Friday, December 10, 2010

minding the details

As the normal hoopla of preparing for Christmas continues, I can't help but think again about how driven we are to get things right. We hunt for just the right ornaments, just the right recipes, the perfect gifts, the right Christmas outfits...What is it all about really? Why do we feel this compulsion to do it right? Who's marking the test? What happens if we don't get a good mark? Kind of interesting to consider. And what happens when you don't feel like it?

I remember a Christmas several years ago (more than 10) when I really didn't feel it. It came right down to the last few days before Christmas and I was still feeling pretty grinchy about the whole process. Things were tight financially and the job situation was not very secure. I remember that I was down in the basement tidying up the toys yet again, listening to Barber's Adagio and finally all the emotions just overflowed. I cried until I couldn't see and was so congested I couldn't even blow my nose. But it fixed something as I let go. I surrendered myself to the powerlessness of life and gave it into the hands of the only truly competent individual I know, my Savior. Things didn't magically become better overnight, but the season continued without me resenting it anymore. I was able to laugh at the continued chaos and see my blessings in the midst of the adversity. I will always remember that Christmas. I tasted the freedom of not having to be perfect for a while. I still slip up sometimes and let expectations dictate too much, but each year I get a little better at savoring the feeling that can come to us if we pause long enough in our racing to see just how much we are loved and saved from ourselves.

There's a funny scripture in Abraham 4:18 that brought it all back to mind this morning - the way we try to make sure everything is going to go perfectly according to plan.

 And the Gods watched those things which they had aordered until they obeyed.

I have done that so many times. And the very nature of mortality is to have the things we order defy us on a regular basis. It's why our hair doesn't go well sometimes, why that poorly timed blemish shows up on school picture day, and why no matter how hard we try or how well-intentioned we are, we're often programmed to fail. Because that's the way it's supposed to be. Otherwise we would persist in the misconception that we are the masters of our destiny and make even nastier messes of our existence. I'm very good at it, believe me.

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