Saturday, September 11, 2010

To Mom & Dad in St. Louis: I Grew Up A Little This Week

Dear Mom and Dad,

This afternoon I was napping with Ever Jane on the big bed upstairs. After a short respite, I laid there looking up at the ceiling. I thought about what I was going to wear to stake conference tonight, a thought that often haunts me. It was in this thought perplexity I had a solid mental break through. And this was it: I've always assumed I was supposed to live by the pass-around slogan "accept nothing but the best" and because I really believed in this phrase I've spent my life feeling bad anytime I accepted the "pretty goods" or "meh oks" but the older I grow the more I realize that the term "the best" is terribly relative. What is the best? It's a constantly moving mark. What is the best today isn't the same tomorrow or the next day. And it sometimes surprises me to find that the "pretty goods" and the "meh oks" turn out to be "the best" a lot of the time.

So I decided, right there in the big bed, puffy and white, next to snoring daughter, that I was going to simplify things and drop the "nothing but the best" and just hang on to the "accept" as in self-actualize my reality. Accept me. Accept what I can offer. Accept my body, my brain, my talents as they exist in my world at any given moment. Accept that sometimes I am tired and accept that sometimes I am not tired and accept that I am always tired when The Chief wakes up before the crack of dawn's early light.

Accept that sometimes the ice melts in my water cup before I can chew on it properly and accept that sometimes my jokes fizzle. Accept that I am the type of person who cuts off 8 inches of her hair she has been growing out for the past three years and nobody really notices. Well, a few people. But I need to accept that too, graciously.

Accept that both good and bad exist.

Accept my choices.

Accept that I will never be able to intimately reply to all messages in my inbox. Accept that I am a little disappointed in that discovery.

Accept that I married a man who likes to leave a trail of stuff all over the house and he is raising a son who does just the same. Accept stuff, because it is now a permanent part of my life. Accept that this will take time, perhaps years, perhaps my precious lifetime.

Accept my responsibilities, accept my abilities to meet them. Accept my wardrobe, accept the idea of adding to it if I see the need. Accept the weather, the food, the friendships in my life. Accept that I hardly ever drink sixty four glasses of water in one day no matter what my intentions. (Maybe "accept" and "relax" are interchangeable here?) 

And for the love of everything holy AND unholy stop trying to CHANGE EVERYTHING. Stop trying to change that which isn't naturally changing and accept it right now. Accept that manipulating ideals is the road to a lifetime of dissatisfaction. Accept and own and hope for more, but accept the less. Or vice versa.

After all this thinking, I rolled over off the bed and started to get dressed. I teased my hair and tried to think about what I could've done better with my new short hair, but then I just accepted it and suddenly, you know, it became sorta flippy and fun. Flippy, fun hair? I accept.

Then at Stake Conference Sister Huang gave a talk, a really enlightening, powerful talk, and in it she said, "Our temporal needs will never be met." And that statement hit me with a wave of warm emotion, signifying it must be true so I accepted that too. My temporal needs--decorating my house or hitting a certain weight or having things, whatever they are--will never be enough, I will always wish for more. The duty is to accept what I have now, with a heart stuffed of happiness and gratitude. What I have, or what I am right now is perfectly suited for right now. It is "the best."

So I guess I grew up a little today, and you being my parents and all, I thought you might want to know.

I miss you both.


p.s. I also think you would've been proud of the concert series we put together. Here are some of Justin Hackworth's photos of the night. You would have loved it, Provo totally rocked.

Plus remember crazy eyes?

They miss you too.