Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Depth

Let's be honest. This particular blog has been lacking in any sort of depth lately and it's not for lack of thoughts going on up here. I think the trouble is first, I haven't been drawn to blog lately and second, the thoughts in my head are so much clearer than the words that are trying to describe them.

I feel as though I have been a distant witness to what others might call adverstiy or tragedy. There are blogs that are following the paths of families who have had unfortunate things happen to them, numerous incidents in close-to-home news and events within our own family, but I don't know whether to call them accidents or not. I hesitate to claim them as tragedy myself because I know that there is a lot of good that comes out of such events, but also heartache and sorrow. I heard of another such incident this past weekend while we were in Southern Utah and stopped to think about these things when Grandma Delores said, "will this ever end?" meaning the streak of "bad luck" in their small town.

I had long conversations with Grandma about the benefit of seeing the good in what's happening around you rather than always focusing on the negative. Grandma tends to limit herself with comments involving the words, "I can't," or "I used to be able to..." or demeaning her capability. If you happen to have experience with those of this generation, you may know that the term, "set in their ways," is quite appropriate, but it was fun to see Grandma rephrase things as she started noticing her words. She would say things simply to humor me, but at least she's thinking!

Another thing that these recent events have made me realize is that all of them are involving people who are now counting their blessings. They are grateful for those family and friends who step up and and support and love and fill in the gaps. They are grateful for health and strength and mention that they took it for granted back when they had it. It makes me more committed to appreciating what I have now instead of waiting for tragedy to strike and then look back to see how good I had it. I was sitting next to Cooper this morning on the couch and while he has tried my patience the past few days, I suddenly saw him again as the sweet little boy that he is, the peaceful spirit that is inside of him and was so grateful that I have the opportunity to kiss his soft cheeks and tickle his healthy body and cuddle with him often. I was reminded to use a kind voice and take the time to teach rather than to reprimand. These children in my life are complete miracles to me and I need to remember to treat them as such. Seneca is turning into a headstrong little girl with a mind of her own and as frustrating as it may be sometimes, Grandpa Dale commented that he wouldn't have it any other way. That he worries about children who are too complacent. He admired her spunk, even when it meant getting into his things, to which he threatened to wallup her... his threats hold no merit when it comes to Senny's sweet smile greeting him.

I suppose the question to ponder (comment or not) is this: Is there such thing as true tragedy? Is there ever really a situation that some good doesn't come out of? My mother's illness seemed to be the most terrible thing that could happen to our family at one point, but so much growth and good has come to everyone involved that I can't call it tragedy. Nor can I say that Ben's experience in London was such- he is an amazing person because of the heartache he went through. I know everyone has these events in their lives, the ones when we're in the middle of them we wonder what in the world we signed up for, but doesn't it always end well? Isn't there always some positive lesson to learn eventually? I hope so. I feel determined that I need to feel the gratitude for my abundance while I have it and not after it's been diminished.

12 comments:

Amy said...

We've been having similar thoughts these last weeks! As I watch others grow in strength & stature through their "tragedies" I am overwhelmed with the desire to do more & be more. Maybe it is a seasoning for us so that when the "tragedies" hit us, as they eventually will in some form or fashion we'll remember that we can do it & the Lord is there to help.

Kristi said...

Amen, Amberly. I would have to say that we all become complacent over time and it takes, what we often term, "tragedies" to pull us out of it and make changes or just be more appreciative of what we have. Due to one of these "tragedies" my family has ended up far away from loved ones. Which has definitely proven to be a challenge, but most definitely also a blessing. Trusting the Lord is what will change it from a tragedy to a blessing.

The Silly Witch said...

I think there is plenty of tragedy and pain in the world, but one thing I've noticed, is that it can't touch break those who have the Gospel to put it all into perspective. Unfortunately not everyone has this assurance, and their lives are very hard, indeed. But everyone can have this assurance... Lately I've noticed a lot of really strong faithful families going through difficult trials. The Lord is strengthening them, but he's also using them. People without the assurance of the Gospel watch us. They watch us press forward, living life, feeling joy along with our pain, when others might feel complete despair.

Kari Ann said...

I think the strength of the human spirit allows us to choose if a tragedy will crush us or be the stone that we step upon to reach for something greater. If we choose to stay beneath the weight, we learn humility from the hands, seen and unseen, that emerge to help carry the weight. However, if we choose to reach for something higher we just may get to touch the hand of God and discover who we really are.

MOM 2 TMSB said...

It's only a "tragedy" if nobody learns anything.

Holladay Photo said...

nice thoughts Amberly...and good comments. it does seem that lately i've been following blogs where the family is dealing with a tremendous challenge. it does make me really think about our learning process here on earth.

Partridge Family said...

Thanks for your comments. I am in the middle of feeling the overwhelming, how am I going to make it through this year, stage of life with teaching seminary and trying to get through to 17 year olds who wake up at 4:45 a.m. to go to seminary. It is a trial and a blessing. Thanks for reminding me to focus on the blessings!

Sandi said...

That is a bullseye, Amberly. I agree with the comment it is only a tragedy if no one learns any thing. The same holds true, it is only a sacrafice if you don't accept the blessings.

Wade and Katelyn said...

I am going to take a different line here than the rest of your readers...

I think tragedy absolutely exists, regardless if a teaching opportunity or learning takes place. Losing a child or a sibling or dear friend to sudden death or to illness is still a tragedy. Sure something can be learned or gained from the tragic experience but that doesn't take away from the fact that it was still a tragedy and steeped in grief. Think about the horrible things that happen that unfortunately remain status quo...starving children in Africa, war and unrest in the Middle East, storms that destroy homes and villages leaving orphans without any family. These are absolutely tragedies. While our knowledge of the gospel and the plan of salvation can lessen the grief or the impact of a tragedy, or while we may learn a significant life lesson or take away strength or character that we didn't have before, I don't believe that it changes the fact that that knowledge or character originated from a tragedy.

Stephens Family said...

Amberly, your thoughts are always so beautiful and thoughtful. I love your depth! : ) Of course, this hit very close to home for me. I know in our case that we count our blessings every second of everyday and thank our Father for the miracle of Dylan. I 100% agree that out of every tragedy, there is something to be learned and that the Lord knows what that is. I believe, for me, it has only been through prayer and faith that I have been able to understand. And of course, there are still many lessons for me to learn and I have my moments. Everything happens for a reason and I guess it is up to each person individually to come to terms with that when they can. I have certainly been reminded to count my blessings everyday!!

jared & amber said...

You are always so great to stay positive in hard times. While situations may seem grave, they will pass and better days are bound to come. We moved to Sacramento for Jared's Gradute School. He is getting his Master's Degree in Urban Land Development. I'm glad you were able to go to Utah and get out of the summer heat...it was hot in Las Vegas too.

Becky said...

Awesome thoughts, Amberly! I think the only true tragedy is when people DON'T find the good in their situation...when people refuse to allow God to transform something bad into something beautiful. With my family situation I have seen in stark contrast those who focus on the negative and those who don't...a bittersweet blessing for me.