Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Weekend Reflections

We spent the weekend watching our twice yearly church conference on TV.  Two sessions on Saturday, and two on Sunday.  We Mormons take in a lot of church!  I know many of my friends who religiously (no pun intended... or maybe it was...) take notes on each talk, but I never do.  I can rarely remember who gave what talk - I just take mental note of the ideas that are new or just especially relevant to me.

One talk I took special note of dealt with the subject that we each have our own unique talents and abilities that we are able to use to tackle the problems - big and small - that inevitably come our way in life.  If we're tempted to ask why we are afflicted with this or that problem or heartache, the answer is that, based on our unique makeup,  we have it because we're able to deal with it, overcome it, and grow from it.  I hadn't thought about it in that way before.  We're not thrown anything that we're not able to triumph over.  Similarly, we are placed in situations that challenge us, that help us grow into stronger, better people.  Of course, we all have our freedom of choice.  We can choose to take the easy way out of a problem, we can choose to not deal with it at all.  But knowing that we are here on earth to learn, progress, and spiritually grow, it makes it easier to look at difficult times from that angle.  With knowledge that we are never alone, and that we have a loving Father who is just waiting for us to study a problem, give it our best effort, and to also prayerfully ask for His help to supplement our own efforts.  I know it's helped me feel less alone in times of need.  It's been instrumental in helping me avoid a freakout.

I don't know of anyone who sails through life unscathed by worry, real problems or tragedies, or some kind of loss.  I do believe that we are here to not only become better and stronger from these hardships, but that we are also here to help each other.  I don't know of too many people who haven't felt alone and out of step with the world from time to time.  Or even most of the time.  I come from a family who is practical and organized.  My brothers have all graduated from college, and have various successful careers.  But not me.  I could never figure out what I was supposed to do.  I am a practiced procrastinator.  I am not brave or outspoken, although my brothers are.  But I'm nice.  I play well with others.  And I'm smart - although it took me a long time to realize that.  But I've always felt out of step with my family.  Not one of the gang, you might say.  I was always the flighty one, the "artsy" one.    It's almost like whoever was supposed to be in my place was somehow doing something amazing elsewhere for a minute, and there I was, lounging around, saying "Why not?" as I jumped in.  People would say "Really...?  You're one of them??"  Sometimes I would take it as a compliment, but mostly I felt a bit lost.

I had my children, and love them completely, although even they are stronger, more substantive, than I am.  More like their dad.  I love them like nothing else, and yet they are hard for me sometimes, because they are so strong.  And I'm a little wimpy, shying away from any conflict.  But - the older I've gotten, I can see that they are exactly the children I needed to have.  When I am around them I feel quite brave.  They give me role models to emulate.  They've shown me how to be strong, I've tried to teach them to be kind, and together we all try to be strong and kind.  And as I get stronger, I'm better equipped to help them when they have problems - you see how that works?  They have helped me and stood by me their entire lives.  And now, when they've had problems - especially now they're grown and are subject to those horrible adult problems, I hope I have evolved enough that I'll be the strong one that they can lean on while they catch their breath.

There's been a divine plan all along, I can see that now.  Trust me to get the life that's put together like a crazy quilt instead of an elegant tapestry, but I'm guessing it's exactly what I needed to improve.  It's what I needed to force me to step up, to be brave, to quit doubting myself.  I have my own, unique set of neuroses, and thank goodness, I've had the family who would stand by me (sometimes bemused, I'm sure) and not look away in disgust while I struggled.  They've all had their own struggles, and with some of them, (because of my vast experience with Trouble) I've been able to offer my own help, support, and understanding.  And that's what it's all about, isn't it?  Serving our families and friends, even in the midst of our own suffering.  Because in doing the service, we can forget ourselves for a short while.  It's almost a relief to not think about yourself for a time.



So that's what this weekend was about: self reflection, listening to good counsel, and figuring out where I can improve.  It's good to do that at least twice a year.  A little light housecleaning.  I have my worries, as we all do, but I know that they are concerns that I can handle.  I have the ability to resolve them in some way if I just stick to it, stay tough and prayerful, and endure to the end.  I'm on my way to becoming quite the warrior.


30 comments:

  1. "what we allow is what will continue" - excellent thought.

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    1. Thank you Marsha. I hope you're doing well. I thought about you last night, and was wondering how your son is doing?

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  2. Hi, karen!

    It occurs to me that you and I are very much alike. We both ponder the significance of challenges, hurdles, setbacks and tragedies in our lives and come to realize that they represent an opportunity for growth and improvement. May I suggest that you are not fully aware of your own strength, power and influence? I feel it 3,000 miles away. May I suggest that you and I have grown as a result of our commitment to this friendship? Again, I feel it 3,000 miles away and I hope you do as well.

    Before I go I want to tell you that I received my order from CleanScreenMagic and I want to thank you and L for operating a top notch online business. My order was processed and shipped without delay and shipment was accompanied by email confirmation. The items were securely wrapped in sturdy packaging. The products themselves are excellent. I have CleanScreenMagic bookmarked and will happily purchase more computer screen and keyboard cleaning products from you guys in the future. Thank you, karen, and have a great week ahead!

