Women I Admire: My Poem Over the Pulpit and Other Ways You Help Me

I was the little girl watching everything you did.
The one that still remembers the day Daddy called her up to the pulpit during his talk,
To tell the poem about Melinda Mae and her giant whale.
I shook so hard, I almost fainted.
I wanted to be up there, to make him proud.
But it scared me more than I knew it would.
I looked out in the audience
And I saw your face,
A lifeline imprinted in my mind.
My older cousin, smiling at me.
I don't remember looking away,
not until I sped through that final word,
and the monstrous whale was eaten*.

There was a distance, a pulpit I watched you from for all those years.
I'll tell you now,
When I was depressed in high school.
It was your name that gave me hope when my parents told me I wasn't alone.
You'd been there.
And somehow you were still amazingly you.

I was the long legged pre-teen sitting in the back seat
When Daddy told how he set you up on date with a boy you liked.
And I was the acne covered teenager in your backyard
The day you and that same boy came back from the temple.
An outdoor reception around the pool, cool lights of night,
You madly in love, family everywhere like a sea of comfort.
I brought my own dark haired boy to your parents backyard.
Fresh from the temple, we stood by the outdoor pool in the cool night,
Madly in love, family everywhere, you sweeping up to tell me congratulations.

When I returned home later,
A babe in my arms, a husband at my side,
Age didn't matter any more.
Everywhere I looked, I saw more and more
that we were not so different.
Like bits of our lives where mirrors of each other.
I sometimes felt like angels from the other side
were nudging me toward you, again and again.
Until at a relief society retreat, struggling with depression I thought I'd shook,
You told me that you still hit that dark place, too.
"I know what I need to do, now," you told me, "I need to hold my girls."

Like flash forward, I'm in another place
and winter ate at my joy with cold fingers.
I prayed and prayed for help.
It came,
Your voice, like the face of comfort over the pulpit
returning to me.
I scooped my babies up. I held them close.
And life straightened out again.

*Melinda Mae by Shel Silverstein 


Click photo to see #BecauseofHim video
I'm tracing the Savior through my life.
My Savior.
My Lord.
I'm finding Him.
I'm thinking of what I have because of Him.
It's bringing me to my knees.
My heart longs for Him.
Because of Him
Darkness can not hold me.
Death will not part.
Peace is left with me.
My wounds are bound up.
Promises can be kept.
Covenants are real.
Words will stand.
Truth will last.
Forgiveness will heal.
Because of Him
Fear flees.
Sorrow turns to joy.
Because of Him
Because of Him
Death is not the end.
This life is not all there is.
Love never ends.
Because of Him
I will live again.

My Life: Finding My Words

It feels like my words have dried up.
Not the ones I write for my characters.
They have finally woke again.
They'd been silent for so long, I welcomed them back.
And my time spent writing turned to pages of fantasy.
And yes, I might have found myself writing romance.
I wouldn't admit it before,
but I have to now.
I like a good romance.

But my other words,
the ones I use here,
the ones I use to explore my life and understand me,
they shriveled up and stopped.
I throw my hands up and sigh.
I'm too tired
and nothing I think to say here matters that much.
Who wants to hear about moving bedrooms,
being up all night with babies,
cleaning the house,
or the weird obsession I've developed for shirt dresses
(none of which are ever long enough for me . . .)?

But then I remember that blog I follow avidly
and it's all about babies
and decorating
and loving life
and enjoying life.

And maybe even sometimes about dresses.

Because that's what life is.
It's one day and another day
and not so much fantasy romance,
but a tired husband who's been gone all Sunday
and several nights during the week
while still working all day,
just to make ends meet
and to serve a God we both love.
It's the baby who wakes every two hours,
but smiles and makes everything right again.

It's the neighbor who lost her job and started walking at the park,
just when I got winter depressed and started walking too.
It's how we now walk together every morning.
And I tell her about being up all night.
And she tells me about getting back her job.
And my son is brave and actually pets her dog.
And then waits every day for her to come so he can pet it again.

Life is reading a book my mom gave me fifteen years ago
to my son,
and crying at the same places she did,
and laughing at myself and telling my son to ignore me.
I'm just like her.
But I don't mind.

Life is being too tired or busy with baby
to say anything in Relief Society anymore,
but still going.
Life is the sisters who rescued me that night at
the Relief Society birthday party
when they held my baby and she didn't cry.
I didn't even know I needed rescuing until they came.

And that is life
and why I write here
and why I read what others write.
Because life is good
and bad
and sentimental
and somehow bittersweet and beautiful.
Life is a story written by God.
And my words are traces of living.