Monday, July 29, 2013

So what was the deal with the Skittles then?

I can be clueless. Sometimes I need people to just give it to me straight: you are acting inappropriately, weirdo! I wish that someone had been around whatever day it was in the early 80s when I decided on Jo from Facts of Life to be my role model. They could have even advised, "Just go with Tootie" and that might have been enough. Really. That one message, clearly delivered, could have altered the course of my life.
My previous TMI post about my high conflict relationships gets an update. It turns out that being polite really is a good way to live. I feel great and I have found very little conflict exists at this point. Which means that I think I was probably the real source of all of that, so good thing I figured that out!

Sorry world and all the people in it who have interacted with me a lot! Can we start over? I am going to be nice this time!

The lesson in church today was about coming unto Jesus. I missed half of it because I stayed home with napping Claire and made bread. But it is a subject I have been thinking about a lot, and I even had a nice conversation with the boys about it, sort of, today. It started out with Andrew making a fuss over wearing a tie and for some reason I thought it might be helpful to tell him about the angel of death passing over the doors of the homes with lamb's blood on the frame and the deaths of the first born sons of those homes without the blood. I think I was going to pretend that ties were the modern equivalent of blood on the door. But before I could get to that tie-in, the conversation took off.

The boys were very interested and we talked about how God used strange, symbolic things like that (and Abraham and Isaac) to emphasize to the people that Jesus was His Son, that He would die for us and that this sacrifice was a very painful, difficult one for Heavenly Father. We got into the sheep and the goats, and the way to be a sheep is to essentially just be kind to people. Will wanted to know if a goat could turn into a sheep. I loved the entire conversation and was glad it proceeded away from my original intention of teasing Andrew.

Anyway, during the lesson the teacher asked if anyone had an experience with service that brought them closer to Christ. I didn't want to share this there but I will record it here.

Before my dad got sick, I was not super enthusiastic about our ward. I missed my old stake and all the many families in it with kids our kids' ages. But I am now so grateful to be back in the ward in which I grew up. The support we have received in the last few months has been overwhelming. We have had a few mornings or evenings gathering in small groups of old friends, and while we initiated these events in order to cheer my parents and help people more comfortably visit with my dad, they have turned into something more, at least for me. The love that I feel from these people is very moving.
It sounds dramatic to say, but the way people from so many areas of our lives have reached out has changed the way I view really fundamental things, like the importance of friendship and the small things we can do to lift the people around us. I have learned even more about my dad as these people come forward with their stories of him: cards he wrote (for every single member of the ward, kids included, on their birthdays--and these were often very thoughtful), support he gave to people struggling, one-on-one Sunday School sessions he had every Sunday with a young man he was trying to help stay in the church. And these people who have known me my whole life (embarrassingly) and whom I have somewhat taken for granted, these people love my parents and they love us, too, despite how well they know us. We sat in the living room of one wonderful family hosting a gathering for my dad and the uncritical, genuine love in the room just washed over me. This sense of community, of shared pain and joy, how could I have so long basically ignored it all? I feel like my friend's little boy who thought his Sunday School lesson was about Skittles. Or like myself when I was studying for my Civil Procedure exam using a commercial outline when it hit me: this class is about how to file an action in civil court! I have been exposed to all the right, essential messages and I have somehow succeeded in not comprehending the point at all.

I think I have found my way out of the Gospel forest, where I get lost amongst all the doctrinal trees. And it is to Just Love. Studying the scriptures, prayer, church attendance, tithing--these are all ways to get there, or things you do when are are there, but without love it really is just a tinkling cymbal, meaningless. All the things we do and say and become have no value to us if we don't feel love for other people. Kind of makes you want to re-do your whole life. Bear with me while I rediscover the Gospel wheel on the Atonement.

1 comment:

Momo Cannon said...

Very sweet, Alexandra. Love you