Saturday, April 7, 2012

Good Friday

I discovered something about myself today: I am an idealist. My brother passed along a couple of personality tests he wanted to compare notes on. The results really weren't surprising, but they were profoundly insightful. I've thought about them throughout the day and certain things are beginning to make sense to me.

I have expectations of how I think things should be in my life and my imaginations of what could be are not my reality (at least at this stage in my life). Maybe they are some people's, but they are not mine.

We deal daily in virtual realities. Through various media outlets and publications and on-line we're bombarded with all these picture perfect representations of all that life could be (Thank you, Pinterest).  Life is air brushed, photo-shopped, instagrammed and manipulated in every way imaginable to make a beautifully dreamy, perfectly perfect representation of reality. But that's just it. It's just a representation and not always an accurate one.

So, when I have visions of using natural dyes to create lovely Easter eggs from our free range chickens (that don't exist in my real world) with my perfectly behaved children who never argue or say a cross word or drip dye on the table or themselves, and with my doting husband taking the lead and joining in with the rest of us, I am just setting myself up for disappointment. But I do it anyway. Why? Because I am an idealist, I guess. And because virtual reality says this is what every good and worthy mother does. Bah.
Our imperfect but still beautiful Easter eggs

I had an epiphany after wearing my pajamas and moping around most of the day: I can only do so much and there is a time and a season for everything. The trick is to love life even when it isn't what I dreamed it would be.

I wore myself out yesterday and I paid for it today. I was really sad that I had procrastinated so long and wasn't going to be able to do my natural dyes project. Heck, I hadn't even bought any regular old Paaz Easter egg dye yet. I ended up calling my husband in tears and asking him if he could pick up some egg dye and dye eggs with the boys. I felt overwhelmed by that simple thing and saddened by the fact that my perfect ideal wasn't going to happen. I did not have the energy. It just seemed like it was one more thing and I couldn't do it.

When he got home we went to get a few groceries and pick up the dye together and do you know what? He fell asleep on the floor and I dyed eggs at 9:30 at night with my kids (their bedtime is 8:00) and it was fine and enjoyable. NOT perfect but good.

Easter eggs aside, I have thought about Jesus Christ a lot today. I have thought about all the many ways I fall short. I am not perfect. Jesus Christ is. He makes up for all our imperfections. He loves us unconditionally and He is merciful. His grace is sufficient for all men and women and He can make our weaknesses into strengths (Ether 12:27, emphasis added).

Isn't that amazing? I guess it really was a good Friday after all.

Today's Poem:
"To Any Who Have Watched for a Son's Returning" by Mary Lyman Henrie
He watched his son gather all the goods
that were his lot,
anxious to be gone from tending flocks,
the dullness of the fields.
He stood by the olive tree gate long
after the caravan disappeared
where the road climbs the hills
on the far side of the valley,
into infinity.
Through changing seasons he spent the light
in a great chair, facing the far country,
and that speck of road on the horizon.
Mocking friends: "He will not come."
Whispering servants: "The old man
has lost his senses."
A chiding son: "You should not have let him go."
A grieving wife: "You need rest and sleep."
She covered his drooping shoulders,
his callused knees, when east winds blew chill, until that day . . .
A form familiar, even at infinity,
in shreds, alone, stumbling over pebbles.
"When he was a great way off,
His father saw him,
and had compassion, and ran,
and fell on his neck, and kissed him."

P.S. I thought a lot about my grandpa today too. He was buried 18 years ago today. I still miss him a lot and I'm so grateful that I'll see him again someday. That is one of the wonderful things that Easter is about.


Tanya H said...

Oh I so get this. I do that with all the holidays: decorating the tree, decorating cookies, whatever it is, I set myself up for an unrealistic perfect little photo-op and then am so sad when it doesn't work out. Good insights. I love this whole post. Happy Easter!

Samuel James Dunn, Esq. said...

Jill, I love your blog. That statement is true for many reasons, but specifically today I want to say that you do a good job of not adding to the unrealistic facade of life that seems to pervade the blogosphere and other social media forums. You're so refreshingly honest and candid about life and all of its warts,. I love the line from this post where you describe your day as "fine and enjoyable. NOT perfect but good." I feel like that is life in a nutshell, and you've captured so perfectly with those few words. I'm not saying that being an idealist and setting up expectations, even lofty ones, is a bad thing at all, in fact doing so often helps me to push beyond the stagnation of mediocrity and be better than I'd be had I not set such "unrealistic" expectations, but it's important to recognize that life isn't all sunshine and roses all the time and that it doesn't need to be.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, except to say that I love reading your blog and that reading about the times where you struggle gives me hope because I realize that I'm not the only one who has rough days every now and then. I think more people should follow your lead in publicizing life's difficulties so that there wouldn't be this perception, perpetuated by facebook, pinterest, blogs, and so on, that everyone's life is charmed but mine and if my life isn't charmed I must be doing it wrong. I guess what I'm saying is thank you for being brave enough to put yourself out there. Also, on a more general note, thanks for being awesome.

Predilections said...

Thank you, Sam. From the bottom of my heart. I always enjoy reading your thoughts (concision be darned). I appreciate the positive affirmations too because honestly, sometimes after I hit the publish button I think, "What am I doing?Does anyone really want to read this?" It's nice to know I am not alone.

On a side note, I think you are pretty awesome yourself. No, really. I'm pretty sure I have the best in-laws in the world.

Predilections said...

It sounds like we are two peas in a pod, Tanya. I hope you had a wonderful Easter with your family! :)