Growing up in Southern California denied me the experience of migrating through the intensities of all four seasons. In Orange County, we had mild summers, few displays of fall foliage, a bit of rain and some fierce Santa Ana winds in the winter, and then a timid showing of springtime flowers. I never really understood neither the cabin fever of winter nor the spring fever that follows.
Consequently, it took moving to climates further north to discover that I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. During the four years I lived in Wisconsin, I had a lot of trouble staying awake past 7 pm. I was moody and had very little energy from December through March. I was overjoyed when spring came in April. (March is merely “mud month” in Wisconsin.) April brought longer days, milder temperatures and an awakening earth that cheered my spirits.
I witnessed the most brilliant displays of spring during the four years I lived in Washington, DC. The earth would explode with color: daffodils, tulips, forsythia pushed decaying leaves aside and brought me cheer. They seemed as Lazarus, coming forth from their tombs to live again. When the cherry trees were in full bloom, I would drive to the Tidal Basin and jog underneath their branches. I felt jubilant with these floral fireworks above me.
Not until I had experienced the darkness of a deep winter followed by the color of a vibrant spring did I feel some measure of the joy promised by the Resurrection. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalms 30:5).
As we journey through mortality, we all have occasion to mourn. Our mortality makes us vulnerable to sin and sickness, decay and death, weakness and weariness. But in our mourning we can comfort each other while we look with hope to the morning of the resurrection where we will be healed from the ravages of mortality. The sick will be made whole, the dead shall rise again, the weariness of this world will be laid aside for eternal joy.
Please enjoy this powerful Easter hymn performed by a choir of voices and a hand-bell choir and string orchestra. It also includes video of beautiful landscapes as well as video depicting Jesus during passion week.
“He Is Risen” Mormon Tabernacle Choir
We live in a society of broken and struggling families, yet most don’t know how to talk to someone who has been through a divorce, abandonment or abuse by a parent and/or estrangement from a family member. While excruciating in their own right, the pain from these experiences is often escalated by well-meaning friends and family.
I shudder to think of things I may have said in the past– I remember hearing of people who couldn’t be in the same room as a family member and judging them harshly. I remember thinking, “Buck up. Grow up.” That was before I spent a year of my life sobbing on the floor in agony.
If you read nothing else, remember this: extend love; refrain from judgment.
About a dozen years ago, my best friend went through a difficult time. It was actually more than just difficult; as the miscarriages added up, they seemed to obscure everything else and take over her life. We had lived together for several years in college, but we had graduated, gotten married, started our families, and now lived more than a thousand miles apart. We’d talk on the phone a couple of times a month, but I never knew what to say. I called because I loved her and I knew I needed to, but it always took a certain amount of pysching myself up to pick up the phone. She felt powerless. I felt helpless. I didn’t know whether to listen or to offer advice, and I was always sure I was going to stick my foot in my mouth. And then there was the fact that while we both had toddler sons, I had gone on to have a daughter as well. I think it was hard for both of us not to retreat from the friendship. When I got pregnant with my third child, telling her was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
In the years since that time, I’ve talked with friends about their unhappy marriages, and given (probably bad) advice from the point of view of my own solid union. I’ve chatted online with a friend whose son was dying while my own houseful of sons created chaos at my feet. I’ve tried to listen sympathetically to unmarried friends, while staring at the diamond on my own ring finger. In each case, there was absolutely nothing I could do to fix the situation, and listening didn’t feel like enough.
Right now, someone I’m close to is going through a hard time financially. My own family enjoys enough affluence to be comfortable, but not enough to make their problems go away. And even the daily, easy interactions we used to have (“What did you do this weekend?”) feel charged (“Dinner and the Ira Glass concert, how about you?”). I think we’ve both retreated from our relationship, and I know that it’s hard for me because I just feel so darn guilty. In Mosiah 4 we learn that we’re supposed to impart our substance with those that need it, without judgment, and that makes me worry that we’re prioritizing piano lessons and date nights above the more serious needs of our friends.
How have you helped friends through difficult situations, especially when your own life seems relatively easy by comparison? How do you resist the urge to retreat and manage not to stick your foot in your mouth? How do you know how much to help? How do you know when you’re “mourning with those that mourn” and not just making things harder for them?
A young man wants to get a graduate degree in filmmaking. He plans to be a writer of screenplays for full length feature films for the entertainment industry. He hunts for film schools and is accepted to one. Then his girlfriend, in the last months of medical school, gets her dream assignment for her residency. But it’s in DC, states away from the man’s school of choice. They decide to get married rather than hassle with a long distance romance. The man hunts for a film program in DC. They launch their adventure and marriage with faith, love and rich lessons in compromise.
The man finds a university which he describes as “the best film program in DC to go to when you wife just accepted a job there.” Not only is he accepted, he’s given a teaching assistantship and a scholarship. Things look rosy. The couple learns through give and take how to juggle their busy schedules and differing talents. They get a dog, make new friends, hold callings in their ward. They make it work.
When the man – let’s call him Peter – signs up for this graduate program, he knows that it isn’t perfectly suited to the skills he wants to enhance. Continue reading
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with this particular phrase, but it refers to when a person posts an old photo of themselves and others on Facebook.
I’ve talked before about how I’m a little bit addicted to Facebook, and TBT makes me smile every time I see a picture of somebody I know and love in a space and time different from now. When it’s an old friend, or somebody I have known for a while, often times I will think, “Oh, that’s how I see her in my mind!” or “That’s the guy I remember!” When it’s somebody I’ve met recently, the pictures make me smile to think of, for example, my movie star gorgeous girlfriend strutting 3 foot tall bushy 80′s bangs. (My sister called those bangs “Wall of China” bangs, and she coined it at a time when I distinctly remember being sad that my bangs were not high enough.) Continue reading