Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bearing One Another's Burdens

The last several Mondays we have been talking about baptism in preparation for Olivia's baptism in a few days during Family Home Evening. Last night, it was our pleasure to study some of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon--Mosiah 18:8-10. I love the phrases "bear one another's burdens that they may be light" and "mourn with those that mourn" and "comfort those that stand in need of comfort" and "stand as a witness of God at all times." I love the question that Alma poses to the people, "If this be the desire of your heart, what have ye against being baptized?" and when the people heard this, they "clapped their hands for joy."

Olivia earnestly wants to be baptized and is prepared to make that special covenant with Heavenly Father. During our discussion Olivia and Coleman asked what it means to bear one another's burdens. It was so easy to explain since we have been the recipient of so many kind acts recently.

Just yesterday I was on my way home from work, going over and over in my mind what meal possibilities we had and how I was going to manage putting dinner on the table in a timely fashion (more on the back-to-work transition later). I was at a loss.

I pulled up to my friend Hannah's house, where my kids are well taken care of for at least one day during the week. Coleman and Olivia love being there (and they love being at their other "sitter's" house, my other friend Char). We feel so blessed to have friends help us out in this way.

Hannah was handing off their bags and as the kids were (reluctantly) getting ready to go, she nonchalantly said, "so, we made you some dinner..." and proceeded to hand over and carry to the car several dishes that made up a fully prepared, hot meal complete with rolls and fruit. I was dumbfounded to the point that I don't think I was able to express my gratitude and I'm sure I sounded like a stammering idiot while trying to give thanks.

Tonight as we were folding and ironing clothes (ironing is something that rarely happens at our house, so it's worth mentioning, right?) we had another doorbell ditcher... this time leaving beautiful and tasty sugar cookies, with lots of frosting, and an envelope with money in it.

We don't know who it is from, but the fact that I can think of at least 20 people capable of such a generous and anonymous act makes it all the sweeter.

I have a sneaky suspicion that it comes in part from my last Relief Society lesson, based on Elder Hales' talk from April Conference "Becoming Provident Providers Temporally and Spiritually." It needs to be said that just before church the day I gave that lesson, I was released from being a Relief Society teacher. I have loved the calling and so enjoy learning from the sisters in our Relief Society. I knew the release was coming sooner or later (because I have a couple of other callings) but that didn't make me any less wary of the timing.

Just before General Conference I felt strongly that I was prepared to hear the messages that would be shared. The minute I realized what Elder Hales was speaking about that Saturday morning, I knew that I would be teaching a lesson based on his talk. It came as no surprise that it was the first Conference talk assigned to me from this session. The fact that we had just been smacked in the face with our LACK of provident living and preparation for the future and that much uncertainty lay ahead made me feel humbled and humiliated and aware of the many ways I needed to change. It also made me feel like a bit of a hypocrite at the thought of standing in front of a room full of women who were much better at provident living than I am.

It seemed like pure poetic justice that my last lesson, my swan song, was on a topic that I was highly unqualified to teach. (I brought my Eiffel Tower and a beautiful photo that Ryan took as proof of my lack of provident living--you can see Ry's great photo here--you know I couldn't teach my last lesson without a lovely table decoration.)

In Relief Society I shared some of the events leading up to hearing the talk and discussed with the sisters ways we could all be better at living providently. I was comforted to know that I am not alone and that many other people are facing similar circumstances. I feel like (and hope) that we all went away feeling empowered and capable of doing better.

Things are looking up for us--Ryan is working at a new job that he really enjoys. I started my job about a month ago, and we are adjusting to the change of having me be gone a few days a week. We are paying our bills and within a couple of months we should have our fabulous trip to Paris paid for. I will breathe a lot easier when that day comes and when our emergency fund is a reality and not just a nagging feeling that we really should start to set some money aside for a rainy day.

Until then, we are so grateful for the big and small ways that people have shown us love and generosity. I shouldn't be surprised that people so willingly give, and fundamentally I am not surprised. I guess I am still getting used to being on the receiving end of so much selfless service.

I am grateful for the real-life examples that we have to show to our children what it means to bear one another's burdens and comfort those that stand in need of comfort... that the lesson came with sugar cookies is icing on the cake.


Lambson Family said...

Lisa, you are probably one of the most inspirational people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing!

Linn said...

Beautiful. You are amazing Lisa! Thank you for sharing!

sara said...

I'm so glad to hear you guys are being taken care of. But what I really want to know is --- where do you think they got those amazing cookies? Homemade or store bought? I'm visiting in July and will have to stop in Utah county if they came from a store :)

Heather said...

You should know by now that you totally rock. There isn't anyone more deserving of a little role swapping because you would totally be doing the same if the situation were reversed. (So send me those cookies. Frosting yum) Good luck on provident living. There is a peace that comes from knowing that you are prepared. More for the children than anything. Start small and you will be blessed.

Heather said...

We just bought books from a Sandy joint on food storage and awesome recipes using food storage. I shall post that info as soon as I return home.

Sara White said...

Really? You think the women in that room are better provident livers? (And I am not talking about the vital organ in your body here.) I thought your lesson was amazing and really hit home to me and so many others because of your wise words of things that you have learned from mistakes of the past--mistakes we have all made--and your example to make things right. Love you Lisa. I think your wonderful.

emilyw said...

I enjoyed reading this and realizing there are so many wonderful "Christ-like" beings out there. At times, it's great to be on the other end and receive because it helps us to realize all the good out there. :) You are so inspirational!