I'm tired today.. and yesterday and a few days before that. I suppose it's because we just got back from a dream vacation and the reality of responsibility is weighing on my shoulders again. Loads and loads of laundry seem to be scattered through out my house. During this daze, my kids have felt it their duty to dissect my house of all games and toys with small pieces and have sprinkled them around each room :)
I just got a knock at my door, my neighbor's daughter just came to let me know that Sam and his little sweet friend were threatening to throw rocks at her.... what?? Turns out he and his friend were killing bugs in her yard.... this little girl is full of life. If there was a Tall Tale about a little girl, it would be about her. She comes to my house with regular sized water bottles full of massive bumble bees she somehow got to enter in such a narrow top. She picks up spiders and bugs with her bare fingers and cries when slugs die.... One time I found one in my garden and brought it to her house knowing how sad she was when her slug died.... when I gave it to her in my little broken tupperware, she treated it as if I just gave her a pony. Her eyes were big with gratitude and and she couldn't stop saying thank you. She can tell you the name and species of every plant and insect in our area... she loves nature... so for Sam to go to her home and squish her precious creatures, man.. it sent adrenaline through her veins and she screamed at Sammy and defensively he told her he was going to throw a rock at her..... the kids came home and Sammy looked so upset. "Mom, I still want to throw a rock at her!" ... we had a talk for a bit as I tried to calm him down and help him to think straight. We had a productive chat and in the end he still wasn't in a good mood, but mostly because he had to clean his room. As he shut the door... I let myself fall into my couch and stared at the seemingly zillions of flies that are swarming in my house (okay, there are 4 of them... but they are making me nuts!) I glanced over to the bin of beautiful peaches waiting to be preserved on my counter and looked at the clock to see how much time I had left before Mikey, my sweet little (okay, not so little, 22 year old) brother came over to get help from my husband for a math class. All I wanted to do was go into my room and pull the covers over my head (perhaps with a few "Sees" chocolates) and fall asleep. Where do I begin? The laundry? The dishes? Dinner? the bathrooms? Collecting game pieces? Cleaning the toy room? The peaches? ....... crafting? .......
I found myself being so overwhelmed, and to tell you the truth I still am. But in that moment I asked myself. What am I doing?
I thought back to a lesson we had in Relief Society on Sunday. It was beautiful and profound. Exactly what I needed and I'm sure exactly why the adversary was trying so hard to keep me from going to church. For weeks it has been so hard for me to pull myself together and go... I have, but it has been uncharacteristically hard for me lately. I kept praying the help me "just get there" - I was so grateful I did as each talk in Sacrament meeting, the wonderful Sunday school lesson and the profound and beautiful Relief Society lesson seemed to be personally tailored to me. The lesson in RS was on becoming united, and our inspired instructor shifted the lesson to realizing that what we are doing is good in the eyes of the Lord. ... I, like I"m sure a lot of women, and men, have the problem of being able to see the vision of perfection. We go to church, we learn how to do things right, with exactness and we want to be exactly perfect. "If god asked me to do it, then he will prepare a way for me to do it" ... is a phrase that goes through my mind over and over again when I am met with challenging circumstances. While I believe this to be true with all of my heart - I am learning that God does not expect us to be perfect now - he just wants us to do our best .. and our best is far from perfect. He knows that and he knows our hearts. He knows our capabilities. He knows our best changes from day to day and even from moment to moment depending on what is going on. Some days we feel we could hike Everest, while other days it's a grueling hike just to make meals for the family. A sweet sister in our ward raised her hand and shared a piece of advice that was given to her from someone she trusted.... "Perfectionism is Satan's counterfeit for the Atonement." she said. ... Think about that deeply.... I would like to explain my thoughts, but worry it would take away from the purity of the statement. Isn't that so true?
As I sit here feeling glum, feeling the imperfections of my habits .. my messy home, the dinner to be made, the weeds out in the garden, I ask myself, "What am I doing?"
The answer is not just merely "I'm taking care of kids, homemaking and exhausting myself" ... it's "I"m participating in God's work which requires and makes me eligible for the use of His everlasting Atonement. I am mothering the next generation. I am the creator of my children's environment".... and I try to not let myself be overwhelmed with this. As parents our purpose isn't to create "bliss" for our children. It is our grand responsibility to prepare them for difficulties and triumphs of life. To teach them, while we utilize the enabling power of the atonement, to UTILIZE the enabling power of the atonement. Perfection.. in the work place, in the home in our thoughts and actions is unrealistic. It is UN REAL. Life is meant to be imperfect. We are imperfect. Through imperfections we learn and grow and experience pain and sorrow and even our greatest joy. So, what am I doing? Without opposition you can't fully understand joy. So why are we so down on ourselves when the opposition arises? Don't we know that imperfection is part of our Father's perfect plan? Can we learn, somehow to embrace it and learn to know what it feels like to know when you are doing your best? And to accept that "best?" I'm not saying to accept mediocrity, what I am saying is to see our efforts in the eyes of God. If he is pleased, so should we.