Friday, January 2, 2009

My New Year's Eve --- Good for your belly laugh and my tears. :)

Okay, so if you need a good laugh at my expense here it is.
New Year's Eve Party for Singles over 31:
I take my convert neighbor who easily finds fault with me and many things that I do (that's always fun), and an inactive other lady who I called at the last minute and she came (she was sweet as I learned all about Medicare) and me.

We get in line for the potluck dinner (which was gross) and I'm the only one who brought a green salad. There was some jello, store purchased macaroni or potato salad (which is almost inedible) and a whole slew of desserts (mostly store purchased and icky).

Of course I introduced myself to the man in line with us; an elderly 82 yr. old man with bushy eyebrows who was alone. His wife passed away 2 yrs. ago and I knew he was lonely. So, I included him, visited with him, asked him all about himself and invited him to sit with us. (I learned a bit about beaver pelting and all his children.) And, he was just dear.

After dinner the movie played in the RS room. The VCR wasn't working so it skipped about 1/3 of the dialog. That was fun. And, people were coming in and out the whole time. About 1/2 the crowd was mentally ill. (Not to be unkind about that as I have a brother with a severe mental illness and have great understanding and compassion for the issues) but it makes for interesting company and entertainment. One guy ducked in front of the screen 1/2 way through the movie, so he could make his way to the back and huck his apple core (hard) into the garbage. Then, he bounced back all the way to the otherside where he'd come from. You really had to be there for that one; it was funny -- as it was so interestingly done.

The door had to be left open so the guy reclined in the wheelchair in the hall could see in. This made it so that we could hear every conversation happening outside the room (they were oblivious to him and to all of us) and all the kids running the halls. So....as you can guess, that was fun too.

Then, there was the only cute and normal guy in the room (my secret crush which I know that I have to get over as he has no interest in me whatsoever) who was with a DATE!!!! A cute little blonde thing on his arm. That made it NOT so fun for me and on the verge of more sorrow.

So, I said to myself 'Chubby self, don't let this get you down. You find someone who is more lonely and worse off than yourself to befriend." I determined to do that so that I wouldn't feel so sorry for myself. So, after the movie we went back into the cultural hall to 'play games' and do 'karaoke'.
The games were for 20 minutes (as, apparently the party was to end at 10:00; [12:00 New York time]). I guess they know that most of the crowd can't stay up that late.

So, one lady sang several karaoke songs as the rest of us listened. She loves to be the center of attention; and, for the rest of us to be attentive. So... that was fun too. :)

And, a few people played some kind of games at the tables for 20 minutes. And, I found the man in the corner in the wheelchair and decided to visit with him. He ended up cheering me and I was humbled by his sweet attitude. I learned all about him, the cute nurses that tend to his needs, his 52 hr. trip to Alaska, the death of his sister, his childhood being made fun of, pushed down the stairs, mocked etc. I was so sad for the treatment he had received. Yet, his philosophy is 'life is what you make it". It gave me reason to remind myself of what Christ would have us do and to know that at my worst; I, at least, am mobile and fairly pain-free. I've had a more 'normal' life and, at least, have children. I was truly humbled, and edified and felt that I had a new, kindred friend. I was humbled and repentant for feeling so sorry for myself.

Then, the countdown came, some balloons dropped from a sheet type thing, people popped and squashed them, and ....we cleaned up. The only man in a suit was asked to sweep. (There's something ironic about that) and I helped to stack chairs as most of the crowd had left.

An older mentally-challenged man approached me and stated loudly to me "Hey, I got something to tell you". So, I stood there as he loudly recited (in Monotone) this LONG Christmas poem to me. He was so proud and so tickled when I acknowledge how well he did. And, the tender poem was about the lonely old woman who had prepared to meet the Savior on Christmas. She got out her best ware and He never came. Instead a beggar came to the door and she gave him to eat. A child approached and she gave him a coat. As I stood there listening (alone) I realized that he was teaching me. All the hopes that I had had for a nice Christmas and New Year, were actually being answered in the way that I had tried to serve others as the Savior would have had me do. And, that my lonliness was met by these simple other people who were in more difficult circumstances than I, and yet not complaining. I felt that the Lord was there with me -- through these souls; my special brothers and sisters.

Then, 9:00 the next morning the phone rings. It was the 82 yr. old man. "Hi Heidi, I'd like to get to know you better. Would you meet me for breakfast this morning?" (Oh, what am I to do? This has happened before. The old, old guys and the mentally-ill are the only ones interested in me.) I was kind as I knew of his lonliness and said, "Oh, thank you for the offer. You are kind. But, I think that the age difference is just too great. I'm still raising young children". His response "Oh, you are? That's the story of my life. I didn't know."Of course, he didn't. I don't think that anyone asked me anything about myself the whole night. They usually don't. If I am there to reach out -- then, that is what I do. I try to help others feel loved, acknowledged, included etc. But, people don't do that for me. Not very often in my own ward either.

