Thursday, December 13, 2012

a free couch...

I keep thinking about my couch.

It's become quite a personal symbol of God's love for me. You see, DC met us with surprise expenses and a mostly unfurnished apartment, meaning the futon that was left here had to cut it, because there just wasn't any wiggle room in our budget. And it was a huge blow for me. I can't even completely say why. It's probably partly due to the fact that I fantasize about decorating each apartment we move into and then am faced with harsh realities every time. Or it's because I was so desperate for friends but the ugliness of the futon was enough to make me turn down play-dates at my house. Or it's because after an evening of sitting on it, catching up on Parks and Recreation my tailbone literally ached from the lumpy, awkwardly angled, hideousness that was to be our "couch" for the next 9 months. I just couldn't take it.

I cried about it. More than once. Yes! Cried! About how ugly and uncomfortable my futon was! And the knowledge of just how petty and stupid I was being would cause me to plunge deeper into my tears.


Those were the days.

But I got over it. Sometimes it takes a good cry and a good bath to realign your perspective so that you see you actually have everything you could possibly need. I have four walls and a roof. And a sweet (albeit force to be reckoned with) daughter. And a loving husband. And access to a billion free things in the city to distract my toddler (and myself) with. And food. And a bike. In many ways I'm living the life I suppose.

So I went to bed repenting, but grateful one night. Grateful that I have so abundantly much. And repenting for have forgotten so completely.

The next morning Mike woke me up saying, "Free couch!" (I thought he said, "FREAK OUT!" and I was so confused coming out of my blurry-sleep that I thought there was a terrorist attack or something). But no. No terrorist. Just a free, not-bad-looking, genuine leather couch that was up for grabs to whomever would haul it away. We made a phone call, rented a van, and by lunch had a new couch.

It only took me letting go a little bit and realizing that I am blessed beyond measure. And I do believe that God was involved, as silly as it may sound when taking about free couches.

So there's this wearing pants to church thing going around. And like everything that comes and seems to rock the boat a bit, so too has come the sort of vitriolic comments (see, I would have linked to the Facebook group that started the pants-wearing-thing, but the comments are so off-putting it's not even worth revisiting the page to get the hyperlink) and back-and-forths that make me want to delete my Facebook, ditch this blog, and take my family to the hills. But that's not very courageous, now is it?

But the pants thing keeps turning my thoughts to my couch. I guess I can't stop thinking about God's love for us. That He cares about what we care about; that he cares about what others care about (even when it seems as silly as a couch; that He cares that some of his daughters (and sons) feel belittled and underrepresented in His Church; that He cares about our questions and our doubts and even about us wearing pants to church. Because he loves us.

I read two things recently that also have been swirling around my brain and mixing with all these thoughts about feminism and couches and pants-wearing. The first are the verses in Mosiah 18 about  mourning with those that mourn and comforting those that need comfort; about knitting our hearts together in love; about compassion and service and standing together with one heart and an eye towards God. I love those verses. I think they speak to what we strive toward. I think they stand as a stark contrast to what I read online between passionate members ofttimes. The second is in 2 Nephi 30. We read that chapter last night and the last few verses stuck with me because it reminded me that there is yet so much to be revealed. We just have to trust God and keep on keeping on.

I guess I just want to say that I'm hopeful that answers will come and hearts will be mended. Because I got a couch. And that is way more silly and inconsequential than any of the things so many of those that I love are grappling with every day. That's why I'm hopeful and how I know that God loves us.


Tyra Hustedt said...

Paige, i just have to say I love your blog. I've probably been stalking it for over 2 years now, and the reason I probably love it so much is because I feel like I can relate to a lot of what you write about. Okay, random and creepy I know, but I just thought I should share that with you.

Nicole Nielsen Ellsworth said...

This was such a great post. What great perspective you have. It's true though, and I agree about what you say about God caring about everyone and everything. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Beautifully written!

PS I'm glad you got a couch. I've been there!

Lizi said...

I'm so happy you got a couch!

I totally understand this. It's interesting to me because I used to be more of a feminist, in the extreme world sense of the word, and since I having kids I have embraced my womanlyness; or to use a better word, feminism. I think it's so devastating that so many people find disrespect and inequality in so many places. It is so sad to me and I may not be a hard core feminist, but I sure am going to teach my children that they are equal and that gender does not inhibit as culture teaches. But I'm also going to teach them that we can rejoice in our differences too.

Cindy said...

Thank you for your beautiful words, Paige. God does care about us and love us, more than we can understand. I wear pants to church sometimes already, and I think I'll do so this Sunday too. I want to mourn with those who mourn, and, honestly, I'm in need of comfort, too. Anyway, thanks again, and I'm glad you have a couch!

Amy Ellertson said...

thank you thank you thank you! wouldn't expect anything less mature and insightful from the great paige!!

Jessie said...

Paige, you are amazing and this post is absolutely beautiful! I'd love to spend an afternoon with you so I could soak up some of your enthusiasm and insight (and enjoy all the billions of free things to do!) Seriously though, this is just what I needed to hear. I'm so glad you got a couch!

Jessie said...

ps. I also loved the part when you thought mike said "freak out!" made me laugh out loud :)

Anna Peterson said...

I love this post. And I love the idea of consoling instead of judging, because you're right, we all have our little things that overwhelm or sadden us that are probably unreasonable, but we all need comfort and understanding sometimes. I hope I can try to keep this in mind when I come across the horrible lashing out that comes out on the internet.

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