Dec 6, 2007

What Do You Do?

By Kari Diane Pike

The question caught me by surprise. One moment I was on the phone discussing Relief Society business with a sister in the ward and the next moment she asked,

“What do you do when your kids are making stupid choices and the washer stops working and the car breaks down, the air conditioning dies, and your husband comes home and tells you he had to take a cut in pay or lose his job?”

Based on our earlier discussion, I assumed the question was rhetorical. We talked a bit about how it seems that challenges come like waves, several rolling over the top of us in quick succession, diminishing, and then catching us by surprise by knocking our feet out from under us, and trying to pull us out to sea. She stopped me mid-sentence.

“I really want to know. What do you do? How do you cope?”

“Me, personally?”

“Yeah. You. What do you do?”

The first answer to pop into my head was not the one I considered proper and worthy for a Relief Society President to give. But the words slipped out of my mouth before I could stop them.

“I eat chocolate.”

There. I said it, quietly and guiltily. The truth was out. Why, oh why, didn’t I bear my testimony of prayer and scripture study? My face burned with embarrassment and I was glad she could not see my discomfort. Mortified, my mind raced trying to come up with a way to cover my faux pas. Then I heard laughter on the other end of the line. Not a titter or a giggle, but great gales of laughter. What could I do but laugh with her? We snorted and snickered and named all the glorious kinds of chocolate and how to eat it. Then came the tears; torrents of healing, cleansing tears. And I cried with her.

“Thank you! I feel so much better. I guess I just had to let some things go before I could move forward. Laughing seems to have broken the dam. I’m going to be okay now. That’s all I needed.”

I hung up the phone in amazement. My heart felt twice as big and twice as tender. I knew that those words of “truth” came from the Spirit. They weren’t the words I would have chosen, because I couldn’t see my friend’s heart like the Lord could. He knew exactly what she needed to hear. He knew that she knew the importance of prayer and fasting and studying her scriptures. She just needed to know that she was not alone. She needed to know that other women experience similar feelings. She didn’t need a discourse. She needed lots of love-

and a little chocolate.


  1. I love your story! I truly believe Heavenly Father knew that the struggles of being a woman required chocolate. My dear husband calls it "an herbal remedy." He knows exactly the time of month to make a stop on the way home from work and pick up some. He's such a good man!

    And I love how you blurted it out without stopping to think about it. I do that too, only I seem to get myself into trouble when I do that.

  2. thanks, Betsy. Yeah...I've been in trouble more than a few times. but I am learning!

  3. Kari,
    Love your story! Isn't it great when we open our mouths and the words just come? And you were inspired!
    The only thing I didn't like is that I had to go get some chocolate after reading it:-)
    I clicked on your profile and found we have somethings in common. I love music, writing and I'm a Doula. The best was having the honor of helping my daughter give birth to my first grandchild. It's a story that I should blog.

  4. Terry,
    What fun! Yes, you should blog about the birth of your grandchild. I just attended the birth of our tenth grandchild Nov. 21. I was going to blog about that, but the chocolate story came out first! I'll have to check your profile and get to know you now!

  5. I hope I can be there for more. It surprised me how I wanted to feel the labor pains, and how I fell in love with Emma immediately and completely like I did my own.

  6. Kari:
    I really liked your comments. I think we all have things like that happen to us. (except Anna of course : ) But laughing can be a great emotional release--then of course there is crying. Great work as Relief Society President!

  7. Kari, you're wonderful. You not only had a great experience, but you related it well. You truly were inspired. And you inspired me to reach for some chocolate. I'm trying to stick with the 60% or more cocoa, but I still like the yummy milk chocolate better.

    I remember many times when I anguished over what I'd said, only to find out it was the right thing, after all. (On the other hand, I've had to apologize many a time. I tried to keep my foot clean because it kept getting into my mouth, so to speak.) It's quite a trick to know which is inspiration, which is desperation, and which is egotistical nonsense.

    And, Valerie, which 'happenings' do you think I don't have? I find it interesting to get glimpses of how others perceive me. If I project myself as different, it's my age, I suspect. I've been there, done that, still do, but not nearly as intensely, and at half the speed. Except in appreciation. That seems to intensify with my aging.

    That's what I love about ANWA. I have so much more to appreciate.

    Oh, and by the way, I'm not a doula, but I have been in the delivery room to see at least four of my grandchildren born, two by C-section. It's awesome, and about as close to heaven as we get.

  8. I loved your story, Kari! It made me think of the verse, "Out of small things ('I eat chocolate') proceedeth that which is great (the laughter and healing)." D&C 64:33

  9. Kari, I read your posting the day it came out, but couldn't comment until today. Bless your heart for being able to discern, not beforehand by analyzing, but by the spirit, that what this sister needed wasn't a homily, but a knowledge that others struggled and coped the best they could the same as she.

  10. Kari, you ALWAYS say the right thing. I want to be you when I grow up! BYW, what kind of chocolate are we talking about in particular?

  11. I love this group! Thank you so very much for the kind comments!

    What kind of chocolate? Well, (imagine that word spoken slowly and drawn out...)I've become a fan of the rich, dark, unadulterated 60 -75% cacao. I never used to enjoy dark chocolate, but I've been told that as we grow older, we lose many of our taste buds and as a result it takes more stimulation to get the same effect. Yeah, the more intense the flavor, the better. Cacao is one of teh richest sources of bioflavinoids and has a very high ORAC value. (That means it helps your cells absorb oxygen and helps get rid of free radicals, I think.)I get an organic, 100% pure chocolate from a company that also flavors it with essential oils. Throw some strawberries or pineapple chunks in with a chocolate fondue and I'm in chocolate heaven!


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