Sunday, August 16, 2009

I already had it.

"the quality of mercy is not strained"--Shakespeare
Here is my book selection for this weekend/week/month... I'm not sure where I left off here, but I have still been trying to give myself the gift of reading. I've had an incredible time of late--uniquely full of stuff that most people would consider BAD: Lice, a sister struggling to recover from unwanted major surgery and a surprise diagnosis, sharing lice, my dad with yet another form of cancer, my brother with cellulitis, bells palsy, debilitating headaches and Lime disease, lice that won't vanish, and an uncle diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It has felt like walking into a cold, drippy rain shower that keeps taking a turn for the worse. I feel sad, angry and exhausted but strong. I want to help. I want to work through it all. I took the kids to the library last week and found myself drawn to the title of this book, and grabbed it at the last minute as I headed toward the circulation desk. I didn't even notice the tiny subtitle on the cover page; the book I checked out said "A Celebration" on the front, not "A Christmas Poem" as seen below. Either way, I felt connected to the premise that bad things happen. And bad things happen when we least expect them, throwing us a little off balance from time to time. And I wanted to read about Maya Angelou's interpretation of this amazing peace.
I know where to turn for peace. I feel centered by the peace I find in my knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe in Christ. I know that my amazing peace comes from knowing that Christ has already lived through the pain, sorrow and anguish that we may feel now, or have yet to feel in our lives. But it doesn't stop the emotion. And the amazing peace [and strength] that comes from knowing that Christ knows me personally does not stop the heartache and wanting to take away the pain that others are required to endure.I read this book as I was climbing into bed the other night. It only took about 10 minutes. The opening lines read like this:

Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Floodwaters await in our avenues.

Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and gray and threatening.

And then I started to weep. Thunder has rumbled my mountains. The eaves of my personal house are rattling so loudly at times that I can hardly hear myself think. The floodwaters that are my tears, I know are waiting in the avenues of my emotions. And man, does my village feel unprotected.
I know that I need to be able to experience the raw emotion of sadness, sorrow, anger, pain, fear and grief because it's right. And good. Hard things happen. I can't stop that. I know where to turn for peace, but when I look around me at the hard things everywhere, I want to give outlet to the vulnerable frailty that is part of my humanness. Reading this book did not provide any great enlightenment on where to find peace, rather it helped me to think about dwelling a bit longer in the hard place, instead of exusing it away to hurry and get to peace. It made me think about the process of reaching peace. And that it's a journey to get there. It needn't be rushed.


priscilla said...

Jen, you are amazing.
YOU GET IT! What do you get?
THere is adversity in all of our lives. It is not IF, but WHEN!
So adversity happens and it is up to us to find the blessings therein.
I am grateful that Aaron had unmistakeable symptoms of LIME DIs.
It is a nasty disease and especially if not diagnosed in the ACUTE stage.
Aaron's symptoms: bullseye,fever, cellulitis,lime headache, Bells Palsy, and spinal tap headache.
He has been SOOOOOOOOO Sick.
Flat on his back for over a week. When he did get up..nausea, and vomiting...extreme pain. The pain has decreased, but he still endures
pain and nausea when he moves about, but he is trying to get back to "normal".
I am grateful that Rebecca has again survived a pregnancy even tho' she has multiple hospital stays. Had she carried the baby to term, it is a VERY GOOD possibility that she would not have survived due to the condition of her uterous. Too many complications. I am grateful.
I am grateful for AMy JO, who so unselfishly brought her family east to care for Becky when we could not. Grateful for the many acts of love and service...too many to enumerate.
I am grateful for AUnt SHirley's friend, who will be David's surgeon. THey say that he has performed this surgery many times successfully.

I am grateful that Elder Talbot and his sweet wife chose unselfishly to serve a mission and in doing so have blessed our lives by finding a death certificate which proves undeniably that Grampa Hutchins should be called Grampa EVANS!!!!!!!
Thank you for serving unselfishly in our behalf also.
I love you JEnny poo.

ellen said...

You are wise. I can learn from you. :)

Smilin' sunshine said...

I love you people!! You guys are one of the most amazing families ever! What kind of cancer does your dad have now??

rebecca said...

what a beautiful beginning to a book. So sorry that so much hardship has come to those you love. I'm glad you shared this though...great purls of wisdom while we're in the trenches.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

What a sweet post. I need to send you an email with a talk attached that I wrote using that line from Shakespeare. Mercy and peace--now those are two interesting ideas to connect . . .

Becky said...

thanks jen. i love your insight. i love hearing your testimony. it's interesting that you mentioned "Reading this book did not provide any great enlightenment on where to find peace, rather it helped me to think about dwelling a bit longer in the hard place, instead of exusing it away to hurry and get to peace." I've been thinking about this a LOT. Nobody likes to dwell in hard places...but being someone that has, and ofter lately...i have found that it has helped me heal more fully. thanks for your thoughts.

Becky said...

often...i meant OFTEN. (not ofter)

shirlgirl said...

Your Dad gave Uncle David a beautiful blessing this evening. We had dinner with them which was wonderful and it was wonderful that it was just the four of us. The blessing was an emotional one and I feel blessed to have been a part of it, with my hand on Uncle David's arm. With all of these wonderful prayers and thoughts around us, he has to be o.k. We love our family.

Jo Jo said...

Being in the hard place. Makes me think why I went where I did this summer. I knew it would be hard. But knowing somebody else is having an even harder time made my hardship not very important.

jennie w. said...

We've had lice exposure lately, but so far we seem to be bug free.

As for seminary, my husband just got called to be the teacher for the 7 am class. Fun times.

LL said...

WOW! What an amazing post Jenny!!!

nanci said...

Thank you, Jenny, and to all of your amazing family, for your wonderful example and testimony of faith.