When I was 11 years old I knew that life would be "complete" when I was old enough to be in the Young Women's program. At 15 I was certain that true happiness came when I was 16 and could officially date. Then as I got closer to the time to leave for college I was sure that when I left home and was on my own - THEN I would feel that contentment that must come at some point....and don't even get me started with the whole "boy" issue. I was so positive that once I had a boyfriend/fiance/husband - I would feel great about myself.
This has continued all through my life - and I have chased away way too many wonderful days with 'what if' thoughts, or 'if only...' moments. I have struggled with finding joy in the here-and-now.
One big example is regarding having children. Through our years of infertility and wanting desperately to have children I don't know if we ever sat back and enjoyed the time the 2 of us had together. I took for granted the fact that we could go to movies without worrying about having a babysitter - not to mention how much cheaper a night out was without paying said sitter. I didn't realize how blessed I was to go to the grocery store by myself and take as long as I wanted. I most certainly didn't appreciate the fact that I went to church on Sunday and heard the lessons - really got to listen. All I could think about at the time was how life would be so much more complete, and so much better if I had children by my side.
Fast forward several years to 2008 - to today. How often do I find myself stressed out or frustrated with the incessant noise in our home? I cry because I'm not a good enough entertainer or disciplinarian to my children. I feel overwhelmed by all of the things I don't get done because I am trying to spend time with my children, or feel upset because I only feel like a "MOM" and not a person. While I don't long for the sadness and loneliness that I felt through the years of infertility, I do wish I could have some of those feelings from time to time to remind me how blessed I currently am.
Today I read an essay from a great book called, "The Mother In Me" - about just this thing. It talked about a woman who was struggling with infertility and compared her feelings to the feelings of her sister-in-law who was struggling with being a young mother. As I read the essay and tears streamed my face I remembered for a moment those feelings, the thought that, "If I only had a baby - then I would fulfill my mission". The essay concluded saying essentially that we needed to sit back for a moment in OUR lives and be grateful for what we have going on right now. Whether or not those experiences are comfortable or "fun" is irrelevant. Remember that there are hundreds of women who long for your life.
If you are frustrated with not knowing what to cook for dinner tonight - remember that there is a mother in Africa who just longs to have food to cook for her children.
If you long for children of your own to hold - just for a moment relish in the idea that your time is truly your own.
If you feel overwhelmed by the children you have - think of the woman who cries herself to sleep each night begging Heavenly Father to be a mother.
If you are frustrated with a spouse who works overtime - think of the family with no job, no income who wonder where their next check will come from.
If you worry about keeping all of the "stuff" cleaned up in your house and wish you didn't have so many toys to clean up - picture the family who lost everything in a fire, who have no 'things' to clean up.
If you struggle with a way-ward teenager - remember the parents who buried a young baby, never to see them as a teenager.
I could go on and on - but I think you get the idea. Just for a moment sit back and be grateful for where you are at. Thank Heavenly Father for your set of 'blessings' or 'trials'. I know I'll think a little harder about it today and not wish away my todays.