SOS: What are you sinking about?
This is one of our family’s favorite commercials.
Aside from the hilarity, it makes a great point: skill proficiency is absolutely critical when dealing with life-saving situations!
I was reminded last week of the power of our thoughts. And how our thoughts can either make or break our life experiences.
I went to Mexico with my husband and his parents, siblings, and their spouses for a week.
I didn’t want to go.
I know. Some of you would wonder why I wouldn’t want to leave our winter wonderland and go to Mexico’s sunny shores for a week.
Well, it’s a little like labor. Holding a newborn in your arms is absolutely indescribable (far better than a holiday!), but getting to that point can be a tad stressful. And uncomfortable. OK, painful.
Leaving a large family and teaching commitments for a week is not a walk in the park.
It doubles all of the load for the week before–kind of like taking pitocin without an epidural: double your contractions intensity and frequency. Hello. That’s a no-brainer. Not something you jump up and down waving your hand to do.
And coming home to all the ensuing loose ends that result from our absence can be a challenging re-entry.
I have done it before; I will do it again. I have gotten things down to a routine, but it still doesn’t mean I don’t experience plenty of angst in the process.
This time I truly didn’t want to go. I was digging in my heels and giving every reason under the sun: we couldn’t afford a babysitter; Lane’s work is at a critical time to not be leaving for a week; Nate’s 18th and last birthday for two years was during the week, and we had missed it before for this kind of a trip; Eliza had a big dance competition that she was nervous about; Julia had her regional swim meet; Peter had a book report that he didn’t get done; I had lesson plans to prepare for my fledgling orchestra program. There had been so much stress in our lives that Lane and I weren’t always singing love songs toward each other, either.
(I say that tongue-in-cheek. That’s what we always crack up about when watching musicals, like this scene from The Sound of Music:)
And my toenails were ugly! And pedicures are expensive. (I know. Seriously.)
I would have stayed at the drop of a hat. I grew more and more frustrated over having to go the more I dwelt on the difficulties and inconveniences of leaving.
But a funny thing happened. I went to the temple. I prayed. I talked things out with Lane, and the weight of my negativity lifted. I felt like I should go.
So I packed up, left a list for Nate as the (unpaid) babysitter, and left with Lane, books in backpack and painted toenails in shoes.
To shorten the story, although there were some emotional ups and downs for me during the trip, I recognized what a great blessing it had been to be there. Lane and I had both wonderful non-stressful, non-pressure-from-the-daily-routine time together, and we had great chances to enjoy the company of some amazing siblings and parents. We also did work while we were there, thanks to laptops and a very slow Internet connection. So I got my lesson plan emailed off and counted on those amazing volunteers to carry things out as they so capably do.
The last day I had a discussion with Lane that particularly helped me feel the Spirit. I was reminded in my mind of some scripture stories that applied to my circumstances. I felt that I could change the way I looked at things. I could look at what I was contributing instead of what I was getting. I could be more grateful instead of resentful. The Spirit opened my mind to these possibilities, and I knew that if I put my burden of negative thinking down and let it go, I could go on my way a much happier person.
I could float instead of sink.
So I decided that I want, from now on, to not let my thoughts about these family trips sink me.
I’m writing it down so that hopefully I can remember. (Or if I start to complain, someone can remind me!)
I’m going to be positive. I’m going to be a Sam instead of a Laman.*
At least I’m going to try.
Happy Positive Thinking,
P.S. I was thinking later, after having written this post, that essentially this is the same lesson I keep having to relearn, over and over: selflessness is always a better plan than selfishness. Wish I could remember and live that more! 🙂