Monday, September 12, 2011

Answer to the Hard Question, Take Two

Image from the Hubble telescope
(I think I will subtitle this one "My Place in the Universe," for no particular reason except that it gives me an excuse to post a cool picture.)

I began writing this blog just over one year ago, partly to exercise my writing muscles and partly to answer what was, for me, a challenging question. After a youth and young adulthood spent building a resume of accomplishments and adventures, I found myself in middle age with increasingly blurred vision. Not only did I require glasses to read anything smaller than about 18 point type, but I had lost sight of myself. When faced with a seemingly innocuous request to describe myself, I froze.

Last week, I asked my early morning seminary students to respond to the question: Who am I? I decided that I should answer the question myself, and for the first time in several years, I found the task surprisingly easy. In no particular order:

I am a writer, or at least I aspire to be a writer. For years, I brought in a pretty good salary writing manuals and proposals, and yet I did not consider myself a writer. Now, my pen brings in absolutely no income at all. All the same, my brain needs to write almost as much as my body needs to eat. I love it when my writing touches someone else, but I would write even without an audience.

I am a teacher. This year, that involves teaching music and scriptures, but frankly, I enjoy teaching just about anything. Sometimes I think I'm pretty talented at teaching. On my better days, I realize my flaws and focus on learning and listening and letting something greater than I do the teaching. That works much better. I do draw the line at opening a preschool or teaching computer skills to octogenarians.  We all have our limits, unreasonable as they may be.

I am a wife and a mother, and I say that with much more meaning now than I did in my twenties when I first took the titles. Life and death, epiphanies in the pit or on the mountaintop, and the plodding pace of daily life have all led me step by step to a much greater understanding of what it means to be married and live in a family.

I am a believer. I have had occasion these past few months to revisit and refresh my beliefs. After an unexpected period of doubt, I pondered back over my own personal experiences with God and with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I cannot explain the experiences of others or events that occurred years ago. On the other hand, neither can I deny the unmistakable answers to prayers, the inspired counsel of leaders, and the direct influence of God in my life and the life of my family. I know God lives and that He communicates not only with me but with His prophet on the earth. Call it simple if you will. I cannot deny what experience has taught me to be true.

How refreshing to discover myself again! I have missed me.

1 comment:

  1. I love you! I think I'll try this exercise as well. You are amazing & I'm so grateful for our friendship.