We went from this cute little cluster of trees, to this:
And in these two pictures is some sort of analogy to our lives. I LOVED those three little scraggly trees. They were PERFECT in that corner of our cozy little apartment. They put off a happy glow of light, and they made me happy. But, when it came to putting them up in our house, they were just not right. They didn't fit anymore. So, we got this tree, this beautiful, big tree. And therein lies the analogy. I feel as if this big tree represents the bloom of our lives and the ABUNDANCE of blessings we have recieved since moving here. While we are highly lacking in monetary means, and certainly struggling in plenty of areas, we have more blessings than I can count. Not the least of which is our AMAZING and incredible, giving and loving friends and family; A home that we love, neighbors that I'd die for, a ward that is beyond Celestial, food on our table, health, beautiful children, talents, opportunities to share said talents, FRIENDS, laughter, acceptance, and did I mention friends? etc. Our blessings have increased as our tree has grown from three little scragglers to a gorgeous fully formed pine.
What brings on this little soliloquy to the tree? Well, tonight I had the opportunity to go and sing at the Desert Vista Mental health facility. It is literally around the corner from my house, and I had NO idea what it was. Jere and I sang at a Stake fireside Sunday night and they asked any that participated that night to come and sing at the hospital tonight. Jere couldn't go, but I agreed to do it. I didn't know what to expect, but knew that I needed to make the time for it. After being led through several heavily locked doors, we made it to the dining room where a tiny little keyboard was set up and a small crew of us were ready to perform. After a bit the room began to fill with patients. There were a lot of patients and they ranged from young to old, disheveled to well kempt. As I watched them shuffle in my mind wandered to why they might be here, and what their stories were. Who were they? So, we did our small little concert, and they were a rapt audience. There were commentors who would yell out how much they liked this or that. Or those that I could overhear, talking to eachother, as if they were experts on all things musical, expressing their appreciation for the singers. At the end we did a carol sing along. They each were handed a sheet of paper with the words to 7 carols printed on them. It was fascinating to watch them "come alive" and sing along with so much ghusto and excitement. As I looked around the room and watched these people, again, I wondered....who are you? What kind of life had they led? At what point, what age, did they "break?" Were they once carefree and happy children, excitedly waiting for Santa to come? Did they have warm family gatherings and sing carols? **As a sidenote, I've been obsessed lately with homeless people. I always ponder on their life stories, and wonder if they were once happy go lucky kids, and did they EVER see themselves as they are today? I think I'm terrified on some level of ending up unprepared and somehow on the streets. ** But, that's niether here nor there. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, I was moved by this brief experience tonight. As I walked into my warm, beautiful little house, and the tree lights were twinkling, I was made MORE grateful for all I have. I was thankful for good mental health (as it turns out, this facility houses SEVERE cases, those deemed a danger to themselves or others. Schizophrenics, bi-polar, etc.) for the Gospel as a beacon of light and direction, for my family, for the opportunity to come and bring a little joy to these poor peoples lives.
I may not have a lot of the material things in life. I may cry and stress out a lot and I may struggle to understand "why me" in certain things, but in the end....I am BLESSED! And this season is about that blessing, and about blessing others. It truly is NOT about worldly gifts, it is about giving of yourself, as the Savior did for us. And so, I'm grateful for a little perspective learned in the walls of the mental facility around the corner. Be grateful, be grateful for what you have, and don't ever take for granted the small moments. You never know what the future holds, enjoy every moment as you go. And never ever forget how blessed you are, or who we are as children of a loving Heavenly Father.
Locked doors and open hearts,