Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Glad Game

Today I had one of those experiences that Elder Eyring was talking about in his general conference address last fall. I really felt the voice of the Lord telling me, "I'm not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down." I am so glad that talk has been bouncing around in my head and that I could remember that as I was being taught in an experience that can be meaningful for me and my posterity.

I was sitting in the foyer of our church building during Relief Society holding Soren on my lap. He'd been screaming for the entire church block and I'd given up on trying to be in any of my meetings. I was feeling very discouraged and he was exhausted and wanted to go home and to bed. I felt so much self-pity; I wanted Sundays to be rejuvenating and strengthening and I felt that they sapped all the energy and patience out of me instead. All I could think about was "Why me?"

A kind man came out of Elder's Quorum and went into a little room off the foyer for a moment, then came and sat on the couch with me, wanting to see the baby. Soren was in top form, sputtering and wailing, completely inconsolable. The man offered to hold him and tried several positions in an attempt to sooth him. Soren was just so tired and nothing was quite like his comfortable and familiar bed, so he kept crying. The man smiled and kept trying new things, all the while talking about how wonderful babies are. I was shocked that he could be so good-natured about it!

Finally, he gave up and gave Soren back to me and I rocked him on my lap. We got to talking--just small talk--and I asked him what was in that room he had gone into. He said it was the kitchen (weird place for it) and that he had gone to get some salt. He explained to me about some medical condition he had that made him very weak if he didn't get enough sodium.

"Bleh!" I said. "That sounds gross!"

He said the most astonishing thing. Perhaps it will seem quite simple to you but it was a much needed revelation to me. He said, "It's all right. Some people have it much worse." Then he smiled and we didn't talk about it anymore.

He had every opportunity and right to moan and make me aware of his misfortunes. I've often felt that talking to people about my problems makes me feel better about them. I know that isn't true. Elder Holland said, "No misfortune is so bad that whining about it won't make it worse" and so of course complaining can't make our problems better. But I've never really met anyone that so whole-heartedly embraced that idea. And he seemed so happy.

Eventually Soren fell asleep on my chest. It was only for a couple of minutes and I was so worn out, I think I would have missed the glory of the moment entirely if I'd stayed in my spiral of self-pity. But the man I was talking to said, "Isn't it all worth it, for one moment like that?" And I looked down and Soren and my heart swelled with gratitude. He was so dear to me in that moment. His mouth was hanging open and his thumb was half-way in; he was drooling all over my chest. His little body was limp in my arms and his eyes were closed. He was so warm and soft. I almost missed how wonderful it was!

I am so grateful for my precious son and I am grateful for a stranger that helped me slow down and enjoy the tender mercies of the Lord rather than focus on the negative aspects.

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