Sunday, January 13, 2013

Never Say Never Always

Many years ago I was on the most amazing scripture study schedule.  Every morning I spent 30 minutes in my room in my comfy chair studying the scriptures.  And then I usually spent 30 minutes more reading a book about some spiritual topic. (This must have been when the triplets were 4 and entertained themselves well.)  It was a wonderful experience and I was sure that I was always going to be able to study like that.

Except that I couldn't.

Several years ago we went on a camping trip with several families in our ward.  We all had a great time together and said enthusiastically that we would make this Columbus Day camping trip a yearly tradition.  I was happy to think that every year we would go on this camping trip.

October campout 2010 024

Except that we didn’t.

As you all know, every year for the last 14 or so years (except for the year I was on bedrest) we’ve spent at least one week at the beach during the summer and often two.  The last 11 years with dear friends.  We’ve loved it so much that I knew that we would do it every summer.

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Except that now we can’t.

I’ve noticed recently that I have this tendency—when something is good, and especially when something is wonderful, to “make” a decision that we will always do this thing or feel this way.

It’s not only big and wonderful things that I do this with; the other day I needed to put clothes in the washer, which lately means emptying the dryer first and then moving the clothes into it from the washer before finally being able to load the washer.  The dryer was full of darks which are pretty quick to fold, so I just stood there and folded them as I took them out.  The load of laundry was still a little bit warm and it was pleasant standing there folding the pants and hanging the shirts, and before I knew it I was done.

Before I realized what I was doing I found myself thinking, “That was great.  I should always do it that way.”
But this time I stopped myself.  You see, I’m learning that making the pronouncement of “always” doesn’t guarantee anything, and seems to bring with it an extra helping of sadness and disappointment when things don’t work out the way I thought they always would.

I am wondering if changing my approach will change my experience.  Maybe instead of pronouncing another “always” on a situation I need to focus on appreciating and cherishing the opportunities we have, while also keeping in my heart the awareness that very few things in our mortal journey last forever.  Maybe then I could avoid the heart-ache I’ve had when things I was sure would always last have not.

So there you have it.  My new motto—Never Say Always.  I’ll let you know if it works.

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