FIRST of all, goodness gracious, I felt so spoiled to be surrounded by so much kindness on my birthday. First and foremost from Dave who not only gathered all those thoughts but was determined enough to figure out how to blog it all. Including pictures! Wow! A little embarrassing on my part, yes, but how sweet is that? That is a labor of love I tell you. I love him. And those kids who only highlighted the good and not all the door-slamming and “mean mom” jazz. I was overwhelmed with so much love for my family and friends who took (and are still taking) such good care of me, and also for the beauty of the earth since I got to do a hard hike in the middle of all the desert grandeur on the big day. I feel like the luckiest lady ever. Thank you so much for all the sweetness added in the comments of the blog post too. So grateful.
SECOND, there was the best talk in church yesterday. It was given by a sister missionary in our congregation. It was good enough that Lucy reached up to whisper in my ear when it was over: “that was the best talk I’ve ever heard.” And I have to say, that is saying something because that girl listens to every talk. And even takes notes most of the time. There were actually three amazing talks, but for today I just wanted to talk about this one because it sure made me think and led to some good discussions after church.
This sister missionary read a couple of her journal entries. The first was from one of her first days as a missionary (for those unaware of how this works, sister missionaries are called to serve all over the world and they leave everything at home to give service and teach others about Jesus Christ for a period of 18 months). In that first journal entry she was discouraged. She wrote about how this was not what she had expected, or all it was cracked up to be, it was definitely not fun, she was terribly homesick, she “didn’t actually like people as much as she had thought she did,” (ha!), and she just didn’t think there was any way she could make it for 18 months. Basically, ‘what in heaven’s name am I doing out here???”
Then she read another journal entry from one year later. This time what she wrote was positively glowing. She was the happiest she had ever been in her life. She was carried away with how much she loved getting lost in service. In this entry she declared she just never wanted her mission to end.
She went on to relate some cool experiences and lessons learned, and it was just so beautifully put together that I was in tears and Claire leaned over and told me she had chills. Isn’t that what so much of life is about? We hit some pretty hard spots. We are sometimes overcome with such darkness we don’t know how to find light again. We don’t know if “this” is really all it was cracked up to be.
And my question is, what is it that makes that change? How do you go from thinking there is no possibility that you can do something to thinking you never, ever want it to end? Is it a soft heart? Is it humility? Is it sheer determination? Lu and I had a really good talk about this on the way to the airport after church (we are in Wisconsin right now), and I’ll have to share some of the analogies we came up with at some point, (because there are a lot in both our lives right now we discovered), but for now I just wanted to throw that thought out there. Because I think it’s a pretty beautiful thing to ponder. And I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts on this, dear blog reader, if you care to share.
And THIRD, ok and this isn’t really a thought as much as some love to share for the “golden years” of mothering. Because I know there are so many mothers out there smack-dab in the middle of it: the cajoling fussy babies on your hips, the carpool rigamarole, the sleepless nights with toddlers crawling and bawling, the messes made, the jobs undone, but OH! believe me, one day you will look back and all that craziness will be woven with golden threads in your memory: the long eyelashes finally at rest on plump baby cheeks:
All of your delighted children lined up together in one spot, not strewn out all across creation:
Those mischievous little faces you adore will be echoing with such beauty in your memory:
Yep, whether you know it or not, all that chaos is going to some day become golden.
I’m not telling you you should enjoy every moment, because every moment is certainly not enjoyable for crying out loud! But I’m here to give you hope that even the messiness of it all will fade and turn to gold. And you will be so glad you were THERE. In the midst of it all. Even if it means you are there only to be a “durable object” through the temper tantrums and the fighting and disrespect.
You were the mother of it all.
And the crown of motherhood is a beautiful thing.