Friday, January 22, 2010

Thoughts of the Bi-Week

One of my callings is to edit our bi-weekly Neighborhood Newsletter. And by "neighborhood" I mean "ward." And by "ward" I mean "a four-block radius."
Ah, the joys of living in Provo!

Anywhosers, I thought I would share with you a couple of "Thoughts of the Week" I've written over the last 18 months or so. Okay, so I'll share like 2. The first one means a lot to me (although it's not necessarily that good) because a lady in our ward approached me last Sunday and said:
Cheryl, thank you for your Thought in the newsletter this week.
Me: Oh, you're welcome!
Lady: I have to tell you what happened. My daughter called me and was in the throes of Depression. She was having such a hard time, and I told her, 'Just a second, I have something to read to you.' I had just received the newsletter that morning. I read her your thought and she said, 'Oh, mom, that is it exactly! Please thank her for me.'

I was just so grateful that the time I put into something so small and seemingly insignificant (wait, where is that phrase from?) would yield something really awesome.

The last one will be familiar because I drafted it from my blog post. Funny how it still applies to my current situation. And probably will for my entire lifetime...

January 7, 2010:
It happens to me every winter: I forget what it is like to walk on the grass in my bare feet. My body recoils at the bitter cold and I content myself with a life indoors. Spring is far away, summer is a myth; only the memories of autumn linger in my mind. Come springtime, the memories of warmth will take hold and before summer arrives I will already be planning a hike, a picnic, an early morning walk. The irony is how repetitive the cycle tends to be. Over and over again I forget summer, only then to forget winter and cold during the hot August air.

This is not quite unlike the ease in which I forget how God takes care of me and my family. In the winters of my pain and struggles, I fail to grasp the reality of my summers. I only remember the autumnal paths that led me to my cold despair. But as with the renewal of the Earth, Spring will come! God has never left me to my own destruction; He is always there, waiting for me to realize the crystallizing beauty of my winter will melt and give way. The corner will be turned and I will once again dance in the grass of summertime.

Unfortunately, though, I will forget that even as my joyful summers still come, the harsh winters must also come. For truly, there shall be an opposition in all things; a time to learn and to grow, a time for peace. Without my winters of pain and struggle, I honestly could not appreciate my summers of joy!

“...As one writer expressed, ‘in the depth of winter, [we find] within [us] an invincible summer.’”
~President Deiter F. Uchtdorf quoting Albert Camus

~The Editor

October 15th, 2009:
Time marches on, and with it takes the best and the worst and the in-between times. For me, my life has fulfilled it’s self-longing prophecy of illuminating the moment. But for the most part, my identity of motherhood and wifehood has taken over the biggest parts of me. I find myself with needs unmet, but not quite unlearned. I have many responsibilities, but amongst them is much ambition to socialize, and a need for voracious reading. I have grand desires for gardens, novels, and flawless chore charts. I fiddle with my music and prose; but really pray for sleep. I do not resent napless days, but I do dream of flawless moments. I muddle and mull...I keep it together. My expectations are simple, and yet I still have no time. I search for it daily --looking under piles of cereal, wet sheets, hurried day-dreams, and ouchies. I stare at my older face, and surprise myself by not recoiling when I find 6 long gray hairs on the top of my head.

I wonder when I grew older. I think of when I was 14 years old; so young, so clueless --wishing my youth away, wondering when I would accomplish all I wanted to accomplish. Worrying over clothes and boys and mascara; not realizing that in 16 years, I would still worry about clothes, my boys, and mascara. When did time add bills, cars, books, blog design, money, intimacy, the salvation of children? Staring at young eyes with older skin, I feel the same. I have not changed --desires for accomplishment, organization, validation, love, hope, laughter, joy --I am the same. I am Fourteen-Forever. Only experience has changed my views; my accomplishments are less, my organization is refined, my validation is deeper, my lovehopelaughterjoy is found in smaller places. Moments are captured and held longer, and there is no frustration at compassion. I weep more. I think longer. I capture momentum, and push it longer than exhaustion. My days are long; my nights are short. I carry on, for stopping creates more. More of more. When I wake, I see the trees, the sun, the shortness of night. I wonder, I ponder --I stroke the dreams lingering from the impossible until the whimpering waking reflex takes over; I begin again. With faith. With need. With hope. With joy. Again. And again.
And again…

~The Editor

If you are LDS, what is your current calling? If you are not LDS, do you volunteer at your church? Or do volunteer service in the community? What do you do?


Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Okay Cheryl, I'm bawling after reading your words. Thank you so much for sharing those. They truly touched my soul today. You are just such an amazing writer. *sniffle* LOVED this post!!

