Thursday, May 8, 2014

Show me how big your brave is!

It's not even Mother's Day, and I got the coolest gifts! My daughter and her family sent me two adorable books on how to babysit a grandma/grandpa. They made me cry. I love them. Another daughter gave me both an angel and a dragonfly. (Tears, again!) Two of my favorite things.

And they give me the gift of children whose lives are happy, and beautiful. A mother loves it when her children are doing so well!

Another child is doing well in a different way.

Jake wrote me a poem from his recovery center:

For Shirley

Battered and abused,
her war-torn son
marches forward, bravely on,
sword in hand.
She taught him well
to stand for truth--
her love his beacon
in his diligent pursuit.
-Jake

I don't have words...

Okay, I didn't have words for a while...

but then I wrote some in response.

And I hope they apply to every mother whose child battles thorns in the flesh. I hope you feel this way. And I hope your children feel you feel this way. It's part of what adversity is for.

Dear Jake,

Thank you for the sweet Mother’s Day letter and poem. It might be the best letter you’ve ever sent! I am so proud of your strength and courage in this challenging process of healing. I’ve been reading a great book about people with your struggles that has really helped me see things from your point of view. What you are accomplishing is epic! It’s inspiring! It’s more than most mortals can handle. Truly!

I'm glad you are working the 12 steps. You're right: Step 4 can truly be brutal, I agree, and thank God it’s got some great rewards in Step 5. I hope you know…No, really, I want to state this boldly: As far as I am concerned, you are ALWAYS forgiven before you ask. I get why those things happen, and I get that I have the agency to choose my reaction. I choose forgiveness and peace. I know the power of the atonement in my own past mistakes and want that for you and for everyone, really. Your journey has given me great opportunities for personal growth, for wisdom and understanding. I have been gifted with strength I didn’t know I had, and my compassion is deeper and wider and fuller than I could have imagined. I sometimes feel like I have been given so much at the expense of your own suffering that I need to be vigilant in “giving back”. Not only to you, but to all my Heavenly brothers and sisters. God is indeed a consuming fire. The truth, the love, the insight…they burn in me.

And we have been able to change the world (remember when you wrote me that desire while in the mission field?) with what we have been through (and continue to go through)! I know my own experiences allow me to help others in ways I wish I’d had in my own days of brutal suffering. In totality, it’s both a bone-crushing and brilliantly beautiful thing. I am lucky to be your mom. I get to have given birth to a Phoenix…I can’t wait to see what’s next!

I love the poem you wrote. It could be a companion poem to “Within”. (see http://learningtowalkinrubyslippers.blogspot.com )

You, like many geniuses and great artists, have amazing gifts. And like many of those who came before you, your gifts are often birthed in struggle. Yet you put your foot forward one more time…every time. You pick up the pen and write the next sentence. You make the next brush stroke on the canvas, you sing the next note, climb the next mountain, and slay the next dragon… I am so proud of what you are doing! Only you know how much it takes to do it all, but I have glimpses-- and your journey is profound. It humbles me. It inspires me. And it’s interesting you are starting to heal from that perception of being “a child of little worth” (as did I) at around the same age that I did. It’s a tender mercy that I am deeply grateful for.

And since you are working Step 4, I must also say this: I was proud of you even in what appeared to be your darkest moments. The strength to bear up under such tremendous adversity; the ability to survive your thorns in the flesh and serve others despite your pain; and the fact that I knew, as no other mortal could, that in the moment you entered mortality, I whispered to you what Spirit had roared to me: that you were meant for great things. I can always hold on to that thought (given me by the Spirit) in one hand, hold the Savior’s hand my other hand, and be at peace with what is. Bless you for allowing me that. Bless you. And Bless Heaven.

My new ring tone (and best song of the moment) is the Sarah Bareilles “Brave”:

"Brave"

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up

Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Everybody’s been there,
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue

Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good,
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave


So I will continue to be brave, and I know you will to. It’s who you are. I’m lucky not only to know you, but to be bound to you by blood. Thanks for letting me be your imperfect-but-trying mother. I love you!

Mom