Wednesday, October 9, 2013

H is Heaven, and Hell

There's a line, a thick black gulf that divides life. Good to bad, love to hate, and heaven to hell.
For three nights in a row, I was up all night, every night. I was tending to a certain child who refused to sleep. Except apparently when and where she's not supposed to.
Between homework, cleaning, editing, cooking...or just life, I was exhausted. To boot, my husband had worked several late nights and early mornings. 
Being (essentially) a single mother was for the birds. By birds, I meant vultures. The kind that scavenged the kitchen seconds before dinner was served. Or fight an epic battle for something so trivial as sharing the same air in a room. 
I wish I were kidding.
Life, however beautiful, sometimes feels as much a blessing as a curse.
Especially when (hypothetically, of course) a certain housewife unleashes on a husband, only to walk into the kitchen and discover this...

Heaven is when my four year old runs to me with open arms and squeezes me with every ounce of her joyful life. She kisses me on the cheek and declares her undying love for me. Hell is when I pick her up and she squeals with delight as I discover she peed through her underwear and pants - not to mention the fact that she sprinkled feces in with her special surprise. 
This last weekend when I attended conference, there were protesters. As a child, they terrified me with their cursing and menacing behavior. Abuse for my belief is unfortunately nothing new. Having the protestors bare their teeth and label me, and fellow members as hateful, nasty people is somewhat of an expectation. 
It should strip me of the spiritual high I had obtained while in the conference. But as I marched with my daughter and mother the sound of music began to drown out the protestors. Men and women lined both sides of the walkway, creating a canopy of heavenly music. The wall of hymns didn't force the vulgarity to disappear, but it created a haven amongst hell. I was straddling the very line of humanity, the fence between great love and empty hate.

My favorite quote came to mind as we walked.  
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 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.  (G.B. Hinckley)

And so we did. We thanked the singers, taking pictures of their kindness instead of the protestors. My husband and I joked about the chaos of our little family - the girls and my youngest daughter's penchant for bowel mischief.

Why? Because life is both heaven and hell. For the moment, I'll choose the heaven.


Annis Cassells said...

Clarissa ` yes, life IS both heaven and hell. But, that's the way life goes. Without one, we might not feel the gratitude that the other brings. I love the Hinckley quote.

Thanks you, thank you. xoA

Unknown said...

I absolutely love this post. Life is a mix of heaven and hell, and like Annis said, without one, we would never be able to appreciate the other.

Anna K. Stewart said...

I won't claim to know your religion. Maybe I should get it from your references but I don't. And it doesn't matter what your religion is to be honest. Good for you in focusing on the positive. That can be very hard to do and I think - in doing so - you are not only teaching your kids a valuable lesson but you're adding a drop of tolerance and goodwill into the world...the world needs that. I enjoyed the post. :-)

Donnee Patrese said...

Such a great post. I certainly feel the same way. Thank goodness now I have more heaven days than hell days. However, I try very hard not to let those hell days overshadow the heaven days. Great Great Post!

Unknown said...

I really love this post. As the others have mentioned, we would never know heaven unless we'd experienced hell. Good and bad, elation and frustration.

We do have moments, or hours, or days we wish we could ask for do-overs. But, in the midst of walking through the worst of it, we realize it was for a reason - to encourage another, to be a role model for our children(such as your experience after conference), or reasons we may never know until long after the event.

Thanks for the reminder to not hate the frustrating days, but to take joy in every day.