..So, on to your questions:

I teach on the 2nd Sunday in Relief Society. It is such a fun calling, I love getting up there and getting to lead a discussion with all those great ladies. Plus, it's the first calling I've ever had where I really only have one Sunday of responsibility a month. It's kind of a nice break.

As far as community service, my first priority is that I volunteer at my boys' school 3 hours a week. I enjoy getting to know their teachers better, but I especially love getting to know their classmates. It's so fun to walk through the school and be greeted as "Ethan's Mom", "Austin's Mom", or "Matthew's Mom".

Along with the classroom stuff, I also volunteer on our puny PTA. Less than 10 percent of the parents at our school join the PTA, so the rest of us are left with a bunch of work. My husband has been in charge of designing the school t-shirts for a couple of years, and I do all the advertising, money collecting, ordering, distributing, etc....I used to have quite a few jobs in the PTA, but I've cut back a lot since going back to college.

I'm also required to do community service to qualify for my scholarship. I'm lucky enough to live just around the corner from the local Deseret Industries. I go there once or twice a month for 3 hours at a time. I have loved doing that work, there are just a bunch of neat people there. I also get to do volunteer stuff for the Womens' Center up on campus.

You know what I would love to have the time for? I would just LOVE to volunteer somewhere that I could work with babies. Now that my boys are all in school, I just have this NEED to hold a baby sometimes. I've actually talked a few of my neighbors into letting me babysit for them just so that I could hold their baby. :)

Sorry for the long comment...but you asked!

Cardalls said...

I am the stake YW secretary for the moment (take that as you will:). Currently though I feel like my most important calling is being a Mommy and making sure this baby comes on time and healthy. Contractions starting at 13 weeks isn't real fun! Many of my community things..PTA, helping in kids school etc has had to be set aside because of this.

Amanda D said...

Great post, Cheryl.

Right now I'm the Provident Living Specialist. It's a challenge because I'm not really sure what to do with it. I'm getting there though.

Like Shauntae, I volunteer at the school, and I am on the Title One board and the PALS (like PTA) committee.

Most of my service is at home though. The endless laundry, cleaning, cooking, reading, playing, etc are service to my family which then goes to my neighbors and community as I raise children to go beyond the walls of home. Does that make sense? I hope so.

Brandon said...

All I have to say is... my wife has mad writing skillz.

Susan M said...

I teach the Valiant girls class in Primary (oldest girls). I love it. Best calling in the church, hands down, except for nursery. (And I can say that because my kids are all teenagers, not nursery age.)


I am the temple committee co-chair in my ward. As for community service, I assist with a brain injury group and a Singles Mingle group for people with mental illness and/or brain injury or a disability. I also sit on committees for other organizations and love being involved in my community.

evitafjord said...

1st counselor in Primary. I've been in Primary for most of my post-HS life, which is GREAT with me.

Other than that, most of my volunteering is as-needed in the schools. I have kids on 3 different campuses, so I tend not to get involved in the running of PTO, but just do things here and there as they come up. In a couple of years, I will have kids on 5!!! campuses (if we don't move/they don't fix it). When that happens, I will probably just spend all day, every day bouncing around the district hahaha. Thankfully, that's only for a year and then it goes down gradually until the last one graduates.

Someday I would like to do some community volunteering, probably with the Komen Foundation or something like that. I've always felt a strong pull to do work for breast cancer charities, even though there is no family history, knock on wood. I am going to run the Komen 5k this year :-)

Stephanie said...

I'm the choir director in a VERY supportive ward. For those of you who have led, or tried to lead a choir, you know what I mean. It will all change next month when we move, though.

As for community service, the closest I've come lately is giving blood at the stake blood drives. Instead, I spend most of my days reading books to kids, changing diapers, and just trying to keep my house in a respectable (not necessarily clean) condition. But I love it!

TaLaisa said...

Girl you have a way with words. I love reading what you write!

I am currently a cub scout den leader for the bears and wolves (8&9 year old boys) and I teach Relief Society. I feared both callings greatly. How funny I got them both at the same time! Heavenly Father sure has a sense of humor. I love my callings.

TaLaisa said...

I forgot!

I'm also the executive secretary to The Executive Secretary of the Bishop. Which by the way, is totally a full time calling.

Emily & Co. said...

Beautiful thoughts! Thanks!

Anne Marie said...

You are a writer! Wow! Absolutely beautiful.

bythelbs said...

Beautiful thoughts.

I'm working with the Beehives (12-13 year old girls) after many, many years of Primary. It's been great. Immersing yourself in your calling and service is a great way to forget about your own problems.