Saturday, May 18, 2013

Getting priorities straight

It has been a long time since I blogged. Mostly I haven't written because I keep hoping for some grand news about a move, a new job, or something else. I keep waiting for that brilliant moment where I have excellent and exciting things to share!!!

... wait for it....

.... waaaaaait for it.....

nope, still nothing.

I am a naturally enthusiastic person. All those exclamation points I write behind things: oh yeah, I mean them!!!  I try hard to find things to be happy about, but most of the time it isn't something I have to try hard to do. I count my blessings and remember how lucky I am, how many miraculous things have happened for us so far, and I focus on all of the things we have going for us.

Really, seriously, I know we are abundantly blessed. I do!

We live in a beautiful home, provided for us by Kurt's loving and supportive family.
We are surrounded by people who love our family, and care about our well being.
We live in a great community and people here know one another and look out for one another.
We have an excellent Church family here, and we adore our Ward.
We have strong, helpful, encouraging, loving, and amazing friends (location does not matter- their love can be felt from thousands of miles away).
Everyone in our family is here.
Everyone in our family is alive.

These are just the blessings I thought of while sitting here, I could go on and on. Point is: I know we are blessed!!!

However, there comes a point where, especially for someone extra enthusiastic like me, something starts to happen in less-than-spectacular times. While I still acknowledge my blessings, I stop being ultra-enthusiastic about them. Think of it as going from:

We live in a house!!!!!!!
We live in a house!

There is still gratitude. There is still joy. There is still enthusiasm.

But there is less.

I didn't realize my enthusiasm was deteriorating. I didn't know there was a change. I didn't know what I needed. Lucky for me, I have a very insightful friend who could see what I needed, even if I didn't.

Recently I received a FedEx package. I opened it, and inside was beautiful silver paper. Tucked within the paper was a black box. Mysterious, right???

Curious, I opened the box.

It contained hope.

No, literally, it contained hope!!!

Above the bright, glittering message of hope were the words:

When found upon the darkest depths,
Or lost among the things that bite 
Remember friends are there with you,
Helping you to find the light.

How amazing!!! I couldn't stop crying. This was it!!! This was what had been missing!!! I had lost my hope. Things here had fallen into such a solid routine, I had lost hope that things would change. I had lost my hope that my dreams were in line with God's plan. I had lost my hope that there was an end to what I felt was a long tunnel. I had lost my hope that tomorrow would be better than today.

Let's follow that for a moment-
     I am fully aware that right now, right where we are, right in our current position, we are living a life that many would adore to have. Many people dream to live the way we do, and I understand that, I really do. I understand we are so fortunate, and I understand it can be difficult to understand that we want something different. I do not ask for anyone to attempt to mentally grasp our desires, I simply ask that our desires be respected. I stand by my husband and his righteous goals for our family, he and I share a vision, and I appreciate him and his plans for our future.

Back to hope.

I had been feeling pretty beat down, and I didn't even realize it. That beautifully crafted gift of hope reminded me of who I really am, and what I want. It rekindled our desires, and fueled our fire to work harder at obtaining our goals. This box of hope could not have come at a better time...

I am 9 credits from graduation. 9 tiny, little, credits. With Kurt's blessing, I enrolled for those credits. I was thrilled because graduation was in sight!

Then, Kurt interviewed for a job.

Within hours of his interview, he was called and given a second interview.

The interviews went well, but we were told to wait for a week. We thought it would be fine, because if he got the job I would just drop my classes before the tuition was due, so no big deal at all! 

We found out this week they need another week to decide...

We have a finite amount of money available. Tuition and books were a large percent of those funds. We knew we could get by on what was left after tuition and such, and Kurt knew graduation was important to me, so he fully supported it. Without getting into the complicated details, let me summarize: we have two very clear, very different paths in front of us, and both are legitimate options. We can follow my career, or his. But, our family dynamic, and our desired lifestyle, does not allow for both. Essentially we were tossing up the white flag, abandoning hope, and sailing along with what the world would say is the right thing to do: send me to work. I could finish the credits, toss in an internship, and bing, bang, boom, we could follow me to graduate school and beyond. 

I will not deny that this is a sexy option. Being in graduate school is much more respected than being covered in baby vomit and boogers all day. Publishing papers and having titles is more prestigious than making dinner and teaching 3rd grade math. Researching at the Smithsonian is much more glamorous than "just being a mom." Following my educational pursuits is so much more modern (and at times, appealing) than being responsible for the education of my children and the running of our home. 


Is that what is right for us? Is that what is right for me?

Being educated is a noble goal. Pair that with my long-term career interests in global public health, and it equates to very righteous desires, indeed! However- they are not as noble or righteous as what I can do in my little home. I will add: what is right for me, is not right for everyone. Every family is unique, and I speak only for my own. 

I do not plan to know God's plans for our family, but I do know His desires for me: my first priority needs to be to my family, and not just in financial terms. My place, in my family, is in our home.

I do not believe it was a coincidence that Kurt's prospective employer alerted us they would need another week to make a decision. I do not believe it is a coincidence that it ties in to the same deadline as my tuition payment. I do not believe it is a coincidence that we have enough funds for us to pay for my classes or to move, but not to do both. No, this is bigger than coincidence. 

I prayed. I prayed hard, and I know that dropping my classes is the right thing to do. So, I did it. 

Graduation is not as important as staying mobile. 
My personal accomplishments are not as important as the big picture.
School will still be there in the fall and even after, but this opportunity (if offered) will not wait.

More than any of that- I chose to hope.

I chose to put my stock in my husband and in his abilities. I chose to support him and his righteous and beautiful goals and plans for our family. I chose to put my own ambitions aside, for now, and keep my role in our little unit. I know my husband has the talent and the ability to lead our family and provide for us, and I know the right opportunity is coming. I love him, support him, and believe in him!

In the future much of my plans could change (I could finish this Fall, I could go to grad school in 10 years!), but for right now, with our kids at these ages, and at this stage in our life, home is where my heart is.

So, I will make the pancakes that Seraphina insists upon having each morning (she only eats fresh ones, thankyouverymuch!). I will attend the baseball games and cheer for my little men. I will smile and kiss my husband whenever he walks by. I will wash the diapers and hang the laundry. I will work with the boys on their lessons, and be there for the teachable moments. I will encourage, uplift, and support my family members in every way I can, because right now that is more important than any other outside position I could hold.

I do not expect people to understand, and I know from the world's point of view I may be throwing away (or at least postponing) a very large opportunity. But, I also know that our purpose is more than what we become in this lifetime, and I know that following prayers has never, ever, lead us astray. I know my husband, and I believe in him. I know my God, and I believe in Him. And in the meantime, I will cling to my scriptures, family, and friends, who remind me to hold on to something more important than worldly answers: hope.

"You always, if you are faithful in the Church, will be much different from the world at large." - Boyd K. Packer 


  1. Go Mellissa Go!!!!!
    Beautiful post!

  2. I so loved this post. I respect your decisions and agree with them. Our roles in the home are so diminished in this society, but the decision you are making underscores the immense importance you have in your family. You are of so much value and your worth is in the things you do for your family. God be with you!