Sep 28, 2009

Daffodil Days

Last night Garry commented on the stacks of books on my nightstand. I have ADD when it comes to reading. I have a hard time sticking with a book long enough to finish it, especially if the book is non-fiction. So I have begun all of these books and finished none of them. It's a problem. I've vowed not to start another until they're all done. (Well, except the scriptures...they are never done, right?)

Despite the fact that the book club is reviewing "Homeless Bird" on Friday and I have only read the first page, my current favorite is "May Christ Lift Thee Up" (second from the bottom on the left), which is a compilation of addresses given at the 1998 BYU Women's Conference. Here is an excerpt from a talk by Virginia Pearce that resonates with me today:

"I was driving to work down South Temple Street in Salt Lake City. The sun was shining; the world seemed fresh and alive; there were daffodils everywhere and lots of that vibrant new green that we see only in the early spring. I was feeling good. It was one of those days when everything seemed to be right in my world. You know the kind of day. I was overwhelmed with love for my husband -- he seemed particularly handsome and good; my children seemed like they were going to make it in the world. And they were nice people, too. We were all in good health; in fact, at that moment I felt extraordinarily healthy and strong. I thought about all of the wonderful people -- friends, neighbors, associates at work -- who made my world so good. My thoughts went to the day ahead. Yes, it was going to be a good one. There was work ahead that I felt I could do -- work that was satisfying and interesting and that might even make a difference. I'm telling you, the cheerfulness in my car was almost edible!

"Yet even as I was reviewing how great my life was, part of me was looking on saying, What's going on here? None of the hard data in your life has changed that much, and yet everything seems wonderfully better this morning than it was last week! My analytical nature surfaced: Maybe the biorhythms are peaking; perhaps there has been a sudden change in serotonin levels; maybe I created extra endorphins on my morning walk. Anyway, even as I looked for ways to explain it (I didn't really care how it happened), the daffodils were catching the sun, and I was happy.

"...On that spring morning I reached for my scriptures, still thinking of my incredible sense of well-being, and started paging through the Topical Guide, stopping on the word cheer. As I read through the sentence stubs, I was surprised by a pattern:

"Be of good cheer: it is I" (Mark 6:50).
"Be of good cheer, little children" (D&C 61:36).
"Be of good cheer, for I will lead you along" (D&C 78:18).
"Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

"That touched a chord. Everything about my morning became an expression of gratitude to the Savior: the spring morning spoke of him, eternal ties and family relationships spoke of him, my health, strength, work -- all found meaning because of him.

"...Daffodils do bring gladness. Healthy, happy children cause our hearts to sing. Balanced brain chemistry and physical health maximize our enjoyment of this world. ... Economic security lightens our load of worry. Attentive husbands and the warmth of good friends bring contentment....but if some of these, if all of these, were to evaporate, to be snatched away from us, cut off at ground level, we could still count on Christ: the one who did only the will of the Father, the co-creator of all that is good, the one who knows every soul--yes, you and me."

These amazing words express how I feel today. As I am swept up in the grandeur of my blessings, in the hope of a brighter day, I am also reminded that the fundamentals of my life haven't changed. I still have challenges and limitations, stumbling blocks that will prevent me from achieving all of my ideals. But I take comfort in these words, also from Virginia Pearce's talk (originally stated by her mother, Marjorie Hinckley):

"We each do the best we can. My best may not be as good as your best, but it's my best. The fact is that we know when we are doing our best and when we are not. If we are leaves us with a gnawing hunger and frustration. But when we do our level best, we experience peace."

Today is a day when I am enjoying the daffodils (or maybe the autumn leaves), soaking up the sunshine, and feeling content that my best effort is good enough. It's a good feeling -- and a good day.
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