Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Wait. So I have to learn things about things and stuff? About topics? Can I even do that?"

As you read in that last post, the first domino is finally teetering and is about to topple over, setting in motion a course that will lead to some really great things for my little family.

When M called and told me the news, my voice suddenly shrunk and uttered a very small and hopeful "Really!?" I walked into the den, trying not to wake a sleeping baby, trying to keep my heart from bursting its way out of my chest, and feeling like I wanted to do the happiest dance ever created by woman (ala Gru after he steals the shrink ray from Vector).

I later wrote in my journal that there are only a handful of times - if even that many - when I have been so happy in my life, when the true desires of my heart were being manifest in my very life. The other two were marrying M and having C.

The next day I stood in my bathroom, talking with God. I was tempted to paint these last 6 years with a very broad brush. In fact, with one wide sweep, I had entirely colored over that block of time by feeling - and saying - that we were finally moving on.

Then I remembered a time when I was 18. I was not yet a latter-day saint, but the missionaries were due to come over within hours and I was suddenly feeling very unsure about all of it. I wanted to hear what they had to say, but I was scared of losing something in the exchange.

I call it the Closed Fist Philosophy. In order to be able to gain something new, eventually that closed fist has to open, which is bound to unsettle - and even lose - some of its contents.

I realized my last six years have never been something to just get over or get past. Nor have they been squandered waiting for something different. I learned long ago to be present in my present and I really try to live by that. These past six years - in this little city, in this house, on this street, in these jobs, in this life - have been some really good years. I've had times of testing, times of trial, times of blessing, times of growth. In short, it marks the time in my life that I finally grew up.

It was in this house that we experienced the freedom and ease of post-graduate life. It was in this house that learned about ourselves free of the mania that is undergraduate education. It was in this house that we walked away from activity in our church for two years. It was in this house that we found our way back. It was in this house that we learned who we are and what we are made of. It was in this house we became a family. It was in this house that I caught the vision of who I want to be as a person, as a mother, as a wife, and as a latter-day saint.

The temptation to brush aside my present or my recent past with a single flick of the wrist is too great sometimes. For, if I am to live wholly in one moment, what am I to do when that moment passes and becomes an entirely new one?

So, as I stood there talking to Heavenly Father about that prayer so long ago, I was telling Him I kind of feel like that now. My fist is tightly closed around my present, and I do not want to let it go entirely without soaking it all up and certainly not without feeling consummately grateful for all of it, for the experience of growing up and finding out who I am, and setting my feet firmly on the path of becoming who I want to be.

I am learning that when we open a closed fist, the treasures that lie within need not slip idly out of our grasp. Instead, we can lay them before us, noting with awe the gleam and glint of each one, remembering its importance and significance in our life and thinking fondly on how it felt to be the recipient of such a gift. And then, we store those trinkets up in our hearts forever, the life-long accumulation of which, I imagine, add up to a wonderfully complete existence.

[Title quote is from "The House Bunny"]

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