Monday, June 23, 2014

Patience, Darling!

Over the past two and a half weeks, I've had thoughts repeatedly swirling in my mind about patience. I used to dread the word patience. Whenever I heard the phrase, "Patience is a virtue!", I'd think, "Patience is a virtue that drives me nuts...a virtue I'll never master!"

Yet, over the past several years, I feel I've actually acquired a lot of patience! Yay me! (That's a reference to the character, London, on "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody." That show still cracks me up!) I feel that patience is truly becoming a part of who I am. And I relish that fact...much like the way I relish snuggling into my sheets at night! You know what I mean—that lovely, deep-breath-inducing sheet-shuffle that we all do when we're falling asleep? Maybe it's just me, but I absolutely love that feeling! The fact that I now view patience in the same positive realm as a happy-sheet-shuffle, well, that's saying a lot for me!

This past week, I've seen my darling daughter go through a patience trial of her very own. It wasn't a big deal to anyone else, but it was a trying experience for my little girl.

Last Monday (06/16/2014), my daughter used her birthday money from extended family and friends to order a beautiful mermaid tail and monofin, from Fin Fun Mermaid—I highly recommend them!!! My cute little niece also bought a mermaid tail and monofin with her birthday money. Her mom and I both purchased the tails that Monday, but my sister-in-law had purchased the monofin previously. Thus, I expected that my daughter and niece would receive their mermaid tails at the same time.

For four days (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday), all my daughter could talk about was how excited she was to get her new mermaid tail and monofin. She and my niece talked on the phone for more than an hour about being mermaids! They talked about what swimming suits they would wear, how they would do their hair, and how they could keep their brothers from touching or meddling with their precious fins. Ha ha. My daughter literally dreamt about being a mermaid! It was all so cute to witness. Is there anything as wonderful and happy little girls talking endlessly about their mermaid dreams?!

*Side note, here are two photos to show just how much my daughter loves all-things mermaid. My brother-in-law, Mason Fetzer, is an outstanding artist. Mason created this mural for us when we first moved into our 70s house. Check out his work (art; design; photo; shop) because he is truly gifted! His Little Mermaid mural brings smiles to anyone who enters my daughter's room!

Thursday came and my niece received her mermaid tail! She excitedly called my daughter to see if she received her mermaid tail and monofin as well. Sadly, my daughter didn't receive her tail and fin that day. She was heartbroken!

When I tracked our package on, there wasn't any information available. :( I explained to my daughter (in at least three separate instances) that we needed to be patient, and check back Friday. My daughter truly struggled with my words. She was trying her best to be brave, but I could see the sad anxiety in her sweet little soul.

I hoped and prayed our package wasn't lost! I awoke Friday morning and tracked our package again. It finally showed my daughter's mermaid fun should arrive that very day! I shared the happy news with my ladybug, she was ecstatic!

Unfortunately, Friday came and went without mermaid gear. My daughter was devastated. Thanks a lot, USPS! (Insert sarcasm.) She kept asking me, "Do you think it will come tomorrow? What do we do if it doesn't come? I don't want to go swimming without it! What if they lost it! What if someone stole it?!!" Oh, dear. The next day, we were going swimming at my mom's condo pool with my brother's family, and my niece would be swimming as a mermaid. My daughter was on the verge of tears. I thought she wouldn't last through the night! (Not seriously, but you know what I mean.)

I shared with my ladybug that based on how things were going, i.e., a mermaid no-show, I was beginning to think that this was a tailor-made trial of patience from our Heavenly Father! She wondered what I meant, so I went on to explain about trials and patience.

I told my darling daughter how everyone on earth must go through their own trials to make them better people. I shared how I've consistently struggled with patience throughout my life, and that I felt like Heavenly Father was allowing my lovely ladybug to learn patience at an earlier age than I. I explained how I truly believe that one of the greatest and most important tests of this earthly life is to see how we react when things don't go the way we want, expect, or think we deserve.

My darling daughter seemed to understand what I was saying. I said, "I think this is the perfect time for you to show how strong you can be. Try your very best to be calm and patient through this hard time. Know that eventually we'll have an answer. And if your mermaid tail and monofin are lost, we can always call the company and figure it out. I know they're willing to work with us. Don't worry, we'll get an answer. You just might not be able to go swimming tomorrow as a mermaid...but you'll still go swimming, and you love swimming more than anything!"

Saturday morning came, and my daughter quietly asked if I thought her tail would arrive that day, or not. I replied that I certainly hoped it would! I also repeated variations of my previous patience talk. Then I suggested we go for a walk. She agreed to the walk saying, "Yes, a walk will take up more time this morning. Then I won't have to wait so long for the mail!"

We walked for half an hour, came home, stretched, and ate breakfast. We had just started watching "The Smurfs 2," on Netflix, when my husband opened the door (he was mowing our front lawn) and yelled, "Mermaid special delivery!" I've never seen my daughter jump up from the couch and run to the door so quickly! She swiped the box out of my husband's hands, jumped up and down, and squealed, "I'm going to be a mermaid!!!"

