Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hi, I'm Allison and I'm Addicted to Guilt

"Sisters, wherever you are, whatever the circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you, with an infinite love."

President Uchtdorf quoted this at the Women's Broadcast last week and can I tell you, it couldn't have come at a better time? I missed it because of my health, but I read as much as I could as soon as I could about it. It was truly inspired.

It seems like life truly does follow that old cliché of the "roller coaster" description. Two Sundays ago, the day was so full of answers. Peace and serenity wrapped around me and I had the energy to have another go at one more week. Monday came and I had great intentions. Then a car breaks. And then a client bounces a check to me. I begin to panic and I drop to my knees in prayer. Tuesday we got news of a bill we have to pay immediately because the kids' dad won't pay for it. Wednesday I spent most of the day in prayer. About my health, about my finances, about the kids, about friends who are in desperate need of help of their own. I cried way too many tears to count. It felt good and I slept like a baby that night. Thursday we got great news from our accountant about our taxes and we consider many prayers answered!  Friday we find out all that tax money will be spent fixing said bills and cars above, leaving none for the things our kids still need, like school clothes. Saturday dragged along and by the time Sunday came back around I was practically crawling to church, but I got there and I was uplifted again.

There's something to say for struggling in life. I'm not a fan of it but it seems to be how it works. For a really long time, (and I do mean a really really long time)I thought that the reasons for our struggles in life had to do with our obedience to God's commandments. I know there are blessings from being obedient, but that's not exactly what I mean. Let me try to explain a bit better.

For example, when I was first married in 1993 to my ex-husband, money was tight as is the norm in young marriages, and I would pinch every penny we had to pay our bills. I made sure my 2 young girls had clothes and food and I was careful to save a bit of money on the side for things that our counselor said to save for like "date night" or whatever. Anyway, I called my dad and told him once that I was just at my wits end, that I'd been stressing all night because I didn't know how we were going to pay the astronomical power bill (thanks Nevada Power) that month to keep our lights on. First thing he asked me?  Are you paying your tithing?  Are you being obedient?  OF COURSE WE WERE. I took offense to this but because I was 20, because it was my dad, and it stuck in my brain that we were being punished because I wasn't being obedient enough somehow. Maybe I had a mean thought about the neighbor who kept their music on til 4 am while I had sleeping babies above him.  Maybe I'd cut someone off on the road and didn't know it. Either way, I developed a guilt over it. Whenever I would struggle, I would immediately turn to myself and think "I'm doing something bad that is causing my children to suffer."  Enter the guilt cycle...

It's taken me many many years to figure out that this wasn't how it worked. We struggle because that's "life", that's how we grow. I mean, look at Job!  Look at the life of the Savior! We struggle because life is inconsistent, life is up and downs, life is peace, and strife, and pain, and death, and joy, and tragedy, and unfairness, and miracles and on and on and on.

I am constantly reminded of others in my close circle of friends who have struggles FAR worse than I can even imagine. I look at their strength in awe. I thank God every day that I'm not in their shoes while also begging Him to relieve them from their pain.

There's no way to know why things happen, there's no way to know when they're going to happen. I can't live in fear of bad things happening. I can't live a life where I'm constantly feeling guilty for causing my husband's job to cut hours. I can't live where I feel guilty when we have to spend yet again our entire savings on one of the kids dental work. I want to enjoy the high times in the middle of the low times, and to do that, I have to be grateful for everything I have. Guilt is one of those things that I've had to learn to release from my life. It's no where near gone, and I don't know if it ever will be but I can tell you this. I have felt some sort of guilt since I can remember. Literally since I was probably 4 or 5. And it's just compounded til just a few years ago when my health took a drastic turn for the worse. I'll probably always struggle with it but it's nice to tell myself that everyone struggles, even the best people do.

In other news, I'm overwhelmed by work. But I have amazing clients!  So it's good!  I have some who are absolutely honest in their dealings with me, who treat me with absolute kindness!  But every once in a while I get the one, the one who just can't figure out how to be a good person. I have learned so much by being self employed. Sadly, it's always the ones who I'm bending over backwards for, losing money for, basically working for free for,  that come back and punch me in the face. The ones who pay me what I'm worth, the ones who know from the start that they're hiring a mom of 7 who's giving them a deal so they'll be patient, those are the ones who I do my best work for. Those are the people who come back to me because we have great experiences together. These are the people I can really call my "friends". I'm so blessed to be able to do this so I can work from home and to get to do it at the pace that it takes to get things done when I have such a huge, young family. 

Oh and Mike is 34, by the way. Men get better with age I think and last night I saw that so clearly. We were at the Mascot Bowl at Lehi High School and it is a huge Statewide affair!  There were thousands of people there and I was seated in the top of the bleachers at the farthest end of the field. Mike was meeting us there from work and I kept my eyes open, watching every direction to see him when he got there. At one point I'd about given up and I happened to glance down to the bottom of the bleachers and there he was, looking around for us. My stomach was full of butterflies and my stupid hand shot up and I waved my arm around and was yelling "MIKE! MICHAEL!  WE'RE RIGHT HERE!!!" at the top of my obnoxious lungs, apologies to the people sitting in front of me. He saw my arm and his eyes reached up to mine and he smiled the biggest smile and I mmmmelted, people. Melted like a popcicle on the 4th of July. I feel like I'm the luckiest girl in the whole wide world sometimes. Trés sigh...

P.S. I'm in no way trying to blame my dad for my guilt complex. He said it out of love and didn't mean for me to take it like that. I have a habit of taking things too hard. That's just me. Take it or leave it, I say.


@emllewellyn said...

You inspire me to be a good person.

Kati said...

I love reading your posts! You are strong and inspiring! And that talk really hit home for me as well. I think that he was inspired to say that and it was meant for each of us in our own way and about our personal struggles. You're amazing and you are doing a GREAT job at handling what life gives you. You are right, things will happen, we don't know why but I believe someday we'll get the answers to those questions... at least I hope so. And everyone struggles, you're not alone. Even the ones who seem to have their life in perfect order are struggling with something. Thanks for posting this today! I needed to be inspired :)