Thursday, November 21, 2013

When We're Not at Our Best

I have been pondering this post's title for a long time. The above title won't leave me alone, so today is the day I will write it into existence! ;)

When we're happy and we know it we, what? Clap our hands! Just kidding. ;) But in all seriousness, when life is going well for us, we let people know it. Our happy actions include things like: smiling, sleeping well, speaking kind words, being efficient, cheerfully supporting and encouraging those around us, serving others, laughing, being generous in every sense of the word, having a happy attitude, being absolutely there for others, etc.

Yet when life isn't going well for us, we let others know our feelings too—whether we intend to do so, or not. Our sad actions might include things like: saying something we later regret, tiredness, lack of concentration, frustration, inattention, snappy responses (And I don't mean in a good way, like a snappy dresser! Ha ha.), moping about, laziness, criticism of others, stinginess, focusing on our own problems, fear of the future, etc.

I've lived both of those previously described realities. Yes, I've had so many wonderfully happy times in my life (Yay for all of them!), but most recently—when I lived in Texas—I was not at my best. Oh, no, I was not. Sidenote: I dearly wish that Texas could have experienced my best self!

For those of you who don't know our family's story, here's a smidgen of it: We've moved multiple times due to my husband's employment changes. We've happily made our choices so Greg could be the main financial provider for our family, and I could be the stay-at-home-mom I've always wanted to be. Our family has always been able to make it through our moving transitions very well. After the first six to 12 months in a new place, things have always ended up on the bright side. :)

Yet when we moved to Texas, things did not go remotely the way we had planned. Our house in Utah didn't sell, so we couldn't settle down in Texas. (We ended up renting out our house.) There are many reasons our house didn't sell, and today I am so thankful that it didn't sell (because now we are back living in our same house!), but when we were in Texas, my reality was not complete thankfulness. Plus, our house issues created financial issues. Don't get me wrong, we consciously made our choices about the house and we owned them, but it was hard. All of that said, we had many many moments of thankfulness in Texas! We were so completely blessed, I can't even begin to describe all of our blessings. But the daily underlying current in my soul—we can't sell our house, so we can't settle down—felt closer to total anguish and severe frustration.

To help illustrate my feelings, please imagine the movie, "Groundhog Day." Do you have it pictured in your mind? Good. :) Now, imagine how Phil repeatedly wakes up to the same music, in the same bed, with the same dreary view, every day—for who knows how long! Well, that was my Texas reality. Okay, I wasn't technically repeating the same day over and over like Phil, but nearly every day I awoke, I thought, "What am I still doing here??!!!!"—with no more certainty of where we were headed than the day before. Yes, not knowing where my sweet and wonderful little family was going to live for two+ years moved my soul into crazytown! I felt trapped and wondered if I would ever escape! ;) *By the by, if we wouldn't have already moved so many times (10) previously, I think I would have dealt with it much better than I did.

Again, please don't get me wrong. During those two years, I genuinely tried to be happy, helpful, courteous, kind, understanding, thoughtful, cheerful, etc. But not being able to fully live our lives the way I desired for our family was unbelievably hard. Not knowing when or where our family would finally be able to settle down was torturous. Can you tell I like to plan?! Well, I do. Yet I can make-do with any situation or circumstance. I just need a little heads-up in terms of time-frame and place. I'm very flexible, compatible, and adaptable! :)

Anyway...having me live in that frustrated state (of being, not Texas) must have been quite tedious for those souls around me. Thankfully, even though I was a mighty frustrated lady, I had many family members and friends who buoyed me up. They didn't judge me—or at least if they did, they didn't show it to me. They didn't make me feel bad. They gave me hope. They lent a listening ear. They showed patience. They tried their best to see where I was coming from—even if they didn't understand what I was experiencing. I will be forever grateful to those generous souls. They know who they are. :)

Now that I feel all better (because we are finally settled!), life is so much easier. I am happy every single day!!! Even when I have little hiccups here and there, those mini challenges are the tiniest of trials compared to where my soul was just eight months ago—before our family knew where our path was heading.

Thus, with my recent two-year experience of not being at my best (Even though I sincerely tried my best!), my plea to the inhabitants of our world is this:
  • Please try your best to be understanding of others—even and especially when they're not at their best.
  • Be generous with your kind thoughts, sincere prayers, good words and helpful actions.
  • Don't judge others too harshly or quickly. *Even though we know we must judge some situations for our own safety/protection and for those we love.
  • Be forgiving and let others move-on when they have made amends.
  • Have true charity in your heart for others—including toward those souls you might not necessarily like.
  • Keep your criticisms at a minimum, and only reveal them if they are truly needed and helpful.
  • Don't gossip. Yet if you want to share happy thoughts or uplifting stories about others, go for it! :)
  • Never forget that every soul has value and is of great worth. Treat people the way you would want to be treated. Better yet, treat others the way you would want your precious, sweet, perfect little baby to be treated. :) You see, everybody is somebody's baby...we're all children of God.
This is my phrase and typographic design! :)
Lastly, there is a beautiful scene from the movie, "Ephraim's Rescue" that really hit home to me. (Spoiler alert!) Ephraim Hanks has just healed the gangrened feet of young Thomas Dobson by giving him a priesthood blessing. After a tender moment with Thomas and his mother, Alice, Ephraim asks,
"Thomas, the spirits in the camp are low. Do you feel the strength to now lift, as you have been lifted?"
Thomas thinks about it for a minute and then shares his happy dancing talent with the members of his camp. It's evident that Thomas and the rest of the pioneers are joyfully uplifted because of his cold-feet efforts. (Thomas traveled without shoes for much of his pioneer journey! Ouch!)

I can absolutely relate to Thomas Dobson's situation. No, I wasn't exhausted and close to death with gangrened feet, but my soul was very heavy, ragged and worn out because of my family's seemingly endless uncertainty. Now that my soul is light and free again, I dearly want to lift others as I have been lifted! I am also reminded of the scripture in Luke 10:37 when, speaking of the good Samaritan's merciful efforts, Jesus says, "Go, and do thou likewise." I 100% agree! :)

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