Friday, March 14, 2014
Seven years ago today, I had a bowling ball fall off the top of a flag pole on my head. And, yes. You read that right. How's that for a start? ;)
If you want the details of the story, here are my other blog posts with variations of "here's what happened" and "cool things I've learned": here / here / here / and here (I know that doesn't take us back seven years, but those are the best posts.)
And if you'd like the quick version of the story, here's the youtube video:
Honestly, seven years ago feels like a really long time. Sometimes, I don't even really feel like it actually happened. I mean, really, my brain did block out a lot of the pain which means I have very limited memories of the four days following the accident. But, I was really blessed to heal completely, so all I've got as 'proof' that this wasn't just a dream is the quarter-sized scar on my head.
Looking back on that day, I do remember everything up to the actual accident. I had plans to go to Tremonton for spring break. For some reason, I felt like I should go a day later than I originally planned, so I did. I was hoping to impress a boy that I really liked so I wore my favorite yellow shirt and I blasted the AC through the whole drive so I didn't have sweaty armpits by the time I got there. I had curled my hair and I was wearing my favorite giant, bug-eye glasses. (They were 'in' then, I promise.)
My friend, Christina, picked Marble Park as the place for us all to meet and play because she just had to show me their barbed wire collection. So, we looked there first. (Admittedly, it's quite impressive.) Then we played on the swings, rang some giant wind chime things, teeter-tottered, and gathered around the flag pole for pictures. Obviously, I needed to climb onto the tallest platform. Ashli, Mac, and I were all on that platform and we noticed that the cement holding the flag pole in place was starting to weather and chip away. We pushed the flag pole and found that it would move about a centimeter in whichever direction we pushed it.
I took my sunglasses off my head and tossed them on the ground - I remember this clearly. Then, I looked over my right shoulder and said "wouldn't it be funny if I fell off?" That's when the bowling ball came loose from it's four green prongs and landed on my head. Some important notes: First, I'm glad my sunglasses were off my head. Second, what a blessing that I was looking down and the bowling ball hit the spot that it did. Third, I'm pretty certain there were angels 'carrying' that bowling ball down with conversation that went something along the lines of "okay, guys, slow it down, but not too much! And make sure it hits the exact right spot, just like we rehearsed!" (Some of this is in jest, but I'm also not convinced that it didn't happen exactly this way. We'll chat about it in the next life.) Fourth, FOR REAL... who has an actual bowling ball fall on their head??
I was immediately knocked out - which is great, because then I didn't try to catch myself when I fell and break my arms or something. Friends came over, ambulances and parents were called, there was lime green vomit and me turning mostly blue (and nobody even took a picture) and this is the part where the rest of the story is not from my own memory. (Minus some flash backs about helicopter doors closing on my arm and oxygen mask drama.)
You guys, I don't really know what happened that day. I don't 'get' it. How random is my life? But, you know what else? How perfect is my life? In a way that I cannot even explain, I needed that experience. To the point where maybe it really did make a difference that I went a day late (finishing touches on that weathered cement?). I don't know how, but it taught me so many incredible life lessons. I'm really excited for the part of heaven where I get to watch the movie of that first bowling ball day. (I believe in heaven movies.) I want to see the angels involved, I want to know the things I felt and experienced (minus the mass amounts of pain), and I want to know why exactly that bowling ball was mine. It's funny how having a bowling ball nearly kill you can convince you that God's hand is most definitely in your life.
And I think that's my "moral of the story" today. God's hand is always there in my life. For some divine reason, life is hard sometimes. Bowling balls fall on people's heads (okay, that might actually be a once in a lifetime kind of thing). But really, life doesn't just "happen". Life is a beautiful, perfect, messy, heartbreaking, healing masterpiece. And nobody but the artist could ever really tell you just how remarkable this work of art is. I lack a lot of understanding, but I do know that my life is a gift from my Heavenly Father. I am forever grateful for a moment of "re-gifting" - which will never really be the right word, but for that moment of not getting my life back or obtaining it again, but knowing that I'm still here because I'm meant to be here.
It's kind of remarkable how life truly is so perfect. And sometimes what feels like a bowling ball crashing down on your head - those things that happen that kind of make no sense or cause more pain than you really understand, those things are the beautiful part of that miracle God is working in your life.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Thursday, March 6, 2014
When someone is diagnosed with cancer, that challenge has a label. It's google-able and people have heard about it before. They may not understand what it's like to go through that trial, but it's something they've heard of before. When someone has cancer, you can post about that on Facebook and ask for help - and thank goodness for that! I'm grateful for the lives that have been blessed and the prayers that have been answered because we know how to ask for help when someone has cancer.
