Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Good News…and the Bad News…and the Good News…and...

When my sister Becky called me last May and said the two of us now belong to the same club (Breast Cancer), I had no words. All I could do was cry as she told me of her diagnosis that day, and that it was in her lymph nodes, and now what? We spent hours on the phone every day as she made it through tests and scans and consultations and the mind melting process (where you feel like you are drinking water out of a firehouse) of trying to get answers and figure out what to do next but you never can get an answer that tells you exactly what it will take to make this all go away. And then she went over every concern about telling Mom that another one of her children had cancer, then telling the other siblings.
In June my sister Jennifer skyped me from Australia and said she had good news and bad news. When she said that the good news is that her breast cancer was not in her lymph nodes I managed to find a word. After I screamed it for about 10 seconds I moved on to the crying and listening to what was next.
Good news – Skype.
I am really grateful the three of us could be on Skype at the same time to share what was happening, and support each other through it.
Bad news – some of the treatments Jennifer needed were not readily available in Australia.
Good news – Jennifer was able to return to Utah for additional treatment. All three of us were able to have some time together while she and Becky were going through treatment.
Bad news – How to tell Mom that nearly 12 years after Dad died of cancer, three of her daughters are fighting breast cancer.
Good news – Mom is tougher than any of us can imagine. And when we have room for miracles, they are there to get us through. Thank you Dad, for being so near.
Bad news – Becky had a type of cancer that had mutated.
Good news – Becky is married to a great radiologist, and has friends who are great doctors, who spoke very frankly with her about her options. There are treatments available now that can work on this mutation.
Bad news – Becky had cancer in her primary and secondary lymph nodes.
Good news – Beyond the tumor and lymph nodes, there was no sign of cancer anywhere else in her body.
Bad news – Chemotherapy sucks. There is no other way to put it. It hurts, makes you sick, fries your brain, takes all energy, kills your hair, destroys your skin, takes over your life, the one it is supposed to help you keep.
Good news – Sometimes, the chemo really does what it is supposed to do… kill the cancer.
Bad news – Becky had to go through 5 months of intensive chemotherapy before having surgery.
Good news – It worked.
Bad news – It was hard for family members to find out 3 of us had cancer.
Good news – I have the most amazing family. My kids and nieces and nephews have handled this well, and are paying attention to what it could mean for their health. My siblings and in-laws overwhelm me. Their patience, love, prayers, understanding, just being there, is beyond what I could have hoped for.
Bad news – It was hard for my adult kids to hear about my diagnosis. But Becky and Jennifer have younger kids at home. I can’t imagine.
Good news – We have a heritage in our family of knowing that the prayers of children have an impact on all of us.
Bad news – The week I stopped taking the cancer medication because the side effects had become intolerable, was the same week I had to have surgery to remove a basal cell tumor from my eyelid.
Good news – The surgeon was able to remove the tumor and reconstruct my eyelid without needing to do a skin graft.
Bad news – I look at my left eye and see evidence of the surgery (scars and no lashes on the lower lid).
Good news – Mike says he can’t see any difference. But I think that is because he has male pattern blindness.
Bad news – Lots of medical bills, deductibles, patient payments.
Good news – We all have insurance and excellent medical care.
Bad news – It is a terrible, frightening thing to hear that your wife has breast cancer.
Good news – My sisters and I have husbands who take this fight on, each in their own way. Bless them.
Now I will concentrate on the good.
What a journey this has been, and will be.

