Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sitting in the Mud

Not too long ago Eric was having a bad day. He compounded his bad day by being mean to Mercie, which promptly earned him a punishment and scolding from Mom. Because he is three, and because this makes sense when you are three, he decided that plunking his butt down in the muddy snow and refusing to come into the warm house, while screaming at the top of his lungs, was the best response.

Being the coldhearted Momma that I am, I shrugged and told him to suit himself.

Mia gave me the most withering glare that a four-year old outraged older sister can give. "He's CRYING," she told me, in an accusing tone of voice usually reserved for ax murderers and terrorists. "He'll stop when he's ready," replied the Mother of the Year.

Mia glared at me again. Then she marched over to the muddy snowbank, gave me one more accusing--and slightly defiant--look, plunked her butt down right next to Eric, and began to cry with him.

Now let me digress for just a minute with another story. When I was 19 I thought I was in love, like really, really in love with the most perfect guy. Being 19 and incredibly stupid, I got mad over something dumb and dumped him. Within a week or so I realized that I'd made a foolish mistake, and I wanted him back. The only problem was, he didn't want me back. In the long run, with the hindsight of years, this was a good thing. But at the time, at age 19, it broke my heart. After we had the "I-want-to-get-back-together-but-you-don't" talk, I went back to my apartment, walked in my bedroom, threw myself face down on the bed and bawled. And I mean BAWLED. Massive, gushing sobs. This was, after all, the End of the World. Gradually I became aware that I wasn't alone. Confused, I looked up and saw, through a curtain of hair and buckets of tears, my friend Melanie. She had seen me come home looking sad and my roommates let her in to my room, and she was sitting on my bed, rubbing my back, and bawling with me. And I mean BAWLING. In typical girl fashion we ended up laughing and crying and hugging and crying some more, and then laughing some more, and then eating ice cream.

That was the first time in my life that I really started to understand the whole concept of charity, and what it means to mourn with those that mourn (Mosiah 18:9). After 30-some years on the planet I'm still learning what Mia knew instinctively--sometimes we just need somebody to sit down in the mud with us and cry. Don't get me wrong--acts of service are needed, appreciated, and most definitely part of the plan. But sometimes it's easier to keep our hands and feet clean, and our emotions safe, by signing up for a frozen dinner in Relief Society and ignoring the 'walking wounded' around us.

Which brings me to the real point of my post: I'm sad. I'm sad because my friends are sad, because they are suffering real pain right now. I have two lovely neighbors who are losing their battles with cancer, and it sucks. I love them and I love their families, and this just hurts.

Amy, Tyler, Aiden, Sam, Adi, and Mike; David, Sue, Gary, Katie, and all the others--I'm sitting the mud with you. And I'm crying.

When it's time to stop crying I'll bring the ice cream.
Love you.


Nemmer said...

And now I'm crying... again. Thank you, that was a beautiful post.

Monica English said...

That was really wonderful to read. Thank you.

Becky and Chris said...

Thanks for sharing that and inspiring me to do better. That was a wonderful story and I totally agree that sometimes you can't really do anything for someone other than be there for them and not in a "can I fix it mode" but just, here I am and I won't leave you, let's just cry together.

Christiejo said...

You said exactly what I've been feeling but in the most wonderful way. Thanks for that post.

Holly Schwendiman said...

Awwww that is the true meaning of charity. Well said, hon, well said.


p.s. hope some rainbow peeks out from behind the clouds soon.