Saturday, August 21, 2010

how rachel does it...

ah, rachel. what can i say about rachel? well, she has been my saving grace on more than one occasion. she has been a listening ear. she has encouraged me. lifted me up. strengthened me. laughed with me. cried with me. rejoiced with me. mourned with me. she calls me up for no good reason during a particularly crummy day. she offers to take leah off my hands when she already has her hands full. i just love her. i think everyone should have a rachel.

here's how rachel does it...

Trust me. I am not a great writer. I don’t have anything “neat or inspiring to write about” (yes, those were my exact words when I wrote Maren to tell her I wouldn’t be contributing). But somehow this topic of overcoming trials has stuck with me for the past few weeks. It just kept creeping back into my mind as I would lie down for a nap or sit down to read a book. I kept asking myself, “How can one stay positive amidst trials in life?”

I am not sure where I heard it, but I once heard this sentence and it has stuck with me for the past many years. It has been somewhat of a life motto for me. It has changed the way I view life.

Choose Your Hard.


Choose Your Hard.

I love this. I just love it. I have even said it, out loud, to myself when I am having a hard day. I think it is easy for me to throw up my hands in despair and say, “This is too hard! I give up! I can’t do it!” So many things in life are hard. Or not fair. Or frustrating. Or devastating. Or heart breaking.

And that’s when I respond to myself “Choose your hard!”

I have two wildly crazy little boys. Some days are just plain hard. A simple trip to the park usually includes my 2 yr old jumping from a platform that is too high resulting in scraped knees, followed by crying. All this while my 3 yr old gets sand in another child’s eyes. As I am helping him to apologize (and by helping, I mean mandating by threat of time out), the 2 yr old tackles the neighbor’s dog and I run to make sure they are both okay. Someone is usually hungry, someone usually steals a sippy cup from another child, someone usually has an accident in their pants, someone usually picks up gum off the cement and swallows it before I can fish it out of his mouth. I have definitely been known to come home from days like this and cry. I usually tell myself it is too hard. And it IS hard. But it is also hard for some women who can’t have children or others who have lost children. That is hard too. I choose a hard day at the park.

I have wanted to lose weight ever since…well, for the last five years! I go on and off diets and try this exercise video and that. Sometimes I do so great for a month or so, and then waste it all on one indulgent weekend. Sometimes I take slow and steady steps towards my goal, but it can be so hard to move so slowly. It is really hard not to eat the pizza at a girl’s night out. It is hard not to eat the cookies your neighbor brought over that smell so heavenly. It is hard not to slather food in butter or cheese when you know it would taste so good! But it is also hard to feel self-conscious all the time. It is hard to not fit into the clothes you used to fit into. It is hard to not feel like you look your best. I choose to give up pizza and cookies.

I struggle almost every single day to find time to read my scriptures or say my prayers. It seems that I always have little bodies running everywhere, or wrestling, or loudly playing “car crash”, or just needing something from me. Almost as soon as I find where I have left off, my attention is being called away again. In an effort to make it easier to get my reading in, I would often leave my scriptures out on the couch so that I would have more access to them during the day. It has resulted in extra pictures being added to some pages with markers and other pages being ripped out completely. It is so hard, almost impossible, to find a peaceful moment to really read and ponder my scriptures. But it is also hard, almost impossible, to go the entire day without the strength and the power that comes when I do read. I choose the torn and tattered scriptures.

Even when hard things happen that I most definitely did NOT choose, I have realized that I still have a choice. It is hard to respond to those trials with a happy, positive attitude. But it is also hard to be plagued with bitterness, anger, and despair. I choose hope. I choose happiness.

Eventually I find that I feel grateful for those hard things I choose. I get a small glimpse of how those hard things are helping me become a better person. I realize that these hard things have brought me closer to my Heavenly Father. And, as only He can do, He starts making my hard things a little less hard. I am grateful for hard days as the park. And I am grateful for those cookies of which I didn’t have a single nibble. And I am grateful that my scriptures are falling apart. Why? Because it reminds me that life IS hard, but I can do hard things!

Choose YOUR hard!


Molly said...

What a great phrase to live by, Rachel! I think that's a sentiment that a lot of people have alluded to--that everyone has trials, some worse than others, and that it's up to us how we face those trials. You bet that when my next little guy is born, I will be coming to you for advice. At almost 10 months, Graham just figured out how to climb on things (and he climbs everything). Yesterday he took his first nose dive off a couch. Something tells me I'm in for trouble--even more so with the second little guy coming soon. I may be coming to you often to remind me "how you do it." Thank you for posting!!

Brad, Debbie, and K squared said...

Thank you for this Rachel. I was beginning to think that unless someone has had some "major" heartbreaking trial, their life wasn't considered hard, and they had no right to give words of wisdom to cheer up the weary (which I don't believe for a minute, but I was beginning to get that impression). Had this really been the case, we would have missed out on your inspiring thoughts (yes, they were inspiring!). ALL of our lives are hard in one way or another, and I am grateful for the reminder that we can ALL do hard things! I'm going to spend some major thought on what hard things I can choose. Thank you again!

Morgan said...

thank you for your post rachel. i can totally relate to this... even down to the crazy boys driving me insane! :) "choose your hard" is a great way to look at things in a different light. thank you for that perspective!

Jenny said...

How relatable. Was it Eleanor Roosevelt who said, "I can do hard things"? I can't remember. It was someone famous though, i assure you. But that has always stuck with me, and it goes along with your thoughts a little bit. The idea that there are certain things that we either choose to do, are situations we are placed in, and we have the capacity within ourselves to do it. We can do hard things. We can have the character to choose our hard. Thanks!

Dawn said...

I love this saying and found my self repeating it when I was frustrated at different times today! How difficult life is is truly about perspective! I have days when I think life with a 2 year old with Rett is hard. Then I talk to my Sister-in-law, who has a typical 2 year old and am quickly reminded, with any 2 year old is hard! Thank you for sharing!

Dyan said...

I have loved all of these posts. It is inspiring to hear how people survive and handle their trials. It is also interesting to see how people struggle with so many different things in life. We are all unique and have our own trials.

Kelly and Nate Wright said...

I love all of these inspiring stories that have been posted on this blog recently. Because not only do they show the trials that some have to face (which are extremely difficult), but it shows how they get through it. That there is hope. That there is peace. And in most cases, people have found that through Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. And I find that uplifting.

Rach, I loved your post too! Because life gets hard for everyone, even if there isn't some tragic/heart-wrenching event. A day full of trivial events or even just one single event can send me into complete sobs because I feel I can't handle it or that my frustration is just too much. I have my own simple version of "Choose Your Hard" and that is "It Could Be Worse". And that always helps me to be grateful that it is not. Anyway, I love your perspective in that you get to choose how you are going to take on each little trial, big or small. It's reassuring to know that we have SOME control over our lives :)

rachel said...

Thank you SO much for this post Rachel. I needed to read it tonight!