Sunday, July 22, 2012

Witty, Wonderful, and O So Wise

Sixteen years ago, I experienced a glimpse of the healing power of the Savior's touch.   It was a late Saturday morning and I was still in my  robe .  I remember being so flustered with what wasn't getting done that day.  The house was a mess, the kids still undressed, laundry all over and I was so exhausted.  I was overwhelmed  and unproductive.  As I made a feeble attempt to clean the kitchen one last time,  a brand new  bottle of ketchup slipped out of my hands and splattered all over the floor, the walls, the table, the cupboards, and all over me.  I just stood there in the mess, unable to move.  All I could do was cry.  Totally unaware of who was in the room, or what anyone was doing, I stood there with tears streaming down my face, feeling total despair and so alone.....until I felt an ever so gentle, loving touch.  I looked down to see small , three-year old hands clutching a wash cloth, tenderly wiping the ketchup from off of my feet. As I write this, I can still vividly recall Natalie's sweet little face staring up at me with the hope that her loving act of kindness would not just wipe away the ketchup, but more importantly wipe away my tears.

I have reflected on that experience many times throughout the years.  I was taught so much about the Savior that day because of a little girl who knew so much, even at three years of age.   I believe that Natalie's spirit was mature enough to know that my tears  were not for the spilled ketchup.  Perhaps she was even wise enough to know that  it was her touch, her Christ-like touch, that brought healing and peace to a very troubled heart that Saturday morning so many years ago.

We often refer  to Natalie as  an "old soul".  She has always seems so much older than her actual age.   Today she is nineteen, but her soul is years beyond that.  Natalie is so wise.   Her mature, wise spirit is a divine gift that accompanied her to earth as a baby.  She has continued to hone that gift as she has gotten older and experienced more of life.  Many times, I have become the student, learning and gleaning from her, truly in awe of the insights she offers.  I have often contemplated my role as the  mother of someone who was so  blessed with such wisdom and spiritual knowledge.  And when I ponder this, I know in my heart, that she was sent to our home to teach and guide me....and she does.

Natalie is sensitive, in every sense of the word.  On a lighter note, she is sensitive to germs, or rather environments that invite the nasty little critters.  She detests double dipping, using each other's utensils, and heaven forbid if she find a hair in or near what she is eating.  I love to have Natalie clean the kitchen; my table and counters are thoroughly sanitized by the time she gets done.

I cherish her sensitive nature in every aspect.  I remember a very  sweet conversation she and I  had a few years ago.  The subject was forgiveness.  Natalie was struggling in a matter of offering forgiveness and she was very sensitive to the fact that she was failing in a particular instance.  I listened, and once again was taught what a valiant, mature spirit was like.  She wanted to be forgiving.  She wanted to put it behind her.  She recognized that she hadn't and  she committed to work hard to  have a forgiving heart.

Two nights ago, Jared and I, with Natalie, Holly and Hannah, went to see The Dark Knight Rises.  In the scene where Batman tells officer Gordon that he remembered when someone once told him that "everything would be alright" when his parents were shot when he was just a boy;  I looked over to see tears welling up in Natalie's eyes.  Who cries in  a Batman movie!?  Natalie does!  She cries in commercials that are in the least bit sentimental to her. She cries when she listens to songs that tug at her heart. She cries every night as she watches her beloved "Dr. Who" series.     I actually adore this in Natalie.  Many would think otherwise, but she wears her heart-strings right on her sleeve in full view for anyone to pull.

Speaking of how others may perceive her, I think she has everyone fooled.   He quick and witty remarks would make others think that she has nerves of steel and feelings to match.  That is so far from who Natalie is deep down inside.  Her feelings are very tender and even fragile.  When Natalie is aware of financial struggles, personal concerns, or anything that involves someone she loves, her feelings run deep.  She wants to make things all better so everyone can just be happy again.  Sometimes I think it would be hard to be Natalie.  She never shuts down when it involves matters of the heart; her heart or the heart of anyone she loves. She aches and hurts when other do.

As I think of who Natalie is, I have come to  conclusion that she is the best parts of both  Martha and Mary. Her personality isn't one that stands out or is comfortable being the center of attention in a big crowd.  She loves attention, but goes about getting it in quiet ways.  Like Martha, she is often behind the scenes plugging away at life, doing what she likes to do and often enjoying her solitude.  Like Mary, she seeks opportunities to better herself, be where she should be, doing what she should be doing .

Today, I have shed a few tears thinking about  Natalie. I am so honored to be her mother.  I have such deep respect for who she is.  A couple of days ago, she made the comment:  "I am going to be an amazing wife."  Yes, you are Natalie.  You will be an amazing wife.  You will be an amazing mother.  I know this because you are an amazing person and desire righteousness.  May the Lord continue to bless you as you strive to  become what you know you are to become.  I love you dear daughter.  Happy Birthday.  Mommy

Friday, July 6, 2012

I Stand All Amazed

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to fill in as the music director in sacrament meeting for a few Sundays. Of course I was happy to do that and didn't give it much more thought until Sunday morning came and I remembered my commitment.

I love Sunday mornings. They are usually made up of quiet, reflective, preparing moments  that allow me to focus my heart and mind in accordance to partaking of the sacrament. This particular Sunday morning started much the same way as others, but my focus wasn't what it should be.  I needed to get to church early so that I could put the hymn numbers on the wall, get the stand and hymnal set up, make sure that I knew how to lead the songs that had been chosen, etc.   My mind was preoccupied and very busy.

I led a very rousing Called To Serve as the opening hymn and could hear my primary children's voices sing out. It went well.  The sacrament hymn was I Stand All Amazed.  The meter was slower.  I began to beat the time and wonderful Sis. Lyon accompanied me exactly according to how fast I was waving my arm.  As we completed the first verse, I was very aware of  how very, very slow we were singing.  With that in mind, when we began the  second verse I lifted my arm to pick up the pace but as hard as I tried, I could not lead the song any faster.  I literally felt a physical resistance on my arm and even glanced over to Sis. Lyon as if to motion to her to play faster.  She didn't.  She followed my weighted arm and we continued to sing at a very slow meter.

Not sure what to do and confused by what was happening with my arm, I started to focus on what I was singing. "I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine to rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine, that he should extend his great love unto such as I, sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify."

As the words passed through my mind and into my soul, I humbly became aware of my Savior's sacrifice and love for me personally,  I was worth rescuing, owning, redeeming and justifying.  Tears flooded my eyes and I couldn't see the book.  A huge lump formed in my throat and I could no longer sing.  With my head bowed, I continued to lead that hymn in hope that others were not distracted by my emotions.

The first speaker in the meeting was Pennie Rumsey.  She started off by sharing an experience that had just taken place.  All morning long she had been doing all the things that is required of a mother of four prior to going to church.  Her mind was busy, and anxious in trying to organize her thoughts for her talk.  Pennie shared her uneasiness about how slow the sacrament hymn was being sung and how  she just wanted it to be done.  But as she began to focus on the words of the hymn, she had a feeling of peace and her mind and heart were calmed.  She expressed what a sweet experience that sacrament song had been for her.

I was so appreciative she voiced that tender mercy, which in turn was a tender mercy for me.  I was somewhat embarrassed about the slowness and my tears and so grateful to know  that it was meant for her too.I know that my heavy arm was the result of two (and probably more) heavy hearts that needed to be lifted. 

I write that my children may know that preparation for partaking of sacred emblems is an important part of the sacrament.  I write that they may also know, that every little facet of our lives is important to the Savior.  He stands ready to calm the troubled soul............if we just let him.