this sunday in church, a new family in our ward spoke. i'll admit that, lately, i've been having trouble tuning into the talks at church. last week, i caught some bits and pieces but i find myself inevitably distracted by the truly adorable and very vocal children that i teach for the other two hours, marveling at how good and rambunctious and smart they are.
it's spiritual, in a way, to watch them interact with their families.
but, really, that's no excuse for not doing my job and attempting to feel the Spirit while i'm there.
so this week, i think i tried more. i'm not sure that i walked in there trying to try, so to speak, but i ended up doing so because i was completely compelled by the first speaker. i wasn't drawn in by her steady delivery or by her incredible insights. i was completely enraptured by her total honesty.
here she was, a relatively new mom who had moved with her husband all the way across the country so that he could start the MD/PhD program at collegetown U.
she won't see him again for 7 or 8 years.
she's uprooted her life for what's right for her new family, leaving friends and roots and goals and familiarity behind her.
and she chose to talk about humility--because it was something she felt like she needed to work on.
i just love it when people are straight up like that--when they stand up there and admit that they are the farthest thing from perfect at this particular topic. i don't love it when it seems like it's a trite and easy way to begin the talk. i love it when it comes from the gut, when you are up there already feeling exposed and you are absolutely honest about your own particular weaknesses.
it's not a vulgar disclosure. it's just a moment of true humanity that i find absolutely fascinating, because i automatically find myself in the boat with the speaker, grabbing an oar, and saying "hey. i'm here. let's row together."
i just get it.
one thing she said, that provoked all kinds of thoughts in me, was that she hadn't really been asking the Lord what HE wanted her to do or be. she'd been thinking a lot about her goals and what she wanted to do, but she hadn't really been asking the Navigator Himself if those paths were His paths.
and that struck me as something very true for me.
i'm so all about these goals that i have, and so utterly frustrated when i don't meet them, that i hold on so tight and i micromanage and i just don't see progress.
i can't see who i am sometimes, i can't see what's happening around me, i can't see the path behind me and i sure as heck can't see the one in front of me because my nose is pressed tight against a stumbling block of my own creation, one that might once have been a small pebble but has now reached gargantuan proportions requiring a massive crane and a passel of large men to move out of my way.
it never occurs to me, you know, to go around it.
that maybe, just maybe, right now i don't need to climb it, or kick it, or even really deal with it at all.
maybe, just maybe, now is not the boulder time.
since sunday, i've been thinking more deliberately about what it is that He wants for me. what should my goals be? it occurs to me, today actually, that perhaps the things that i think are actually concurrent goals are really conflicting ones. neither one of them are bad. in fact, i would venture to say that both of them are very good.
indeed, both of them might be the best kind of worthy goals, though i would argue that one is of more eternal consequence than the other.
but while i've been thinking that one of them is really necessary to do in tandem with the other, perhaps i'm wrong and He's right. perhaps, the gentle tugging at my mind and heart that says that i need to just LET GO tells me that one, actually, will only happen when i stop focusing on the other.
it makes some logical sense, but really not entirely.
but that's okay, because in my mind, all i can see is a fist holding tight, all tensed up, grabbing so hard--and then it just letting go. and with that open palm comes peace. and ease. and just going with the flow.
if you've ever been standing on a bus or a tram, you know what i'm about to describe to you. your instinct is to stand ramrod straight, fist clenched around the pole or handhold that has been allocated to you. you think that such a posture will actually help you stay stable. if you've done this more than once, you know that such an instinct is entirely wrong.
the best way to deal with the erratic motion of a moving vehicle is to sink into your knees a little, relax, and let the movement move you. when you go with it, you don't fall across your neighbor's lap. when you move with it, you stay stable.
i think it's time to move with it instead of beating my fists against a boulder that, in seven months, has moved not an inch.
i think it's time to relax.
i think it's time to focus on doing what i love and doing it just because i love it.
there is a time and a season for fists tight, knuckles white. there's a time and a season for gritty, determined, teeth-clenching focus. i just think, maybe, that's not every season.
sometimes you have to just do what you know works and do the best you can and sink into your knees a little.
and sink to your knees a little bit more.