Thursday, December 17, 2009

I triumphed over my first semester of graduate school

This is a happy day. With three minutes to spare, I emailed my professor to let him know that I finished my last of MANY books of the semester. . . and that was the end. The end!! For a few weeks, anyway.

And I COULD NOT have done this without the support of my chief editor, bottle washer, and cook, the magnificent Tyler Joseph Anderson. Seriously, by the end of this thing, he'll know as much or more about family therapy than I do. He has read and edited every paper, listened to me spill my guts about all the reasons I am not fit to be a therapist, and anxiously helped me analyze our own families and marriage (well, maybe anxiously is a bit of a stretch, but he definitely was patient).

T's not home tonight--working late. This moment of triumph is missing half of its provider (brought of course by the letter, the man, the companion of my dreams and reality--get it? reali--T?)

By triumph I mean that I worked and read and wrote my tail off. Two A's to report so far--I haven't cared about grades since high school. Now I think about each subject and my need to retain all that knowledge for actual clients, children, and families.

This is my forte--this is where I need to be. A lot of stress, brain, money, and soul are going into this degree. It seems that the rest of what I thought my future would hold rests on this part of my earthly mission. My patriarchal blessing says that many will come to me for counsel in my life; I never pictured that meaning a therapy degree, but the Lord is in this.

His goodness faileth never. . .

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I never recognized how much of my heart, my life, and my being rests on my emotions. I feel things deeply. Yes, I like to analyze (this is a function of the brain), but what do I like to analyze? Why I feel the way I feel. Emotion. I cried a lot on my mission. I cried a lot in my first year of marriage. I cry a lot when my emotions are bruised. Funny how my sisters used to ask me why I didn't cry during sacrament meetings growing up. Tyler never knew he was going to marry a cry baby-- I think I cried all of once during our engagement. Crying helps me regulate my feelings; they get too full and clogged up in my body so the tears release pressure.

So I can't tell you all the things I cry about, but here's the latest. It was testimony meeting and the Spirit was thick and rich. Mention was made of the 2nd counselor's wife who suddenly got terminal cancer and disappeared from church without warning. One of the ladies I visit teach asked the ward to not forget about her non-member husband and son that didn't join the church with her and her daughter 6 years ago--"they still need your prayers," she said. A sweet sister bawled through her testimony that God answers every prayer, sharing the heartache of not being able to have kids during her first few years of marriage and now having three precious little ones. Testimony meetings bring me a sense of hope.

Hope gets the short end of the stick-- faith and charity steal the show most of the time. But during this past year, this happy and difficult year, my eyes have turned upwards towards the "star of hope". (This is where the crying part comes in). After this Spirit and emotionally charged testimony meeting, we sang "The First Noel"--the second verse got caught in both my heart and my throat--

They looked up and saw the star
Shining in the East beyond them far
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and by night

I got it. Like for the first time I could picture what it must have been like for people in the old and new world when that star appeared. It was the birth of Jesus that everyone was waiting for, but it was the sign--the star--that shone, confirming that their hope was not in vain. For the wise men, the star was still "beyond them far"; it took several more years of traveling before they would claim their visit to the mercy seat. The light from the star continued both day (in the good times) and by night (the darkness, the mists of sadness, discouragment, broken dreams, pain).

Noel! Noel! The Latin origin of noel is natalis, meaing "birth"--the birth of Christ was the long awaited birth of hope. I felt a lot of hope in testimony meeting today; I guess that's what brought on all the tears. Tyler and I have dreams. Big dreams. And as I have felt for the last few years of my life, "the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams" (Thank you, Eleanor Roosevelt). I believe in hope. Hope comes from faith. Faith is the first step, believing in what we can't see. Hope follows, the peace and assurance that passes understanding. Dreams do come true, with a lot of work and faith and love, and yes, hope.