman mode for a little while and accomplish more than seems possible.  It’s a small kind of miracle that meets the needs at hand, but we cannot maintain daily life in that kind of mode and expect to … here it comes again … function.  Our minds and bodies reach a point where we push their limits and they need rest.  They need recovery.  We have to be able to dial it all back and take care of our basic needs so that we can be useful and helpful again.  For me, I call that limit “oatmeal brain.”  It’s where my mind is so tired of problem-solving that it needs a nap.  And chocolate.
  • People are good.  It’s an amazing thing to watch when family, friends, and even acquaintances step up and rally around someone in crisis.  My brother was in the hospital for 6 days last week.  I’ve witnessed people making visits, preparing food for, offering blessings, sending up prayers, writing encouraging notes, providing childcare and even cleaning and moving all out of love and concern for someone who is suffering.  I understand how busy life can be, so it’s a beautiful sacrifice to watch and a calming reminder that there are still lots and lots of wonderful people left in the world.
  • People are complicated.  Everyone has private struggles and heavy burdens.  Those challenges affect how people see the world and interact with others, sometimes in very intricate and mysterious ways.  It’s easy for us to judge others because our own heartscape and mindscape are so different.  Why doesn’t he just….?  Why can’t she …? It’s way more complicated than that, and we just don’t get it.  It’s a miracle that we’re able to have healthy relationships at all, but I can only attribute that to the grace of Christ and charity– the ability to see others as He sees them.

“I consider charity—or “the pure love of Christ”—to be the opposite of criticism and judging. In speaking of charity, I do not at this moment have in mind the relief of the suffering through the giving of our substance. That, of course, is necessary and proper. Tonight, however, I have in mind the charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient.

I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful, not only in times of sickness and affliction and distress but also in times of weakness or error on the part of others.”  – President Thomas S. Monson

  • This is even (maybe especially) true in family relationships.  Maybe part of the reason that God wants us to have families is 1. to get to know someone on an intimate level (faults and all) and still love them, 2. to realize that despite all our familiarity, there’s more to them than we see, and 3. to rely on God to help us treat them the way they need to be treated.  Our Heavenly Father, after all, knows our minds and our hearts and even our nothingness, and loves us with a love that is greater than we can comprehend.  He succors us individually in just the ways we need most.  He shows us how family should be done.  This is hard to do.  Really, really hard.  Especially when we have plenty of our own challenges to deal with.  Maybe this is naive of me, but I think that as we reach out to others in mercy and love, our own suffering will find some refuge and relief.  I just know that we need each other and we need the Lord.
  • Lest you think I sit around having deep thoughts all the time, I’ve also learned that if you put a Lindt dark chocolate truffle and white chocolate truffle in your mouth at the same time, it tastes satisfyingly like a milk chocolate truffle.  I’ve learned that children also have a temporary period of monster-like behavior following a period of vacation.  And I’ve decided that right before a child gets baptized, Satan must get a 90-day free trial with them just so they actually have a good pile of sins to wash away on the big day.

So how about you?  Has life been whispering any lessons to you lately?

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16 thoughts on “Perhaps it’s time I analyze the world in general.

  1. i really needed this post. i am in the middle of learning this concept that i havent quite pieced all together yet. the concept of having a “broken heart” being having a heart full of charity. There is some connection between the atonement and that the act of the atonement -and the actual suffering being charity. Like- ultimate charity, and it is connected to what president Monson said in your quote. Like that is how the Savior can be that way with us, becuase of the suffering of the atonement and him having a broken heart – so when he requires us to have a broken heart what he is asking for is a heart full of charity. You know me. Sort this out. and then write back to me, because I have to teach RS on Sunday about this. At least tell me I kindof make sense. You know like on princess bride when wesley says “Love is pain Princess, anyone who says differently is selling something.” deep gospel princeapal there.

