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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Learning to Live

I have gotten progressively worse at checking in. It isn't that I don't have anything to say, but rather the opposite. There are so many thoughts that have clumped themselves together in one big mess that I've been avoiding them about as much as the similarly messy clump of hair in our bathtub drain at the moment. Sad as it is, it really has felt that undesirable to sort through. 

And, just when I was feeling some motivation to share some of my thoughts and experiences from the last couple of weeks, I am distracted by some sad news. I was actually in the middle of writing about some of our most recent adventures when Marc called out from upstairs, "Truman Madsen died today."

As a philosophy student at BYU, I became very familiar with the writings and thoughts of Truman G. Madsen, who was a philosopher, a professor, a writer, a gifted orator with a destinctive voice. Even though I never officially met him, as I've read his books and studied his writings, I have admired the great man behind the great words. I'm sad today to learn that he has died.

But, it feels fitting that the main topic on my mind the last couple of weeks goes along perfectly with certain words of Truman Madsen I read years ago that have remained with me. In his book The Highest in Us, he discusses the difference between being active and being alive, pointing out that something can be active without being alive and emphasizing greater importance on being alive and really living


For the better part of the last year grief has left me feeling numb. I have tried to find joy in life. I've counted my blessings and tried to seek out the good in my life. To be honest, I have faked a lot of feelings, and for the most part it has worked in helping me get through a really hard year. But, there is a piercing sadness in my heart to admit that deep down I have felt detached from many of the joys that used to come so easily. I used to be able to look at something beautiful and appreciate its beauty without even having to try.

Now, when I look at the fuschia-colored flowers in our backyard it isn't enough to just see them with my eyes anymore; I have to make a conscious effort to let their beauty sink into my soul. When I hear a bird singing, I have to close my eyes to focus on its song until the sound goes past my ears and finds its way to my heart. And, while it's a little frustrating to have to go through so much more effort to find beauty and joy in the world around me, I feel like it's provided me with an opportunity to live a new, better life than I lived in my first thirty years. There have been moments recently when I've felt such deep feelings of beauty and joy... almost as if they are running through my veins and I can't help but wonder if I ever really lived before the death of our twins.

I'm choosing to live. I'm pausing to look up at the stars. I'm taking my shoes off to feel the grass on my barefeet. I'm making a conscious effort to live life a little more fully. I need to, but I also want to because I recognize it's a blessing I now have that I may not always have. I have had moments of guilt and sadness that Elliana and Emmaline didn't get a chance to experience these things here, and while I hope it will be more than made up to them after this life, I find myself wanting to enjoy it all a little bit more for them. It's like when a friend recently traveled to Italy, I urged her to enjoy some nocciola gelato for me. There was a feeling of joy thinking of her enjoying something that I love so much.

I know that from a larger perspective this life is very brief and I would hate to get to the end and wish I would have paused more to just live, to see, to taste, to hear, to feel, to touch, to love, to be loved. I'm learning to live on purpose, like I mean it. I hope, in the process, I'll find my dreams coming true.

Rest in peace, Brother Madsen. Your influence has made its impact on my life and so many others. Thank you for sharing your wisdom so freely.


Kate said...

Thank you for this post. I've been going through similar emotions since our adoption fell through. I was thinking this morning that I want to have JOY again . . . but I wasn't sure how to go about that . . . This post gave me a specific jumping off point . . . a place to start . . .
Thank you for being an answer to my prayer!

Andrea said...

Beautiful post as always Megan. You really need to write a book someday. I also have been trying to learn how to live more fully...enjoy more fully when my heart just aches. I'm so grateful for those moments when the joy will come even if it's just for a moment I'm so grateful for each of those moments. Thanks for reminding me again the need to fully live. You are amazing. Sending my love your way...we just got to Cali and oh, how I wish we were close to you so I could finally meet you and give you a great big hug.

Kim said...

Megan, your post today has touched my soul.

I too have been reflecting on the last year of our lives, and like you, I have faked SO much of it. It really hasn't been until the last month or so, I have really let myself feel, and renew my spirit with life. I have been walking around just barely getting by, and being a very awful mother and wife to my family...but that has changed now. Something inside of me has changed, and I am feeling again! I am FEELING again!

I hope that you start feeling everything again soon, and that it isn't so hard to let the beauty is and to have it be enjoyed. I hope I am making is coming back to my heart...and I pray it will come back fully to yours as well.

Loves from a friend in Utah.