Saturday, May 17, 2014

Invisible...I love this story.

Fridays are always wonderful days, aren't they?  Usually I am excited because Friday represents the end of a long week.  But today is actually the start of my work week and the end of my work week.  That's right folks, I FINALLY feel well enough to get back to work.  Thank goodness.  Today did wipe me out, though.  I came home and took a 2 and a 1/2 hour nap.  I guess it will just take time to get back to my old self.  I can deal with that.  I am just glad to be back to work and back to our normal routine, if you can call it that...HA HA!!  It has also been nice to get out of the house too.  This weekend we don't have too much planned.  The boys are going to help with the yard.  I plan to clean up inside with the girls and run a few errands.  I need to do some checking on some flower choices for a upcoming wedding in July.  About a week ago Kyle got a call from a member of the high counsel in the singles ward he is a part of.  He wants to meet with him Sunday.  So, we will eager to hear from Kyle on that to find out what he needed.  My guess is a calling or an assignment.  I think that will be good for Kyle.  He needs to get involved and branch out.  Make lots of friends.   We moved to this area about 4 years ago.  Who knew how difficult it would be on our older two?  Not to mention Kevin and I.  It has been pretty easy on Lexi and Curtis to make friends.  They still have school, seminary, Young Men's and Young Women's to help them.  They are thriving in this area.  The rest of us, not so much.  We moved here NOT with the intention of staying.  We had every intention of moving to California, until I started having doubts.  I was worried about how expensive everything would be in California and moving to a place away from any and all family, to speak of.  Not to mention that I would have to give up my job with benefits.  We are not a family that can survive without medical benefits.  The thought of going without benefits scares me to death!  

The business Kevin worked for had been in business for several years and seemed to be doing quite well.  Eventually the owner decided to sell the business because his business partner wanted to pack up his family, open a Bed & Breakfast, and move to Utah.  (to date, the Bed & Breakfast has not been established.  The business partner failed to buy the water rights to the land her purchased.  Need I say more?) That meant the business had to be sold.  So, the people that purchased the business, in my opinion, made some crazy decisions.  One of which was to relocate the day to day operations to the Bay Area.  The other parts of the business were run out of Colorado.  Why things could not stay in Arizona is beyond me?  Why change something that was working, and working quite well for that matter???  Eventually the business was moved.  During this time, Kevin was spending weeks in the Bay Area and coming home for short weekend visits.  It was hard with him being out of town all the time.  Did I mention we moved in with my mother-in-law during this?  That was pretty incredible on her part, don't you think?  Not many people will open up their homes to a family of 6 people like that.  She has been a blessing in more ways than you know.  This decision was just the next step to getting us all over to California.  We really planned on making this move to California.  Then something happened to the business Kevin was working for.  You see, in my opinion, they were surviving on a shoe string budget.  The new owners were going from paycheck to paycheck, so-to-speak.  They were surviving on credit and that is never a good situation to be in, especially for a business.  Daily credit with their investors would be extended just to take care of the day to day operations of the business.  It was not good, not good at all!!  Eventually Kevin left that business and the business folded.  That alone was very hard for Kevin.  Kevin finally had his dream job.  He was doing what he always wanted to do and they promised big money if we would just pick up and move to the Bay area.  

I have to tell you, it was so hard telling Kevin I didn't think it was a good idea for us to go to California.  Believe me, we have spent many a night and day "discussing" the situation.  Did I make the right choice to open my mouth?  Did I crush my husband's dreams?  Was I to blame?  All fingers point to YES, I am the reason.  So, I have to ask myself, if I was in that situation again, would I do anything differently?  Would I have kept my mouth shut?  Would I have said what I said?  Honestly, I probably would.  BUT does that make me happy with the outcome?  NO!  To this day, I hate that I was the one that had to "crush" my husband's dream.  It is never a nice situation to be in.  

Here we are, in an area we never dreamed of living in, trying to cope.  Sometimes I feel that if I would have taken that HUGE leap of faith maybe our lives would have been different right now.  AND then, sometimes I think we made the right decision.  The story of Esther, in the Bible, comes to mind quite often for me.  I think I love that woman and can relate (somewhat) to the situation Esther found herself in.  If she didn't take the chance and go in before the king, she and all of her people would have surely died.  I think it took incredible faith for her to have the courage to do what she did.  Faith beyond my comprehension.  Faith that comes with much fasting and prayer, collectively with the help of her fellow Jewish people.  I too had the backing of my people, our children and our extended family, but my decision to say something was hard too.  No, our lives were not in danger in that very literal sense.  But, maybe our lives DID depend on the choices I made that day.  ... and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?  (Esther 4:14)  Those words come to mind often as I reflect on this time in our lives.  

