Thursday, October 16, 2008

Endurance & Gratitude

This has been a rough week for me. I had yet another doctor's appointment where I was hoping for some good news. Yet again I was let down. It seems that I might have contracted a virus while in Mexico that somehow did something to my inner ear when I passed out. The doctor just doesn't know. Good news, no permanent damage, so hopefully the hearing loss in my right ear is only temporary. Bad news, the dizziness and tinnitus might continue on for another 6 months. I could tell the doctor was just throwing a number out there for me. He has no real way of knowing how long it will take to recover or if I will even recover completely. Yee haw. So excuse my word vomit and indulge me yet again...

Elder Robert E. Wells:

“I have been flying many kinds of aircraft for the last 30 years, both in the United States and in Latin American countries. Not too long ago when I had returned to the [United] States after an absence of some years, a very dear friend offered me the use of his new [airplane]. …

“We discussed my qualifications of being covered under his insurance policy, and it turned out that I needed a check ride with a qualified inspector as it had been some time since I had flown that particular type of plane.

“The arrangements were made, and I met the inspector at the side of the airplane at the appointed hour with my licenses from the USA, Argentina, Paraguay, and Ecuador, and logbooks showing flights in Cessna 310s across jungles, mountains, deserts, international boundaries, etc. He smiled calmly but was unimpressed and said, ‘I’ve heard about you, and I have no doubt about how much flying you have done, but I have to assume that those flights were when nothing went wrong. Now let’s fire up this bird and see how well you fly it when everything goes wrong!’

For the next hour he made everything go wrong! He simulated every emergency he could think of. He turned things off that should have been on. He turned things on that should have been off. He tried to create disorientation or panic. He really wanted to know how well I could fly when everything did go wrong! In the end he climbed out, signed my logbook, and announced, ‘You’re okay. …’

“One of the purposes of this life is to be tested, tried, and proven to see how well we will serve the Lord. The Prophet Joseph [Smith] said that we would be tested to see if we would serve and remain faithful through all hazards. We knew before we came that there would be many adverse circumstances to test us: accidents, sickness, and disease to prove us; temptations and distractions to try us; disappointments, discouragements, reverses, failures, and all kinds of situations to determine our character. …

“The question still is: How well can you fly it when everything goes wrong? How well can you live when every test, every trial, every proof of your faithfulness is exacted of you?”

I told this story Relief Society while teaching a lesson on adversity. I had forgotten about it until a few days ago while I was reviewing the last few months. I am nowhere near being out of this trial yet, but I am most definitely not in the darkest days of it, or so I assume. Let's hope not. I have been told that there will be lessons that I will gain from this experience. I am grateful that I have not had to wait until this trial was over and long gone before I could reflect and receive some insight.

During some of my hardest days, I truly questioned myself. I had huge amounts of guilt because of my inability to take care of my family, I still do. I would lay on the couch during the day thinking of everything I should have been doing. I couldn't cook. I couldn't drive. I couldn't even make it off the couch some days to let my girls play outside. Sometimes I would want to pull my hair out and tear my skin to pieces when the dizziness got out of control. It was then that I realized my illness was affecting my sanity. This has been a very trying time for me. I go. I do. I run a tight ship. I have to, it's part of who I am. This has forced me to let go of pretty much everything. All at once. Oh yeah, trials are fun. What was the other thing that I taught in that lesson? That sometimes things happen to you for no good reason at all. Nice.

I recognize that I am such a Martha (Biblical, not Stewart). Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if Martha had sat down to listen to Jesus instead of prepare the meal. I'm sure some guy there (not Jesus obviously) would have been grumbling that there was no food. In my role as a mom I quite often get caught up in my Martha role because that is basically what I do each day. Clean, feed, repeat. But I forget that even though someone, sometimes, maybe even often, might have to do the dirty work, it doesn't always have to be me. My kids (and husband) are much more capable than I thought. True it might not be to my standards, but I have been learning to accept that. Ok, so I have to force myself to turn my back while R is vacuuming, but then everything is fine after that.

I recognize that it is part of who I am and that is fine. I think that one of the things I needed to learn is when to choose the better part. I have a hard time with that one. Because while I am having fun, in the back of my head I'm thinking about everything that isn't getting done. Once I was forced to drop everything for a while (quite a while to be sure), I found other things to take their place. Some more important things, some less important things. I am reassessing the priorities in my life and trying to choose the better part even if it is in 5 minute increments. But what matters most is that I have been able to release Martha's death-grip on me. Now Martha & I are just holding hands. Handcuffed to be sure, but holding hands.

So while maybe I haven't aced this flying test, I haven't failed it either. I still have a chance to show that I can do same dang good flying when there is some pretty bad turbulence ahead. So what if the oxygen masks dropped and some luggage got thrown around? No one was hurt, right? Hopefully my passengers aren't afraid to fly with me again.

The End.


RORYJEAN said...

I can definitely relate to your "Martha-ness." I love the talk you shared in here, too. Sometimes, the most challenging moments I have faced have been the moments that lead me down a path I might not have even known existed otherwise. I hope you get back to feeling one hundred percent sooner rather than later.

An Ordinary Mom said...

I have been meaning to write a post using this story/quote for awhile, but you beat me to it :) !! I love your take on all of this. Life sure has thrown us some crazy curve balls lately, but we both must keep persevering. Hopefully our luggage won't be the one that gets lost.

And as far as Martha and Mary go? I,too, am trying to embrace the better part, while also trying to love the Martha side of me, too. There has got to be a good balance for me to find somewhere.

I hope you start feeling better sooner rather than later!