Monday, June 8, 2009
Give a Care
It's a recognized fact that "children say the darndest things," likely because they see the world in such a literal way. For example, my two-year-old nephew one day overheard his dad saying about something or other, "I don't give a care." And my nephew, after a few moments went up to his dad and held out his tiny, clenched fist. Then he said, "Here, Dad. Here's a care," and placed an invisible "care" on the table for his dad.
There was a time in my life when it was safer not to care too much about things because I feared that they would be taken away or ruined. Even at a young age, I had experienced the heartache of losing things and people that were very dear to me. I deliberately walled off my heart, and was probably heard to say at one time or another that I didn't "give a care." Certainly that was my calloused approach to life for quite some time.
I remember in the early weeks of being newly married that I frequently experienced a lot of fear about losing my husband. I had opened my heart to him and had learned to care for him deeply. I could not bear the thought of the pain it would cause me to lose him, and it made me a little worried that I had let myself become so emotionally vulnerable.
Now we are expecting our first baby. And already, the intense and pure sense of care I feel for this little one is overwhelming. There are moments when I wonder if I could possibly handle any more.
The more I live it, the more my life seems to teach me to "give a care." I cannot honestly say I have completely abolished the fear of losing what has come to mean more to me than anything in the world -- my family -- but I can say that the edge of my fears has been softened by a better understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know through revelation given by God to modern prophets that "the divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally." (See also "The Gospel Blesses Families and Individuals" at mormon.org)
The love and care I give to my family changes when I remember that the relationships I develop and nurture now will last not only through this life, but also throughout the eternities. I desire to be more patient, more understanding, more helpful and more grateful.
I marvel at how rich life can be when I allow myself to care a little more about those around me. It always seems that a day is brighter when I am at peace with others in my life. Even after the glow of the "honeymoon period" in marriage has been replaced by the common tasks of day-to-day living, the sense of loving care I feel toward my husband has not diminished, but has been enriched. I anticipate the same will be true with our little baby, despite the expected onslaught of diapers, midnight feedings, and meltdowns. Opening our fists to give a "care" on a daily basis is not mundane, but is exalting. Indeed, in so doing, we become more like our Savior, whose hand, which bears the marks of His sacrifice for us, "is stretched out still." (Isaiah 49:16, Isaiah 9: 12, 21)