Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I spent the day yesterday building a compost heap.  I attached chicken wire to metal poles, then shoveled in layer after layer of grass clippings, rotting fruit, and dirt.  When I began the pile I felt strong, productive, even creative.  I was enjoying the heat of the sun on my arms and neck, and the earthy smell of my garden.  Then I got a phone call.  Another kind, and complimentary rejection.  Another door closed.  I was gracious on the phone, thanked them for the opportunity to interview, and immediately returned to my heaping earthen pile.  One more layer of dirt.  Another layer of grass.  A quick spray of water.  I tried to power through the disappointment.  I kept shoveling, kept layering, but soon found my cheeks and hands wet with tears.  So I stopped, and stood, alone in my garden.

My tears were not about the job.  That small disappointment only triggered a deeper pain.  They were for Jonah.  They always are.  As my head bowed over my shovel handle, I thought about how last year I envisioned transforming this corner of my yard into a discovery garden for him.  I had planned a tree house, a sandbox, a music wall, and hidden pathways.  I wanted to create a unique world for him to explore.  He loved to be outside and loved dirt.  We spent our afternoons swinging, and playing, and running.  We wandered to the garden, and he would quickly snatch dirt from our raised beds, shoving it in his mouth before I could stop him.  When I told him no, and lunged for his hands, he responded with a bright and dirty dimpled smile, vigorously shaking his head "no" from side to side.  He had such a sweet and curious spirit.

I want to be back in that moment.  I don't want to be applying for jobs.  I don't want to be working on my compost heap.  I want to be watching Jonah grow, chasing him, and putting him down for an afternoon nap.  I want to be building a life around him, instead of thinking about my own.  My soul feels agitated by uncertainty, and angry that I have to start over.  Starting over is so hard.  

My sweet friend Mary dragged my agitated soul to yoga this morning.  I was reminded after contorting my body into all manner of upward, downward, and sideways-facing dogs, to be grateful.  I was even challenged to find gratitude in disappointment.  As I laid in the final relaxation pose, alone with my busy brain, I tried to silence my thoughts with gratitude.  I realized the only sufficient companion for my disappointed heart is a grateful one.  I didn't try to forget my pain, but shifted my focus.  I slowed my breath, and mind.  With each breath I thought "my heart is broken, but still grateful"...for Jordan...for health...for home...for love...for peace...for time...for hope...for faith...for Jonah. 

Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey…delays…sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling burst of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride. Jenkin Lloyd Jones (quoted in this great talk by Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley)


  1. I can't believe you didn't get the job??? But that is the cutest picture of Jonah sitting in the grass. He makes me smile . . . then cry.

  2. Six months really isn't very long. Maybe you need to take a little more time to enjoy your memories before moving on. You do such a good job writing. I enjoy learning from you. You are blessing the lives of many. Have you thought of writing a book?

  3. I never know what to say besides thank you.

    Thank you.