In a talk given by Jeffery R Holland he states the following...
I wish to encourage every one of you today regarding opposition that so often comes after enlightened decisions have been made,after moments of revelation and conviction have given us a peace and an assurance we thought we would never lose. In his letter to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul was trying to encourage new members who had just joined the Church, who undoubtedly had had spiritual experiences and had received the pure light of testimony, only to discover that not only had their troubles not ended, but that some of them had only begun.
It reminds me of President Hugh B. Brown’s statement about marriage. He said he had always been told that when he got married he would come to the end of his troubles. So he got married, only to discover they were speaking about the front end. 
Paul pled with those new members about the way President Hinckley is pleading with new members today. The reminder is that we cannot sign on for a moment of such eternal significance and everlasting consequence without knowing it will be a fight—a good fight and a winning fight, but a fight nevertheless. Paul said to those who thought a new testimony, a personal conversion, or a spiritual baptismal experience would put them beyond trouble, “Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions” (Hebrews 10:32; emphasis added).
Then came this tremendous counsel, which is at the heart of my counsel to you and the title of my remarks this morning:
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. . . .
. . . If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. . . .
. . . We are not of them who draw back unto perdition. [Hebrews 10:35–36, 38–39; emphasis added]
In LDS talk that is to say, “Sure it is tough—before you join the Church, while you are trying to join, and after you have joined.” That is the way it has always been, Paul said, but don’t “draw back,” he warned. Don’t panic and retreat. Don’t lose your confidence. Don’t forget how you once felt. Don’t distrust the experience you had. That tenacity is what saved Moses when the adversary confronted him, and it is what will save you.
This opposition turns up almost anyplace something good has happened. It can happen when you are trying to get an education. It can hit you after your first month in your new mission field. It certainly happens in matters of love and marriage.  I would like to have a dollar for every person in a courtship who knew he or she had felt the guidance of the Lord in that relationship, had prayed about the experience enough to know it was the will of the Lord, knew they loved each other and enjoyed each other’s company, and saw a lifetime of wonderful compatibility ahead—only to panic, to get a brain cramp, to have total catatonic fear sweep over them. They “draw back,” as Paul said, if not into perdition at least into marital paralysis.
..... Yes, there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been genuine illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. You can find an apartment. You can win over your mother-in-law. You can sell your harmonica and therein fund one more meal. It’s been done before. Don’t give in. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. He wants everyone to be miserable like unto himself. Face your doubts. Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you."  

I love Elder Holland! 

Now what?  Now that we have been in this area for over 4 years now, my question is still, did we make the right choice?  Sure our decision to stay in this particular ward was a hasty decision.  One that came about in a very odd manner, with the help of some wonderful people.  These individuals know who they are.  They know the parts they played in helping us find a home very quickly.  I will not lie, it has been hard to be here.  I have struggled and I know I have not been on my best behavior.  There seems to be something about this area and me.  Each time we live in this particular area we seem to experience some of our hardest trials in life, which causes myself to do some crazy things.  My "best foot" has not been placed forward, that is for sure!  I kid you not, I feel like I have been in the twilight zone or something, in some kind of alternate dimension. LOL!  What is it about this area that does this to me every time?  I cannot even begin to figure it out.  All I can say is I have some regrets.  I have made some mistakes and bad decisions.  (Now I know all of you are wondering, what on earth could it be?  Well, keep you pants on!  I am talking about the little things.  Things like being kind and stuff like that.....I know you were hoping for something juicy.  Sorry to disappoint you.)  

So, now how do we snap out of this?  Because I for one HAVE done exactly what Elder Holland has said NOT to do!   I have retreated.  How do we make things right?  Where do we go from here?  Can we even correct some of this and actually begin to feel that we belong here?  Is that even a possibility?  Can those around us look beyond what they see and realize our potential?  I hope so.  I guess one thing I need to do is, to do the same with those around me. Start to realize others potential.  Realize who they really are.  Maybe others have experienced what I have?  I know the time has come.  I need to try.  I need to give it a shot and do what I can to be the change I want to see in the world around me.  That statement sounds so corny, I know, but it really isn't.  Think about it.  It is so true!  The best place to start to make changes is with yourself.  Isn't that the best course of action?  Change what I can....MYSELF??!!  
I know I can ramble at times.  Why I felt I needed to share that, I am not sure.  I guess I have had a few things on my mind lately.  Enough about that....

I found this lovely story on another blog some time ago and I cannot recall where.  So, to whomever deserves the credit for this story, I apologize up front for not sharing the source because you certainly deserve credit for this.  I love what you have said and I appreciate your words.  Thank you for sharing.  

"It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'
Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.' I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!?

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and received no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it. And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.' I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.

It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become. At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're going to love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women."

Isn't that a great story?  I just love it.  I remember one time I was speaking to a wife of a former stake presidency member, who happened to be standing right next to her husband.  I told this dear sister how wonderful I thought her husband was.  It was at that moment that this former stake presidency member reminded me that he could not do what he does without the support and help of his dear wife.  I knew that.  In fact, I grew up in a home with such a father.  I remember countless people who would come up to my mother and tell her how wonderful my father was.  My father was in the bishopric at the time.  In fact, all of my Elementary School years my father served as 2nd or 1st counselor in our bishopric.  Later he served as the Stake Executive Secretary, and after that the Executive Secretary to Bishop Hamula, who is now Elder Hamula and a member of the Seventy.  ( I am name dropping and I really shouldn't.) I know the many hours my father spent serving.  I know the many hours my mother also spent serving me and my brother and two sisters.  It takes someone pretty incredible to serve in a calling such as these, but I think it takes someone even more incredible to serve behind the scene.  Someone who would allow their husbands to spend so much time away from the family to serve and do the things their Heavenly Father wants them to do.  Sacrifices of Invisible Women, the builders of the worlds greatest cathedrals, their children.....their families, figuratively speaking.

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