I would have given anything to be able to take this away from my sisters, and go through treatment in their place. But I have seen everyone in the family share the burdens in whatever way they can. When Becky went to get her head shaved before her hair fell out, Mike and I were invited to come and take pictures. Her husband Jordan got a sympathy head shave, and Mom and other sisters were watching it on skype. It was a community event. Becky was laughing as we cheered her on. When I suddenly walked out because I didn’t want to cry in front of her, Jordan comforted me. What a guy.
My daughter Charlotte was training for a marathon during all this, and decided she wanted to run one dedicated to us. She dreamed of crossing the finish line and seeing the three of us there.
But she didn’t know if that would work with how Becky was feeling and when I might be in Utah, and when Jennifer would be done and returning to Australia. But when she ran it, we were all there. She wore a shirt that said "Running for 2nd base, because my mom and my aunts fight like girls". Becky had rested up so she was able to cheer Charlotte on part way through the course, and be at the finish line with me, holding a balloon bouquet. Charlotte worked and trained hard, and took on something that required enduring through something difficult, to show love, empathy and support for us.
I am so grateful for her. It was a bit of a love fest at the finish line.
When Jennifer was in the hospital after surgery, Becky and I were there with her on a Sunday. I asked at the nurses station if there was a chapel in the hospital where I could attend sacrament meeting. Right then a couple showed up to bring the sacrament to those who wanted it. When they came into the room and the husband began preparing the bread and water, the wife gave a message about the healing power of Christ’s love. I felt as if the bread and water were spreading throughout my body, bringing peace. It was a moment of grace in the midst of difficult pain and worry.
On the day of Becky’s surgery, after she had completed 6 rounds of chemo, she asked that only Jordan be at the hospital with her. The hope was that the chemo had shrunk the tumor, and hopefully diminished the cancer in the sentinel and secondary lymph nodes. Mom and I were at one of our rental properties, painting some rooms. We called and spoke with Jordan several times, up to when Becky was taken into surgery. It was hard to stay away, but we estimated how long it would be before surgery was over, and the tissue tested, and results known. I had to keep Mom (and myself as well) occupied to keep from pacing, or freaking out. Then Jordan called. No cancer cells in the tissue or lymphs nodes. The chemo had done its job. Her oncologist calls it “extraordinary results”. If you are going to be invited to be a part of a medical study, you want it to be for that reason.
I will always be grateful for the moments where Becky or Jennifer and I would hold each other, bless each other, and pray together. When we would share our pain, our fears, and believe each other when we promised we would make it through this, no matter how things turned out, and we would be there for each other, and those we love.
The Good News: I never know how miracles, help, strength, answers, grace or love will come in my life, or to those I love. Sometimes it comes with the ability to endure for one more day, to find hope in a moment after I felt none, to suddenly be overwhelmed with love and sweet memory of one who is gone, to have someone unexpectedly be there to help or comfort, to feel connected with something that is stronger than death, to have faith. Sometimes, there is miraculous healing.
The Good News wins.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Not A Piece of Chewed Gum...and Happy Day to Heavenly Mother

Mother’s Day is coming up. I am fortunate to be able to call, speak with and try to honor several mothers on this day.
My own mother, who is a saint, even though she doesn’t want anyone to help her even in her 80th year, and that drives me nuts. But I am so grateful for her, who she is, what she teaches me, and that she is such a huge part of my life, and those of countless others.
My mother-in-law, who has always been loving, kind, generous and very accepting of me. I am most grateful to her for her part in raising such a wonderful person as my husband.
And I always think on and send extra communication to my Heavenly Mother. I am grateful that I have been taught, and known of her since teenage years, and sensed her even longer. I have always embraced the part of LDS doctrine, and yes, it has been a part of our doctrine since the early days of the church, that lets us know we come from Heavenly Parents, who are as much a part of each other as a couple can be.
Even though church members are all over the place in our ability to acknowledge and appreciate her as an equal partner with Heavenly Father, I think that has more to do with our own cultural traditions, and is something we need to look beyond in order to receive greater light and knowledge. I especially appreciate actions such as a recent historical survey done by “BYU Studies” that found over 600 references to Heavenly Mother by church leaders. Here is a link if you want to download the survey…
I highly recommend it.
I love this part of the introduction…
Contrary to criticism in some quarters, Church leaders have not relegated this deity to a confined role. Statements from the late 1840s onward show that leaders and influential Latter-day Saints have explored her roles as a fully divine being, a creator of worlds with the Father, a coframer of the plan of salvation, and a concerned and involved parent of her children on earth.”

So I look for ways to honor my Heavenly Mother, especially at this time. This is a tough time for me as a mother. My mother’s heart aches and rejoices as I see my children try to find their way in a world that can be dangerous and painful, as well as wonderful and thrilling and joyful. I have learned from my Heavenly Parents that, no matter how much I love and reach out to my children, no matter how precious they are to me, they are infinitely more precious to Them.
I think every mother goes through a time when she needs to let go of all the ways she imagined her childrens’ lives would look, then acknowledge the ways they are making their own life journey, and love them wherever they are. I have looked to my Heavenly Parents as I learn to do this. 
I imagine how Heavenly Mother’s heart aches when she sees any of us turn away from Her, or doubt ourselves, and how She and Heavenly Father will never give up on reaching out to each of us, and wanting us to return, and that She loves us, no matter where we are on that journey. She loves us now.

