Thursday, October 4, 2007

Getting on With Life . . . and Ignoring the Bad Stuff

by Heather Horrocks

Today I am overwhelmed by how hard life can be. Not just for me, though it has certainly been that this past year and a half (please, please, please can 2008 be a kinder, gentler year...). But for everyone.

My husband and I are still mourning the death of his mother. We’re still inviting his father over for dinner and Institute classes and anything we can think of to help keep him busy, and so are my husband’s siblings.

I’m still mourning the death of my father last year. And, on a more humorous note, after all the after-death graspings by his unfortunately still-wife (though they’d filed and both wanted a divorce, it wasn’t final yet), it was time to write my father’s one-year anniversary thing in the newspaper. Though there was only space for ‘We miss you, love’ and our names, my sisters and I really laughed over what we wanted to put: ‘You hid the treasure really good, Dad. Paula hasn’t found it yet.’ (It’s a joke. There was no treasure. Though he’d made a fortune during his lifetime, he died a pauper.)

Sometimes you have to laugh so you don’t cry, right?

We have children who give us heartache, from skinned knees to unwanted pregnancies, learner’s permits to DUI, thinking we hung the moon to wanting nothing to do with us (and, no, my children have not done all of this, but many children have, and my children have done many of these).

People we love die. They turn away from us and from God. They do things to hurt themselves (and us, because we care).

I figured out once that, if God’s day is like 1000 Earth years, and if we live to be 80 Earth years, then when we were talking about coming down here, we were talking about three hours. And so we jumped for joy, because we figured we could handle three hours. No big deal, right? And then the unknown concept of TIME hit us like a brick wall.

There are a few things that have gotten me through the past couple of years with my sanity intact. One is that I know I am a child of God, and He loves me and cares for me. Another is my husband’s love, which I have grown to cherish more and more. And next is my writing. I know God gave me the talent for a purpose and I agreed (as I was leaping for joy) to use my talent in His service. Luckily, I can lose myself in my plots, my characters, my joy-filled exuberant drecky first drafts, my polished final drafts. I can distract myself from my pain by knowing that my books are going to touch people and I am serving others by writing them. (Now that’s service I can perform with a smile.)

I’m glad to have other writers with whom I can network. (Whom is such a weird word; whom on earth invented it? : )

Anyway, today is a day of reflection for me. Of all I am thankful for. Of all I wish I could change and can only pray about. Of all I can smile about, even though there is pain all around me.

I have a little plaque (I almost typed plague – now that would have been funny) hanging in my office that says ‘Life is hard ... but God is good.’ Life truly is hard. And God truly is good.

5 comments:

  1. Heather, thank you for reminding us to be grateful. Last week I became aware that I was guilty of ingratitude and I am amazed by how quickly my perspective changed as I refocused on the infinite number of ways I am blessed. Putting those thoughts in print seems to make them even more powerful.

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  2. Heather:
    I really appreciate all of your words. You hit it just right. I couldn't agree with you more.
    Thanks for the thoughts.

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  3. Thank you for your wonderful insights, Heather. I pray 2008 will be a kinder, gentler year for all of us!

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  4. I once heard a BYU professor say that (paraphrased) someday, after we've gone on to the other side, we'll realize just how much this life truly was "a vale of tears". I don't know how others can get through it without a testimony that God is at their side.

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  5. I'm posting so late that probably nobody will read it, but, here goes. First, a little comment on a parenthetical phrase. Whom is the objective form of who -- rightly named because most people find it objective. If it's nominative, use who. If it's the object of a verb or preposition, use whom. When in doubt, either rearrange the sentence, or use who. I've also discovered the same is true in scripture for ye and you.

    In Jane Austen's time, 'sense' meant pretty well what it is today, but 'sensibility' did not mean 'sensible' as in using good sense, but sensitive to all passions to the extent that one with sesibility soared to great heights of joy, but plunged into deep despair as easily.

    My husband tells me I don't have enough sense to know when things are tough. I suppose he's right, for my sensibility, in the old meaning, seems to take me on a carefully graded road even through mountains, and only rarely on a roller-coaster ride.

    I may miss much of the top thrills of living, but I've so far escaped the bottom depths of sorrow.

    I can't say, "I know just how you feel," but I do sympathize. The poet wrote, "Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been.'" Yes, but they're also the happiest, if we add one more word--it might have been worse.

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