Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"A Significant Work to Perform"

Over the past couple of weeks my family could have really benefited from an extra large roll of bubble wrap - like the kind you find wrapped around fragile items in order to give them protection.  It started off with my eight year old daughter hitting her head on her window seat, resulting in a large goose egg on the back of her head.

The next injury occurred when my four year old son was waiting for his bedtime story, which obviously did not come soon enough.  In frustration, he threw his book from the top of the stairs, thinking that his actions might get him his story sooner.  In the meantime my ten year old son happened to be right in the line of target as the bedtime story came to an abrupt stop when it collided with my sons face.  I never knew books could actually have the power to produce a cut worthy of an emergency visit to the doctor.  I discovered that night how powerful books can be; in more ways than one.

Our next incident came when our eleven year old (soon to be 12) daughter decided to have a hair flipping contest at school with her friends.  Sounds innocent enough.  If you lived in the 80's you'll likely remember back to the unforgettable fashion in girls hairstyles.  The previous evening my daughter had seen "Footloose" performed by the junior high school kids in our area.  The girls in this school production had the classic 80's hair do with their long curly hair and big puffy bangs.  To go along with the fabulous hair do they also did the dramatic hair flipping that was popular during that time for dancers, pop stars, and bands.  Flipping your hair down and quickly spinning your head in a 360 degree motion, will create this popular hair flipping move (for lack of a better term).  This actually can be quite entertaining to watch.  However, in my daughter's quest to win this hair flipping contest, she ended up giving herself a mild case of whiplash.  But please take note, that our daughter did win the hair flipping contest.  Oh, the sacrifice for the important things in life.

Our ten year old son within a couple days  of his first injury became the victim once again.  In the midst of a little sibling squabble, my son stepped back onto a lamp cord, which sent the lamp falling from the top of his chest of drawers onto the back of his head, leaving him with yet another cut.  While I examined his cut, my  four year old son slipped down the stairs, scratching his back, while my eight year old daughter stepped on a toothpick, causing the end of it to get lodged into the bottom of her foot.  My husband worked on consoling the boys while I worked on getting the toothpick out of the bottom of my daughter's foot.  We finally ended that evening of injuries having my son's head sealed with a stitch.

To add to our other previous injuries, my eight year daughter was playing on a slide with her friend, when the two of them collided.  We again ended up in the doctor's office to have x-rays done of her foot.  They sent her home with a splint, and she has had her share of time on crutches and hobbling along the best she could for the past week and a half.  But just to add to the excitement of it all, my four year old son has had a terrible cough causing him to actually vomit on a couple of occasions.

As I've thought about the physical injuries and ailments that have created so much commotion for our family recently, I have also reflected many times on the help that we all have to offer to one another.  My brother who is a doctor, and his sweet fiance, were able to come to our rescue on many occasions over the past couple of weeks.  During this same time I was throwing a wedding shower for my soon to be sister in law. She thanked me for still being willing to do the shower for her, after the many family injuries that had occurred.  But the only response that I could think to tell her was that she and my brother were there to help us through a good portion of our string of injuries, so I turn was just giving back what they had already given to me.  We were both there to help one another.  This experience got me pondering upon how each and everyone of us are here to help and to benefit from one another. 

I recalled many experience's that I have had in which another individual or family along with my own family and me, have both been able to benefit from each others love, compassion, and service.  I thought about the opportunity I had to visit with a friend who had recently lost her husband to cancer and how I gleaned from my visit with her, a deeper gratitude for the gift of life and for the knowledge that I have of eternal families.

I thought about a friend who has shown compassion and understanding to me as I have faced my struggles in overcoming depression.  I also thought about this same friend who's husband is currently unemployed and about the opportunity that my family had to purchase groceries for her family in their time of need.

I reflected on the recent times when I've been able to give back in a small way to my mom as she has been recovering from knee surgery.  And of course, I thought about the many times I've been ill and my mom has willingly done house work, laundry, child care, taxi driving, etc, in order to help me - not to mention the numberless acts of service she provided for me as a child.

I thought about the opportunity I had the other night to give a good friend a ride home and how she in turn blessed me by listening and caring as only a good friend can.

I recalled the recent opportunity I had to care for my sisters children while she was able to go on a weekend get away with her husband. At the same time I was reminded of the many times she has helped with my children and willingly listened to me cry, laugh, and vent.

I thought about two young ladies, both from an inner city who knocked on my door the other night.  Both girls were working on improving social skills and job skills by selling magazine subscriptions.  I took the opportunity to help these kind girls by ordering a childrens magazine subscription for my kids.  These girls in turn opened up an opportunity for me to share with them a "Book of Mormon," (a religious book that serves as a companion to the Bible).  This book is very dear to my heart and this young lady at my front door who had traveled from Arizona, had been yearning for a copy of the Book of Mormon so she could read it for herself.  The desire of these two girls to learn, allowed me the privlege of sharing what I consider to be one of my personal treasures.

I thought about the blessing of being able to serve in the Young Women's presidency in my ward where I get to work very closely with the 14-15 year old girls.  I love these girls and feel very blessed to be able to glean from their energy and spiritual strength. A couple of weeks ago I was able to teach them a lesson on having a personal purpose here on Earth.  As I completed the lesson, I left for home feeling like I didn't do justice to a topic that I feel so strongly about.  Not long after that, I received a text message from one of my young women that I taught.  She simply said "Thank you for the lesson.  I've been wondering about that a lot lately."  Once again an example to me of how we all are here to help and benefit one another.

I think what encapsulates the message that I've tried to portray is a statement that the radiologist made to my eight year old daughter as I was giving her a piggy back after her foot injury.  She said, "you sure have a nice mom, to be giving you a piggy back....but I guess one day you'll probably be doing the same thing for her."  How true that is.

In dealing with depression, sometimes I've felt as if I have nothing to offer.  We may wonder what our personal purpose is, or if we even have one.  In times of such questioning it helps me to remember the experiences that I have had which have allowed me to recognize that each and everyone of us has a purpose, a mission, and a reason that we are here on this earthly journey. Bishop H. Burke Peterson summarized this idea perfectly.  He said:

"Do you think for a moment that Heavenly Father would have sent one of His children to this earth by accident, without the possibility of a significant work to perform?...
"My dear friends, you are a royal generation.  You were preserved to come to the earth in this time for a special purpose.  Not just a few of you, but all of you.  There are things for each of you to do that no one else can do as well as you...If you will let Him, I testify that our Father in Heaven will walk with you through the journey of life and inspire you to know your special purpose here" ("Your Life Has a Purpose," New Era, May 1979, pp. 4-5; italics added).
Do we have a purpose?  We do. All of us do.  I may have the adversity of depression that may cause me to think otherwise at times, but as I recognize the role that we all play in the lives of those around us, I am reassured that you and I, and all of us have a very special and very personal purpose here on this journey.

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