Tuesday, September 22, 2015

BITTERSWEET

Just now, tonight, in the hullabaloo of a week night with dinner and homework and scout stuff and preparing for house guests, I felt the most powerful, encompassing sense of bittersweetness I have ever felt in my life. Sometimes I get that happy-sad feeling but it's always imbalanced. Like when tragedy strikes and I'm grieving but there's underlying joy because the Spirit brings peace, and I'm alive and I'm, like, experiencing it all and enduring, but the sad outweighs the happy by tons.

But not tonight. Tonight was 50-50.

The kids were quietly doing homework at the bar and I was rolling out cinnamon rolls and feeling heavy hearted at the loss of Elder Richard G. Scott. I already missed him so much from April conference, and now he's gone. I turned on the kitchen cd player and lucky me, it was loaded with Innocence Mission's "Glow" album. The happy strums and sweet lyrics of "Keeping Awake" felt like a hug. I thought about how I'm actually really happy deep down right now because today it's fall and it's Yom Kippur and tomorrow my Gram and auntie come. The lyrics felt autobiographical:

"Under those trees
 we will all be setting blankets down
It's tomorrow, yes it is!
Oh, I am near to sleeping
But I am keeping awake..."
 
{"I'm too excited to sleep :)"}

But then I felt emotion well up for loved ones who won't be getting together tomorrow, or any day, until this life is complete. A sweet PTO acquaintance lost her husband this week. The Scotts lost their patriarch. My baby brother is doing his best to keep afloat on the hurricane waves of a cruel divorce, not of his choosing. Many others I love are hurting because of the poor choices of others and the general disrespect for life and creation and honesty, kindness, integrity, charity...it's a lot. It gets heavy. My phrase for this heaviness is "Too much sad." I can't take too much sad.

Then the song switched to "Brave." To me, "Brave" is about FAITH. I'm going to post the whole song because it always calls me out. It's like the message of "Because I Have Been Given Much," in folk-rock lyrics especially for people who have anxiety and are super-sensitive:

You paint a tulip red with joy
You say the psalm, I will not fear
Somehow, knowing what you do know
Still you tremble out and in

You cry up in your room
Aunt Ruthie comes, you cannot still your limbs
Somehow, knowing what you do know
Still you tremble out and in

You see how I go to pieces
That I'm laying on the ground
Like the sky is so heavy
When I could be brave...
You go outside, you see the Holy Spirit
Burning in your trees
And you walk on, glowing with the same glow
Still you tremble out and in...

Oh, I know it, I know it, here is God beside
I meant it, I meant that I'm sure of that
But the sky is tall and heavy
When I could be brave, brave, brave
 
So I'm not going to pieces. The sky FEELS tall and heavy today, but I can be brave. I really do have faith. It's all going to be okay. There really is rest, just beyond the veil. I know the ways to get a taste of it here and now, but to be honest, tonight I'm just a little bit tired of the fight. To be honest, I'm kind of just jealous of Elder Scott. He's done! Well done, good and faithful servant. But there's more for me to do and become and experience; I'm certainly not fit for the place I'd like to end up, but if I'm brave, I'll get there.
 
Then "Happy, The End." came on. And that's the point. Sometimes the sky is tall and heavy, and no matter how much my trees glow, no matter the abundance laid out before me, I only feel the vast space between me, here, and My God and my home, there, where I belong. Too much sad. But so much joy. It's a small moment. And I like to think I will look back on my mortal experience like I look back on my mission or child birth. There was SO MUCH PAIN, so much growing and changing and heartbreak of exhaustion, but the happiness and the miracles of it all over shadowed everything that ever hurt. Everything negative is swallowed up in the exquisite joy. Opposition in all things. Bitter and sweet, all in the same quiet moment of my beautiful life in my humble kitchen doing my daily work, saying the psalm I will not fear.
 
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