Even so, I am constantly surprised at how hard I struggle against certain traits of mine, both learned and inherent, that get in the way of what I want to teach Avery. And as I try to prepare (with as few sleepless nights as possible [not working out too well for me so far]) to bring another child into our family and think about how that will effect all of us, I was so glad to review Elder Bednar's talk today. He gives three suggestions to strengthen our families, and they are well-worth reading and evaluating. Sister Hinckley once said, "Home is where you are loved the most and where you act the worst." I find that too true in my life often times- it is very easy to take advantage of the ones you love the most. But I am determined to do better, to do more to bring the Spirit into my home and show my family how very very very much I love them.
Following this train of thought, I have found it impossible today to not be so grateful for a few (of the many) good things in my life. First of all, the Gospel. Through the teachings of the Gospel I am able to find answers and peace when solutions evade me. I am so grateful to have such wonderful truth in my life that manifests itself every time I bother to fight my lazy impulses and knock at the door of the scriptures, prayer, modern revelation from Prophets, even my hymn book. It's incredible. And, along those same lines, I am so grateful (and extremely lucky) to live in a ward where our bishop and other leaders are such knowledgeable parents and teachers. I learn so much from them every week, and it's not only how many cubits-long Noah's Arc was. I swear every time someone in our bishopric is at the pulpit teaching, it seems like they are doing so just for my benefit. It's a wonderful(ly intimidating) feeling.
I am also grateful for the example of my parents, especially as far as Elder Bednar's first suggestion of expressing love. I couldn't help thinking of all of the ways my parents told my and showed me that they loved me, and continue to do so. Now, at times my family are the poster-children for Sister Hinckley's thing about treating the people that you love the worst. Like I said, it's easy to do. But after hearing so many women raise their hands in RS today and talk about how their dad never told them that he loved them, they just knew he did, I was blown away. My dad not only told me and showed me that he loved me, he showed me how to love and take care of others, especially by fulfilling Church callings. And I'll never forget our Daddy-Daughter dates. Dad took me to tons of concerts (he is the music-loving king of the universe), including a surprise visit to see Sir Paul McCartney (I cried a lot that night. Tears of joy.), which, obviously, was one of the highlights of my life. But the date I remember most was the time when I was 16 or 17 and he took my across town on another mystery date. Now, after seeing a Beatle, I had pretty high hopes. But when we pulled up in front of a well-kept building in a pretty gross part of town, I was not excited. I was actually (I tried to hide it but I'm sure I failed) super annoyed. Why on earth would he think that I would enjoy working at the Bishop's Storehouse (a place where down and out people can come [with a note from their bishop] and get food and supplies for their families)??? What a jerk my dad was. I had never even heard of this place, and now I was restocking shelves like some slave (oh yes, I was/am that spoiled). How embarrassing. Except that by the end of our shift, I was so humbled and glad for that experience. I think that I have always gotten the most joy in my life out of serving others. My dad knew this about me, and that experience is one that I can't wait to repeat with my own kids, along with countless other things my parents taught me. I'm so lucky to have them as my family.
Wow. This post got really long. I doubt anyone is still reading at this point, but I'm just going to chalk this one up to a personal journal entry. A... umm... public personal journal entry. Anyway, this entire experience of mortality is all about families and choices and challenges. I'm so glad to know where I come from and where I want to go and how I can get there. And when I make mistakes (and I make a lot. Seriously. Way more than average. Yes, even more than you.) I know that there is a way back. I'm just trying to figure out how to make knowing all of this and living it the same thing. It's going to be a long road. But, really, who could ask for anything more?