py & Paste This Code:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

New Song Love

Okay the title's a misnomer because the song came out in 2001, but somehow I missed it.  This is Lullaby for a Stormy Night by Vienna Tang and every time I hear it I love it a little more.

I first fell in love with the soft, uncomplicated piano accompaniment and desire to play this song.  Then I fell in love with the premise-lullabies are the type of music I would study for the rest of my life if I could.  Then I fell in love with the message of the song.

It was hard at first for me to imagine myself in the child's place because I love thunderstorms; I sit on my porch and watch them all night long given half a chance.  But then I realized this isn't just about thunderstorms, it's about all life's trials, and I'd like to break it down a little.

little child, be not afraid
though rain pounds harshly against the glass
like an unwanted stranger, there is no danger
I am here tonight

How often are our fears unfounded?  I know I frequently wake up in terror from nightmares of things that NEVER REALLY HAPPENED.  Okay, sure, maybe someday my precious child will get in a car accident and die, but at that moment I am losing sleep over fear for a child safely tucked in their bed.

little child, be not afraid
though thunder explodes and lightning flash
illuminates your tear-stained face
I am here tonight

This is my favorite message of this song-that fear is okay.  Whether it's founded or not, it is natural for us to be afraid and we can be helped through these challenges.

and someday you'll know
that nature is so
the same rain that draws you near me
falls on rivers and land
on forests and sand
makes the beautiful world that you'll see
in the morning

Trials-the storms in our lives-they are no fun, but from a desert dwelling perspectives these thunderstorms are our lifeblood.  I've lived in agricultural areas and seen fear as the droughts have dragged on, I've seen increasingly more desperate measures passed to increase our water rights, I've heard of feuds being fought over use of water.  These huge thunderstorms mean life to us in a life and death situation

Likewise, we pass through challenges that are not fun, but they are needful in order for us to grow.  Sad fact: you're probably in for something harder down the road.  If we didn't have these trials how could we hope to face what's ahead or to appreciate the beauty around us?  When you think about it honestly, how much of the beauty in your life can be traced to things you had to overcome?

little child, be not afraid
though storm clouds mask your beloved moon
and its candlelight beams, still keep pleasant dreams
I am here tonight

When I was depressed I felt no love of any kind-not for anyone or from anyone.  I felt no joy and no hope and I didn't know if I would ever again.  The thing was, those things were always there, just couldn't see them.  They hadn't even moved, they were just hidden for the moment.  The moment passed and I saw everything I had wanted was mine to begin with.

little child, be not afraid
though wind makes creatures of our trees
and their branches to hands, they're not real, understand
and I am here tonight

We may know in our minds that these things aren't true-monsters aren't waiting to eat us, people don't often die on the operating table, etc, but sometimes we need someone to acknowledge our fear and reassure us.  It doesn't make it go away, but it makes it a little easier to deal with.  Sometimes all we need is that someone to anchor us to reality and reassure us we will be okay

for you know, once even I was a
little child, and I was afraid
but a gentle someone always came
to dry all my tears, trade sweet sleep for fears
and to give a kiss goodnight

It's a comforting thought that the parents who rocked me to sleep when I was sick once needed to be rocked.  My niece's tears when she didn't perform as she hoped really tugged at my heart because I remember shedding the same tears at her age (and now on occasion.)  Sometimes we all need comfort and strength from loved ones, and sometimes we can give it.  Life is wonderful that way.

well now I am grown
and these years have shown
that rain's a part of how life goes
but it's dark and it's late
so I'll hold you and wait
'til your frightened eyes do close

It's wonderful that the things I worried about as a child don't scare me anymore.  I used to be so scared I would someday lose my mobility.  Now I know if that ever does happen I can handle it.  I still don't like the thought, but I've had experience enough to know that I'll be okay.  Likewise I fought tooth and nail to keep my first boyfriend from breaking up with me because I had no idea how to put myself back together afterwards.  Now I know that breakups are hard, but I can gain as much from them as the relationship.

I tell my little ones that they will be fine, but when they are still afraid I try to just hold them.  Life must be lived and now they are gaining strength and experience.  I've learned the wisdom in just holding them and waiting.

and I hope that you'll know...

everything's fine in the morning
the rain'll be gone in the morning
but I'll still be here in the morning

Now I have conquered the trials I faced so long ago.  I changed my career path, got out of the wheelchair, beat depression, and learned to love again.  The storm has passed (at least in those matters) but so many wonderful friends who lifted and supported me are still with me sharing in the joy and success.  When the storm is passed the world is truly a more beautiful place.

A final thought-think of yourself as the child and God as the parent-I like that interpretation best.

My Temple Experience

This week I had the remarkable opportunity to go through the temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for the first time, and I would like to share about it.

I will talk about the temple, but skip the play by play because it wouldn't do any good.  If I tried to describe it step by step I would use a lot of words and make it sound a lot more complicated than it is.  The truth is that everything that happens in the temple is simple and beautiful.  The subject material discussed is well covered here and (for those of you more familiar with our doctrine) here.

I think one of the biggest things that helped me prepare (besides Temple Prep class and studying this talk) was that I got to spend the day before serving others.  It was one of those kinds of service that didn't cost me anything and wasn't much if any inconvenience, but I knew I was recieving blessings by focusing on someone other than myself.  (kinda, I got really helped out too, but it's because I was with someone else.)

I chose the Gila Valley Temple because it is so near and dear to my heart.  The temple ordinances are the same wherever you go, but for me I wanted it to be that one.  It was beautiful and I loved every minute of it.

Every person is asked to bring an escort that first time through.  This is so you have someone to help you know what's going on at any given moment, someone to take care of you.  When I arrived my mother and I were asked to meet with the Temple President and Matron to make sure I understood what was happening here.  The words President Layton said to me will stick with me the rest of my life-"Sister Jana Christensen, today you have entered the Lord's house as the guest of honor."  That was how I felt the whole day.

The biggest surprise to me is that I expected something overwhelming and emotional, but it wasn't that at all. It was so simple and peaceful the whole time, and I loved it.  Don't get me wrong, there's a lifetime of learning and growing to be had there, but it's a very quiet time.  Of what was taught, I think my strongest impression was how much God loves each and every one of us.  Adam and Eve were so dear to the Father that he put the Atonement in place for them and each and every one of their posterity.  I am more committed than ever to sharing His love with all I meet, because that's what He's trying to do.

My whole life my worst fear is that if people really knew me, they would not like me.  When I was in the temple I knew with my whole soul that I am loved for who I am.  I am absolutely unique with a purpose and meaning to my life.  I have work to do and I will find myself capable of doing it.  I am excited to go back for the rest of my life and learn more, little by little, about how remarkable Gods children truly are.

For anyone reading this in anticipation of going, I have this piece of advice-don't worry.  It's really calm and you are always surrounded by people lovingly guiding you.  There's nothing to worry about.  One or two things were a little different than what I was used to, but this morning I realized that they were good educational practice, the kind I was taught in college and were not really any different at all, I just needed to get used to them in a different setting.