So when I read about Elizabeth Smart speaking about why she did not try to run after being kidnapped and repeatedly raped, my mother’s heart ached, and I can only imagine how Heavenly Mother must have felt seeing her daughter Elizabeth struggle with these feelings in the midst of the most horrific circumstances.

Here is a quote from a Salt Lake Tribune article by Peggy Fletcher Stack about Elizabeth Smart…
“Kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart made national headlines this week by saying that she didn’t try to escape from her captors because she felt like a "chewed-up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away."
Having been repeatedly raped, Smart told a Johns Hopkins human-trafficking forum, it was "easy ... to feel like you no longer have worth, you no longer have value. Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value."

She said she had heard the chewed gum analogy from a school teacher. I was fortunate to have never had that kind of object lesson thrown in my face, but I heard similar analogies from many sources – school, church, friends, movies and T.V., advertisements. These need to end.
And the scriptural references that equate virtue with virginity, and suggest that rape or assault can rob you of your virtue are hard to sort into the realm of cultural phrases and ignorance if there isn’t an immediate discussion about it.
Virtue is about personal choice and agency, about our ability to turn towards God, and about being Christlike. No one can rob anyone of that. Do not confuse it, or encourage anyone else to confuse it with the abuse that can occur due to circumstance or the actions of others. Ever.
Here is more from Stack’s article about Elizabeth Smart…

“For Smart, comfort came partly in the form of a "blessing," or healing prayer, by the late LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, who assured her that she was not responsible for anything that had happened to her when she was being controlled by her captors.
That is in line with LDS teachings, according to church spokeswoman Ruth Todd.
"Victims of rape, incest, or other sexual abuse are not guilty of sin. If you have been a victim of any of these crimes, know that you are innocent and that God loves you," reads a church pamphlet, For the Strength of Youth.”

I am glad Elizabeth was able to receive that comfort, and return to parents who had never stopped searching for her. My heart aches for those who have not found comfort, or loving arms.

I was sexually assaulted by a stranger when I was a child, before I had heard any type of “chewed gum” analogy. I still struggled with feelings of shame. I was also comforted by the unconditional love and acceptance of my parents. And I found comfort and healing in many moments of divine grace over the years. I have come to realize that whatever evil happened at the hands of that stranger, it would be a greater evil for anyone to see me as damaged and unwanted. It would also be evil to assume that the stranger was beyond help as well.

What about those who have chosen to do things that turn them away from God, or through choice have been promiscuous, or manipulative, or judgmental, or abusive, or controlling, or destructive?
In other words, all of us.
Are any of us any less precious, of any less worth? What is the redemptive power of the Atonement for, if not to heal us from all pain and sin, whether our own or someone else’s? Who did Christ come for, and offer his loving act of oneness, if not for each of us?

I love this quote from Chieko Okazaki about Christ…
“He’s not waiting for us to be perfect. Perfect people don’t need a Savior. He came to save us in our imperfections. He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes. He’s not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and in our grief.”

Healing, and forgiveness, and recovery might take time and effort, but it is there for us all if we will receive it.

Here is one way I honor Heavenly Mother this Mother’s Day. I ask that if any of you hear anyone, anywhere suggest that anyone can become damaged and without value for any reason, please have the courage to say, “Nobody will ever be unwanted by God. There is no healing that is beyond the power of Christ’s Atonement.”
If it is too difficult for you to do that, please find me, or someone who will help you remember that you are precious, and have infinite worth.

And if you ask and listen, your Mother will remind you as well.
Happy Heavenly Mother’s Day.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Life is hard, then you fly.

