Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hope and Gratitude

One idea that I've struggled with since Liam's death has been whether I'll find more happiness from being grateful or hopeful. I have often considered these virtues at odds with each other. I can be grateful for the things I do have: a wonderful husband, supportive friends and family, and the sweet short time we got to spend with Liam. Or I can be hopeful... and if I'm hoping for anything, that suggests that I want something to change. I want to be pregnant again, and have another baby, and I want that baby to live... doesn't that imply that what I have right now isn't good enough? That I still want more? Does that invalidate my gratitude?

I talked to Kam about this and he suggested that you can be hopeful for some things and grateful for other things. And I think he's right. But it was small comfort to me. To me it's all related. Am I grateful for my motherhood the way it is, or am I hopeful that I'll have more opportunities (and more conventional opportunities) to be a mother?

The most common question for me is whether I'm going to hope to be pregnant or not. I don't know what makes me so single-minded that I can't hope to be pregnant and focus on other good things at the same time... but that seems to be the case. I can assume I won't get pregnant and devote the month to looking for service opportunities that would make Liam proud I'm his mommy, or I can hope I will be pregnant, and spend the entire month mentally preparing for that possibility. In neither case do I forget about Liam. I never forget about Liam. But I wonder what this means for him, too. Is it best for me to mother him by preparing for his sibling, or by finding ways to enjoy my only child?

I prayed hard this morning over this question. It might seem silly, but it bothers me, and that means it's not silly to my Heavenly Father. I tried to pay attention to answers today, and I feel like through a few different lessons I started to put together pieces of what He wants me to understand.

Basically, what I started to realize is that everything changes when I have an eternal perspective. When I keep in mind that the way I am experiencing life right now isn't really all there is to it, I have every reason to be grateful, and hopeful.

I am grateful that Liam is safe, and taken care of. I am grateful that my God knows me, and loves me, and wants good things for me. I am grateful that because He wants good things for me, good things can become mine. I am grateful that I can be with Liam again.

But at the same time, because these blessings rely on things I cannot see...

I am hopeful that Liam is safe, and taken care of. I am hopeful that my God knows me, and loves me, and wants good things for me. I am hopeful that because He wants good things for me, good things can become mine. I am hopeful that I can be with Liam again.

I have faith in these things. And because of faith, I can have both gratitude and hope, because faith makes them the same.

So should I be hopeful I'll get pregnant this month, or prepare not to be? It probaby doesn't matter. As long as I'm not giving up, the Lord will bless me in His time. As much as I want things to work out according to my own schedule, I know that much is not realistic. And it's actually beautiful that it isn't. I love this quote by Francis Chan, (though I've never read the book it comes from...)

"Not being able to fully understand God is frustrating but it is ridiculous for us to think we have the right to limit God to something we are capable of comprehending."

I believe there is so much more to time than what we can comprehend in our mortal experience. When we look at the stars, we see thousands of distinct moments from throughout billions of years of history. The light we see from each star is a different age than the light from the next, because each star is a different distance from us. But to all our senses, we are experiencing the present, only one moment in time. Only through centuries of study, and really forcing ourselves to think about the situation differently, are we able to understand the truth of how complex time is in space.

But God knows all of this. He knows more than we can imagine there being a need to know. So should He not know what timing is best for me? Should He not know how to make things right? Is He not capable of solving every problem I've ever imagined, and even those I've been naive to?

I know He is. And I know that because He loves me, if I obey Him, He will. In His time.

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