Sunday, October 11, 2009

Perspective


I thought I'd share a snippet of one of the chapters from my new book, Gospel Insights for Everyday Living. I hope you enjoy!

"There are some moments in life that change you forever. One of those happened to me many years ago during a Relief Society lesson. I don’t remember what the lesson was about, but somehow it had turned into a discussion of husbands’ faults. One after another of the sisters began to complain about her husband’s lack of responsiveness or his failure to help out
around the house, etc. You’ve all been in a situation like that and know how contagious negative feelings are.

At the time, my husband was bishop and our ward was very large. He was gone almost every night, leaving me to care for our five children under the age of eight. In short, I felt overwhelmed
and alone, so as I listened to the other women complain, my husband’s faults and failings kept popping into my head. With every new comment from the group, another fault of his would
come to mind and I’d think, “Yea, my husband does that too!” or “That isn’t half as bad as what Carl does (or doesn’t) do!”

The Relief Society instructor failed to get the class back on track, and as the comments got more negative so did the feelings within me. I didn’t vocalize them, but I certainly was thinking them, and those thoughts were generating all kinds of hot, negative feelings within me.

But then something happened that changed me. A woman in the back of the room began to rave about how her husband made a mess in the entryway every time he came home from work. He worked construction and he’d take off his dirty boots as soon as he entered the house, drop them near the door, walk into the family room, plop down to watch the evening news, and pull off his stinky socks, dropping them beside the couch for her to pick up later. “It’s disgusting,” she said, and several women nodded in agreement.

But at that point the elderly woman sitting in front of me, who had been a widow for 23 years, turned to her gray-haired friend sitting next to her, a widow of 19 years, and whispered, “I
wish I had socks on my floor.”

I’m sure that besides the friend, I am the only person in the room that heard those words—words that pierced my heart and instantly erased all my negative thoughts and feelings. In that moment, my perspective shifted from that of victim of my husband’s thoughtlessness to that of grateful wife. I had someone to pick up after—what a blessing!

10 comments:

Rosemary T said...

I remember you sharing this story at a leadership meeting. Today in RS when the comments were being made, I immediately thought of your story-- I thought that they should all be grateful to have husbands to give lists to. Thanks for your example :)

Anonymous said...

Great story, it's so amazing how quickly our attitude can change for the better when we hear a sincere comment. thanks for sharing it.
Cathie

Wendi said...

I love perspective changers like that! Thank you!! :)

SMJ said...

Rosemary, We were thinking the same thought! I almost raised my hand to tell the story.

SMJ said...

Cathie, It is true. We usually think change is slow and gradual, but somethings can change us in an instant.

SMJ said...

Wendi, I love them, too. I sometimes wish they happened more often in my life!

Wendi said...

P.S. I think the book giveaway is a great idea. Thank you for those books that you've already given me--I didn't want to throw off the current giveaway by leaving a comment on that post either. Also, I love this week's words of encouragement. :)

MandM Embley said...

Thank you for sharing...Your story has had me thinking over the last couple of days of the things that I am really thankful for. It has brought added spirituality into my days.

Cathy said...

Sherrie, thanks for sharing this. My husband died many years ago and I can sure relate to what that sister said. I am thankful that you are always encouraging your friends and readers to look to the positive and be uplifted.

michael said...

I don't know you but a friend of me referred me to your blog. Thanks for your insight and for your genuine words.