    • Shantel, the analogy that has best helped me understand the concept of a “broken heart” is to compare it to a “broken” horse. A wild horse completely follows its own will and impulses, surrendering to none. A broken horse, however, is one who listens to the master and obeys. It’s all about submission and letting your own heart be swallowed up by the Master, wanting what He wants, and following his commands.

      • I have heard that before. In fact it your favorite TOFW speaker (the one you love becauce he was so thoughtful with giving you that king size candy bar in the middle of your class – ya that guy) that used that analogy. I really like it – and its is true – but this is something else. I dont have allthe pieces yet, so it sounds like garbage. Maybe I wont get them all in time to teach.
        BTW, I think Satan was giving Porter private turtoring lessons beofre his babtism.

  2. “And I’ve decided that right before a child gets baptized, Satan must get a 90-day free trial with them just so they actually have a good pile of sins to wash away on the big day.”

    The perfect line! My son was just baptized on Sat. and I wondered if we would make it to the day.

    Great thoughts today.

  3. Thank you for the beautiful post. It very much resonated with our lives at the moment. With some fairly significant surgeries in the next few days, I have been pondering President Uchtorf’s counsel to simplify. You put into words much of what I have been thinking about, thank you!

    And yes – with a nine year old and a seven year old – I agree with the 90 day trial. Wish someone would have given me a heads up with my first! :)

  4. I am reminded of Elder Uchdorf’s talk about airplanes. Oh! – I mean simplifying. When life gets complicated, you need to slow down.

    (This is a large part of why I blogged, um, twice? last month.)

    Also – the line about Satan’s 90 day trial totally cracked me up. ;o)

  5. I’ve long thought that there must be significant reasons that Heavenly Father puts us in families, and that one of them is that the ties that bind us generally keep us close enough together that we invariably irritate each other and MUST work to learn charity and mercy. (Or I guess we can choose to be miserable instead.) If another person irritated us that much we might just end the relationship. But with a family member we are pulled together again and again, and get lots of practice learning to have charity. (I hope that makes sense–I’m behind on my daily allowance of Lindt truffles…mostly because I have to hide them so my 15 year old doesn’t eat them all!)

  6. So… I really thought I’d have a break by the time Isabel started at school. I guess not, huh? I wonder if I can break her of it before it even starts…

    And do you know what…. I think all of us that are around the same “blogging age” have kind of grown up and realised that it really isn’t the end of the world if we take time for ourselves and not blog during busy periods in our lives. I hope you have a good rest from your busy period.

  7. Love the “People are complicated” paragraph. That is the way I try to think of things. Seriously, there is ALWAYS a reason people do things the way they do. That doesn’t excuse everything, of course, but it does mean we can’t judge. Which is sometimes hard.

    And I’ve never heard the breaking a horse thing. Of course! That is a great way to explain it.

  8. Thanks so much. As usual, your thoughts align with many of the things I need to hear. I don’t know how to simplify my life and I’m really going to work on that this year.

    And hoo boy, the 90 day trial must be true! I remember with Bria how hard those few months before she turned 8 were. And let’s see, Chloe is probably 75 or so days away from her baptism. Yep. That’s about right.

  9. Totally understand that period before baptism. Been through it five times already and are knee-deep in #6. It is also very much aligned with young men receiving the priesthood. Boy, I am grateful for the Holy Ghost!

  10. I love this..

    ‘Our minds and bodies reach a point where we push their limits and they need rest. They need recovery.’

    So true.

    Thanks for sharing! I’m glad I stopped by here today.

  11. I love so much of what you said here but I really like your theory on why we should simplify our lives. So true. And wise.

  12. Thank you! I really needed that tip about the chocolates. Seriously, I have one of each (white and dark) sitting on a shelf because I’m not fond of either. So you can rest well knowing that, thanks to you, they will not go to waste.

    In all seriousness though, I love reading your posts and always learn something refreshing/relieving/renewing. So, welcome back! I hope your Christmas was wonderful, that your family members are feeling better, and that your children return to their natural post-monster state soon. :)

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