Friday, March 31, 2017

Looking for Light

We all get the chance to walk through darkened tunnels in our lives. Periodically life happens and things get crazy. Trials descend without warning and it becomes difficult to continue forward. To get from where it’s dark and scary, we have to keep walking, step by step, through a shadowy maze of pain. It’s not a pleasant experience. In fact it’s often one of the most difficult challenges we will ever face. And for each one of us, it’s a different test because we have unique lessons to learn. 

At times we can catch a glimmer of light twinkling ahead—enough that it gives us hope and an idea of where we need to be. The other lesson learned is that during our darkest moments, we need to place our hand in the Savior’s to find our way. He will truly guide us through those treacherous times when nothing seems certain and the adversary would have us believe that all is lost.

I may have shared the following dream before, but I feel like I need to share it again. My hope is that it will give others who find themselves walking through a time of tribulation and pain a little glimmer of light. 

This particular dream surfaced during a challenging time in my life several years ago. I know that most dreams are silly nonsense. But I also have come to realize and know that we can receive guidance and needed counsel through that format. 

In this dream I was making my way through an extremely dark tunnel with some family members. It was dark, and scary, and the way ahead was uncertain. Together we continued to push forward, hoping to find our way out of the pain-filled maze. Eventually we came to a large opening. But as we stepped forward we saw that a steep cliff lay before us. As we peered over the ledge, our hearts filled with fear and uncertainty. It was agreed this was a dangerous route. And yet, for some reason, I knew in my heart it was the way I needed to go.

My family members did their best to talk me out of it. They assured that I would be cut to pieces if I tried to climb down, since the cliff was made of sheer glass. But I couldn’t ignore that continuing forward, despite the pain, was what I had to do. I was assured that I was less than intelligent as my family members turned to find a different way through the tunnel.

 Gathering my courage, I stepped to the edge of the glass cliff and stared down. It made no sense, and yet, I couldn’t ignore the impression that this was the way out of this tunnel. Slowly I began the descending the glass cliff, finding handholds along the way. I received a few minor cuts as I touched the glass, but nothing like everyone had feared. It wasn’t until I reached the bottom that I spotted something that wasn’t visible from above—the way out of the tunnel. The opening was visible after climbing down the glass cliff. Sunlight poured into view as I made my way out of that darkened place and was greeted by close friends who had been waiting for me there.

I’ve never forgotten that particular dream. It was so vivid and full of imagery. I’ve thought of it often during days that were less than fun. A silent mantra of “I just have to climb down the glass cliff,” will often go through my head as I face a challenging time. It gives me the courage to continue forward even when I can’t see what lies ahead.

This current time is full of uncertainty for everyone. I’m getting so I don’t even like to watch the news anymore. And my heart aches for those around me who are enduring difficult trials. But even when the skies are grey and stormy, and the way ahead is filled with challenges, I know that we’re not as alone as we sometimes think we are. Hope does smile brightly before us, as the popular hymn states. (Hymn # 19) 

This coming weekend is a chance to fill our spiritual buckets with the arrival of General Conference. I am looking forward to hearing wise and inspired counsel from the leaders of our church. The hope and light that they will extend can help us survive any darkened tunnel that lies ahead.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Time-out for This Woman

So here I am, wide awake at 5:00 a.m. with a myriad of thoughts running through my head. I have ideas on how to fix a computer glitch, a way to reorganize a room that has been bothering me, and thoughts for a blog post. Where to begin? 

I found myself in an exhausted state last night. That seems to happen on occasion when I’ve had a series of busy days in the neighborhood and my body decides it’s tired of being ignored. It voices its opinion in various unpleasant fashions to get my attention. I returned home from my current calling in the scouting organization (den leader) at 6:00 p.m. with a pounding headache and achy joints. This tells me a couple of things: there is a major pressure shift going on in our area (I was told once that arthritis patients are the best weather forecasters in the world, but I digress), and I might have overdone it a bit. I’m learning that when my body calls for a time-out, it’s best to listen. So I relaxed on the couch . . . ate very little for supper since I felt so lovely . . . and promptly fell asleep. I woke up later on and put myself to bed.

Evidently, a good night’s rest was just the thing, since I’m feeling so much better today, and I have lots of ideas about how to fix a few items I’ve been wanting to work on. Plus an idea for a blog post, which I’m sure thrills everyone out there. :D 

I think there are times in all of our lives when we need a time-out. This could be a chance to unwind and relax after being subjected to a bit of stress, a get away from the daily routine, or simply more rest. It’s important to listen to our bodies and strive to understand what they are trying to tell us. Mine was waving a white flag last night. Maybe even a white flag with bright red stripes to get my attention. It was probably muttering things like: “Hey, idiot! Yeah, you! What’s up with this tendency to run yourself into the dirt lately? In case you missed it, you are running on empty! When was the last time you relaxed? Rested? Caught up on stuff you’ve wanted to tackle? Slow down, or things won’t be very pleasant for you. Just sayin’ . . .”

I will admit, my body does indeed possess a gift when it comes to getting my attention. Last night was one example. So I’m glad I listened for once and gave in to the need for rest. (Like I had a choice in the matter.) And it worked. I can’t believe how much better I feel today, even if my body then decided, since it was in the driver’s seat for a change, that we needed to get up at an extremely early hour. The adage: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes Cheri healthy, not so much wealthy, but possibly wise(r),” was going through my head in an annoying fashion. Thank you Mr. Ben Franklin for that bit of advice. 

So, lesson learned . . . again. It seems like I have to go through this occasionally to remind myself that I do have obligations when it comes to physical maintenance. Rest, exercise, eating food that is good for me, stuff like that, appears to be important. It’s like anything else—balance in all things. I learned once that there are four areas we need to take care of to feel good: we need to nourish our spirit constantly (read scriptures, pray, etc.); do things that improve our emotional well-being (like a focus on hobbies, chatting with friends, etc.); tackle items that make us think to maintain mental acuity, (there’s your word for the day) like reading, puzzles, learning new things; and focus on our physical health. This would include getting plenty of rest (an item I apparently inhale at on occasion) exercise, etc.

I must not be doing too bad—a couple of months ago my diabetic specialist was ready to give me a gold star on the forehead. (Yes, I am bragging because it doesn’t happen very often.) But I do need to periodically take a time out to regroup and get things back on track. 

And now, I’m off to tackle the bits of inspiration that popped into existence this morning, my reward for listening to my body last night. Have a great day out there, and seriously, if you would like to follow suit, take a time-out to assess what you need. This apparently does wonders for our well-being.