Tuesday, January 28, 2014

When the right way isn't the right way

Recently I had an experience that affected me deeply. Seemingly out of nowhere I was prompted to move my family 50 miles north to another city. We put our house on the market, made preparations to move, and waited. Finally we felt we could wait no longer so even though we didn't have an offer, we went ahead and made one of our own on a house in the new city. We got approved and closed and moved. We waited nearly a year after that before we finally sold our first place at a loss.

I was angry at God. He told me to move but it didn't go the way I planned. I was frustrated at how we missed the market entirely. Even though looking back, there were numerous miracles that occurred to get us into this place and be able to afford two mortgages. It was clearly the hand of the Lord and I cannot deny it. Yet I was still angry because I wanted it to go the way I planned.

In almost everything I do, I feel there is one right way to do it. If I don't do it that way, even if it was successful, I feel like a failure. It is an OCD/Aspie thing I am sure.

Today I had a stark realization hit me. The thing is, there is only one right way to do things -  God's way. What ever he deems is right, is right. The insight that came to me was that even though the sale of our house and the move to a new city was not the "Ideal" way to me. It was exactly what God wanted for my family. He led us here and provided the means and just because it didn't go according to my plan, doesn't mean it isn't right.

I need to get over my way and let God work in my life and just do it his way. God doesn't promise it will be a bed of roses. He doesn't lead us down the pain free path that has no thorns or stones to trip us up. When the Isrealites were rescued from Egypt, they thought life should be easy. Instead the path led through the desert. When Lehi was told to take his family and leave, it wasn't a life of ease they were being led toward. The promised land isn't a land that took no work to live in. In fact, Nephi had this to say about it:
11 And the Lord was with us; and we did aprosper exceedingly; for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance. And we began to raise flocks, and herds, and animals of every kind.
 12 And I, Nephi, had also brought the records which were engraven upon the aplates of brass; and also the bball, orccompass, which was prepared for my father by the hand of the Lord, according to that which is written.
 13 And it came to pass that we began to prosper exceedingly, and to multiply in the land.
 14 And I, Nephi, did take the asword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many bswords, lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites should come upon us and destroy us; for I knew their chatred towards me and my children and those who were called my people.
 15 And I did teach my people to abuild buildings, and to bwork in all cmanner of wood, and of diron, and of copper, and of ebrass, and of steel, and of fgold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance.
 16 And I, Nephi, did abuild a btemple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of cSolomon save it were not built of so many dprecious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon’setemple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of fSolomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.
 17 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cause my people to beaindustrious, and to blabor with their chands.

It wasn't until after all this that he summed it up this way:

 27 And it came to pass that we lived after the manner ofahappiness. 

Happiness comes from living by the Lord's way. Not our way. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Life

I have a new son. This is very significant seeing as how the last baby of mine that I held was nearly 11 years ago. This time around there are a lot of noticeable differences. This time, I am not frantically trying to take care of him while juggling midterms in my senior year in an engineering degree. This time I am not wondering if I can squeeze a few hours off of work to recover and still be able to pay rent. This time I have a pile of new clothes that generous friends and neighbors have brought by, along with all the trimmings of a proper nursery. I am not worried about being able to afford the doctor bills, diapers, and pacifiers. This time, as we went to the birth center (not the hospital) I was confident that all would go well. We had something of a birth plan. We knew what we were doing. Sure, there are a lot of things that can go wrong giving birth, but this time I was present and felt like I was contributing as I hummed for my wife to help her through each contraction.

Today, as I changed his diaper, he looked up at me with a peaceful and happy expression and I was suddenly hit with the overwhelming feeling of love that they talk about when you first hold your newborn in your arms. I had prayed for this. I was expecting it a while ago. I can honestly say, it is a new experience. The worries and cares I mentioned above precluded from my first encounters with my other children. Not that I don't love them as much. That love had to grow over years of time. This time was different. It was like a package of love that was dropped on the doorstep of my heart.

I have been reading the Old Testament and pondering how parenthood must have been like for Adam and Eve. How much we have changed and yet how much it is the same. How I never felt prepared for this parenting thing until now, and how generations pass on the same wisdom and follies of their parents. Adam was taught perfect instruction on how to raise a happy family. And yet he still had children who rebelled and fell away. In partaking of the fruit and signing up for the whole package of joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, it occurs to me that much of that came from his children. That is not very different from how Heavenly Father feels about his children.