Surviving our greatest blessings

I need to give credit where credit is due (and possibly mandated by law!). The title of this post is from a talk given by Emily Watts, a mother and an editor for Deseret Book who often speaks at the popular "Time Out for Women" events around the country. She has written 2 books: _Being The Mom_, and _Take Two Chocolates and Call Me in the Morning_. I highly recommend both books. Anyway, she and I were chatting once about this talk she gives, called "Surviving your greatest blessings". I haven't actually heard the talk, but I'm sure it's fabulous. She says that two of our greatest blesssings are also two of our greatest challenges: our bodies and our children. We followed the Lord's plan to come here to earth to get a body, and yet so many of us struggle so much when it comes to bodies. And, of course, we all love our children and are grateful for them, but somedays you just need a break! So I've been thinking about that lately. I think originally Emily was talking about body image issues, how none of us are completely satisfied with the one that we got, but lately I'm thinking about it from a different angle. I've talked before about some health issues that I have had, and other administrators on this blog, as well as some of the commentors, have alluded to other serious health issues, too. Sounds like we are all sort of a sick bunch. And it's hard to be sick. It's hard to have a doctor tell you that your body is not functioning the way that it's supposed to. It's hard to realize that you can't do the things that other people can do, or have the things other people have. And it's hard to come to terms with a situation that you have really very little control over, either because God hasn't let you in on His plan, or your HMO gives you people like Dr. Ugly Teeth to work with. So in dealing with being sick, I'm trying to put it all in perspective, and try to understand what my Heavenly Father would have me do with it. And I think I have an answer. God wants, above all, me to rejoice. There are other things as well, but I think this is the key, the big one. So I'm going to rejoice. I can poop and pee without pain--REJOICE! I can brush my hair without it falling out--REJOICE! I can walk up the stairs in my house--REJOICE! I can eat solid food--REJOICE! I can brush my own teeth--REJOICE! I can put on my own pants and tie my own shoes--REJOICE! I can lick chocolate icing off my cheek when I'm stuffing chocolate cake in my mouth--REJOICE! The list can go on, and making a list like that makes me feel like my body may be in pretty good shape, especially since I know people who CAN'T do the things I just listed. So it may be simple and silly and sound sort of like a primary lesson, but I think the answer to surviving our greatest blessings is to rejoice in them. Completely. Always. Now, if I could just remember that the next time Jacob colors on the walls.... Hey, he's artistic--REJOICE!


Blogger Em said...

What a fantastic perspective... and reminder. Are we all hopeless cases because we can't remember to KEEP that perspective most of the time? I guess that's why I need to keep going to church and reading my scriptures (etc.)... I need to be reminded constantly to keep my perspective eternal. Thank heaven for reminders!

2/15/2006 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Nice post Heather. We all could do with a gentle reminder to focus on what we CAN do, and not get pulled under by the CAN'Ts. Thanks.

2/15/2006 02:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It came as kind of a shock that "Be of good cheer" was as much a commandment as "Repent". Thanks for the reminder.

2/15/2006 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs. M said...

Thank you, Heather. Life always seems much brighter when I remember to rejoice. I appreciate the reminder:)

2/15/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth-W said...

To paraphrase...As a woman thinketh, so is she.

There is a psychologist named M. Seligman who years ago wrote about learned helplessness, and over the years he as switched to writing about learned optimism. The idea of those things being learned makes good sense; some of us grow up in "half-empty" type families, and some of us get lucky enough to learn to see things as "half-full". Another researcher, CR Synder, writes about learning hopefulness. Regardless, we have the opportunity to learn better, so to speak, how to be optimistic and hopeful.
Your post today is great! I agree with em about your perspective, and we all need reminders!

2/15/2006 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie J said...

What a great reminder! Thanks for that.

2/15/2006 04:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post! The YW lesson I gave this last Sunday was "Finding Joy Now" and your post goes right along with some of the things we talked about - especially the fact that Heavenly Father wants us to have joy, but we are responsible for living our lives in a way (including our attitudes) so we can have joy in our lives!

2/15/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 30; twelve years of chronic illness has actually made me a happier person than I think I would have been otherwise. I have learned to do only those things that are important *to me* instead of what I think other people expect me to do. And I have definitely had to slow down which gave me time to learn how to enjoy my children and love people in general.

2/15/2006 06:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heather - I like your take on this however I wonder if it's possible to push it one step further. I too, like a lot of people here, have a chronic illness that requires constant monitoring and can, if things get out of wack (which apparently won't take too much) kill me. Now that I've been dealing with this for a few years, it actually appears to be a blessing. Why? Because it's forced me to go out and do things I normally wouldn't have done. The doctor said I would have to give up running (at the time I was running maybe 5 miles a week - in a good week) so the uber-stubborn part of me kicked in and said "watch me prove you wrong" and I went out and ran a marathon (albeit 18 months later after things were a little more stable). Since then there have been other marathons and endurance events simply because someone told me that I couldn't do it. Why not? God gave me this body and simply b/c he gave me a few ailments along the way doesn't mean he wants me to stop living. And if he does, I'd rather drop dead during a marathon knowing that I was pushing my body and spirit to the max than lying fearful on the couch simply because some doctor says I can't do something.

2/15/2006 11:14:00 PM  
Blogger Tigersue said...

That whole idea is to love life no matter what comes our way. You do what you can because that is what you want to do. Don't stop living and laughing, but keep doing the things that make life a joy.

2/16/2006 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger FrogLegs said...

I saw/met her at a TO here in Boise. I need to pull out her book and my notes. I've been having a "poor me" state the last week... I need a "rejoice" list like yuors. :)

2/16/2006 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Frog Legs-

Did Emily give the "Surviving your greatest blessings" talk at your event? One of these days I'm going to make it to one of those Time Out for Women things. I definitely need it!

2/16/2006 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger White Man Retarded said...

What a life one must lead in which the struggles of living revolve around 'body-image' issues.

2/18/2006 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger FrogLegs said...

Heather- She did, and it was wonderful! I told everyone I knew that they should go. I took my MIL to this last one, and this year a few of us are going from my ward. :)

2/19/2006 05:17:00 PM  

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