About Me

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Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Knowing vs. Doing

This article struck a chord with me. But then I am very fond of Mark Twain. I do not know that he would have agreed, but I find his forthrightness not unlike Brother Brigham’s.

When I was married to the children’s father, he used to say that he couldn’t wait until the Lord asked us to trek to Missouri to help found the New Jerusalem; he was ready to leave all the antiques that he had inherited from his mother and just *go*. I have no doubt that he was, and it was truly an admirable mindset.

I also remember how irritated I was that there was more room allocated to the antiques in our tiny house than there was for the seven people who crab-walked around them. The best Christmas gift he ever gave me, was permission to sell those antiques when he was in chiropractic school. Yes, we needed the cash. But we needed the elbow room far more.

I do understand his reluctance, however; I was so sad when someone wiser than I instructed me [gently, tactfully] that the girls would get along better if they were not crammed four to a room, while I had a whole room that I could lock up for the crafting that kept me [relatively] sane. I moved all my stuff out to the living room and handed over the back bedroom to Firstborn and Secondborn. Absolutely the correct thing to do. Even though I spent the remaining years until we abandoned that house, keeping the Olfa cutter up out of reach of the girls and coveting my studio space.

Doing the right thing is seldom easy or comfortable, and sometimes it is a wrenching sacrifice. But it makes my messy, embryonic studio all the more precious to me for not having had one for twenty years or more.

The girls have each commented to me that they have felt life would have been easier had there been fewer of them. They also agree that they can’t imagine our family with even one of them gone. Nor can I. I might have felt less overwhelmed had I not been so outnumbered by short people. Though I think that the poverty [and eight years of recurring depression] triggered by their father’s repeated unemployment was a greater factor.

Ideally, he would have had the sort of job many of his classmates found, with a measure of economic stability and the possibility of my hiring occasional help with the housekeeping. Or, ideally, I would have found a compassionate way to articulate the question that tore me up, “Why does it seem so hard for you to keep a job?” Instead, I buried the question [and my frustration] fearing that if I were to ask it, he would stop loving me.

But it is what it is, as Firstborn is so fond of saying, and maybe there were lessons that we needed to learn from our experiences. Maybe if the girls had been raised in a “normal” middle-class household, with ballet lessons and cheerleading tryouts, they would have pirouetted away from a relationship with the Savior and into the embrace of the world, and stayed there. Maybe I would be one of those women with a plastic surgeon on speed dial and a heart the size of a native pecan.

Hard to say, and though they like to claim that hindsight is 20/20, I find it as muzzy as present vision before I put on my glasses in the morning.

This quote from our Relief Society lesson last week might be appropriate for today’s post: “If only we had more compassion for those who are different from us, it would lighten many of the problems and sorrows in the world today. It would certainly make our families and the Church a more hallowed and heavenly place.” Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

I know what’s right. Most of the time. It’s not difficult to compare what I want to do in a given situation, with the precedents and parameters found in the Scriptures. And still I struggle to do what I know I should. I’m fairly good at biting my tongue when ugly things come to mind. I’m a good ways off from not thinking them in the first place.

The first stealth project is done; now I’ve cast on another, smaller one with a closer deadline. Not sure if I will post details as soon as the deadline has come and gone or if I will wait until I publish the other.

It’s raining outside, a lovely drenching rain from the sound of it. The rain woke me a few minutes ahead of my alarm, and I just lay there listening until I had to open my eyes and get up. The high today is supposed to be 81°F [27°C]. I get to wear my raincoat, and it won’t be a portable sauna. I also won’t have to water the veggies.

New train schedule starts today; must, must must be out the door by 6:30!


Jenni said...

Good luck catching the train and I envy you the avoidance of stupid-people-trying-to-drive-in-the-rain. I left the house at a little after 5:30 and it was still a huge mess already with several wrecks on the major highways.

AlisonH said...

Drenching rain. Occasionally Californians get to find out what that means, but most of the time, it's more like fog weeping. And it's never ever a warm summer rain--I had a hard time convincing my kids there was such a thing and that it was actually normal, not some freak Eastern thing (oh, wait. Freak. Eastern. Same thing. To them.)