Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Feeling Adequate at Best

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines adequate as "enough for some need or requirement: good enough: of a quality that is good or acceptable."

Lately I feel less than adequate. Doesn't matter what part of my life we're discussing. Could be work. Could be home. Could be Mom. Could be Wife. Could be daughter of God. Could be grocery shopper. Could be nail trimmer. Doesn't matter.

Certainly my role as blog-writer has suffered as I've tried to stretch myself to play a bazillion different roles. The only problem is a person can only be stretched so far. My brain feels like a giant ball of mush these days. Trying to put connecting sentences together to create a post longer than a status update via Facebook makes my head hurt. Literally. I go into a fog and the next thing I know I've deleted the blog post because I just can't do it. Which breaks my heart as being a writer has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl.

Yet I continue to fight that word: adequate. Good enough. But nothing to cheer about. I read of how families are going to Disneyland (seemingly every one's favorite way to spend their tax return). How people are having their next book published. How they are able to do this and that and this and that and I...am adequate.

Okay so I really do know I'm more than adequate. In many ways I'm so stinking awesome you could hardly stand to be around me. Except you wouldn't want to walk away from my awesomeness regardless of how stinking I might prove to be.

It's so easy to sit and compare ourselves to others. We've never been able to take our kids to Disneyland, but we've always had enough to keep ourselves going. We find ways of having fun times that don't include long lines and going into debt. Though we still would like to try and take the kids one day. I may not have published anything officially, but my writings have blessed the lives of the young women for whom I've put stories together for their girls camps. 

The most extraordinary thing I have done with my life can be seen in the walls of my home. I have four beautiful children who, despite my best efforts, are turning out to be fairly normal and moderately happy. I have a husband whom I adore and, regardless of how crazy or adequate I am, seems to love me right back. Best of all there is a spirit of love in this home that cannot be denied by any who enter in. This home is a little slice of heaven on earth. Well, at times it's more earthy than heavenly, but there really is no place I'd rather be.

I had to remind myself that there are times my "best" is going to be awesome. I'm talking awesomely awesome. Like I could leap tall buildings in a single bound. Other days my "best" is going to be crawling over ant hills (minuscule ant hills) and then taking a nap because that took all my energy. Either way my "best" is the best I can give, and both are okay.

I've struggled this last month. More than I thought I would. My oldest son would have been 14 this year - it's a key age in my church. It hurt, so much. And then four - yes, FOUR - people I loved with all my heart died within a week. I shattered, and trying to glue myself back together has been impossible. 

Yes, I know death is not the end. Yes, I know I will see them and hug them all again. Yes, I know the Atonement of Christ means He knows exactly how I'm feeling and will help me through it all. I know He is my glue. I know He is my carpenter, my Healer, my Brother. But the ache that's left behind when I can't hold them here and now remains.

I received a priesthood blessing tonight from my husband and my daddy. How grateful I am that they are always ready and willing to do so for me. And that my Heavenly Father loves me despite my inaccurate feelings of being less than adequate.

My shoulders feel lighter. Nothing has changed, except my attitude. Which is the most important and most effective change. Especially when it comes as a blessing from up above. And while life may still find me feeling adequate while my Brother and I continue to put me back together, at least I know my best is my best and that's okay.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Stay Strong and Carry On: Maile Tua'one

She's the girl on the very left. Do you see her? Of course you do. You can't help yourself. There's something in the way she smiles, a secret kept in the corner of her gorgeous eyes that makes you wish you knew what she knew.

"Go ahead and take my picture," she says, a half-laugh on her lips. "See me," she says, even though the photos are a mere echo of the beauty that sits before you. "Love me," she whispers, not a command, but rather an invitation, as though in those two words a world of unbelievable joy can be opened up before your own eyes. A world you would never have seen or felt without her. "Let me love you," she breathes, and in that one breath you know that being loved by Maile will be one of the greatest blessings of your life.

 The last time I really got to see Maile Tua'one, see her, laugh with her, love her, was at our church Christmas party in early December. She and a cousin were playing the part of the most gorgeous Santa Helpers of all time and I had the chance to MC the night. For those who knew Maile it will come as no surprise that she made the night fun. She made it magical. She brought laughter and love to the evening.

Maile died this last Sunday, late in the night. She was with a friend when her car ended up with a flat tire. Her friend got out to change the tire and she stood by his side the entire time. Which was just like her. She was always by your side. Watching over you. Watching with you. Giving very unhelpful pointers but making you love every word of advice.

 When Maile loved - and she loved everyone!...almost - it was with her whole heart. She was a little girl in a woman's body. Very little made her more happy than to dress up in her "real clothes", her Princess clothes.

And if she could find other little girls play princess with her, well, all the better. Because in those few moments shared Maile could explain to each and every little girl that they too were real-life princesses, pretending to be "regular people" in life so everyone else wouldn't have to be too jealous. In her eyes every girl deserved to be treated like royalty, and expected the men in her life to act accordingly. More often than not, they did.

Maile had the heart of an artist. One small doodle turned into a masterpiece. She lived life. She loved life. She was terrified of life. She saw it in vivid color, every swirl, every detail, down to the little things the rest of us take for granted. When we would try to go from point A to point B we knew we'd meet her there, but that she'd be five hours later. Why? Because our straight line was nothing like for her. The twists and turns and stops along the way made the way sweeter, made it worth every moment in her goal to reach B. Only B wasn't her ultimate goal - enjoying the ride, that's what mattered.
"trapped like a bird in the chaos of her own mind. inspiration strikes randomly when contemplating certain people and ideas I can't seem to escape from. I may not know what I'm doing most of the time but I sure do make it look good" ~ Maile Tua'one
Look at those eyes. Look at that half-smile. She knew what it meant to embrace everything good in this life. She's been taken from us here on earth, but her soul is flying now. Higher than she's ever gone before. She's still loving us, as we're still loving her, only she's gone on to love so many more, hand-in-hand with her daddy. Gonna miss you Miss Miles. There is no one else in this world like you. Stop by and visit every once in a while, but be the best missionary you can be on the other side.
Stay Strong and Carry On
Words she shared.
Words she lived.