So, I guess it's just the way it is.
The next night was a family party. I feel so much more alone sometimes when I'm in a group of couples and families. They come with their spouse, leave with their spouse, and I drive home alone (2 1/2 hrs.) with my kids -- to tackle the world and work load alone again.
To be honest, I left that party in tears. One particular brother snapped at me -- and I started to sob. I was already on the verge --- (from the night before and the events of the day which had been tiring). I have some siblings with huge homes, large families, successful businesses, lots of benefits for their children; music lessons, private schools, private tutors, many sports camps, EFY, scholarships, mentors, meetings with famous people and church leaders, have 'higher' callings themselves etc. Yet, they take not thought that we have never been skiing (as they all were going today), we can't afford movies (they go to NY several times a year to Broadway shows), we don't vacation (they do often as well as travel and play), they talk about the school sports teams they all play on (I have had to teach my son baseball and basketball and do all the scouting things with him by myself) and they are not alone.

Even when it's hard and despite all this, and when I'm more humble, I am truly grateful for my life. I know it's the best one for me as I learn and grow and know of the struggles of others. I would rather have it this way than for me to be on the other end; oblivious to the plight and heartache of others. I know that the Lord has blessed us and that we have the gospel. What more do any of us NEED in this life?

So, sorry for my complaining. But, thanks for listening. It saves me a lot in therapy costs. lol
And, thanks for those of you who are kind, who have struggled, who are compassionate, who do reach out to others and are mindful of the ways in which you might lift them. I think that we are here to learn those things. Don't you?

hugs!

6 comments:

Mama Rachel said...

Heidi,

You are a very sweet and kind lady. I know that the Lord is mindful of you and all you're going through. I so appreciate your post because it reminds me to look around and think of others and see how I can help ease the burdens they're carrying. Thank you for teaching me today. May the Lord bless you for all the hearts you touched. He knows all that you've given and sacrificed. Someday He will reward you openly!

And by the way, THANK YOU for creating and running the "Mormon Moms Who Blog" list. It really enriches my life. :-)

(And good luck with your crush!) ;-)

Hugs,
Rachel

Bonnie said...

You are a great woman! How I appreciate that you can make us laugh over our heart-aches and challenges.
Those are the days to remember, life can only get better. Today I was feeling discouraged and knew I would find comfort from you.

Thank you!

Kathy said...

I know just what you're talking about. I reluctantly attended a singles ward gathering at the request of my cousin and was depressed for weeks afterward. All I could think of was "is this what it's all come down to"? I too felt guilty for judging those sweet people. As a single mom, with two special needs boys, and a few extra pounds, it occurred to me (for probably the first time) that there is a good chance I will never remarry. I am grateful for all I have and the many blessings I enjoy. Yet, since the divorce, me and the kids seem to struggle to get back that feeling of being a "real" family. Anyway, thanks for sharing so openly. It was a treat to read your description of the New Years Eve party. I've been there.

Rick Carpenter said...

Heidi, you don't know me but I feel like I know you really well. I found your blog while looking for something else. I got curious and kept reading. I looked at your other blogs. I got even more curious and found you on the singles sites. I'm not single, and I'm not a stalker, so I didn't hang around - just long enough to see who was writing all of this.

I must say that you are a really amazing woman. You are educated, you serve the Lord diligently, you do what you know is best for your children. And you are really beautiful. You call yourself 'chubby', and maybe you are. But I must be honest and say that if I was single and looking, you would be exactly what I would be looking for. Please don't think I'm a wierdo trying to mess with your heart. Far from it - I'm about as faithful as it gets. But I would hope that you could appreciate a man's perspective that doesn't come from all the guys who are looking for a Hooters girl with a hunting license. They won't help me get my children to the Celestial Kingdom like you would. Remember what Joseph Smith said about children who die in their infancy - that they were too pure for this world. Well based on what I can discern about you, Heidi, you are way too good for the guys who are looking for the shallow rewards. I honestly believe they will have their reward, and you shall have yours. It will be worth waiting for, even if it doesn't feel like it now. RC

Kaylynn said...

I too love your blog, and your perspective. Keep going!

Bookslinger said...

If we could just get more singles like you going to the Single Adult events, looking for ways to uplift others like you did, instead of looking for what they can get out of it, there'd be a smaller percentage of singles in the church.

And if more positive-attitude uplifting people like you, male and female, went to the singles events, the whole program could be transformed out of the dysfunctional appearance that most singles groups in the church seem to have.

The Lord admonishes us to sustain and lift up those who need to lean on others. But the question is how to do that so the lifter-uppers don't get overwhelmed and worn out by the leaners.

We have a lot of cool "functional" single adults in our stake, but they avoid Single Adults events like the plague because of the dysfunctional individuals who attend and who seem to dominate the numbers.

But it's a self-perpetuating stereotype. The "functionals" (lifter-uppers) do in fact outnumber the "dysfunctionals" (leaners) overall. But the challenge is getting a sufficient number of "functionals" to show up at the same time, so that there would be a net "lifter-upper" effect.

Once there is a positive net "lifter-upper" ratio at the events, then those who are neutral go-with-the-flow types can show up, and everyone can enjoy the net positive effect of a good group, and not be worried by what would then be a minority of dysfunctional/leaner folks.