Saturday, September 13, 2008

And to some are given many gifts

By now, I'm sure many of you have noticed the link on the lower right, "Nie Recovery" - a website dedicated to raising funds for a blogging mom, Stephanie Nielson. Stephanie, or "Nie", was in a plane crash with her husband Christian last month, which claimed the life of the pilot and left the couple in critical condition. This horrible accident is made more tragic because they are the parents of four children under the age of six. Christian suffered burns over more than 30% of his body, and Nie, over 80%. These young parents remain in the hospital, heavily sedated and without the comforts of their children.

I will not go into further detail, as you can read more about it by following the link. That is not the purpose of this post. I really just wanted to blog about my feelings regarding the kind of person Nie has revealed herself to be.

I first started reading NieNie's blog this summer. Immediately, I was captivated by her enthusiasm - joy, rather - for motherhood and its pleasures and challenges. Every day seemed like a celebration: a sink full of cheerio-floating water, a family reunion, children laughing in the backyard - all were reasons to rejoice. I remember in particular her post about a back-to-school feast she prepared for her two daughters.

The table was decorated with tulle and linen and roses, and set with crystal, silver, and embroidered crowns. What kind of remarkable supermom was this?? I was in awe. Green awe. Unbelievably green awe! WOW. Who had the time for such an event? Who had the creativity to even think of such a simple, yet profound family moment? What kind of person - let alone a mother of four - could find such unbridled selflessness? I was impressed.

After I found out about the accident, I dove more deeply into Nie's blog archives. I was completely fascinated by her life! Soon I was trying to figure out what could have wired this woman to turn out this way.

#1 - BIG #1. She must have had an awesome, truly remarkable mother.
Behavior is modeled for us from the beginning. Parents - and mothers in particular - shape the adults their children will become. Nie's mother must be one fine lady - especially since Nie and her sisters all seem cast from the same mold. Beauty is easily found by these women.
#2. Money. It's a lot easier to celebrate and nurture creativity when you have the bucks to support it, right?
#3. A charmed life. Sure, we're taught to make lemonade out of lemons. But when there's more than just lemonade - there's an entire TEA PARTY with petite fours and favors - well, there couldn't have been too many lemons to sour the combination.

Those were my initial thoughts over the course of a few days. The more I read about Nie's "perfect life", the more inadequate I felt. Yet I didn't want to excuse myself from such exemplary behavior. Why couldn't *I* be more like her? Furthermore, would I rather have a "perfect" life and then a major catastrophe such as she suffered, or a challenged life, but one without the sort of hardships that now face Nie?

And then it dawned on me....

We all have our gifts. D&C Section 46 teaches us

11 For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
12 To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.

It really had nothing to do with "this" kind of life or "that". These were Nie's talents. Her gifts: beautiful choices. Remarkable paradigm. Exceptional temperament. I have my gifts, and they bring inspiration to others. Uplifting joy. Nie's gifts likewise bring inspiration and joy to others. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.

This was an epiphany for me. I no longer felt inadequate and shamed. Rather, I felt motivated, comforted - and profoundly grateful. Grateful for "knowing" this woman, whom I will probably never meet. Grateful that my heart could be moved by her images and words in a blog. The reasons #1 - #3 could have had influence yes, but it's so much more than that. I truly believe that her gifts are God-given. And for that I will sing praises to our God.

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