Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Random Thoughts at 5:00 a.m.

Every morning at 5 a.m. a bird right outside my bedroom window tweets one lovely, long and musical tweet. Then it stops in eery silence and doesn’t make a sound. One tweet. Silence. Does a random burst of song just happen to overcome this bird at 5 a.m., she gets it out, and then she is done?

I am so glad the universe is bigger than me. A few days ago I was having one of those *perfectionist* moments that I have a tendency for. I was trying to get the whole house perfectly cleaned in one day, all the dishes done, all the laundry done, our van cleaned out and vacuumed, and the kids’ piano practice and homework all done. The kids couldn't quite keep up with my harried pace and despite the fact that they had just cleaned their rooms, practiced their piano, and cleaned out the entire van, I was frustrated with them. Work, children, work! Mostly, I was frustrated with myself – my physical body that is slowed by the pregnancy.

I stepped outside of my kitchen. Outside those four little walls and onto the deck which leads to the woods behind our house. Seeing the tall Ponderosa pine trees, vast blue skies and deep woods, the thought came to me. I am so glad the universe is bigger than me.

Bigger than my petty woes. Bigger than myself. There is so much more to life than just me and what I want and what I think. Thank heaven! I am convinced that a large part of the reason that we are here on this earth is to overcome ourselves, even in our most difficult times -- To reach inside ourselves and somehow find the ability to look outward at others and ease their suffering even if we are struggling, too. This is what the Savior would do. This is what we are challenged to become. Unselfish. Looking outward. Finding someone else who is suffering or struggling and for a moment, think about them instead of myself. Even, or perhaps especially, if that person is one of my children or my husband. In my darkest hours, this concept has brought relief and joy. The world is not all about me, and God is teaching me that. One day at a time.

Remember when I talked about struggling with weight gain during pregnancy? Yesterday I spoke with a friend, Christy*, who pointed out to me that I had recently lost a lot of weight, and that at my pre-pregnancy lowest I weighed almost 20 pounds less than I did in high school. I might gain "more" than the cookie cut-out doctor charts recommend because my body is starting at an all-time low.

She also related a story about her pregnant sister-in-law who appears to have a severe eating disorder. While pregnant. With two other small girls in tow.

Christy spoke of how this beautiful young woman (both inside and out) drank nothing but caffeine to sustain her and spent most of her time on the couch, in exhaustion, from the lack of energy and nutrients that eating provides. Her oldest daughter, only five years of age, seems to be picking up some of these strange eating habits (or un-eating habits?) and had apparent guilt related to eating. Christy even found it difficult to not feel guilty for eating in front of her. She felt like a pig for enjoying her lunch while her sister-in-law sipped on her Red Bull energy drink, and had to keep reminding herself, I am a nursing mother and my baby and I need these healthful nutrients.

As Christy talked to me about other troubling problems related to her sister-in-law’s eating disorder, it reinforced something that Paul has been trying to tell me for years. This weight gain has a reason. A really good reason. A reason to celebrate, to rejoice in, to be happy for. I would so much rather gain five pounds “too much” in my pregnancy through exercise and eating healthfully, than to waste away on the couch from lack of energy, giving my unborn child a constant caffeine buzz in order to sustain my small shape.

2005, nine months pregnant with Essie, and weighing what my doctor claimed to be 5 lbs "too much."

I am sorry for this young woman who is so terribly lost in the world’s obsession with appearance that she cannot glory in one of the most beautiful things that God has given to us -- the ability to create life and bring it forth into the world. And I am reminded not to fall into that same tragic trap.

(*Name and Identity have been changed in order to protect and keep anonymous the identity of the woman with the eating disorder)

My first Random post.


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  2. Hi Ashlee,
    I really enjoyed your thoughts about the universe is so much more than just about ourself. I truly believe when I die that is what Heavenly Father's first question about my life will be, " how much did you love your fellow men?, What did you do to serve them & show them your love?". I really need reminders that this is what life is all about! Love Carolyn