"My words in her mind: cold polished stones sinking through a quagmire."

-James Joyce

Sunday, April 22, 2012


A little over ten years ago, I was living in Oklahoma where Clark was attending graduate school. Our two oldest children were very little, we were very poor, I was far away from my family, and it was a very tough time in my life.  My younger sister, Sarah, was getting ready to graduate from BYU, and my parents graciously flew me and the kids out to Utah to be there for it.  As I sat in the Marriott Center and watched her walk across the stand and get her diploma, I cried like a baby.  Mostly I was just very proud and happy for her.  But a small part of me was feeling sorry for myself. I had dropped out of school to get married and move to Texas so that Clark could get his Master's degree and then due to tight financial circumstances was unable to go back while Clark was still in school.  I wondered if I would ever be able to finish my education and I doubted that I would ever be able to do it at BYU.  It just didn't seem possible. Over the years I took classes here and there at the different universities where Clark was teaching, but in the back of my mind I always felt a deep longing to finish my degree where I had started it all those years ago.  I prayed half-heartedly that it would somehow be possible to graduate from BYU, but I didn't have a lot of faith that it would happen, so I resigned myself to finishing up somewhere else.

And then it happened. Clark was offered a job teaching at BYU and I found out that spouses of faculty could go to school for free.  I worried that I wouldn't be able to get back in because my grades hadn't been exactly stellar the first time around.  But lo and behold, I applied and was accepted.  The past three years have been a steep uphill climb as I have tried to juggle going to classes, studying, taking care of my home and family, serving in church callings, and all of the other stuff of life.  Clark, true to his word, has been behind me the whole time, doing the housework and cooking, encouraging me when I was discouraged, and sometimes pushing me from behind when I felt like giving up.

As I was going through all of the graduation ceremonies this past weekend, it finally hit me.  What I had longed for so many years ago and hardly expected to ever happen just did.  My Father in heaven heard my feeble prayer and granted it, even though I didn't have the faith to believe that he could or would do it.  It took years for that prayer to be answered, but the wait was well worth it.  The struggle made the reward that much sweeter, and what I have gained from the experience that much more meaningful.  It is both profound and humbling to realize that an all-powerful God who rules the heavens and the earth cares enough about me to grant me such a small and simple thing, just because it was important to me.  And as I examine my life, I see clearly that other blessings have been coming in a steady stream as long as I have asked for them.

I realized that I have been looking at my life with the wrong perspective.  Heavenly Father has been trying to tell me something for a long time and I haven't been listening.  If there is something that I want, something that is important to me and will make me a better person and will allow me to bless other people, all I have to do is ask and he will help me make it happen.  I guess I need to start thinking bigger.