Doing Calculus

Image by 준원 서 from Pixabay

Last night I dreamed that I was at my brother’s house.  There were pieces of fabric everywhere and unfinished projects.  I tried to clean up, but the boys were playing and making messes.  It seemed like I could never get anywhere.  There was a complicated game that involved the T.V. and a game console, and a doll that could blow up balloons.  I was trying to help the kids to make it work, but then the balloon started falling apart.  I was trying to tell my mom about how you could buy regular balloons to replace the broken one.  It was clear she was uninterested in fixing the toy.  I became discouraged.  It seemed that all my efforts were unappreciated and worthless.  I told all my boys that it was time to leave.  I was going to pack up my things and go.  J.R. started coming too and I told him he didn’t need to come.  I had summoned him by mistake.

I want to write on my blog again, but what would I say?  I’m hurting so much and I can’t share that burden with anyone.  I want to write again, but it seems that all my words are worthless.  Everything I have written, everything I have shared, all my thoughts……I thought I was being inspired.  I thought I was doing something great and brave and good.  Now I just feel alone and sad.

I read my Book of Mormon last night.  I think I’ve been subconsciously avoiding my scriptures because I’m afraid of my own connection with God.  It is easier to stay away than to feel things and get inspiration I don’t have faith in anymore.  I wish I were certain, like my parents, of my course and my rightness.  They are always right.  I am always uncertain.  Except I know they aren’t right.

That’s the thing about being where I’m at right now.  I know they aren’t right.  I don’t know if I’m right or not, but I know that they aren’t.  It’s like doing a problem in calculus that takes pages of computations to figure it out.  The person next to you has written a few numbers at the top and tells you they got it right.  You know they didn’t.  They didn’t do any of the work.  They didn’t spend the time to do the calculations.  But you don’t know if the pages and pages of computations have gotten you the right answer anyway.  And with their criticism blaring my ears, it just confuses me and makes me more uncertain.  And then I feel stupid for trying so hard.  Is it worse to fail after pages and pages of computations, or fail with one line of numbers at the top of the page?  Doesn’t it come to the same thing?  The wrong answer?

And that’s what I see in myself.  I screw up with my children at every turn.  Nothing is working the way it should.  I parentify, I neglect, I shame, I do all the things I know I shouldn’t do, but I don’t know how to do it differently.  I want to have my parents back in my life again, but I don’t want their doubts and their fears back in my life.  I wish they knew how poisonous their criticism is to me.

But they won’t change.  They’ve been criticising me for so long.  It is the only parenting they know how to do.  They don’t know how to have faith in the basic goodness and rightness of their children.  They don’t believe they are good and right.  They think children have to be forced and controlled and  stuffed into the “good box” in order to be good.  They don’t want them to do what the Savior wants, they want them to do what they want.  And it isn’t the same thing.

And yet I’m in the same place.  Fear.  Will my children make the right decisions?  Will they do the right things for themselves?  Will they fall into addictions and bad habits and sins that will cause them problems?  I don’t know.  I want to take comfort in the power of the Savior to heal them if and when they stumble and fall, but that fear is too powerful when it is magnified by my parents’ fear.  The fear has to go.

God has given us the spirit of faith, hope, and a sound mind.  I don’t feel those things right now.  I feel doubt and hopelessness and despair.  And yet as I write, I see that the fear is not so rational.  I start to see the good in myself and my parents.  I see the Savior waiting patiently next to me, waiting for me to push the fear to the side, partner with him, and move forward in making a better home for my children today.  I can’t change the past.  He’s got that.  I can’t predict the future, that’s in His design.  All I can do is live in this moment and do the best I can to follow the light I have within me.

And I’m sad because I can’t fix my parent’s fear.  I can’t open their eyes to the things that I’ve learned.  Some things you have to learn yourself and no one can give you a shortcut.  I think parenting is one of those things.  My Savior says that he has power for them too.  He has a plan for them too.  I can’t control it.  I can’t smooth the path for them.  That’s not what he needs me to do.  He needs me to listen to Him again and focus on being the best mom I can be for the special boys he has given to me to nurture.

There is a portion of His spirit in me.  I’ll keep plowing on in my calculus problem.  I may not get it right, but when I get to the judgment bar of God, at least I will be able to show my work.  To any good judge, the work counts for something.

I’ll find my faith again.  Through the clouds and shadows and dark nights, He is there.  He waits for me to find Him again.  He stands at the rock hard walls around my broken heart and waits for me to let Him in.  It’s time to cast fear aside and embrace certainty; not in myself and my infallibility, but in Him and the path He has for me and the people I love.  I can give all the broken pieces to Him.  He fixes broken things.

And as I put my trust in him, as I break down those walls again, I feel His love again.  I feel His hope again and I know that I can face another week of sickness and quarantine and needy kids.  It’s all in His hands and He knows the design I can’t discern.  My efforts will never be enough, but with Him, I can do everything that is needful.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

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