Jan 2, 2007

Don't Step In It!

Before I tell you about “stepping in it”, let me introduce myself. My name is Betsy Love and I live in two places at once. I commute between Show Low and Mesa, Arizona. Our family tried to move to Show Low last January, but as soon as we put our house in the valley on the market, everything bottomed out. I’m finishing out my contract with Show Low High School teaching 9th Grade English. I love it, but miss my family terrible. I’m currently looking for a position for the school year 2007-2008 back in the Mesa area.

I have eight children, five grandchildren and an amazing husband who is my very best friend! I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil in my tiny little fingers. Mostly I’ve written essays and short stories. I’ve tried a poem or two. In the past 15 years I’ve discovered novel writing. I completed my first one 10 years ago and have finished another since then, with starts on 3 more and 2 more floating in my brain and calling to me as I drift off to sleep at night. Nothing published yet.

What has any of this got to do with “stepping in it?” Nothing and everything I suppose.

New Year's Eve found my husband and I walking down to our friends' house, Otis and Julie. Otis had fallen ill and couldn't come to our little celebration, so we thought we'd take a few festivities to them, a bottle of sparkling cider, some poppers and a couple of munchies. Two things happened that night. First we were discussing how our lives and friendships have changed in the past year, some very sad things, things that may never be mended because of offenses given and offenses taken. As we commiserated over events, my husband nearly missed a pile of dog droppings. “Don’t step in that!” I called to him. He started laughing. When I asked him what was so funny he said how metaphorical my statement was.

“Don’t step in it!” I think I’ll make that my New Year’s Resolution. I feel like I’ve had to wade through my share of it last year. It’s been a year of learning, crises, and profound sorrow as we struggled with our choices and ones our children have made in their own lives, choices I would never have wanted to make. Yet they have faced them, some with great heartache, both their lives and mine.

The second thing that happened that night was while we were at our friends’ house. Julie told me she didn’t get a chance to see the Christmas lights at the temple. I commiserated with her because I didn’t make the time to see them either. When I got home, I realized that what she was really saying was, “Let’s go together, for a bit.” I selfishly missed an opportunity to be of service. In my wanting to get home and spend the evening with my own family, I had inadvertently missed an opportunity to serve. I like to think of it as “stepping in it.” It’s those sins of omission, the things we know we should have done, but didn’t. I have so many of them in my life. This year, I want to avoid as much “stepping in it” as possible.

How about you? What does “stepping in it” mean to you?


  1. Dear Betsy! I enjoyed this thought- provoking essay. How fortunate there is humor. I identified with your experiences with your children. It's hard to let grown children exercise agency. I hope 2007 brings all of us good fortune and fewer landmines. Rene

  2. Amen, Rene.

    Betsy, to me, stepping in it is exactly as you described it: messing up. I've stepped in a lot of messes in my life, and it's a good goal to keep my eyes open this year so I can limit the ones I actually smear on my shoe(s).

  3. Betsy,
    I also enjoyed your post. I've had a rough year, and I'm very happy to start a fresh, new year. Hope it's the same with you.


  4. Thanks, Betsy. for the refreshing, new idea.

    To my husband, my "stepping in it" means my volunteering for more than I can do (easily, that is) and/or always agreeing to sub. or go, or contribute. But he still supports me quite completely. He is the least complaining man I've known--other than my father.

    My resolution is (as usual) to complete more projects than I start this year. (Wish I could italicize 'complete' and 'start'.) My rooms would lose a lot of clutter.

    My resolution is to 'endure to the end'. I hope to learn to master myself, since I've long thought that I'm my own worst enemy. I think I'm making progress.

    I may be wrong, but I actually believe I'm pretty close to being able to 'love unconditionally'. Of course that does not mean I love all choices or actions, but loving the ones --including myself--who make them. Of course. every time I decide what kind of person I am, I do some dumb thing that makes me have to evaluate all over.

    Isn't life wonderful?

    Thanks again. and may your housing be resolved and your writing be completed to your full satisfaction.



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