The following is a blog post I saved shortly after Beloved got his diagnosis and nearly four months before he popped the question. Any reference to "the new guy" is to him. I was only calling him that in my head at that point.
It’s a benign and loving conspiracy.
Have you read the July issue of the “Ensign”? Beginning with the First Presidency’s message, which is meant to be the message which home teachers take to their assigned families this month, it’s all about decision-making and commitment. My bishop is obviously getting his inspiration and counsel from the same Source!
Commitment is a little like diving into the water. Either you are committed or you are not. Either you are moving forward or you are standing still. There’s no halfway. We all face moments of decision that change the rest of our lives. As members of the Church, we must ask ourselves, “Will I dive in or just stand at the edge? Will I step forward or merely test the temperature of the water with my toes?” … Those who are only sort of committed may expect to only sort of receive the blessings of testimony, joy, and peace. The windows of heaven might only be sort of open to them. … In some way, each of us stands at a decision point overlooking the water. It is my prayer that we will have faith, move forward, face our fears and doubts with courage, and say to ourselves, “I’m committed!” ~ President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, p.4-5
The visiting teaching message: “Come to the Temple and Claim Your Blessings”. Sister Barbara Thompson says, “Sisters, we are most blessed. The Savior stands at the head of this Church. We are led by living prophets. We have the holy scriptures. And we have many holy temples throughout the world where we can obtain the ordinances necessary to help us return to our Heavenly Father. … Come to the temple and then come again. Making and keeping temple covenants will keep us on course to the greatest of all blessings – eternal life.”
I have been blessed throughout the last thirty-six years of my life by the covenants I have made and kept. First, the covenant of baptism in August 1975. And then my temple covenants in September 1977. All five of my children were “born in the covenant” of eternal marriage. All have been baptized into the Church. Two have continued on to make their own covenants in the temple. Willow and Lark have yet to join the Church. The Bitties were all born in the covenant. There are unseen ties which bind us to Heaven more surely than the ties of blood and love which hold us together as a family.
“Start Moving” ~ a parable of smoke jumpers who were not as effective as they might have been, followed by this counsel: “Often in our need for spiritual guidance and direction, we can be tempted to do exactly what the smoke jumpers did. We find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. We see several paths available to us, and we’re not sure which one to take. We have been promised inspiration and help from our Heavenly Father. But it doesn’t always come immediately. We grow frustrated and decide we are simply going to sit down and wait until the promised guidance comes. We wait and we wait and we wait, wondering why divine Dispatcher doesn’t help us with our course. In so doing, we ignore an important principle of revelation. Our Father in heaven expects us to use our own intelligence, ability, and experience to chart our initial course. As we press forward along the path we have chosen, we are in a much better position to receive the course corrections He may have for us. But if we simply plop down on the ridge and recline on our backpacks until He gives us instruction, we risk finding ourselves in a spiritual dead spot. … I testify that the best and clearest direction comes in our lives not when we are just waiting for our Heavenly Father to send help and guidance but when we are anxiously engaged with our back bent to the task. To those of you who are waiting upon the Lord for guidance in your lives – who need help with a major decision or question – I give you this challenge: Prayerfully and carefully use your own intelligence and your own resources to choose a path that seems right to you. Then become anxiously engaged in walking that path (see D&C 58”26-28). When the time for course correction comes, He will be there to help you and to guide you.” ~ Elder Von G. Keetch, Area Seventy, Utah Salt Lake City Area
“By Small Means” ~ “Since I started making these small changes, I have felt happier. I feel that I’m progressing and heavenly Father is giving me new challenges. I can face those challenges with hope rather than fear or discouragement. I’ve learned that when we cease to work or exercise our faith and move in a direction, Heavenly Father cannot help us progress and we will not reach our destination. I am so grateful for the small changes in my life that have helped me to see a way ahead.” ~ Laurel Teuscher
What I did: put four birthday presents into boxes. Mailed the out-of-town one via Priority Mail on my way home from work on Friday night, so that it would be in Virginia in time for Middlest’s birthday. Checked my giftwrap stash for something appropriate for a Harry Potter themed birthday party. Went to the store and bought three birthday cards and a roll of wrapping paper. Went to the bread thrift store and stocked up on a month’s worth for $15.00. Came home and wrapped two of the three remaining birthday presents.
What I will do next: Begin to inventory my cooking tools, so that I can compare them to the new guy’s if the Big Question comes, and know what to keep and what to give away. Dust off the food processor, which I have not used in three or four years, and set it aside to give to Secondborn when 2BDH comes to finish fixing my new computer and liposuctions the files out of my old one. Fourthborn has requested anything that I no longer need, because she bakes, and Fiancé cooks, and they cannot at present afford good tools.
Cryptogram: 'The really frightening thing about middle age is that you know you’ll grow out of it.' –Doris Day
“Healing blessings come in many ways, each suited to our individual needs, as known to Him who loves us best. Sometimes a ‘healing’ cures our illness or lifts our burden. But sometimes we are ‘healed’ by being given strength or understanding or patience to bear the burdens placed upon us.” ~ Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, November 2006, 7-8.
Cryptogram: 'I have always considered marriage as the most interesting event of one's life, the foundation of happiness or misery.' -George Washington
I just spent a few minutes rereading three email exchanges that occurred a little before when this should have been posted. Too tender to share here, but I'm proud of myself for writing as I did, and I'm pleased at the faith I showed both in Heavenly Father and in Beloved. I will be forever grateful that Beloved reached a point where he felt it was safe (for me) to propose. That I wouldn't be getting the bad end of the bargain.
Because I certainly did not.
- Four 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!