Thursday, December 17, 2009

Perspective

What a difference a year and a neighborhood makes.

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,


Allyson

10 comments:

Mel said...

I love this. Darn you and your convicting blog posts :)

Steph said...

Beautifully said. :)

DianD said...

I keep thinking of a quote I read from Elder Packer. "If there is a feeling of disappointment in you at Christmastime... it means you never really discovered Christmas at all." I would have to say that you have discovered Christmas! And because of that discovery you will always be grateful!
Love ya, Sunshine!

Jenn C. said...

Your post was meant for me. I have been so down today and your words totally cheered me up and gave me a new perspective and I want to say Thank You! I am blessed and I need to count those blessing more often!!! Merry Christmas!

LanaBanana said...

Don't you love "Aha" moments like that? The moment of walking through your door that night--something completely simple--is a moment that will stay with you for many Christmases to come. Thanks for sharing that...it is definitely the most important thing to remember every single day. What DO I have to be grateful for instead of what I don't. Great post.

Dana said...

Really beautiful words Allyson. Thank you for sharing such a personal and touching moment. I'm going to share them with my family too. I'm so happy for you!!

Kirsten said...

Allyson, this is why I do the work that I do. I learn so much from the people I work with. There is great satisfaction that comes from learning to love those who are outcasts and to some unloveable. In that way they teach me to appreciate my life so much more and to follow the Savior's example to love as He did. When I come across the really downtrodden, I walk away with a sense of humbling that I somehow escaped that life and I live so "abundantly" as you have said. Great post, and lets be blog buddies! My posts are definitely not this deep and focus mostly on my cougarette goals and my boys woes but I think we could still be blog BFF's! haha! I'm www.kirsten-unedited.blogspot.com

jen said...

Thanks, Allyson. I've been feeling just like this--stress in my life about good things. Perspective check taken

Greg and Tammy said...

It's a good sign, that you requested to come home instead of stay in. :) Thanks for the inspiring moment. I think moments like that are what Christmas is all about.

azandersens said...

That was a good post. I love the tree analogy. We have the same tiny set that we used in our condo our first couple of years. They're on our front porch now since we had room to upgrade.