Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Life and Learning Never Stop

I love to learn, but I'm learning it's not always a joyful experience... especially when I think the lesson has been learned, only to turn around and find I've still got a ways to go...

No details of the actual lesson, but I would be very ungrateful if I didn't share some of the fruits:

A mother is no happier than her most unhappy child. I have heard this many times and thought I understood and agreed, but it was a superficial, cognitive version of understanding. As I keep having the opportunity to discover, understanding does not truly begin until it is assimilated into the heart and even into the whole being. I had been experiencing sleepless nights and a mild "depression" accompanied by random thoughts and even tears regarding one of my kids. Our relationship had become really strained and I couldn't quite place my finger on it, but I knew that I needed to talk to her and ask the really hard questions. Last Tuesday night, I prayed to KNOW the cause of my worry... I almost couldn't believe my ears when Dave told me he had a disturbing dream about this child and that he was going to wake her up so that we could talk to her. I was nervous but SO GRATEFUL!!! Never before had Dave joined me in this part of parenting our teens... I was almost scared to include him because he always seems annoyed with my "negativity" and mistrust in those things that "all teenagers do," but maybe experience is also getting to him... 

My heart broke as this teen shared her tears and confessed her secrets--I went numb in disbelief that this could really be happening again--but it took a few days for it to really sink in and for the emotions to come. The anger came first, followed by extreme sorrow and despair. I was surprised by the depth of these emotions--I thought I had already learned to turn them over to the Savior and to not let them affect my ability to be a "good mom," but it was apparent that I had not. It was Sunday after I had cried all of my mascara off during Sacrament Meeting and had to hurry home to (try to) fix it, that my heart cried out to Heavenly Father to take this pain away. Christ had already suffered them and I knew that He could take them from me or at least make them light and comfort me--and I knew He could do the same for my daughter. The prayer was more a pouring out of heart than it was words...I couldn't even find the words...but I knew He knew what my heart was saying.

A few hours later, my child had talked to the bishop. Dave called her into his office again and he gave her a beautiful blessing and then offered some council and a chance to share her feelings. As we talked to her, I felt the despair begin to lift from both my heart and shoulders AND from hers! It was miraculous, and that's when the simple quote about a mother's happiness being tied to her children became more of a truth to me. I could feel how her heart was actually a part of mine somehow, and I was given a better (though still minute) understanding of how the Savior takes our sorrows upon Him--we are His, He has taken our hearts into His own. I truly stand all amazed! Another phenomenon about this realization is that it not only allows me to feel her pain but also to separate myself from it, to be able to feel my own life's joy and not become "prey" to the sorrows of the world. I don't know how, but I do know on a new level that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ feel our pains but still are able to experience a fullness of joy. In my mind, it makes them even more real and more approachable than I ever realized before.

It wasn't until the next day as I read The Peacegiver: How Christ Heals Our Hearts and Homes by James Ferrell that I realized that Sunday's miracle also came as a result of my heart's plea for Him to take it all from me. I had almost forgotten the prayer, actually, but it came flooding back into my mind as I read this amazing book that gave me a deeper understanding of "how" the Atonement works. He heard my prayer and answered me immediately! 

Sorrow and joy can co-exist in a mother's heart. The word gratitude is insufficient, but for lack of a better one, I am indeed grateful for my Savior.  I know He lives and that He loves each one of us. My heart's desire at this time is to be able to receive His image in my countenance, that somehow others (especially my kids) can feel a portion of His love and maybe begin to understand His gift as they can see in my eyes that He knows them and loves them unconditionally and that He will succor them if they will but allow Him into their hearts.

1 comment:

jww said...

Beautiful. Thanks for posting. I think it's amazing how in tune a mother (and father) can be, even when we feel kind of lost. I hope everything goes well with this child, and you, and I love knowing your experience with heartache and the joy that comes through the Atonement. I have never understood more clearly the phrase, "My peace I leave with you, not as the world giveth give I unto you." Christ's peace and comfort just doesn't exist in the world. It's only His to give, and there's just nothing earthly that even compares. It's an actual miracle.