It's been a very difficult year and one, that quite frankly, has had me questioning many things in my life. At some point in time I just didn't feel very happy. I'm not exactly sure why. It might have something to do with the fact that this past year has brought a lot of turmoil for myself and those that I love.....for both family and friends and even though I seem so tough on the surface and people know me for my tougher exterior...inside I was falling apart....maybe I still am and feel ashamed to admit it.
I have had to ask myself some hard and deep questions about what is most important to me. I have had to really search and search some more. I am nowhere near answering all those questions. In fact, it will take a lifetime and beyond. It feels as if my center of gravity has been rocked and I am teetering trying to re-center it. However, one thing I know for sure. We are never really alone as we plug along through our journey in life. It seems that every time I turn around, the Lord shows my selfish and imperfect self mercy and love. He seems to always answer my unspoken and buried prayers...you know the ones I am talking about? The ones that you are always thinking about but never actually get spoken. I have them all the time. I know I should be drawn to my knees so much more than I am, but it seems that I am always communicating with my Heavenly Father through my heart. I desire to improve on this, but sometimes it seems that the unspoken prayers are all I can give at that moment in time.
At some point in time, I found it very hard to smile. It's like someone reached into my soul and pulled it out of me and STOLE IT!. THE NERVE!! I miss it! I miss the natural curves upward that my face used to so freely do. It seems that I found it much easier to not smile and have a stale face than to put forth the effort and smile. I have always smiled, even when I didn't feel like it. In some weird way, it seemed to always help the situation....good or bad. Smiling is an instant tension breaker, an instant ice breaker and can make even the most shy person know they have an instant friend. I find when I don't smile that all of a sudden it's like there is instant tension people feel from me and I come across unapproachable. It leaves people wondering whether or not I even want to have anything to do with them when, in reality, I just feel vulnerable. It's harder to correct than you think, but I am trying to work on it.
Gordon B. Hinkley is one of my all time favorite people and although he has passed away, the legacy he left with his actions and words will always be a source of comfort and guidance to me. He once said ""Life is like an old-time rail journey — delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride." Did I REALLY believe that I was going to get through life with just a little smoke and dust in my face? How shallow-minded I was to ever think that way! How will I ever appreciate the beautiful vistas and thrilling burst of speed without experiencing the pain of smoke and dust and cinders and jolts? You know what? It's OK to experience all these wild delays and sidetracks...in fact, it's important to experience them!
I used to think I had to be perfect. People even looked at my life (because I always smiled) and thought it was "all that and a bag of chips"...and definitely not fat free!! I played the perfect roll and for a long time and I played it well. What came out of my mouth didn't always match my true feelings inside and at some point this past year, those two lives collided in a huge train wreck. It wasn't just one event but several challenges that led to this. As I have pondered at how human I should be in front of others, I realized something very important in my own learning and growth. It's OK to be human and be vulnerable. In fact, it's perfectly OK to have a bad day. It's perfectly OK to not want to associate with people that bring you down. It's perfectly OK to make mistakes and allow others to make mistakes without making them feel bad for doing so. It's perfectly OK to soul search and seek for understanding, learning and growth. However, I also learned that I don't have go through challenges by myself. Someone has already paid the price for all imbalance in my life...for sin, frustration, anger, hurt, pain and everything in between. Our Savior has overcome death and given me the gift of the Atonement and if I invite him in, he will make me better than I could ever be trying to do this on my own. He hears and answers every prayer, spoken and unspoken and usually does so by putting people in our lives that show love and kindness and in return I can pay it forward and do the same for others.
I am not always put together. I don't always do what I should, but I am learning to focus on progression and not perfection. Sometimes I don't want to do my hair, or do the laundry or clean the house . Sometimes I just want to stay in my pajamas (they are quite comfy)...sometimes, for days...but who's counting...haha. Sometimes I feel like my spiritual well is dry. Sometimes I just feel broken. It sure gives new meaning to the familiar nursery rhythm Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again. Let's be honest! Our lives aren't always going to be one big bowl of bliss. Gordon B. Hinckley said "Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he's been robbed. Most putts don't drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. " We are, however, meant to be HAPPY!!!!.
We DO have a choice. We Do have a sun that rises and gives warmth to our faces every day. We DO have opportunities to laugh and curve our lips upwards in a smile and we DO have opportunities to learn from pain and we DO have 24 hours every day to find joy and bless others. Joseph B. Wirthlin said "We have so much to smile about, be happy about, yes, even to laugh about. Don't wait for tomorrow. Don't wait for the right job, the right house, the right salary, the right dress size. Be happy today. Be happy now." Nowhere did it say we had to be perfect. I think the true message is to continue to progress and be happy as we progress through our life. I have been guilty for too long trying to be perfect that I forgot how to enjoy the journey of life and not just endure it. If you find yourself or anyone you know in a similiar situation...it's time to re-evaluate!
Am ready to be real? YOU BET! I have real problems, real concerns, a real temper, a real blunt personality, real children, a real husband, a real craving for fast food and chocolate, and a real dislike for exercise.... AND I have real feelings, a real sense of humor, a real desire to be nice, to have real friends, and experience a really happy life. I want the same for YOU! Now...go out and be the REAL person that I know you are suppose to be. Give yourself a break. Make changes where necessary and let the rest go. Don't let the smoke and dust be what brings you down, but let it make you tougher and better than you were before and ENJOY LIFE TO THE FULLEST!!