With at least two moves on the horizon, and one potentially long term, I’ve been thinking a lot about life. Mostly it has been making me anxious because I can control so little. I see families that have the option of living close together – in the same state or even in the same city!! – and crave that possibility.
When my family would go on long road trips to Utah or New York (a solid 18 hours) my siblings and I would dream about the huge plot of land we would buy to build all of our houses on. We would have tunnels connecting all the houses and really cool underground rooms. There would be a skatepark (obviously a priority for young teenagers) and a huge garden and a playground. We had jobs divided out for being an awesome little Moose homestead community.
15 years later we live in four different states, I’m the only one married, and my dad is still the only one with a career with everyone else still in school. That dream seems elusive.
The next best thing is what we’ve stumbled upon in West Lafayette: a strong community that feels like family and friends that are as good as cousins for my kids. Every where we go – library, grocery store, park, clothes shopping – we ALWAYS run into someone we know. Leaving this and hoping to find it again feels a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack. Enter the anxiety that comes with change and little control.
A few weeks ago when I found this situation particularly consuming (sleep deprivation makes everything more consuming than it really is…) I started praying fervently for a paradigm shift. I pleaded for God to give me a new way of looking at our situation and our life. I knew what I was feeling and seeing was valid but not quite right. I want to lead my family with confidence, joy, and hope and I needed some serious help getting there. This is part of what followed in the early morning hours, my mind flooded with inspiration:
The longings I feel to be close to family and have deep connections with people are valid – they are shadows of eternity. There is a time and place for those, and sometimes we get to enjoy them in mortality.
But this is mortality. Whatever happens in life – it’s experience. I’m here on earth for lots of those. God created this whole earth for us and I doubt He made a place to make us miserable. Everywhere we go can be beautiful and good.
I get to experience a wide range of emotions, circumstances, obstacles, skill sets, relationships, and responsibilities. I am grateful to each one of these for widening my view and getting one step closer to seeing the world as God does. I’m here to touch as much of the elephant as I can, one hand at a time. (Blind Men and the Elephant – A Poem by John Godfrey Sax)
I need to remember that it was my absolute trust in Jesus Christ – I knew him and he knew me – that allowed me to choose earth life and all its experiences. He promised that if I come unto him he will help me become as he is. That is the most important part – that I allow Jesus Christ to change me, shape me, mold me through the experiences of mortal life. The more I rely on the spirit and him, the more I will get out of this mortal journey.
I need to step away from specific dreams, expectations, and end goals. Instead I want to embrace experiences – confidently, happily, gratefully, with curiosity, interest, and an open mind. I will experience the joys of earth life this way and return back to heaven with a mortal life lived gratefully and to its fullest. I’m not going to reach eternal life here and although my spirit may crave all that comes with that, it is not the era of eternity that I’m in.
I don not need to fear the future or our circumstances. They will all help me gain experience and help me become more like Jesus Christ. I will trust him and be grateful for the opportunities (change) he places in our path. I will be grateful for all the circumstances that allows me to meet new people because they are all my brothers and sisters.
I love where I’m at but this is not the end of the road yet. There is so much more to learn, love, and receive joy from.
This is my new paradigm. After a month with new lenses, I can say it is liberating. Way less fear, way more excitement.