Lately I’ve been feeling grateful for wonderful women in my life. Sometimes we let ourselves drown a little bit in the dreary details of motherhood, but a conversation with another mother I admire can lift my spirits, refocus my purpose, and remind me that I am not alone in what sometimes seems difficult.
When I was 16 years old, I was the only girl from my church group that was not invited to a particular formal date dance. When the next day at church, I was the only one who showed up in a regular dress, and the rest of the girls were all wearing their formal gowns from the night before (for the record, I’m not fond of that “trend”), I felt like an idiot. And in typical teenage fashion, I felt dramatically sorry for myself. I went home and moped for most of the afternoon, until the doorbell rang. There on my doorstep was Julia, the president of my young women’s class. Julia was a senior at my high school, and she had recently undergone a bone marrow transplant in an attempt to escape the cancer that had come and gone more than once. She was bald, but had a lovely smile, face, and grace about her. Anyway, she showed up at my house that afternoon with a small flower pot and a card. It said “Bloom where you are planted.” Apparently, she sensed my hurt feelings at church and went out of her way to reach out to me and encourage me. The irony was not lost on me. My problems were small and insignificant in comparison to hers, yet she was noble enough to acknowledge them and encourage me.
This trend has repeated itself many times in my life, especially recently. In the last month alone I can pinpoint conversations I’ve had with women who have significant struggles that make mine look ridiculous at best. But like Julia, they have served me. They have showed me kindness and made me feel their love and God’s love through them. One has a handicapped daughter and struggles daily with decisions related to her care and balancing her needs with those of her other children. Another recently overcame cancer while caring for her three small children. One has five, yes FIVE, children with special needs and amazes me frequently with her spiritual insight and willingness to listen to me. Another, pregnant with her fourth child, was just diagnosed with cancer. These women are AMAZING. They think they are ordinary, but they are great examples to me, and I thank God I know them.
President Ezra Taft Benson said, and I whole-heartedly agree:
The fellowship of true friends who can hear you out, share your joys, help carry your burdens, and correctly counsel you is priceless. For one who has been in the prison of depression, the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith have special meaning: “How sweet the voice of a friend is; one token of friendship from any source whatever awakens and calls into action every sympathetic feeling.” . . . What a boon to be in the company of those who edify us!
I’m also constantly amazed by those of you who drop by this blog and whom I read about as I surf the blog world. You are good women with good hearts doing good things. We should all tell each other that more often. We need to say it, and we need to hear it.
A few shout-outs, just because I feel like it:
Jana at The Meanest Mom always makes me laugh. Her post today cracked me up. I love her integrity in parenting; sticking to her guns despite the pushes and pulls of children and critics. (She’s also hosting a great giveaway, but you don’t need to pay much attention to that. I believe 47,000 people have already signed up for it, so your chances are probably better with Powerball or the NFL draft.)
Heather at the Extraordinary Ordinary wrote a great post this week about the lessons that motherhood forces us to learn. It made me think so much that I had to email her instead of leaving a comment because I was so verbose I would have been a comment pirate and taken over her post. I love her authenticity and substance. Incidentally, I spent some time with her in person recently and she’s just as lovely in real life.
And all of you that have commented on the General Conference Book Club posts have impressed me so much. Thank you for being as cool and insightful as you are. Really. I’ve spent the last two nights falling asleep while reading Elder Christofferson’s talk, but I’m going to jump in tomorrow with my own feedback. Hope to hear from many more of you, too.
She’s one spunky, delightful little girl who keeps me smiling. Her daddy’s out of town this week and it’s endearing to see how much she misses him. Today, she bumped her nose and said, “When daddy gets home, I will show him my nose and he’ll kiss it better.” When I grow up, I bet she’ll be my favorite woman on the planet.