~ I've been going home a lot over the weekends. I love being with my family, and they make my transition to Provo-strange-people-life easier. When I first moved to Ephraim, I didn't really like it. I thought it was too small, and I felt uncomfortable when random people talked to me. But now, I love it. Whenever I go home, I detach myself from the craziness of school and work. I can drive and only worry about one traffic light in town. I can talk to neighbors and friends who make me feel so grown-up. I can play with my dogs who hunt the mice in the garden. I can buy wilted scallions at the grocery store. Going home brings me joy.
~ When my family is happy, I feel joy. A couple weeks ago, I received this glorious text message from my dad:
God bless America, indeed! I like the truck, too. It's white, it's not too bulky, and my dad looks so much more rugged when he drives this truck instead of the minivan. But... my dad could drive a barbie jeep and still be a manly man. For years and years and years, my dad has always talked about a truck and a tractor. Whenever we were in parking lots, he would drift towards a dark blue tacoma. I've made it a goal in my life to give my dad one of these dream items. Now that he has the truck, that leaves me with a tractor! So.... does anybody have a tractor I can have for $100?
~ I'm understanding more and more that we experience opposition so that we can better comprehend joy. In the middle of the month, I switched medications because I've been experiencing some unfortunate side effects. I'm pretty sure I have the bladder of a 90-year-old woman — my kidneys are now probably the size of kidney beans, and my liver could look like a deflated balloon. It can be really dangerous to switch psychiatric medications, especially mood-stabilizing ones (cue the montage of my life, just one year ago!). This experience was not as severe, but still difficult. I felt pretty bad for weeks and was a weepy mess. I cried in the bathrooms at school, so people probably thought I was passing a stone or something. After weeks of hell, I went back on the original drug. And now, I feel soooo much better, and feeling better than I did before makes me joyful.
This experience has taught me many things. First, water-proof mascara is an absolute God-send. Second, sometimes I keep on fooling myself into thinking that I'm the master of control, and "I've got this whole emotional disorder thing down!" I imagine Heavenly Father lovingly smiles when I think this, and He humbles me with every challenging experience. I handle my trials just about as gracefully as a paraplegic gymnast, but I'm learning, and I'm still my awkward-weird-goofy-beautiful self. And third, I am so lucky to have the greatest family ever. My dad called me all the time to talk, and he just listened to me blubber incoherently. And then, my mom would send me the sweetest text messages, reminding me that I'm awesome. I am constantly reminded of how blessed I am to have my family. Heavenly Father probably gladly handed me off to my parents when He couldn't handle me any longer. I hope I bring as much joy to my parents like they do for me!
No need to tell me that life is hard. I feel like I have the statement branded on my soul. Sometimes, I wake up in the morning feeling hopeless — I don't want to go to school or work, I don't want to see people, and I don't want to leave my bed. But I've made it a goal for myself to see gentle works of grace — evidences that God's love is real, and it can be found in everything... even the air we breathe. So try looking for those works of grace. It's really made a difference for me.
Last thing, I promise. I told my mom and dad a story about something that happened to me on Halloween. It's another Bekki-shut-your-dang-mouth story that doesn't particularly bring me joy, but maybe you'll get a good kick out of it!
On Friday, I was walking to the graduate instructor offices when I saw a man with an elaborate cane and a limp. He was wearing a tweed coat, a graphic tee, baggy jeans, and sneakers. Excellent Dr. House costume, right? I try to complement people as often as I can, so I said to him, "You have the best Dr. House costume I have ever seen." But instead of a smile, I saw a frown that was so sinister that even Clint Eastwood would be jealous. Obviously, the man was not wearing a costume, and his limp was a real limp from a real injury from a real accident.
The moral of the story? I will never compliment people ever again.