But that's the thing. Sometimes we have trials that aren't google-able. Sometimes there is no easy label for why life is hard. Or maybe it's something private that you don't actually want to talk about. I know some brave people who talk about their challenges with infertility. I think people who share their struggles with cancer are incredibly brave too. I also have learned that sometimes there are brave people fighting silent battles that they don't understand, can't label, or aren't really prepared to open up about. Sometimes there are battles that are so innately internal that you really can't tell people about them. And the more time I've spent thinking about this "silent battles" concept, the more I come to realize that a LOT of us are going through these times in life and maybe we don't know what to do.
I feel weird telling people that life is challenging right now and not being able to really fully explain why. I tell some close friends/family a little bit, but there are so many deep factors to why life is hard for me right now and I don't even understand half of them. So, hi, life is hard. I've got a whole lot going on inside of me and I've got no label to tell you why.
But I want people to know that my life is hard. I feel selfish just typing that. The phrase "misery loves company" comes to mind. But I think it's much more than that. Honestly, I think sometimes we need to cry out and say "Hey! You people that care about me! I am not sure I'm okay right now and I need help." Actually, I think we spend a lot of time crying out messages like that - I think our bodies know how to get that message out when we're not ready to admit it. I'm sure you've seen lists of "signs of depression". They're filled with things like fatigue, over eating, under eating, insomnia, over sleeping... you get the point.
I think the world has taught us one giant lie that needs to be torn to bits and destroyed forever. That lie is this: "Asking for help is not okay/means I'm weak." Perhaps it's phrased differently in each of our minds. Any way you say it, it's a lie. We were put here on earth with other compassionate humans for a reason. We can ask for help. We were born into family units with people who love and care deeply about us for a reason. We can ask for help. It's OKAY to not be okay. It's OKAY to let people know you have flaws. It's OKAY to need help.
I let myself do this thing where I say "I'm fine, it's okay, I've got this" for a long time until I'm crying in my car on the way home from work and it's all I can do to think of something I might be able to eat without feeling like I'm going to vomit. I'm learning that I'm allowed to ask for help before I reach this point of desperation. I can tell someone I'm struggling before the tears come. I'm allowed to get support from friends and family any time I want. I've learned that all you have to do is ask. People LOVE you. They want to support you and help you be okay. We're not here to work through all our challenges alone. It was never meant to be that way.
Ultimately, I've also been learning how to turn to the Savior. It's okay to need Him. It's okay to ask for divine help. In fact, we are promised "ask and ye shall receive". He wants to run to us, to succor us, to heal us and bless us. I think I re-learn how much I need to rely on the Savior almost every day. In my favorite Holland talk of the day, Elder Holland says "When He says to the poor in spirit, “Come unto me,” He means He knows the way out and He knows the way up. He knows it because He has walked it. He knows the way because He is the way." Up and out is exactly the way I feel like I need to go.
I also want you to know that I am okay. I have moments where I want to scream out and cry out and tell everyone that I'm not okay. Those are real. But I also have wonderful, blissful, joy-filled moments where I feel peace and I know that I am okay and that things are going to be okay and I know I'm on a beautiful path. I'm finding that there is a lot more joy in the struggle than I ever believed there could be. Slowly, I'm starting to realize that there is a lot to be learned from the hard times and even from making mistakes. I have to remind myself, but I think that deep down I actually do know that being vulnerable, taking chances, going off of gut feelings and moving forward (even moving forward feeling like you have little to no sense of direction) is a lot more like progress than staying safe in your comfort zone and not ever risking anything. And through all of the scary, vulnerable, not okay moments, it really is always going to be okay.
Friday, February 28, 2014
My cool friend, Katilda, does this thing where she free writes while she's waiting for trains and such and then posts sections of that on her blog. I think it's rad. One time, I watched some boys do engineering homework for over an hour and my phone died so I thought WWKD? (What would Katilda do?), pulled out my Institute journal and wrote everything I was thinking.
I'm not sharing that writing with you today.
Right now, however, I am sitting outside the Logan temple in my car listening to the rain fall in my roof. And I'm writing this blog post on my phone. So let's hope the updated blogger app does better at formatting than it did in its former life. I'm channeling my inner Katilda and just writing whatever I want to write.
This wasn't intended to be a Katilda fangirl post really. She is worthy of that, but I actually want to talk about some things I've learned recently.
