It is my constant question in prayer, my constant study, and my constant plea to understand how this is possible. And how on earth I personally am to manage it (when I’ve failed probably fifty times in the last week alone). “Help,” seems to be my constant heavenward breath. “Don’t leave me to this on my own. I don’t know how to do it. I can’t.”
It reminds me of Neill F. Marriott saying, “Independently forcing ourselves to have humility and trying to make ourselves love others is insincere and hollow, and it simply doesn’t work. Our sins and pride create a breach—or a gap—between us and the font of all love, our Heavenly Father. ...
“Only the Savior’s Atonement can cleanse us of our sins and close that gap or breach.”
Anyway, amidst all of this struggling — the world raging and the media demanding everyone be up in arms at all times — I find myself (at least when nobody is throwing up or having bathroom accidents) finding such relief in and appreciation for the simple routines and joys within my own little home. It doesn’t remain untouched by the world or its concerns. And it shouldn’t. But these small things: falling asleep against Mike while watching an episode of American Pickers; finding Starling’s small toys and balls shoved in the pots-and-pans cupboard when I go to make dinner; Goldie rushing to the rescue — with cream and sugar (and experience) — during Penny’s Zoom-ice-cream-making Young Women activity when Penny accidentally missed some crucial direction and was about to despair; Anders singing addition problems out loud to himself to the tune of “Come Thou Fount”; hearing the three older girls laughing over one of them having just changed the name again of their sisters' group text (names like: “We Have a Tradition of Not Doing That” or “What Excellent Boiled Potatoes”); or Abe and Jesse drawing battle-challenges on one half of a sheet of paper and then leaving them for the other to draw his reply.
These small, easily unnoticed things feel somewhat like flinging myself on the stone steps of some medieval church and finding sanctuary. It’s just so nice to have bits and pieces of my life that are circled about and set-apart for us to just breathe and be.
I often sing the younger kids a little song at bedtime. Usually a lullaby or Primary song. Mike, on the other hand, sings them … "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." (You all know that song, right? "The Devil went down to Georgia. He was lookin' for a soul to steal. He was in a bind 'cause he was way behind and he was willin' to make a deal" And so on. If you aren't familiar with it, you ought to Google the lyrics. But if you can't wait that long to know the "deal", well, it was made with the fiddle player Johnny and it went something like this: "And if you win, you get this shiny fiddle made of gold, but if you lose the devil gets your soul".
Anyway, the other night, as Mike began the song for Summer, she got a mischievous look in her eye and said, "Dad, what if you make the devil win this time."
But no, Mike told her. "Johnny always wins."
I liked that. All of it. Partly because it was funny. But mostly because … Johnny always wins. Which seems just the thing to remember right now. And just the thing I am more capable of remembering when I'm focused on the happenings in this little family.
To end, here are a few pics from an outing to Willard Bay a few weeks ago.
I liked this series of faces from Abe.
Penny drifting off to sea with Starling.
Jesse was determined to catch a Seagull. For some time, he and Abe had high hopes that they would manage it by putting pizza on a towel draped over Abe. When the seagull landed, Abe would swoop it up in the towel and … wah-lah! Unfortunately they failed. But we have it on mediocre authority that such a thing has been done before.
This picture makes me laugh.
And that's about it!