Last night we were crazy.
We went on a date. The kind where you SPEND MONEY.
The kind where you LEAVE THE HOUSE.
We had a gift card to Olive Garden, and instead of waiting for some special occasion, we decided to just go out and spend it. We both went nuts and ordered drinks. Not water, my friends. Not water.
As insane as it sounds, we were not finished after that. We didn't just do one fun thing yesterday night, we did two fun things.
I'll give you a hint.
One of them entails wearing someone else's shoes.
You'll notice I'm also wearing a skirt and tights. Not very many people can pull off bowling in a skirt and tights, but I like to flatter myself that I am one of them. I wore a skirt to work yesterday for no particular reason except I wanted to feel pretty. I just wanted to be cute. It's been awhile, you know?
We bowled two games. Greg won both of them, but I'd like to submit Photographic Evidence A that at one point, I was beating him:
And that’s pretty much the only time I was ahead.
Here is Greg in all his bowling glory:
You will notice the semi-freaky hair on his upper lip. Yeah. Greg is doing that no-shave November thing. I am not the kind of wife who forbids facial hair. But I’m also not the kind of wife who feels any obligation to make him feel good about it. When he says something like “Doesn’t it look good?” I usually say something like “No. It looks bad. Super bad. Anyways I still like you.” And then Greg laughs.
Our date to an (overpriced) Italian restaurant and the BYU bowling alley has got me thinking about some other things. If this post could have a secondary title, I think it would be something like “The Purpose of Sorrow.” I’ve been musing on that for the last few days. Sometimes I feel guilty that we are recovering. I wonder if guilt is something that always hangs over the people who are left over when something scary happens to a family. Or maybe it’s just me.
But I’m learning that there is a purpose to sorrow. I remember a few days after Danny and Austin were born, I was sitting on the bed, crying. I think my stomach still felt strange and empty and like all the muscles were missing. I still looked pregnant, because somewhere around 14 weeks a bump showed up that was larger than I thought it would be and wonderfully full and round. Newsflash: It doesn’t go away immediately. Everyone at the funeral home will know that you are the mother of the two little boys as soon as you walk in. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
But anyway, I remember sitting on the bed and crying, but saying to Greg, We don’t have to feel despair. We never have to feel that, because that is never something God intends for us. It isn’t constructive. It isn’t purposeful. Despair accomplishes nothing. Greg agreed with me. After all, Greg is the one who taught me that.
There are two kinds of sorrow: the kind that is from God, and the kind that is not. God intends for sorrow to teach us things. It teaches us to be more like Him. It teaches us to be compassionate. It teaches us to feel grateful for our blessings. It allows us the capacity to see blessings in our lives we would not have noticed otherwise. It teaches us how to find strength within ourselves, a strength that comes only when you say to God, This is hard for me, but I’ll do it if you want me to. And I won’t even be mad about it. In short, Sorrow is the thing that allows us to be older—not older and weary, but older and wise.
I do not know if I would call myself wise, but I would say that Greg and I have had very purposeful sorrow. And, funnily enough, one of the purposes of sorrow is to teach you to be happy. I am finally understanding at a meaningful level what the scriptures mean when they say, if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet. My little family has imparted a kind of sweetness to my life that I have never had before. And it's so hard, but so worth it.
Greg and I don’t know what will happen. I don’t even know what I want to have happen. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know anything. But, we know enough. I am not happy every second of the day. I am not even Okay every second of the day, but I remind myself that Sorrow has a purpose, and the kind of Sorrow that does not have a purpose—the kind of Sorrow that is mostly discouragement and despair and hopelessness and anger—has no place in my life.
This is why Greg and I went to Olive Garden. This is why we went bowling. Because it’s okay to be happy, even though something bad happened. It’s also okay to be sorrowful, but only if there’s a purpose in that. There is an opposition in all things only because these two great extremes—Happiness and Sorrow—are actually so interconnected. Like Greg says, I would go through anything to feel what it’s like to hold my own child again. Anything. I would handle this kind of Sorrow as long as I was asked to if it meant bringing our children to our family in the way God wants us to. It makes us happy. It has a purpose.
If you made it this far, thanks for listening to my musings. Who knew one date could be so abstractly meaningful? I suppose finding meaning in smaller things is the epitome of parenthood, especially the kind of parenthood that Greg and I know.
Okay. Cheesy musings done. Have a great weekend. Love, Heather