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    1. Thank you Tom - both for your kind comments, and also the endorsement of our little fledgling business, Clean Screen Magic. I'm forwarding your comments on to LaMar - he'll be very excited!

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  3. Self reflection is a very good thing Karen. I love this post. Happy Monday to you :)

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    1. Happy Monday, Keith - Or you'd probably like it better if I said Merry Christmas!

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  4. I loved that talk, too.

    Growth must be happening because I have only known your for about five years, and I see you as strong. (And smart. And kind.)

    Just the kind of friend I would want with me in the tranches of life.

    =)

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    1. Thank you Sue - I feel the same about you. Wow - my cup runneth over today... I'm glad you remembered the talk because I was a little afraid that I was mixing a couple of them up. Not taking notes or anything, it could happen...

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  5. Wow, words to ponder and grow with. Sisters under the skin again...I'm the kind one, the artsy one, the let's take this slow and think it through. Having raised the strong and good children you have I'm positive you are stronger than you realized. Seems like you are taking a breath and feeling the strength inside of you! You touch everyone's life and leave them better for it every time you post. Not that all of them are as thought provoking as this post, but even if it is a life brightening post your writing leaves me better for having read it!
    Hugs to you today dear one, great post!

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  6. Oh Sush... you always make me feel good! One of these days I need to head southeast and have some gumbo with you. Wouldn't THAT be a fun day!

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  7. You are adequate. MORE than adequate and JUST what your children and family has needed over the years! Each person can't be everything to everyone, but we can add our unique perspective and just be ourselves. I loved learning more about you and your heart in this post.... Hugs!

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    1. Thank you Kathi. So true, but it's amazing how long it took me to learn such a simple truth. Gaining a bit of wisdom with age has been a good tradeoff for me.

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  8. I love this post! I also loved General Conference. I started taking notes and about one session in I put my notebook done and just decided to just sit and listen. It was good for me. Have a good week!

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    1. I find I can either take notes or really listen. I usually choose to really listen and find I remember the important points better that way. There were some great talks weren't there?

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  9. I'm not a note taker either. I wasn't able to hear conference this weekend because of family visits but I'm going to listen this week to the talks and hopefully get inspired as you were. I do love conference and the wisdom of our Church leaders. You and I are similar in many ways...I too was never sure of what I wanted to be when I grew up...still trying to figure it out! But I'm learning to trust in myself more and go with the gut feelings. I just wish I had learned it closer to 30 than at 60! Great post Karen!

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    1. Yes, I find that's the best thing about growing older - the ability to trust myself more, and know that I have good judgement. Most of the time, anyway... ;-)

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  10. Great post! What we allow is what will continue......Wow, that really sums it up doesn't it?

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    1. Yep - that saying was a little epiphany for me.

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  11. A thought-provoking post Karen. Anyone without worry or tragedy would not know what they are made of.
    R

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  12. So true, Rick! Growth is always at least a little painful.

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  13. Karen, this is the best post I've read in weeks. Seriously, really good, deep reflective stuff that is truth to the bone. I struggle with my family of origin ALL the time! If it weren't for the strength of my husband who showed me that I am worthy to be treated fairly, with respect and without such harsh judgement, I might have let those relationships fade completely away. It's still difficult for me to connect with my brothers and my mom, and the feeling of their righteous judgement and perfectionism don't feel admirable, only like boulders on the path to obstruct love. There has never been a straight line to my work life, I am a generalist and have diverse skills in several areas, but no true "profession." I sincerely relate to your thoughts and feelings, and am happy that you are seeing things from a more spiritual perspective, which helps.

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  14. On my end, any judging I may feel comes from myself (we are our own worst enemies) but yes, I'm always aware that I could have done better earlier on. But I've learned ( and am continuing to learn) and that's what we're here for, right? One great thing I've learned is to never pass up a great opportunity because of fear or self consciousness. I've done too much of that, and now I try to take advantage of every good thing that comes my way. So many good memories made and precious moments shared!

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  15. Wonderful truths!
    Every family needs an "artsy" soul in their midst to break the monotony!
    Good job!

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  16. Well, I hope that's how they all feel! I'm definitely not the CPA or MD soul in the bunch!

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  17. I love how you compared your life to a crazy quilt. I would go insane if my life were a crazy quilt, but my sister lives just that kind of life, and it is so beautiful on her! Thanks for that image and the vision to see the beauty in it!

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    1. And you, Jenny, are my hero when it comes to organization. Believe me, I've taken copious notes. I enjoy the "not quite knowing what's coming next" feeling most of the time, but I do love to feel calm and on top of it all as well. I'm trying for a good balance.

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  18. Great post Mom! Love you so much :) Can't wait to see you in a few weeks!

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    1. And you - I can't wait to see you and my sweet girlies, and that new darling little boy. And Zach! I love to see what a good daddy he is. So sweet.

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  19. I love conference for this very reason. Self reflection and my own personal revelation!

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