It is the end of April which means we are 1/3 of the way of 2014. Where did the months go? One of my favorite times of the year is Spring, especially in Provo. The trees are all in blossom, snow is melting and water running down from the mountains. Yesterday it rained, and rained and rained. Today I walked out and notice it considerably cooler, look up at the mountains and there is snow that was not there the day before. Spring time in Provo....LOVE IT!
This week I came across a quote by Dr. Joyce Brothers, "The best proof of love is trust." I don't know if anything has hit me as hard as those words did, "love" and "trust" used together. Yet when I tried to write about it, I seemed to have a block as though part of something was missing. I couldn't put my finger on it. Then today in Relief Society we had a lesson on "Moral Force." One of the first questions asked was "What exactly does Moral Force" mean? I think for all of us we could give different definitions depending on what our values are and what we find is acceptable and not acceptable. Because this is our woman's group at church, we focused on women and who were our influences. I immediately thought of one woman.
Like any young woman she was anxious to start her family. She learned that her first two children were deaf and counseled by doctors not to have any more children and to place the two deaf ones in an institution. She would not hear of it. Instead she got the materials needed and she studied and became learned in the field of "Deafness" that she taught her two sons at home how to sign, and how to TALK! And she went on to have seven more children!! I often think of this and wonder what I would have done in her situation? Would I have had the same courage and convictions she did? The same faith that she did to put all her love in these two boys that they would trust her and beat the odds.
Her and her husband believed very much in FAMILY. They determined they were a family first. They began early instilling in their children the values of hard work. Not only for their two oldest, but also for the other seven. This would be a valuable trait as they would have to put in many hours of practice to perfect their musical talents. Even as they grew in popularity in their music world wide, they maintained true to their values and beliefs, both them and their children. They believed in their FAITH and LIVED it!! Their children not only learned from their parents, but they were also able to share what they knew by simply LIVING BY EXAMPLE! Even amazing is over 50 years later, they still hold true to their faith, values and family. I believe it was because of the love and trust they had in their parents, especially their mother. When I think of "Moral Force" I think of Olive Osmond. She was not a pulpit pounding sounding voice of preaching, but her "moral force" was simply living what she taught. She was not afraid to show it and not afraid to stand up for what she felt was wrong.
Often times in my life I have thought back to a time when I struggled. There are two different sets of words I hear. One is "You are old enough to take care of yourself! Grow up!" I spent alot of time in tears when I think of those words. I didn't understand if I was old enough to take care of myself, why I couldn't. But lately when I struggle and I want some advice I hear the words, "This too shall pass." Olive's son Jay taught me these words. I used to laugh and think it was a joke. Now I know when those storms hit, I go back to the basics of what I know with all certainty and hold on weathering the storm. And guess what? The storm does pass. Which ones do you think truly helped me?
I don't know about anyone else but I do much better when someone is kind and loving and patient to me rather than forceful and hurtful...even with the best intentions. I think back to a time when I returned to Utah and had someone say something that I never expected and was very hurtful to me. I loved them so much and yet that day I felt so betrayed. I was grateful for my friend Nancy and her insight to call me as I sat in my truck, had a prayer and let the tears flow. After her few words I knew I was going to be okay and guess what? I was!
This all leads me to the quote from Dr. Brothers, "The best proof of love is trust." I often think of my mom. On one hand I know she was only doing what she felt was best. And I know what others say, those who have been hurt, hurt others. I don't hate my mom, I just think I have a different kind of love than most others do for their mothers. I have a love for her, but it has always bothered me as much as I try I do not have the same greater love I have for others. I know I should but try as I can, it doesn't come. And until this quote I never understood why. It is that trust I lack. I never had that. How do I get that now?
I never met Olive, but I did get to know one of her posterity. Simply because of the example she set and her children set I gained a great deal of love for them and I believe it was all because I learned to trust them. I may not have always understood, but I learned to trust them. In my own life when I was beat up by the bullies when I was 7 and told I was old enough to take care of myself I believed my mom. When I was told I was dumb and stupid I believed my family. When I was told I was an animal I believed people. When that trust was broken, it is hard to have trust again and to learn to love others, especially those that have broken it.
I have tried to live my life differently than what I knew growing up. I believe those that I have come to trust (as much as I can) I do truly love. They had no moral obligation towards me, and didn't even have to be my friend, but they did and whether they know it or not influenced me with their "moral force." My friends Rick and Connie who told me they loved for the first time I ever remember someone telling me that. They will never know the impact that would have on my life. My friend Jody and the constant service she had done in her life for others. Service doesn't have to be a sad thing, just something that makes you feel good to want to do more. I added service to my life because of Jody. My friend Sharyl and her influence on me as a child in going to church. As much as she tried to love me I didn't know what love was and I feel I probably pushed her away. She was one of the few I could open up to in my later years about my mom and seemed to understand. She was there and witnessed part of it, and did not tell me to toughen up. Instead she encouraged me and told me things I would have wanted to hear from my own mother.
One of the reasons I do these newsletters is more for my benefit than anything, There was a time in my life when I had so much negativity in it and I did not want to go back down that path I had come. I needed to keep moving forward. So I started this newsletter. It makes me smile when I get an email telling me "this is just what I needed this week." I hope it makes you think of the kind of footprints and legacy you are leaving behind. I can tell you change is not easy, but neither is living in misery. The only true happiness I have ever found was truly trying to be that "moral force." For me it means to serve others, to be kind and to be obedient. When I do those things, the storms will come and go, but I know I can withstand any force. I challenge each of you to look at your lives this week and see what it is you can do to be that "moral force". It may be something as simple as bringing a bit of joy into a life, reaching out to a neighbor, giving someone a hug that does not get them often...and then please share!!
Hoping you all have a great week!! Love you all Laura
PS A Special thank you to Ariel Henry for the inspiration for the newsletter this week!