Wednesday, December 22, 2010


{these thoughts have been a long time in the making. they're still not complete, but they've been simmering in my brain for so long that i wanted to get them down, somehow, even if they are rugged and unfinished.}

throughout the past year, i cannot count how many times people have said to me, in regards to leah and her struggles, "you are perfect for this." or "i can't think of anyone else who would be better for this job than you." now, at the risk of sounding like a complete and total jerk, there is nothing in the world that makes me want to throw a rock at someone's head than these phrases {or a variation of them}. 

but the problem was, i wasn't sure why these words - meant as a compliment - were so utterly hurtful and painful.

i think, at the heart of it, i just don't feel perfect for the job. how could someone who is perfect for something feel like a complete mess at the end of every day? how could someone who is perfect for a child wish, with all their heart, that life was somehow different? why would i go to sleep with a sopping pillow and wake up with puffy eyes if i was meant for this job? would you really not succeed as much given the same situation or are you just secretly glad that you don't have to? and on, and on, and on. 

i don't think anyone is really ever "perfect" for a trial. in fact, i think for me it's the complete opposite. i think i am perfectly awful at and perfectly wrong for this {and other} trials - and that's the whole reason i have them. they're areas in which i need to progress, to grow and to become better. i cannot even begin to think about getting through my trials alone. and because of that fact, i find myself on my knees pleading for help each morning and night. reaching out to my father in heaven, reaching out to others who have been or currently are in a similar position.

daily i see others gracefully glide through life with such courage and strength and ease. i'm sure they are struggling, but they're struggling with things that aren't difficult for me. they're struggling with things that are perfectly wrong for them. and they are learning. and growing. they, like me, are striving to become the people they have the potential to become. 

all because we are imperfect.

sometimes we realize these imperfections because we are given trials. a child is born with a handicap or disease, a loved one becomes ill or passes on. sometimes others throw those trials in our faces - they only happen because of the choices of others and yet we pay the consequences. drunk driving is a biggie that comes to mind. sometimes they aren't even "our" trials - but trials of those around us that we love. i don't really think it matters if our struggles are a result of our own doing, someone else's or no one's at all - they're still really, really hard.

but, in thinking about all of this, i've realized that the compliment factor comes when you realize you are doing something about it. you are growing. you are learning. you are becoming more than you were. you haven't given up. and because of that, no matter the outcome, you can rest assured you have done your part. 

venting is good. crying is needed. laughter is essential. but no matter what, you just pick yourself up and keep going.

a couple months ago on leah's blog, i quoted elder jeffrey r. holland, an apostle in my church. in part, he said, "...Christ knows better than all others that the trials of life can be very deep, and we are not shallow people if we struggle with them.  But…the Lord expects us to believe!”

we all have our weak moments. and it's okay to be weak. we all feel as if we might crumble under the load we have been asked to bear. but we're not asked to bear it alone. i am imperfect. you are imperfect. but we have a perfect Partner. 

so, i'll just go on being imperfect {and trying my best to not throw rocks at anyone}. but i'll also continue trying and learning and growing. i can be perfect at that.

{photo cred goes to ry guy - rocks in monterey jan 2009} 


Jennie said...

YES. I just want to say Ditto, and I feel the same way. This is certainly a post written from a lot of special needs mom's hearts. Thanks so much for sharing. If it is okay, I'd love to link to it. Merry Christmas!

Shannon said...

You may not be perfect, Maren, but this post was. I think you hit this spot on. The Lord doesn't give us trials that we can "handle"...He gives us trials/allows us to have trials that we cannot handle...without turning to Him and letting Him carry them for us/letting Him change us into someone stronger--strong enough to let Him help us. I love the last part about not being perfect, but having a perfect partner. Loved this. Thanks so much for writing your thoughts.

lmackay32 said...

I love reading your blog! You have such an amazing way with words. Thanks for always being honest and open, I think your blog helps every mother. Please keep it up!!!

JourneyBeyondSurvival said...

You know, I have thought exactly this many times. I've only confessed to my very best friend and to the world on my anonymous blog. But I've felt very much like if I really and truly picked these trials and difficulties for myself...
...I must have been one self-righteous terrifyingly proud person. Because I often feel like I must've been a complete nincompoop to do so.

Not because I'd change any of it. NOpe. I'd fight anybody to get my life as it is right now back. But because it's so blasted hard and I can't believe I'd EVER choose it on purpose.

So, I just do my best and try to smile benignly. :)

Jen said...

I can tell you one thing you ARE perfect at...expressing yourself through words very effectively and eloquently. :-) Adversity sucks rocks, and don't feel bad about throwing them either. I think that we will, one day, in the next life know everything about what we have been asked to go through during our individual journeys called "our lives". In the mean-time, getting out of bed in the morning is a success. You and Ryan are perfect at adoring Leah and putting a strong face to all that Leah brings to your life. If we give away pain and hardship, we will need to trade in the strength and wisdom that accompanies it too. Because you are so good at keeping your blog, we all know that you get out of bed every morning. You are an example of human success in the face of perfect hardship. You are a light.

t.t.turner said...

This was so beautifully written - I think I've read this half a dozen times. It's given me a new perspective that (I think) will help me keep my chin up with the things I am struggling with. Love you, Maren!

The MacDonald Family said...

Maren I LOVE this post. I understand it so much that I feel like I actually wrote it (except there's no way I could have gotten the thoughts out so perfectly and written it so beautifully). Hugs to a wonderful mom and a great friend!

Just Us said...

Thank you for this Maren. I am so thankful I decided to do some blog catching up because this is just what I needed to hear on a no good, very bad day.