One of the universal laws of raising a family goes something like: The amount of time it takes to prepare a meal is inversely related to the amount of time it takes for said meal to be consumed -- particularly if there are children in the home. (This law also applies to doing laundry, cleaning up legos, and earning paychecks.)
After several fun-filled days playing with and preparing meals for our 18 grandchildren and their parents, I have far greater empathy for the early pioneers and their challenge with Mormon crickets. Seriously. Where do kids pack it away? I witnessed this same phenomena as their parents were growing up. And I still wonder. Fortunately, unlike the pioneers, I don't have to wait for another season of crops to replenish my pantry. I have at least 5 grocery stores within a mile-and-a-half radius from our home. In less than 30 minutes I can restock my fridge and ensure that there is plenty for all come time for the next feeding.Which is why I found myself at the local Safeway market at 7:00am last Friday.
I don't know about you, but 18 children, 13 and under -- and no milk or juice in the house -- constitutes an emergency of serious proportions. This means forgetting about changing out of sweaty work-out clothes, let alone taking a shower, and jumping into the car sans make-up or even combing one's hair. I did remember to grab my dark sunglasses, you know, just because odds are when you don't want anyone to see you, they will appear out of nowhere (another law to discuss at another time). I pulled into the parking lot and gave myself a quick pep talk. Just walk in, grab the juice and milk, pay the cashier and leave. Don't look anyone in the eye, and for heaven's sake, stay down wind and don't stand too close to anyone!
All went well until I approached the dairy case at the exact same time as this gorgeous woman dressed in fashionable business attire. Her perfect hair and make-up screamed high-end salon, as did her well manicured nails. I didn't look her in the eye. I felt so "less" than her. I wanted to be invisible. I looked down at the floor and then pretended to be interested in the display of Cerreta's chocolates on the end isle (like I wouldn't be interested in chocolate!). As soon as she finished her selections of half-and-half and assorted creamers (she was obviously buying coffee condiments for her office), I grabbed a couple three gallons of milk and darted for the check-out counter. There was only one person ahead of me and I allowed myself to relax a bit.
The cashier recognized me from my milk run two days before and I assured her that I really didn't drink that much milk by myself. We shared a couple of thoughts on the joys of children and grandchildren. A customer behind me laughed and exclaimed how much she loved children too. I turned to smile at the person with the friendly voice and discovered it belonged to coffee creamer lady. She smiled back. I ducked my head and rushed out with my purchases.
As I started the engine, that "perfect" woman walked by. I watched her get into her car and as I drove away, a feeling of regret washed over me.The Spirit whispered in my heart that I had missed a great opportunity to reach out and accept a hand of friendship and a chance to share the gospel. I had let my own fears and feelings of inadequacy get in the way. What was my problem? I love to tell people I'm happy. Why would I only want to share my joy when I "looked my best?"
My new goal is to develop my own personal "tag line", so to speak. Why I am happy -- even though terrible things are happening in the world. In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Mormon describes the sorrow he feels because of the terrible wickedness and perversions he witnesses. Then he says, "...nevertheless, I know I shall be lifted up at the last day" (Mormon 2: 19). Mormon knew that because of his faith and his efforts to follow Christ, no matter what else happened around him -- he would be okay.
I'm happy because, like Mormon, I know who I am - a daughter of a loving Father in Heaven - and I understand God's plan. As long as I remain steadfast and immovable on the solid foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I will be okay. I know that I was put here for a purpose. God did not send me here to fail. With the Savior beside me, I can do hard things. In fact, through the power the Savior brings, I can do all things Heavenly Father asks of me.
I hope I never let another opportunity pass by to share the light and joy of the gospel. Sharing light and love is another one of those magnificent phenomena that blows my mind. Unlike the milk in my refrigerator, each time I share light and love, it grows brighter -- the same way the light grows when one candle becomes two and two become four. Sharing never diminishes light -- it expands exponentially.
How is fear holding you back? What do you do to get past it?