Life is way hard. Like, sometimes it's overwhelming to the point that I could vomit kind of way hard. Or lay on the floor and sob on the phone to your mom level of way hard. I've always been emotional, but it turns out that I am a highly sensitive person. I feel a lot. And when life is hard... #allthefeels. Back in October, I visited a couple that I look up to quite a bit. (They're kind of like my Logan parents.) I actually showed up on their doorstep in tears, heartbroken over a boy. As I sat sobbing in their living room, we talked about what I was feeling and one of them said "you know, when I met you I could tell you were an extremely happy person, but I couldn't help but wonder if somewhere among all those high highs you had some of these low lows."
That comment stuck with me. Truthfully, I am kind of an extreme person. But I'm starting to think that's not such a bad thing. In institute, we were talking about the story of Alma the Younger and his repentance process. He talks about the pain he experienced before he repented/experienced a change of heart. After the change he says "And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!"
The part that hits home for me is the fact that after a change of heart, his joy was as exceeding as his pain. Do you know what that tells me? Moments of deep pain and sorrow are worth it. We all know what its like to be sick and then appreciate being healthy right after just a little bit more. Because, opposition.
And deep down, I honestly believe that all those deep pain, life is so hard I could vomit moments are really just change. Which is repentance. I don't think we'd ever experience a fullness of joy without sometimes having glimpses of a fullness of sorrow.
So, here's what else I've learned: Life is really really really good. Like, so good you want to shout it from the roof tops, so good that you tear up over Full House moments and Olympics commercials. Because when you believe in good, when you feel the good, everything is good. Even the hard stuff.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Saturday, January 25, 2014
The benefit of planning things and doing things in your own life is that you've got control. You had the idea, you're taking care of the process, and you know what your end result will be. And if the end result is a little off, you whip out the seam ripper and fix it, or you let it go, because you know that mistake was all in your own control and you can be okay with it.
Okay, now let's talk about real life where you can't actually do everything for yourself and you can't know the end from the beginning in every situation. Sometimes, you get ideas or have goals that require some walking through the dark and trusting. I'm talking about all of life. School, jobs, dating (woof.), family, etc.
There are times when God asks us to take a step in the dark and trust Him. Those moments are really hard for me. I've learned enough to know that whatever God asks will always be good, but I have a hard time taking those steps forward without knowing how it's going to be good. Ultimately, I know that you don't have to have more than "Once Upon a Time" to trust that a "Happily Ever After" is coming. I truly believe that those phrases always go together. But it can be really hard to be patient as we wait for the end of the story.
And I think far too often we forget that there are dragons to face along the way.
Sometimes, you have to have more faith in the dragons along the way than the ultimate happy ever after. If dragons are a part of the process, they must be there for a purpose, right? I've been through enough in my life to know that trials and challenges make me a better person and are always always worth it. But I've also been through enough in my life to know that I trials and challenges are hard. It's really easy to want to avoid them.
Ultimately, I keep learning in my life that there is one simple truth I need to remember: God loves me and wants to bless me. He's the author of this story, He knows just how happy that ever after really is. And he knows which dragons I need to fight along my path. And He wants to bless me. And that truth applies to every situation ever. Ever. Which means I can always trust the path I'm on and the dragons along the way. Letting Him guide me is a part of the "Once Upon a Time".
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Yeah, sometimes I get really overwhelmed with the idea of being more grown up than I am right now. Sure I have a college degree and a big girl job and car payments, but I'm basically only responsible for myself right now and it's kind of not that hard. What happens when I get married and I'm supposed to be cooking dinner for my husband and children and all I really want is to watch Somewhere in Time and cry while I squeeze a fluffy pillow and eat ice cream from the carton with a fork?
Is it okay that I go crazy sometimes? Like, we're talking sobbing on the floor in front of the fridge while eating peanut butter and jelly by the spoonful (from their respective jars) kind of crazy. Can I raise children in those conditions? Am I allowed to feed them peanut butter and jelly straight from the jars and turn on Full House for a few hours and pretend that laundry doesn't exist?
Don't even get me started on having a husband. And the whole girl emotion "it's not about the nail"-ness that even women will probably never really understand.
I'm asking because I really don't know how this all works. I kind of rock at being single. I take care of myself and on those I don't want to be a grown up days, I put sprinkles on my peanut butter toast and cry it all out. I've got this feeling that that doesn't just go away when you "grow up" and get married/start a family.
That's really all I've got. I'm not even sorry that I don't blog for a month and then I just come back to word vomit. So, yeah, I'mma go make another cup of chocolate milk and call it a night.