Well, the rest is happy mermaid history. My baby girl swam blissfully as a mermaid for two solid hours! She and her cousin nearly refused to exit the pool! That night, my darling daughter told me, "Mom, now I match my mermaid mural! I'm actually DOING what I've always dreamed of!" I'm so happy knowing there will be many more hours of mermaid joy to come! (Wow, there were a lot of exclamation points in that paragraph...let's add one more! Ha ha.)

My daughter was swimming over to the side, so she could take a break. Being a mermaid is tiring, but it's excellent exercise!

While I'm so very joyful about my daughter's mermaid dream being realized, what I'm most happy about is the fact that she was taught a great lesson in patience. I'm grateful I was given the opportunity to be there for her while she went through this patience exercise. :)

I'm especially grateful my daughter was willing to listen to my words! This whole experience has been very interesting to reflect on, because I feel like I wouldn't have been able to "get through" to her about the importance of patience, if it weren't for her mermaid tail and monofin arriving late! It's like my daughter had to have something that mattered greatly to her become the "conduit of patience."

Now, I'll swing back around to my initial thoughts on patience that started this blog post. *Please note, my thoughts go all over the place and might seem a little choppy. That said, I'll do the best I can to explain where my mind has been. :)

I've been reading the fascinating book "Scientific Discoveries That Build Testimonies And Strengthen Faith," by Dan Neville. While on a plane to Orlando (That's another post entirely!), I finished reading the last paragraph of page 27,
"...Professor Dawkins argues that it is a bit incredulous to think a God would waste his time by taking 14 billion years since the beginning of the universe to create man, while Dr. Collins basically comes back with, 'Who are we to decide how God should do it?' Utilizing evolution, God may have reasoned, might be the best way, as it would require man to exercise faith."
While pondering those words, I began thinking deeply about how I believe Heavenly Father instructed Jesus Christ to make the earth (which is also what my Church teaches). Based on what science believes, and other religious ideas, I know the earth could be billions of years old. My mind was swirling with the length of time that really is. I mean, I only have memories of 30+ years and that seems like a really long time already. Can you imagine how long a thousand years is? I can't! Thus, to try and figure out how long millions and billions of years are, well it is just above and beyond me. Whoa.

To religiously support the idea that the earth is billions of years old, in March 2014, I read an article in Meridian Magazine, "The Scale of Creation in Space and Time" by John S. Lewis. (Here's his personal website.) He writes,
"...In the Times and Seasons 5, p. 758 (1844), a letter from Joseph Smith’s Book of Abraham scribe W. W. Phelps to the Prophet’s brother William states: 
'… that eternity, agreeable to the records found in the catacombs of Egypt, has been going on in this system (not the world) almost 2555 millions of years; and to know that deists, geologists and others are trying to prove that matter must have existed hundreds of thousands of years:—it almost tempts the flesh to fly to God, or muster faith like Enoch to be translated and see and know as we are seen and known!'
(Just a reminder that there are 1,000 million in a billion.) A little later in the article, Mr. Lewis writes (I added some commas),
"Considering that Doctrine and Covenants 77:6 refers to '…this earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence', what led Joseph Smith, who wrote that verse, to speak of Earth as 2,555 million years old? The answer appears to be straightforward. Though 7,000 Earth years is in conflict with all physical, chemical, genetic, archaeological, and linguistic evidence, 7,000 years of God is not ruled out. The arithmetic is easy: 7,000 years of God, calculated on the basis of one day of God being as a thousand years of man (one year of God therefore being 365,257 years of man) is just 7,000 x 365,257 Earth years. That is 2,556,799,000 Earth years. Clearly Joseph Smith did not intend the “7,000 years” to refer to Earth years. But why did Joseph Smith and his amanuensis W. W. Phelps quote 2,555 million years instead of 2,556.8 million? Their calculation simply ignored leap years, and took the average duration of the year as exactly 365 days: thus 7,000 x 365,000 = 2,555 million years."
Fascinating, right?! Here is one of my favorite videos, "We Lived with God," about the creation of our universe and earth, and where we fit into all of it. It is truly inspiring. *The man in the video also happens to be the author of the above fascinating paragraph!

But the actual age of Earth is simply a technicality—one that the people of our world likely never come to an agreement on. And I'm okay with that. I'm okay with not knowing the exact age of our universe and earth. So, back to my thoughts about patience...

I sat there in awe, thinking that Heavenly Father possibly waited billions of years for Jesus Christ to create our earth...They definitely took their own sweet time. Talk about a patient father and son team! :) Can you even imagine their supreme patience level with each other?!

Let's think about it for a second. Have you ever tried to do home improvements or repairs with a family member? Does your project ever go as quickly as you planned? Does everything work out perfectly? Does your project ever exceed your time-frame expectations? Based on my experiences, I may have one "yes" out of the bunch, but many times, I'm tired, frustrated, and worn out at our project's completion.

Yes, dear readers, I believe that God's very first lesson to us was patience! Heavenly Father wants us to follow His wonderful example of patience—with His Son—during Earth's creation. He wants us to be patient in the development of our souls—whether they be our own, or someone else's! He wants us to be patient while we "create" our best selves! As evidenced by Earth's creation, greatness is worth waiting for!

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