We've trudged through some mighty tough times these last two years. A move, extreme stress and financial loss, a house we need to sell that's worth far less than what we bought it for two years ago, another move looming. And Jeff has been working in Texas since the beginning of January, only coming home every other weekend.
So I've been wallowing in the mire of self-pity, feeling a general sense of malaise as I wake up each morning, wondering how much longer I can handle juggling five kids and a house on the market - sans husband - without completely losing my mind. I have felt completely justified in feeling entitled to a break, already.
In short, I've been whining.
We as a family have been dutifully praying for that break, which in this real estate market is synonymous with a miracle: an offer on our house. As soon as possible. Or sooner, if possible.
The Lord sent a friend and a dinner party instead.
My friend Amber gave me a talk on CD by David Bednar entitled In the Strength of the Lord. My attitude shifted as I listened to the talk, and, consequently, so did our prayers. We are no longer praying for our circumstances to change; rather, we are praying that the enabling power of the Atonement will give us the ability to adapt to - and find happiness in - our circumstances. This change in perspective has made a tremendous difference. I love hearing my kids pray for us "to be happy until our house sells."
This has been most helpful, but I've discovered with some dismay that whining, once in your blood, isn't easily removed.
In the spirit of this new perspective, we decided to host a ward dinner group at our house. I figured the house was already immaculate, it wasn't hard to make a big pot of chili, and we haven't moved yet - so why not? The guests were randomly assigned and proved to be warm, hilarious, gregarious, delightful. During dessert, I looked around the table and almost started crying. Here's why.
To my left sat a couple in their early fifties, hands down the life of the party. On a rainy night five years ago, their youngest son was killed in a car accident on his way home from the high school.
At the end of the table sat a good friend of mine who has been through some enormously difficult personal struggles in the past year.
Next to them sat a fabulous woman who lost her husband to a motorcycle accident seven years ago.
Right next to me sat my own husband, whose mother died of cancer just weeks before the end of his mission.
And that's just what I know.
All of these people have used the enabling power of the Atonement in their lives with determination, grace, humility, and - ultimately - success. I knew then that the dinner guests were anything but randomly assigned. They had been hand-picked specifically for me.
Talk about perspective.
Time to quit whining.