One of my favorite parts of married life is having a soulmate with whom I can share my dreams. When the morning light pours in, I love to groggily recount the crazy adventures that filled my sleep. In general, these conversations are fairly one-sided. Jason rarely remembers his dreams, or if perchance he does, he's certainly not telling. Recently, however, I've discovered a fellow dream-sharer. As of late, Talia can usually be found hogging my pillow instead of her own early in the morning. While I don't love having her sneak into bed with us (she's a thrasher), I do love how she'll suddenly start rambling as she starts to wake. Watching Talia mumble with her eyes half-shut, one might think that she's simply talking in her sleep. Listen carefully, and you'll realize that she's actually sharing her dreams.
While I find dreams fun and interesting, I generally don't take them particularly seriously. In contrast, last night's dream was troubling. I was traveling with a companion, walking a small distance behind, when this acquaintance was suddenly attacked by a large dog. Instead of intervening to help, I ran away and yelled for someone else to come and save her. In the critical moments when she most needed my rescue, I called 911 instead of becoming personally involved. Doubting my ability to help and fearful of being drawn into the battle, I stood back and watched from a safe distance. Even as I dreamed, I remember feeling ashamed of my cowardice.
When I woke up, I knew it was time to change. Regardless of whether this dream was a direct message or merely the byproduct of subconscious worry, I hope I will use it as a divine wake-up call.
It's time to burst the bubble.
In general, life in the Wheeler household is quite sheltered from the outside world. We don't pay for television, so we never watch the news. Only recently have we subscribed to a newspaper, and that only comes on the weekends. Major world events can and occasionally do happen while we remain completely unaware. While life in this protective bubble of ignorance can be quite idyllic, it is admittedly self-centered. The truth is, when we take the time to look beyond ourselves, we see people being attacked from all directions. Earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear meltdown, war, famine, disease, unemployment, foreclosures, pornography, drugs, divorce--disasters strike both near and far. So the question is, what are we, what am I, going to do about it?
My heart is simply breaking for the people of Japan. I've literally shed tears thinking about the children whose parents didn't survive to pick them up from school. Yet what have I done besides yell for someone else to go and help?
It's time to burst the bubble.
In church yesterday we watched a video about the parable of the Good Samaritan. As the Levite stopped and gazed upon the wounded man, his eyes were filled with pity. Not wanting to walk by without doing anything at all, he tossed a coin in the man's direction. I'm tired of being the Levite. Instead of offering periodic tokens of sympathy, I want to be moved with compassion--moved to action.
I call myself Christian, but am I really following the injunction of my Savior to serve? "For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. " (Matthew 25:35-36)
Surely I can do more. This is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is truly about. When the Savior comes again, I not only want to recognize His hands, but I want Him to recognize mine among those that cared. For He has promised, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (vs. 40)
Parenting has been particularly challenging lately. The children are really struggling to combat some damaging behaviors. Every time the girls resume fighting, it feels like we're losing the battle. During this past General Conference, I had two strong impressions: selfishness is the cause, and service is the answer.
But the kids aren't the only ones struggling: I likewise am guilty of self-defeating behavior. Every time I look around this chaotic house and covet those with a simpler life, I feel like I'm losing the battle. Yet the diagnosis is the same: selfishness is the disease, and service the antidote.
How can I complain that my kids are too loud while bombshells break the silence in Libya elsewhere? How dare I whine about my messy house when so many have lost their homes in Japan? After living in Zimbabwe, how could I ever feel that my life here is hard?
How quick we are to forget our blessings! Service will help us remember.
And so, now I am appealing for ideas. How can we answer the cries of those who need help? What meaningful service opportunities have you found? How have you helped your young children engage in service? And what do you hope to do next?
Please help me burst the bubble.