In my last post I promised you that I would be honest with you, no matter what that made you think of me. Today I created a new category for our blog: “Too Much Honesty.” I did that because there is honesty, and then there is honesty–the kind that leaves you wondering if you would have been better off to not read it. I’m afraid today’s post might be one of those.
I have been struggling lately with the kind of stuff most moms struggle with at one point or another, and most of us struggle with it often and a lot. I have been feeling under-valued and even unloved. It started over a week ago, and I’ve been trying to push those thoughts away and just keep on keeping on, but then I got sick, and I never do well when I’m not feeling well. So last week I was down, but this week I am pathetic! And when you’re pathetic every negative thing feeds your patheticness, and every positive thing seems to blow away with the wind. And then you wallow in your patheticness until something drags you out of your cesspool. Because I know you’re on the edge of your seat waiting for it, let me explain:
I am sick. Did I say that already??? Well, I am. I feel like crap, in fact. My head hurts, my ears hurt, my throat hurts, my eyes hurt, and yesterday I coughed until I threw up. I want to sleep. A lot. For a long time. But I am a mom, and moms don’t usually get that option when they are sick, so instead I do what moms do…you know, mom stuff, or, as my husband would say, ridiculous stuff, like getting up at 6 a.m. to taxi around seventeen-year-old girls who haven’t gotten around to getting their driver’s licenses yet but absolutely have to be somewhere at 6 a.m and can’t ask someone who’s going to the same somewhere and has to drive right past our house for a ride because that would be “awkward.” And then getting up out of my warm bed a few hours later, wrapping up in several layers because I’m freezing, and going back to said somewhere to retrieve said daughters and a friend, because of course I feel good enough to drive someone else to their house too. not. but it’s irrelevant, because I am Mom, and Mom is always just there to do whatever we need her to do whenever we need her to do it and it doesn’t really matter how she feels. And so I go and do “mom stuff” even though I feel like crap. And that makes me feel more like crap–pathetic, like I said.
But I also mentioned something about cesspools and dragging and all that, and, as is usually the case, it was the doing of the “mom stuff” that was both the way into pathetic and the way out of the cesspool. I, like Charity, am the mother of an LDS missionary, and one of the most difficult things about being a missionary mom is that you only have one shot a week at communication with your child. Today is my one shot this week, so when I got home I didn’t go straight to bed like I wanted to, I sat down to write my son an e-mail. Elder “Orpheus” is perennially happy, or at least pretends to be, but he seemed to be struggling with some things last week, and I didn’t want to drag him down, so I prayed for help with my e-mail, and I believe that Heavenly Father directed me to Ephesians 3 so that I could write to my son about the love of the Savior and His ability to strengthen us in our tribulations, especially when we are doing His work. And, as I was writing to my son, trying to lift and encourage him, I realized that God was using my own words along with His to lift and encourage me, because he wants me to succeed in my work as a mother as much as he wants my son to succeed in his work as a missionary. We are both trying, and sometimes falling, failing, and struggling, to share God’s love with His children. We are both trying to help people find their way back to their Creator. And He is as eager to help me do His work as He is to help my son do His work. We just need to trust in “him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” and allow Christ to dwell in our hearts.
Now, if I’m true to my promise of honesty, I can’t tell you that I am no longer feeling pathetic. I still feel like crap, and I’m still annoyed that my kids don’t seem to recognize that fact, but I know that my Heavenly Father is not oblivious to my misery. He is aware of me. He loves me. He wants to help me. He expects me to choose love, to choose joy, to choose Him, even when I am feeling worn and broken and pathetic, and when I drag myself out of my cesspool He will be there waiting to help me be the best mom I can be.
Elder Orpheus’s reply to my e-mail was short, because missionaries hardly ever have a lot of time to e-mail, but I haven’t stopped crying since I read it. I’ll share the last line with you, because it is incalculably relevant, and because it made me feel a whole lot less pathetic. He said, “I love you! Keep up the good work. You are awesome. You are raising good kids.”