My sister is flying to Australia. She is going there to visit another sister and be a tourist. She has been looking forward to this for a long time. Hours before her flight was supposed to leave, she found out it was cancelled and she would have to take a flight leaving 22 hours later.
I am glad I was not in the room with her when she got that news.
She somehow survived that delay. She sent out a photo to us when she did finally board her flight to Australia. Needless to say, she was thrilled to be on her way.
I sent her the message..."Life is hard, then you fly".
This blog, and that message is really for some people I love who are going through tough times. And for me.
It is not easy when things (relationships, jobs, school, faith journeys, health, missions, plans, family, life) do not go the way you hoped or expected.
It takes courage to recognize when you need to let go of what is not working, and move forward to a different life that you will create in a new way, in each moment.
And it's hard. You know the law of inertia. There are plenty of forces that will try to keep you from changing direction. Bullying does not just occur in schoolyards and Jr. High hallways. There are those who only want you to look back, who want you to think that is the best you will have, who don't want you to see yourself as more than what you have been for a while. Not stronger, or more brilliant, or more loved, or more creative, or more courageous.
But you are more. And you have many more people who will remind you of that.
Please turn to them when life is hard.
I promise, your flight will come.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fight Like A Girl!

This is for my friend who just had surgery, a bilateral mastectomy. My 32 year old friend who had to quit nursing her 3 month old baby girl, cold turkey, two weeks ago when she had a biopsy and diagnosis of breast cancer...who will be starting chemotherapy soon, and radiation after that...who has two other young children who are probably wondering why their mom is not the one who has been picking them up from school and friend's houses.
This is for you, dear friend.
You are not alone. Never alone.
Now strap on that pink armor, fellow warrior, and fight.
Fight like a girl!
October will start in a few weeks and with it, Breast Cancer Awareness month. Be prepared to be awash in pink. Let it remind you that you are surrounded by legions who are fighting for themselves or their loved ones.
Trust that you, your husband, your children, your family and friends are stronger than you know.
Many of those helping you are unseen. Let yourself feel their strength and company in times of pain, confusion and despair. The veil is thinner than you might think.
Whatever you are going through, we are with you. And Christ has felt it all. This is all part of the Atonement. Let its healing powers consume you. Let countless prayers being said for you bring you comfort. Miracles might not come the way you expect. Just let them come.
And just in case you need a reminder of what you can do, I am making shirts for your kids to wear.
They will all say the same thing.
"My Mom Fights Like A Girl!"

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Going To Pot

Pardon my French, but this oral chemo medication is kicking my derriere. Lucky for me, I have enough derriere to be kicked and still plenty left for cushioning when I sit down.
The hot flashes, the nausea, the occasional panic attack, the joint pain in places that I didn't even know were joints, the sleeplessness, the weight gain...all of it has become much worse.
I live in Colorado, where medical marijuana is legal. Not to get on a soap box or anything, but this whole justification for legalizing pot for everyone because of medical needs is a crock.
Does that make it a pot crock?
Sorry, that was a mommy joke.
Most of the thousands of medical marijuana permits that were issued in the months following legalization were for young people, nearly all of the permits coming from only a couple of doctors, many of them having the reason of "being stressed out". One said "I get stressed out when I can't get pot". If marijuana is going to be legalized, at least tell the truth about why. If it is going to be easy for anyone to get it, then treat it as a controlled substance and put the same restrictions on it that apply to liquor and narcotics, and second hand smoke.
Okay, I am off my soapbox.
I met several people at the cancer center who used medical marijuana to deal with side effects. One was a young man who was dealing with brain cancer. He said he regretted smoking for 20 years before he was diagnosed, that he mostly liked the marijuana because he missed smoking, and that there were other medications that would be more consistent in treating the pain and nausea, but he liked smoking. Another patient was battling a second recurrence of breast cancer, had lost an eye to surgery during the first recurrence, was learning how to walk again after surgery for the second recurrence, and was using marijuana in pill form to deal with side effects. She had also been a long time smoker, and did not want to return to any kind of habit like it.
I appreciated them honestly sharing with me. The smell of pot makes me nauseous, and since there are few restrictions on where people can smoke it, I run into those fumes in many public places. I let them know how hard it has been for me to deal with that, and they assured me they were aware of how pot impacted them and those around them, and used it in private. I think we each need to find our way to safely deal with our burdens, and try not to add to the burdens of others while doing so.
My wonderful niece asked me, if it would really help me with the side effects of chemo, wouldn't I be willing to give medical marijuana a try? I told her that all my efforts right now are to try and extend my life. I don't want to do anything that dulls my thoughts or feelings, or checks me out of life.
One of the ways I see gifts of grace in my life is the reminders that what I am dealing with is not more than I can handle, that things could be much worse and I would still choose my own challenges, that when I need strength or help, it is there if I am open to it.
So I am glad for ceiling fans and air conditioning, for yoga breathing, communication and stress relief tools, for massage therapists, for really good shoes, for Vernors ginger ale and nutritional supplements, and especially for the ways I feel the kindness, prayers and support from others. My heroes are those who have been through this, even while I have known them, and done so with grace and courage.
And Michael, bless him, is right there through it all. Here it is, Father's Day, and he did more work on today's dinner than I did. On Mother's Day I didn't have to lift a finger.
I look in the mirror and see the full physical impact of all this. He wraps his arms around me and loves me no matter what kind of day it has been. Not always an easy thing to do.
And I get messages from friends at unexpected times. Here is a recent one from Melanie that gave me some laugh out loud therapy. I'm not sure I could enjoy it as much if I were stoned.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Firming the Foundation

