Every October (and every April), worldwide, the members of the LDS church gather, watch on television, and listen on the radio, on the Internet, employing all manner of media to listen to our living Prophet and the Apostles and other leaders of our church speak to us the words that Christ would deliver should he stand at the pulpit himself.
Today is such a day.
Often, my spirit is harrowed up by the words our leaders speak. Many times, I realize my need to repent and to change because their words have struck a chord that was not in harmony with my spirit. And so I need to tune it to be in harmony with their council. I'm usually annoyed, then, by the people who talk about how comforting the talks were, and how their spirits were uplifted. Yes, it does say something about me, that I am not able to be comforted. Either those other souls are on the right track and doing wonderfully with their spiritual progression, or they didn't 'get' it. If I were a good soul, I would rejoice that they were doing wonderfully. Sometimes, I just bitterly think they must be ignorant.
Spiritual comfort is something I find difficult to come by, though, in any sense.
When my parents were found unconscious because of carbon monoxide poisoning and when Scarlet pulled a television onto her face, I was wracked with worry and terror while everyone around me felt comforted by the spirit, feeling assured that things would be alright. When I am having life difficulties, I rarely find comfort from them within my soul, knowing that eventually things will be okay.
My husband has been under employed since May.
That's really hard to admit. He has applied to job after job, rocked interview after interview, and been rejected again and again. I'm not sure who they are finding better than he is, but apparently, everyone is. I could go on and on about how wonderful he is, how professional, how dedicated, how he would be an asset to any company, and it would all be true- not just some wife bragging about her husband who isn't really as great as she thinks. He really IS that great. But I won't because it won't do any good, and I have a further point to make.
I am very thankful for our church. I am thankful for the internal welfare system within the church, and for our bishop and our ward. Without them, we would be broken and lost. We don't make quite half of what we need to make in order to provide for our family. And it isn't for lack of trying. It's not for laziness.
And I feel absolutely panic stricken.
Over the summer, it was not difficult to imagine financial capability before the holidays. If it wasn't one job, it was sure to be the next one. Or the next. Or the next. And now, we look at 12 weeks until Christmas and I have nothing to give my children.
On a more troubling note, I have nothing with which to buy my children winter clothes or shoes. They have coats from last year that will fit this year. I can hand Mahone's snow boots down to Scarlet, but Mahone can't wear Lilly's- pink with gray fur. There is nothing to hand down to Teague, as when Mahone was Teague's size, it was summer time. My children need things to keep them warm this winter.
Recently, deep in the night, I was wakened from sleep with worry in my heart. I lay staring at my ceiling, Brandon breathing deeply next to me, and a desperate prayer in my heart. "How will I take care of them? When will I be able to get them things to keep them warm? Will they have to wear the crocs they've worn all summer through the snow and slush? Surely their little feet would not stay warm that way.
I cried myself to sleep, feeling restless, exhausted, worn out and hopeless.
In those moments between waking and sleeping, I heard the words: "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; They toil not, neither do they spin."
This is not a scripture I had memorized. I DID recognize the beginning, "consider the lilies" because of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the fact that they sing a song about it nearly every single conference. In the morning I looked it up:
Matthew 6:28 - "And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin."
In honesty, I was shocked. A little spooked. But in a good way, not a scary way.
I have since been able to pass all of Mahone's clothes down to Scarlet, and truth be told, it all looks darling on her. Someone at work brought several bags of clothes to work because she has two girls and was discarding their old clothes. She knew Brandon had children, and told him he could have the clothes. In them were dozens of cute, girly shirts and dresses that fit my girls. Shortly after that, Brandon's aunt brought over a bunch of clothes her 8 year old son has outgrown. I now have pants that fit both Lilly and Mahone. I still don't have anything for Teague, and I am not really, in much of a sense, very comforted.
It isn't comfortable, no matter how you look at it, no matter how many tender mercies you receive, to be living on the welfare of others. We are still looking for a new job that will pay adequately. We are still hoping that someone will give us a break. Christmas is coming, and I don't know where I'll get the gifts for my children.
In all my distress, in all my panic attacks, in all my uncertainty, it doesn't pay to give up. Giving up and being bitter will not make something click that will allow my husband to secure a job. Giving up will not make things better. But hanging on just might.
Peace may only come a moment at a time. But I once heard a line that makes a lot of sense to me: "Everything is okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end."
True words, my friends.