About ten years ago I was in Walmart the day before Mother's Day. As I passed the jewelry counter, a man looking at necklaces asked me if I would try a couple of necklaces on so he could see how they long they hung. Being the helpful person I am and always willing to help out a husband buying jewelery for his wife, I willingly stopped to help.
As I tried on the necklace, he looked at my neck and said,
"Oh, I know this will hang longer on my wife because SHE DOESN'T HAVE A FAT NECK LIKE YOU!"
How do you respond to that?
As you will note in the (un-Photoshopped) photo - my necklace hangs LONG and FLAT!
As my husband reminds me often - No good deed goes unpunished.
* Life Lesson (isn't that what they call this) No. 138,572 - Don't try on jewelry for strangers! * LIfe Lesson No. 138,573 - Don't trust men who buy their wives jewelry at Walmart!
Oh, beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife, Who more than self their country loved, And mercy more than life! America! America! May God thy gold refine, Till all success be nobleness, And ev'ry gain divine.
Last December,right before Christmas, I ran into the Provo Deseret Book to check on a special order. A man rushed through the front doors of the store and walked quickly over to me.
"Sheri Dew!!!!" he exclaimed.
"Sorry, I'm not Sheri Dew." I replied. "Are you sure?" he asked.
"I'm sure." I answered. (trying to make him feel better I added) "But she's one of my favorite speakers/authors/former General Authorities/people in the world. Thanks for confusing me with such a great person." "So you're not Sheri Dew.?.!" he asked/stated one last time. "Sorry." I answered.
I guess he thought the CEO of Deseret Book was making spot checks on their stores around the state. Or maybe she was getting in a little Christmas shopping done on her trip to Provo. He seemed truly disappointed that I wasn't Sheri Dew pretending to be someone else. Maybe if he asked enough times I would confess to being Sheri Dew and offer some reason for lying the first four times he asked me my identity.
Don't get me wrong. I love Sheri Dew. She's my hero. I'm honored to be confused with her but I need to explain the similarities between me and Sheri Dew. (1) we're both tall, (2) we have shoulder length hair and (3) we're both Mormons. That's about it.
As I watch my last teenager navigate her way through high school, I am reminded of how critical it is to know who you are and what God's plan is for you.
And, no, I'm not Sheri Dew. I'm Nancy B. No apologies needed.
Yesterday as I watchedlive coverage of Gustav make land fall, I wondered to myself - How do you get picked for 'Hurricane Duty'? I flipped between Geraldo and Anderson Cooper both hanging on for dear life in order to get the 'live shot'. I smiled when Geraldo asked his camera guy/gal to 'tighten up the shot' so we could see the poor guy in the water trying to tie down a propane tank. In his eagerness to get the story, didn't Geraldo realize that it was probably taking all the strength and focus the camera person had to keep the camera from flying out of their hands and into the gulf? He/she could hardly keep the focus in the general direction let alone zoom in on a speck in the choppy water. All the while, Geraldo is screaming at him/her to get the shot. Were Geraldo and Andersonwinners/losers of rock/paper/scissors back at headquarters? Is standing in hurricane winds, being pelted by hurricane rain a prime assignment? Is it because they are part of the shrinking pool of journalists that still have all their own hair? No weaves or toupes to worry about. Did they draw straws and they came up short? On one channelAnderson is doing his best to coordinate reporters spread throughout the New Orleans region so we can get it 'live and real'. He can hardly hear himself speak, let alone everyone talking in his ear piece and he has absolutely NO IDEA what video stream they're showing. All the while he can barely stand up straight.
On the other channelGeraldo is swearing in his attempts to get the camera person to pick out a person in the water and speculating on whether he jumped, was washed off the boat, ignored hurricane warnings and went for a swim, and on and on and on.
I enjoyed watching themboth stroking their hair in some crazy attempt to make it presentable for live TV! They both looked like drowned cats no matter how many times they ran their wet fingers through their hurricane hairdos. Just when it couldn't seem any worse, they cut back to the perfectly coiffed anchorman sitting in a dry studio, with full make up and John Edward's 'Breck' hair. He sat smugly in his leather anchor seat while he watched Geraldo and Anderson look like complete idiots standing out in the hurricane. Isn't that how life goessometimes. For whatever reason - whether it's by choice, by chance or by assignment - we are out in life's hurricanes. We do our best to style our hair, look straight ahead and try to appear that we know what we're doing. There are sure to be those sitting smugly, watching, knowing that THEY WOULD NEVER BE CAUGHT IN A HURRICANE! Thanksto the Geraldos and Andersons in life that are willing to go out in the storm. And a special shout out to the camera person for making it possible for me to cheer you all on from the safety of my dry couch!
We cannot knowwhat life will bring. We imagine how we would respond to this challenge or that challenge but until we face it, we really never know. It is easy to be an 'arm chair' observer, quietly taking notice of a misstep or stumble, as we watch others feel their way through life. The temptation is to think to ourselves, "I wouldn't have done that, said that, thought that. Surely, I would have show strength, courage and optimism."
And thenwe are faced with our own unique challenge - custom made to challenge the status quo and give us opportunity to grow or grumble. Our response may not be perfect because, after all, we are not yet perfect but we will develop an empathy that is only earned by one who goes through that experience. We can learn patience as we are refined and feel strength beyond our own capacities.
Betweenchild #3 and child #4, I experienced an eleven year lesson in infertility and miscarriages. Unfortunately, as my heart ached for another child there were people around me that assumed I had chosen to limit or delay my family in exchange for 'stuff'. A judgment was made that I had purposefully chosen the 'shoes' I was asked to wear at the time. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. In this refiningI learned that, until I know a person's heart, I cannot truly understand the shoes they wear. I really only know how I have met my own challenges. I can share what I have learned but I cannot share how I have grown. That is mine. That doesn't mean that I can't cheer others on as they wobble in their shoes and reach out in love to steady them as they walk. That in remembering my own lessons gained in my own shoes, I can show charity as others learn theirs.