Sunday, March 08, 2009

So many blessings...

Larry and I spoke in church today (translation: we were the two main speakers in the general worship service of our church). I actually started pondering and writing down my thoughts a week ago, which is a completely new thing for me. It really worked! I was able to distill my thoughts sufficiently that I didn't feel like I would be babbling on or feeling generally unprepared. It was a wonderful experience to start to speak and know that I had been helped and guided in my preparation. I spoke on the importance of loving and supporting each other in our ward (congregation) family. I have very strong feelings about this because most of our married life has been away from any biological family; therefore, our need for a ward family was acute. We get so focused on our own families (not a wholly bad thing, I must add), that we aren't noticing others around us that might need help, love, acceptance, support, etc.

I can really improve in this area. I find that my insecurities hinder me in opening my heart at church. I think to myself, "So-and-so wouldn't want to be my friend. She's so together all the time. I'd drive her crazy." Or a look from someone might lead me to think, "Oh, they think my kids are awful. I need to stay away from them."

Who wins then? Who loses? So often I have been surprised by a unexpected friend.

Perhaps it is someone, like Liz W., who I want to be friends with, who I am so drawn to, but I don't think I'm cool enough to be her friend. Little did I know that she needed me as much as I needed her. I took a chance, introduced myself, and the rest, as they say, is history. She was a lifeline to me in a difficult time. My first real friend in Utah. What a blessing!

Perhaps it is someone, like Liz L., who I work with at church, who ends up being another amazing life line--someone I admire and want to emulate in SO many ways.

Perhaps it is someone, like Karen, who I was "forced" to work with, one with whom I never thought I would ever have anything in common. She taught me that appearances can be so deceiving and that true Christ-like love is all around us. Her experiences and testimony strengthened and lifted me regularly. I would have never reached toward her without "help" and yet, without that help, I never would have known that love I feel for her and her testimony.

Perhaps it is someone, like Laura, who is so physically stunning that it is sometimes hard to recognize that she may be even more stunning on the inside. I never would have thought I was "cool" enough to be her friend. Thank goodness she had more sense than I did. And she has and continues to bless me in so many ways. I think now I realize that outward appearances are just a tiny part of who we are. She has so much more to offer than just being "Sister Fancy-Clothes." She is an amazing example of unconditional love, and I love her for it. And she told me once that I rock a suit. How can I not love her for that? :)

Perhaps it is someone, like Alexis, who seems absolutely perfect, charming, fun, hilarious, and she is! She listened to the spirit one Stake Conference morning, and my life has been changed and blessed for the next 10 years (have I really known you for 10 years?). There are so many more years for us to lift, inspire, and make each other belly-laugh.

I have been so blessed by angels living among us.

Take a chance. Open your heart. Love.

Your life will never be the same.


Tera said...

And let's not forget you Melanie! You were an amazing visiting teacher when I lived in Oxnard. You made me feel special. I remember you coming to watch Lauren for me so that JP and I could go on a date. You were the first person I ever left her with. I admire you and all that you do. You are an amazing person and worthy to be anyone's friend!

Thunell Family said...

You make me cry. Thank you for the reminder. You're right (as always), I need to reach out beyond myself and see what happens-it'll be a miracle. Yes, it has been 10 years...of joy. I love you, my friend--like you'll never know! (And, Marilyn Hamm is the director. She's great!)

liz said...

I just wish I could have heard the whole thing. Even your summary lifted me. You have a permanent place in my heart. I feel so grateful to know you and love you!!!!

liz said...

P.S. Only about 10 ward members came from our ward to sing in the ward choir. Hmm. It was beautiful, but let's just say that the gaping hole you left behind is still a little gaping. We're gonna have to work on that one. Guess I better roll up my shirt sleeves and get on that, right?