Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New Eyes

Have you noticed a change in pace lately? In your life? In the world? Over the last few months I’ve felt a quickening; as if this small, hurdling piece of rock we're all living on has begun to spin just a bit faster.

Everywhere I turn it seems so many I know are facing the impossible. Young mothers (and by young I mean my age of course) hearing the word cancer from a doctor; couples longing for just one (or just one more) child; sick, sick babies; physically, spiritually, and emotionally broken hearts; working mothers who wish they didn’t have to; jobless fathers who wish they could lose the “less”. It seems everyone is fighting a battle.

I find myself asking where has all this trial and challenge been until now? Is it really possible that in my former happy-go-lucky life I failed to understand the depth of others’ struggles? Is it really possible that I assumed we were all living different versions of my intensely blessed existence?

I remember apologizing to some close friends following McKay’s birth. It was two days before Thanksgiving and we were in the waiting room receiving hourly updates from the surgical staff about McKay’s second heart surgery when a dear friend stopped by to offer support. No basket of goodies, no cards, no pretense. He was just there to sit and be with us.

Something in my heart broke when I saw him as my mind flooded with memories that not so long ago his newborn son spent a good deal of time in the ICU due to some complications with his lungs following birth. Of course, I made the standard visit to adore the precious babe and applaud his brave mother, but never called again. Honestly, I didn’t even know how long his son was made to stay until I spoke to them over a month later. Even then, I did not feel the weight of my neglect.

In that moment, in that simple and Christ-like visit from a friend, my eyes were opened to the opportunity I missed. They too had come home with empty arms. They too wondered if the night nurse would know exactly how to comfort their son. They too were torn between nurturing children at home and being beside one in the hospital. I cried. I asked his forgiveness. All I could offer by way of explanation for my inaction was that up until McKay, I didn’t understand. I’m so sorry, I truly did not know.

Now I know more. I feel like someone has turned on radar in my soul that was previously unused. I sense more heartache. I understand pain. I relate to helplessness. But at the same time I also know vastly more about joy. I have an intimate relationship with trust. Now, more than ever, I am reaching beyond faith and feel as if I’m getting to know my Savior as a friend. I no longer bargain with him or leave my verbal dribble of an offering at His door and run. We are in constant conversation and my life is different because of it. I want to be better. Do better. And, surprisingly, that doesn't always mean more plates of cookies, more gifts. The more I look back on what I needed and the needs I now see in others it is just giving that person time and opportunity to talk, to debrief, to process. Less about me--what I'm giving, doing, being-- and more about them.

I am not entirely thrilled about leaving my blissful ignorance, but I am amazed at the others I am finally being made to see. Sometimes the lessons others are made to endure are heavy and hard to watch. However, I am always left with the reassuring feeling that none of it is random. There is an order to things. Even when they are hard things—there is order. Yes, my world is spinning a little faster these days, but certainly not out of control. My experiences have given me new eyes, an increased awareness, and I am learning how to use it.


kto1s said...

Such a beautiful explanation Mindi. So often I fall short of reaching out in meaningful ways because I just don't know HOW to help. But the more things I, family members or friends have had to go through, I've learned that SOMETHING should be done--even if it is just a visit, phone call, note, email...
Thank you for the reminder and constantly putting the big picture up in front of me. You truly make me want to try harder to do a little better each day.

jaci said...

I don't do enough. I'm like Katie, and I just don't know how to help sometimes, but I need to do more. You make me want to be better. I do feel that life is spinning so fast and there are so many things that I could be doing to help lift someone's burdens. Thank you for the reminder. Thank you for being such a loving and caring friend. I felt your love then, even if you felt you didn't do anything you did.
You're truly wonderful!

We miss you guys and would love to see you soon!

Lisanne said...

Your words are always inspiring!

Hallowsboys said...

I know I say this every time..but your words and thoughts are truly amazing and so right on. You are my daily, weekly therapy on living a positive life. Ok things are slowing down a wee bit. Can we do lunch next week one day?

Kyle and Alli said...

These are truly such great thoughts. I can echo the lack of awareness prior to Grant's birth. Sometimes it is hard to know what to do, but it sounds like these experiences are the ones that change us for good. Thanks for posting these thoughts!

Alli Hicken

Emily said...

Wow Mindi--You are amazing. Thank you for your beautiful words. They are just what I needed to hear today. You must have been inspired. Love you! Em Tueller

Emily said...

So beautifully written. I was just talking about this a couple of months ago with my mother. I've felt like I've had to grow up way too fast over the past couple of years. I feel like I'm getting better at sensing pain on someone's eyes even though they say that they are "fine." A couple of months ago, it seemed like the topic of our Testimony Meeting was trials. Every person was struggling with something immense (like you mentioned), and yet every person demonstrated such faith and trust in the Savior. It really touched me.

I just wanted you to know that I needed to hear this today. I went into the doctor today (Dr. Draper) and I spent an hour in the ultrasound room. I've been through enough of these to know that when they leave you alone after the technician has seen you twice, it is not good. The babies appear okay, but they have stopped growing. In two weeks, there really has not been any change. The doctor wanted to deliver today, and I almost started sobbing right in front of him. We are still a little early so we are worrying about lung development and very small birth weight. We were hoping for two babies in the four pound range, but I think that might be a stretch. Luckily, the blood flow looked good enough that he gave me a few more days - hopefully up to a week.

I haven't been through anything like you've been through. And I know that a lot of twins and babies face much bigger challenges, and I should be grateful that I've kept them in for so long. But, I just don't know if I can do this. I am so scared. How, in the world, can I take care of five kids under eight? How can I take care of myself and two preemie babies? I know a lot of women do it (and much more), but I just don't know if I have it in me.

Sorry. I guess I just needed to unload a bit (didn't mean to get all that out on your blog), but thank you so much for the reminder that I have examples of strong mothers all around me and that we are here to help each other and lift each other's burdens. The more I live, experience, and witness, the more I believe that helping each other through this mortal experience is one of our main purposes in this life. Thanks again!

Sabrina said...

mmm...well said.
and can I just tell you how excited I am to see you-next week!!!!
Happy Mother's Day!

♥ Michele ♥ said...

Great post. Again, Mindi, you are such a talented writer. So good! I agree with everything you said. Going through profound loss or experience opens your eyes in a way no other experience can. Let's get together again for lunch sometime! Give that chubby baby a kiss for Gracie!