Monday, November 11, 2019

Parenting Tip - I'm the Supporting Actor

A revolutionary thought was presented to me this morning.  It completely changed my focus and gave me a paradigm shift.  It came from the book, The Memoir of Mary Ann, which is about a young girl who has an incurable tumor on her face and comes to live with nuns in a convent.  During her years living there, another family brings their baby with cancer to be taken care of by the nuns.  The parents are heart broken to leave their baby, but Mary Ann, age 9, tells the parents, "Oh, I always wanted a baby to take care of.  I didn't pray that a baby would get sick, but I prayed that if one did get sick, it would be brought here."  The mother is comforted in thinking that their baby has become a blessing to and for another person.

How many times do I think life is all about ME.  Poor ME, look at ME, this horrible thing is happening to ME, when instead I could see life as an opportunity to look at others and help them in their experiences.

This was brought home to me when my husband passed away and I became a widow.  At the time, my mother-in-law had been living in our home for two years.  Now I was faced with living with her all by myself, while going through my grieving process.  One day while I was having a pity party for myself, I asked Heavenly Father why I had to share my home and couldn't just grieve by myself.  The following thoughts came to me:
  This isn't about YOU.  It's about your mother-in-law.  She is a righteous daughter of mine who has lived the gospel of Jesus Christ all her life.  She has raised a family of six children, served a mission with her husband, was Relief Society president 3 times and has been faithful to the end.  She deserves to end her life living in a gospel-oriented, faithful home with loved ones around her.  Her other children cannot provide this environment for her, but you can, and I am asking you to do this for her.
I was humbled by this experience and didn't complain again!

What is happening in your life where you think you are in the starring role?  Look again, are you really?  Is your husband losing faith, or focuses on sports instead of family?  Do you have a child that is rebellious, or autistic or seems out of control?  Were you sent to these individuals so YOU could support and help THEM?

I always thought of Abinadi in the Book of Mormon, as playing the starring role of martyr in his story, which he did, but was he mainly the supporting actor to Alma, a priest in wicked King Noah's court, so Alma could learn the gospel?  Was Alma not the lead character at all, but the supporting actor for his wayward son, Alma and the sons of Mosiah?  But did Alma the Younger's rebellious, then repentant journey enable him to meet Amulek and build him up to become a great missionary companion.  Or was that so they could teach Zeezrom, who repented of his zeal for money and in turn, went on missions himself?

I could go on and on with this line of reasoning, but it is obvious that we are all important.  We are placed on earth to learn and grow, but that learning and growing should help others too, not just ourselves.

The next time I decide to have a pity party, I hope I'll look around instead, and see who it is that I'm suppose to be helping and supporting in their life story.

Thanks for reading,

Cathy
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