Aug 27, 2007

Sleeping Trouble

by Rene Allen

It is blog time again. I have delighted in this week’s postings, finding in them two of my favorite things: truth and humor. Otherwise, the week has been frustrated with family difficulties and preparation for a wedding that will happen in only six days from today. And yes, I’ve had some trouble sleeping.

Yesterday, the Sabbath, 4:00 AM. Outside my window, the sky is ink colored and marked with a silhouette of the horizon that is blank like a construction paper cut-out—outline only with no internal detail.

It is the way each day starts, vague and poorly defined. The day progresses and fills with particulars, with who, what, why, where and how and all those things that become the times and places of our lives, just like this view outside my window where the lacy outlines of trees emerge from the smooth, bulky shapes of earliest dawn. A few minutes more and I will see leaves and branches and the gray streaks of distant clouds.

I amazed to think each day begins with this metaphor of possibility. It is the way things are, that these evolving shapes dimly lit by my present circumstances over time will fill with detail to be seen precisely in the light cast by my own agency and experience.

Saturday of this week, my youngest son is getting married. In many ways, his, and his soon-to-be wife’s futures are also defined like the shape of an early morning horizon. The big pieces are there, but the details have not yet been put into place.

I have considered what I would tell them as they begin life together, as they fill in the structure and color of each shape with their actions and the way they treat each other. Ultimately, these details will become memories. What color will they be? What feelings will be attached to them? Not just events, but rich emotions, too, will be illuminated as they create experiences together.

I would suggest they cultivate kindness and patience, a well-thought answer rather than a fiery reply, and generosity of spirit – the work is ours, not his or hers. I would hope they pray together and that they both honor the priesthood my son bears.

The beauty of their lives together is something they will create. The single most important tool they will use to create this life is agency. It will determine how they love, how they settle disagreements, how they worship their Father in Heaven.

A new day, a new page, a new marriage – each waits to be filled with those details that bring meaning and make memory.

And at the end of the day? In the waning light of a setting sun, my ability to recognize the leaves and flowers and clouds outside my window diminishes until all I can see is that vague juncture between horizon and sky. Yet I know what is there, and recall it in my mind’s eye, and because it is beautiful, I have the hope of another dawn.


  1. Rene, reading your posting is such a delight. I love walking into the word picture you paint. I have a son getting married in December. I myself was wondering about his future with his young bride. Last night, my hubby came up to bed chuckling to himself. Our future daughter-in-law had just arrived to say "hello-goodnight" to our son. She walked into the family room and said, "Get off your butt and come read scriptures with me." Mind you, she is 5 feet even and he is 6 foot 6 inches. She shops in the children's department and he shops at Big and love her!!!!He got off his computer and joined her for scriptures and prayer. I'm not worried anymore!

  2. That is too good! He'll do all right.

  3. (I wrote such a nice comment, thought it posted, but it didn't. Now I'm trying again, much later.)

    I'm delighted with your descriptions, Rene. I was right there, seeing what you saw, and wondering why I shy away from painting detailed word pictures. I'm sure it's because I often simply don't see details. Sometimes I think of myself as a skittish mare with blinders built into her headgear, going through life without the wider picture. But when something is pointed out to me, I perk up and tell myself 'yes, that's what I see, too.' Thanks for the uplift.

    There's a warm feeling that comes with witnessing the start of another new, eternal family.

    And you're right about agency. I've noticed it's difficult for some parents to give up their job of directing, and to replace that habit with their new in-law job of appreciating, and letting advice out only when begged for. I'm fortunate. I had parents and parents-in-law who respected our agency. That made our life together so much easier, and we've tried to pass it on.

    And unless it's life threatening and one must intervene, it's nice to remember we all learn better from our own mistakes, and we love to paint our own pictures without hinderance.


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