“If coach would have put me in, we’d a taken state.” (Uncle Ricco in Napolean Dynamite:) One of the many great one liners of that movie. Living in the past…
Lately I look in the mirror and see wrinkles-lots of them! I sometimes look at my aging self and wonder why I ever used to complain. Why did I used to think my skin was bad? Why did I used to think my fit, younger body was too fat? Why did I think I had anything to worry about? One of my kids will have a meltdown over socks or what’s for dinner and I think, “You think this is hard? Just wait.”
Sometimes I look back with regret. Wishing I didn’t waste so much time and energy on what doesn’t matter. Wishing I knew then what I know now. The Spirit reminds me time and again how much I have learned through all my experiences. In the middle of a hard time, the last thing I feel is grateful for what I’m learning. I have wondered how I could have possibly agreed to this in the pre-earth life. But I know I chose to come here. I chose the Savior’s plan and know that because I’m here with my body and Spirit being tried and tested and using faith to find God all around me. I knew life would be hard, painful, and oh so beautiful and amazing. But I couldn’t have known how it all would feel until I lived through it. I can’t imagine learning what God has been teaching me any other way. I had to taste the bitter to know the sweet. This must be why I can feel so amazing sometimes. Because I know what it’s like to not feel that. I feel the contrast and I don’t want the negative and the dark. I want the light.
For a while I used to smile carefully. Not wanting to show the crowns and uneven color in my smile from all the dental work I’ve had over the years. One day I was laughing with friends and having a good old time. A friend pointed out my smile and said how good it was to see me smile big and happy like that. I realized I’d been hiding my smile, not wanting to show my flaws. It feels so good to laugh and smile-holding nothing back. When I don’t think about my flawed teeth, or my wrinkles, or anything else I wish to hide or change, I can live in the moment. My laugh (and worry!) lines are all part of me. When I want to hide what I don’t like about myself-physically or mentally, I live carefully and hold back. When I look at me and see I’m a package deal-sure, I cry at the drop of a hat. But this high sensitivity has a beautiful side and can be such a gift in my life when I’m feeling the love. Sure I can overanalyze and worry till I’m sick, but I can also think deeply and ponder meaningful things in life and feel a deep sense of purpose in everything. Sure I’m awesome at losing and forgetting things…can’t yet think of a positive on this one. Other than I learn mercy and compassion as I have to apologize for messing up and am at the mercy of those around me-whose time and valuables are precious too.
I want to love all of it. When I see what’s “wrong” with me or someone else, I can’t see the beauty. I miss out on an incredible person. As I put down my walls and embrace me and others, I want to know people! All of them. Not just the surface simple stuff that gives an appearance, but I want to KNOW them. And I want them to know me. I want to live from the heart with all its vulnerabilities. Living in the moment and loving me and the people in my life for the fantastic people we are makes life so sweet.
Life is beautiful and filled with lessons from the past. I’ll take the wrinkles and extra weight. I’ll take the hard times and disappointments. Everything is part of who I am and has taught me things I can’t imagine learning any other way. I know how hard life feels without the Savior. And I know how incredible it feels with Him. Life is good and I wouldn’t trade where it’s taken me for anything.