Sunday, February 02, 2014

On Lives and Ships and Sealing-wax

Today, I sang a song with primary children about following God's plan for me. It was only in the final minute of singing time that I realized how much the song was pertinent to me. Right now.

You see, I'm starting a new job soon. I'm leaving the last remnants of my Utah County family and heading south to work in a library. It's not terribly far away, but far enough that a casual dinner visit is out of the question. I remember moving to Boston about seven years ago, and how I felt during the plane ride into the city. I wondered what on earth I had done. How could I possibly start out a new life by myself? What the heck had I been thinking?

Thanks to good roommates and a very fulfilling couple of years of school, Boston turned out to be a good experience for me.

And now, here I am. Leaving family again to set out on my own.

I've wondered if I made the right decision accepting this job. If I simply wanted to go because I've been kind of unhappy at my current job and was just desperate to leave.

And then this song today.

I brought along my patriarchal blessing to primary today as a kind of visual aid for talking about what the song meant. Now, my patriarchal blessing and I have had a bit of a bumpy relationship. Some things it talks about happening, things I've desperately wanted to happen, have not occurred. And so I've avoided reading it, to keep from reminding myself of the unfulfilled promises.

But talking with the children today about it, I felt an affirmation that my life, even if it isn't one that I would necessarily have chosen, is not a waste.

I think sometimes we get caught up in the details of our lives. Our days are occupied with the rough things that happen at work, or the person that cuts us off in traffic, or feeding the dog, or cleaning up after the kids, or wondering if you can get through one more episode of that show before you have to go to bed. And I sometimes think that this is all there is.

But I remembered today that our lives, each of them, do have a purpose. That the sum of our experiences matters. That even the humdrum details, the teeth brushing and nail biting and doodling, as well as the moments when we utterly connect with someone, or have a great phone call with our siblings, or give a wonderful talk, or hear a child say, "I love you," are all part of it, that each experience matters, that we are becoming something great and grand and glorious.

I don't know if the choices I've made have made my life the best of all possible lives I could have lived. (I rather strongly suspect the opposite.) But I think even when I mess up, when I make mistakes about where to live and what job to have and who to love, that it never, never, never is a waste. And that of my silly, erroneous, ephemeral life, God can make something grand. He can give it purpose.

And that is a great gift indeed.