Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"Grace for Mother Duck and Me" -- my wake-up call

I should be vacuuming and cleaning the litter boxes right now... really. It's on my list today, but for *some* reason it just doesn't sound very enjoyable. Hold on, readers, this is a LONG one!

Sometimes we all have to take a minute (or 12) and do something good for ourselves. Breathe. Think. Type. Relax. I've been running on empty the last week or so. What a blur! School is in full force. Late nights, early mornings, schedules and deadlines, school lunch and homework. You know it's crazy, but I really do like most of it. I think. Today I do.

I've had a LOT of experiences these last couple weeks to help me learn patience, compassion, humility, forgiveness, charity, and love. I wonder if I'll every really figure things out.

This was a rough draft post I started last week, but never finished:

"Why is life so hard? Yeah, I know that sounds really dramatic. I know most people would look at my life and say, "What's your problem, whiner?!?!?!!" (And they might be true -- sort of.) The fact is, most people don't share what their life is REALLY like. Their inner struggles and day to day problems. Weaknesses that I can never seem to get over. Problems I always seem to find myself in. When will I ever learn?"

Life really isn't that bad -- I was just having "one of those days" -- I always seem to think every little upset in my universe will be irreversible and permanent. I don't like that about myself. It's rather exhausting.

I'm so thankful for second chances and prayer and being able to talk to people. We had some serious issues with some of Gabe's friends a couple weeks ago and I'm so glad things are calming down. I'm thankful for time. Time to think and time to heal. What I thought would be devastating with long-lasting consequences, ended up being something rather trivial, but something that brought Gabe and I closer together. He was more mature and patient about the whole thing than I was. I wish I could say more, but he has asked me not to.

I had another very "silly" incident with a friend and some unspoken rules and well, after some awkward moments of disagreement, we both ended up laughing when we realized where the other person was coming from.

And then again with some more of my children's friends and their parents....

One thing's for sure: this world is full of all sorts of people. No two people act or think exactly alike. Yet, why do we always look at someone and think they are just like "so and so". Do you know what I mean?

I read this great little story last week in the throes of the constant "Is it ME or THEM?" doubts in my mind:

Let me just preface this by saying (because I'm so ridiculously childish and prideful, I guess) that I don't agree with the author judging the mother duck -- she doesn't know any better. That part, I just didn't get. Poor Mother Duck -- where is she SUPPOSED to walk her ducklings amidst all the subdivisions and humans taking over all of the undeveloped land?? That's another blog post entirely.

However, I TOTALLY understood what she was saying, because I have wrongly judged SO many women SO many times. I was truly ashamed when I read this. I have been there. I know how she feels. She's better than I am, really, only to judge a duck's misguided actions, rather than a person. Sometimes, they don't know any better either. I should have as much natural compassion for other people as I do for some random duck! But alas, I am a strange girl.

Have you ever looked at someone and thought, even for a moment, 
"She doesn't deserve to be a mother." 
Well, read on:
From the August 2013 Ensign:

Grace for Mother Duck and Me by Rosie Kaufman

One spring afternoon I was packing my car to begin shuttling my five young children to and from lessons and practices. As I loaded soccer cleats and dance bags, I noticed a mother duck and her ducklings waddling down the sidewalk of our suburban neighborhood.
As I watched, she began to cross the road. Unfortunately, she chose a gutter grate for her crosswalk, and as she passed over it, her babies followed. Four of her ducklings slipped helplessly between the bars of the grate.
When the mother reached the other side, she realized she was missing some of her little ones and could hear their muffled peeps. Totally oblivious of her mistake, she crossed back across the drainage grate, looking for her missing ducklings and losing two more. With horror and some disgust at her poor judgment, I went to the grate to see if I could lift it. Although I used all my strength, the grate barely budged, and I was late to pick up one of my kids.
Figuring I would have to fix the situation later when I wasn’t so rushed, I hopped in the car while muttering self-righteously, “She doesn’t deserve to be a mother.”
During the next hour and a half, I made many of my recurring parenting mistakes. These are mistakes I have begged forgiveness for many times from both my children and my Father in Heaven. Each time I resolve to do better and not to fall prey to these weaknesses again. When I snapped at one of my kids for teasing another, my words echoed loudly in my ears, “She doesn’t deserve to be a mother.”
Suddenly I felt overwhelming compassion for that mother duck. She was trying to navigate the world with the instincts she was given, just as I was. But sometimes those instincts simply weren’t enough, and it was our children who suffered.
I resolved to get the grate off somehow and lift the ducklings out. As I rounded the corner to our street, I saw a small group gathered. My neighbor had lifted the grate, climbed inside the drainage tunnel, and was gently lifting the ducklings out to safety. The frightened little birds scrambled to find their mother, who was pacing nervously in a nearby bush. She hadn’t asked for help, but my neighbor had stepped in when her protection was simply not enough. I was overcome with emotion as I thought of the Savior doing the same for my children and me.
Sometimes we come up short, even when we have the best intentions and try our hardest. However, the Savior’s “grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before [Him]” (Ether 12:27). It comforts me to know that my shortcomings will not ruin my children and that they will be the recipients of love, peace, understanding, and grace from our Savior. He “reaches my reaching”1 and wants my family and me to succeed. Our shortcomings will not prevail when we humble ourselves and stand with the Lord by our side.
I really love this story. I mean, I'm a HUGE animal lover, if you didn't know, so I was crying tears of joy when all the ducklings were returned safely to their worried mommy. But it really helped me feel more compassion and understanding for others. Actually, I feel like it was a great big (loving!) slap in the face from my Heavenly Father saying, "Lacy, stop being so MEAN! Stop thinking everyone is so wrong and take a look in the mirror. I love you and I know your struggles, but others are struggling too. Help them, don't judge them."
We do NOT know what others are going through. We cannot judge anyone because we don't have all of the information. We can never truly understand why someone does something. Sometimes my greatest struggles are on the inside and I always wonder what other people are truly going through when they act a certain way or say something I think they shouldn't have or whatever. 
I don't know who said it, but I love the quote that says something like: 
"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
We're all in this together (yes, I did get that from High School Musical, if you must know)! But we really are and I want to try harder to help and lift others -- even when they might not return the favor. 
I feel like I am being tested to the limit lately in terms of my capacity to love and to serve and to have patience for others. I often wonder what the future holds...

I'm so thankful for a loving Father in Heaven who judges me perfectly and is always there to help me be better and make up for my many shortcomings.
P.S. I know I've already told you about the FlyLady, but I'm going to tell you again, because she makes me happy! :) If you feel overwhelmed with your life and your house is in total CHAOS... go to her site IMMEDIATELY, sign up for the emails, and start to FLY! It's been such a blessing in my life.


  1. Thank you for that today. I needed it. And I think my mom needs it. She spends a lot of time regretting the things she didn't know how to teach us, and I am going to share it with her if that's okay. She is amazing for the things she did teach us and she needs to know she was enough. Love you! Amanda

    1. Thanks for your comment. I appreciate what you said -- I didn't think about my Mom. She feels like your Mom sometimes too. It's so important to know that after all we do it is enough. :) love you too!! :)

  2. You are awesome my friend, and I love the duck story. I really need to start reading the Ensign again. :)

    1. Thanks, Miss Lora, I'm sure it has something to do with being friends with you! ;)


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