Friday, March 23, 2012

Love Thy Neighbor

When James was just a wee baby, I flew with him from California to Las Vegas. I was a bit nervous about how to take care of James while handling my luggage, baby's car seat and stroller, tickets, ID, getting through security, and so on. I was feeling worried about just getting ON the plane and not to mention the looming flight I was doing this all for. It was stressful but James and I made it through security and on to the plane in one piece. I was feeling a little better because I could now cross off "get on the plane" in my mental to-do list. But then I was on to the next task: get through the flight.

I was one of the first people boarded because I was flying with a child. I climbed aboard, picked out my seat, and then proceeded to give James some attention while the rest of the travelers boarded.  It was obvious that no one wanted to sit next to me, people were quickly moving past me, some even with what I thought were glares towards me. I guess the lady with a baby isn't the most popular on the plane. I then noticed a woman that boarded the plane who I had seen earlier at security. This woman's appearance was a bit horrific. She was overweight, with full facial hair, dressed poorly, and her carry on was a dirty pillowcase with clothes in it. When I saw this woman and she was headed down the aisle and getting ever closer to me, I looked away to avoid eye contact and my mental mantra became, "don't sit next to me, don't sit next to me, don't sit next to me". Next thing I knew, this woman was talking to me and saying how much she loves babies and asking if she could sit next to me. I half-smiled and said sure and moved to let her in next to the window. The woman kept talking and I was politely nodding to assert that I was listening while in my head I was really ranting about how this flight was going to be horrible with this frightening woman next to me and on and on I went. After a few minutes I calmed down and started to actually listen to the woman next to me. She was very friendly and chatty (How I usually am, but wasn't this day and regretfully I wish I had been.) Soon the flight took off and we were in the air. And soon after that things started going very badly. Quite literally, the plane experienced the worst turbulence I had ever seen while James had the worst blow-out diaper I had ever seen. We weren't allowed out of our seats and even the flight attendants sat down and buckled up. So I wasn't able to go to the bathroom where there is a changing table and privacy. I started to panic. James and I were both a mess from him and I desperately needed to change his diaper and clothes (and even my own). I was debating whether or not to crawl down to the floor and change him in the isle. It was such a small plane with very little room. This kind woman next to me - and even as a type this now I cry - noticed my struggle with my baby and sweetly and unselfishly told me I could lay my child on her lap so I would have a place to change his diaper and clothes. She then proceeded to help me with the task, handing me wipes and pulling clothes up over his head. What had I done to deserve this woman's kindness? I had judged her and thought horrible things about her. I was barely even polite, let alone nice, to her. This woman that I so desperately did not want to sit next to me was in reality the person I so desperately needed to sit next to me. I don't know what I would have done had she not offered to help. I don't think anyone else on that plane would have been so willing and eager to help me. No matter what I did or didn't do, this woman was unconditionally kind. This woman - that I don't really know - is a woman I think about often. In just a short plane ride she made a forever impact on my life. This situation of a young, struggling mother may seem unimportant and uneventful to some, but to me, as that young mother and receiving such love and support from a stranger was a great life experience. This woman, whose name I wish I knew, truly exemplified what it means to "love thy neighbor". 
 This woman is a person I now try to be like. I regret my behavior that day. I hate that I hastily judged this woman based on her appearance and I couldn't have been more wrong about who she was. I hope that I can follow this woman's example and be more like my Savior Jesus Christ, showing love and kindness to all people. I think that all the outward accomplishments in life, whether it be beauty, wealth, power, property, etc. are all of little consequence to our Heavenly Father. I think what God cares most about is how kind we are and the love we show to others - those are true accomplishments to God. 

If you want to read more about having love for God and others below is a link to a great talk given back in 2001 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint's General Conference about love.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My "sucky" vacuum

I can't even begin to tell you how grossed out I am by my vacuum. I really debated even posting pictures of it because it's so vial! This accumulation was just from the last 2 or 3 days. I just don't understand how my house is this dirty! Maybe it's because this vacuum rocks! I love my Dyson Ball (Thanks honey!)

I mean it's my own family's filth and dirtiness, so you'd think it wouldn't gross me out as much. But it does! And don't get me started on having to clean it out - that is the nastiest part!

I try to convince myself that the dirtiness must still be from the people that lived here before us, because there is no way my house could have gotten that dirty in just a few short days from the last time I vacuumed! (But I do blame some of the dirt and sand on the backyard project because that tracks in a lot of stuff.)

This year I've been into the show Monk. Great show! I've always considered myself an organized and cleanly person but I think Adrian Monk is really onto something. His cleaning and organizing habits are yes, necrotic, but quite insightful. So much so that I have been trying to incorporate them into my household. (Much to Brian's dismay - he just thinks I'm a little crazy.)

So what if I like to keep my laundry room looking like this?

I think it's wonderful! And every week I tackle new projects. Last week I organized all the DVDs (but now that I think of it I am going to have to redo those because they are not alphabetized...) I guess I try to control the entropy in my house by controlling other aspects of my house! Housekeeping is a constant battle (especially with James and Brian wrecking havoc on things)!