There is something wonderful about being in a room with women of all ages and backgrounds who share a common desire to honor each other, wherever we are on our journey of faith, and share our stories that could make a difference in that journey.
I got to do that in two places last weekend.
Last weekend I was able to go to the Rocky Mountain Retreat with other Mormon women. We were able to share writings, ideas, experiences, music, and, most of all, faith.
Faith in our gifts, our heritage, our strength, our knowledge, our loved ones, our connection, our church, our God.
Then I got to have a similar experience in Relief Society at church on Sunday.
Yes, I know. That does not happen for everyone, every Sunday.
I mentioned in my last blog that LDS wards are determined by geographical boundaries. You might be in a ward with others who are similar to you, or very different.
Some people like being around others who are different. They enjoy hearing various ideas, and learn from other points of view. Others prefer to be with those they agree with, and might feel nervous or even a bit afraid around those they perceive as different.
I think the Gospel of Christ asks us to see how we are all connected, coming from loving Heavenly Parents, and will find our greatest joy embracing each other with all our differences and sameness.
But that is not always easy. So we are all on a journey together. Sometimes we are helping each other, sharing the burden. Sometimes we listen to our fears, and throw up obstacles to those we think we need to fear.
It would be wonderful if every moment spent in church is one where all feel honored, acknowledged, loved, strengthened, fed, their burdens lightened.
But church isn’t for those who have already completed the journey back to God.
It is a place we can go to renew our promise to turn to God, to study together and find out that we each have our own way of interpreting scripture, to repent and forgive each other even when we don’t feel like it, to serve people we would usually not choose to be around, to struggle together, to learn to love each other in the face of our failure, and to do this while respecting the organization and structure created so this can happen worldwide.
It is human nature to connect religion to politics, to cultural and ethnic traditions, and to justify divisiveness, even war, by claiming to know who is loved and not loved by God. It is human nature to even connect religion to taste in art, books, hairstyle, clothes and choice of movies and television.
All this can make for an unpredictable experience at Sunday meetings.
But in the lifetime of my church attendance, I have learned that I usually find what I look for at church. I find harsh judgement and intolerance when I look for it, I find acceptance, compassion and love when I look for it, and sometimes that shows up in the midst of the intolerance.
Again, it is all part of the journey.
We all want to be honored and heard and included. While it frequently does, that might not always happen at church. It doesn’t mean we don’t belong there. Each of us can learn to honor others there.
And we can express what is not expressed at church in other places. I have book groups, discussion groups, political meetings, forums, conferences, classes, blogs, facebook….each gives opportunity for discussion and conversation. I find myself drawn to all ways that strengthen how I can live the Gospel in every aspect of my life.
The Rocky Mountain Retreat did that for me. Friday evening I got to hear readings from Joanna Brooks, Phyllis Barber, Dani Dubrasky, and was honored to be asked to read from my essay “A Pope Story”. On Saturday there were wonderful presentations from Joanna Brooks and Sheila Taylor (thank you thank you thank you to them), a long walk with my daughter Charlotte where we talked about the Relief Society lesson I would be teaching, and she helped me find a good direction for it, then a fascinating question and answer/discussion session in the evening with Joanna and Sheila leading. Such generous sharing of so many different faith experiences. In between the presentations, the fabulous food, the small group discussions, we made music. There is no way to describe the experience of singing hymns after learning to make a drum circle, so I will just let you see it for yourself. That's my Charlotte at the keyboard.

Every gathering needs music and food.
Then on Sunday morning in my ward I taught the Relief Society lesson, and was overwhelmed again with the generous way sisters there shared their experiences of faith and love for each other.
One of the discussions at the retreat was about what we saw as the greatest concern for Mormon women worldwide. I think it is learning to see that we are all connected, no matter where or when we live, what our culture, religion, gender or country, we are all a part of each other through a God who knows and loves all, that we are loved and accepted more than we can comprehend. It would be a good foundation for making a difference in the world.
Thank you, dear sisters, for making a difference this weekend.
We are given and give much, our foundation is firm, and the gifts of grace are amazing.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Bishop's Wife

That title refers to one of my favorite movies with Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young.
As of today, it also refers to me.
Mike was sustained as the new bishop of our ward today. For those who do not know what language that last sentence is, I will translate some Mormon Speak...
The LDS church is basically divided into congregations called wards, and groups of wards called stakes. Each ward is led by a bishop, his two counselors and his executive secretary. This group is called a bishopric. The stake is led by the stake president and 2 counselors. The LDS church has a lay ministry. That does not mean we spend lots of time napping (although I have seen plenty of nodding off going on during church). It means all of those who serve to meet the needs of the wards and stakes do so without pay.
As I have said many times while serving, "You couldn't pay me enough to do this job. I will only do it out of love." Sometimes the love I am feeling is only for God, and that leads me to want to follow His admonition to "do it unto the least of these". Other times, I know I am one of the least of these, that mercy will come where mercy is offered, and I want to be among those who are willing to serve as well. My formal calling right now is counselor to the president of our women's organization, the Relief Society, which handles education, welfare and service needs.
So we don't have paid jobs in church, we have callings. We receive callings (a request to serve in a particular way) from church leaders, who can receive inspiration through prayer and promptings as to who to call to a position. It is not something that can be lobbied for, or applied to. Well, it can, but that is not a good idea and usually doesn't work. Over the last 6 months, Mike actually had some promptings that this might happen. He tried really hard to apply for another job that would require us to move. He called it "pulling a Jonah". None of his attempts worked out. He just got thrown out of the belly of the whale onto the beach.
After we receive and accept a calling, the congregation is given an opportunity to sustain us by raising their hands to show support.
One of the most difficult, involved callings in the church is that of bishop of a ward. One that compares to it is that of bishop's wife.
A stake president can only call someone to be bishop after they have been approved by the First Presidency of the church. Some suggest that the potential bishop's wife is scrutinized more closely than he is. I doubt it. My years as a hippy during the 60's should have kept Mike out of consideration if that were the case.
While I was consulted extensively, there is no formal calling for me as bishop's wife. No instruction manual at all. That does not necessarily put me at a disadvantage. Mike has several manuals and lots of training available on But he still has a deer-in-the-headlights look of "I have no idea how to do this". I get to rely completely on prayer and promptings. He has that... along with all the instructions swirling around in his head.
That's understandable. He is now in charge of the spiritual and welfare needs of everyone (I do mean everyone, Mormon and non-Mormon) within a certain geographic area. Those needs are rarely predictable, or on a schedule, and never at a convenient time. All this while he continues working his regular, more than full time, high stress, I-don't-do-this-out-of-love-I-do-this-for-a-paycheck job.
And the ward is determined by geographic boundaries. We don't go to a church we pick because of who we agree with or are friends with. We go with those in our area, and we learn to love and serve and be served by them. We do it that way because it teaches us how to give and receive love, even when it is not convenient, even when we don't feel like it, and especially because of the miracles that happen that can't possibly be predicted.
So, in a nutshell, Mike's church calling is now to help people find their way home to God, and experience a bit of heaven here while in the trenches of life. I have known Mike for over 28 years, and been married to him just under 28 years. Through those years I have seen him go through hell (sometimes I'm the one who put him through it), and choose to follow Christ out of it. He has chosen to acknowledge his jerkiness and stupidity that all humans have, and learn love and mercy and strength and faith .....and I could go on but I don't want to sound too biased.
He will do a great job as bishop. I don't think he knows how to not do a great job.
Me? I'm still figuring out my job description. I do not need to know any of the details or private information of ward members to know we are all carrying our own burdens. These ward members have been there to share my burdens, and make them lighter. We all need to be reminded that we are never alone, and we are known by name and infinitely precious to God. I can do that.
One of those ward members is my bishop, my husband.
Share the journey, Michael. You are known by name. You are infinitely precious to God. You are never alone.
Don't worry, I'm here to remind you.