Monday, July 26, 2010

Lessons Learned from Being Alone

During the summer when it is scorching hot here in the AZ Desert, our family enjoys trips to the mountains, namely Pinetop and the Hazar Cabin. We enjoy this ritual several times a year, but mostly during the Summer to escape the heat and remember why it is that we choose to live in Arizona. I play golf with family, we go on long walks (and sometimes, nature walks) in the pines and we enjoy cooking and eating and spending time with family. One week annually, Michelle and the kids stay in Pinetop for a week instead of the traditional weekend that we normally stay. I stay home and try to work. For the last two years, I have secretly looked forward to these "mini-stay-cations" at home by myself. This year, I spent almost 4 days at home by myself and I learned 3 very valuable lessons. (By the way, I have inserted several of my favorite pictures of the family from the last couple of weeks - they really have nothing to do with what I learned and are in no particular order.) The first lesson that I learned is that it is better to have a dirty home than an empty one. I am kind of a stickler about keeping our home clean - I wouldn't say that I am a neat freak, but I do like order in my home. I have written about this before. I am kind of strict about kids picking up after themselves and all in all, keeping an orderly home. Michelle humors me and puts up with me and does her very best in keeping our home as orderly as possible while trying to wrestle 4 active kids and keep up with her busy schedule. When I have a free moment, I generally am cleaning something up, doing some laundry, cleaning the dishes (if there are any, which usually there aren't) or doing something to make our home more orderly. This week, alone in my home, I went to town on cleaning. I hand-cleaned all of our tile floors with Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, which is hard work, about 4 hours total, because that is the only thing that gets them clean enough for my taste. I cleaned out the fridge, washed all the dishes, did all the laundry, cleaned all the windows, dusted, vacuumed more than once and de-haired the couches where Carmen sleeps. At the end of the day, the house was immaculate. There was nothing out of order, it smelled good and looked fantastic. However, it was empty. There was no one to dirty it up, no one to leave their toys out to be tripped over, no one to leave dishes out to be cleaned, no one to leave fingerprints on windows and mirrors and no one to create any dirty laundry. It was very sad - I came to the reality that I can have the cleanest, most orderly home in the world, but if it's empty, it's just not worth it. The second lesson I learned is that when I turn the TV off and it is quiet, that is when Heavenly Father speaks to me and answers my prayers. This is a lesson that I have learned before and have taught in Church lessons and on my mission. There is big difference between intuitively knowing this fact and putting it into practice in my life. It's hard to turn off the TV when I am all alone and do the things that I know I should do like read spiritual things, pray and listen for answers. Wednesday night of this week, after doing visits with the Bishopric to members of our ward and then playing basketball with my friends at Church for two hours, I was at home alone in a very very clean house, desperately searching for entertainment. I have a difficult time winding down after playing basketball late at night and so I generally look for something to entertain me on television or play a video game. I couldn't find anything remotely interesting to watch and I didn't feel like playing a game. Luckily, I had brought my laptop home from work that day and was prompted to watch a few General Conference talks. After watching these Conference talks (one was Elder Holland and the other was Elder Bednar), I turned off the computer and just laid in bed and was relaxing (it was 1AM). Although I was lonely and missed my family, I received comfort from Heavenly Father who assured me that my family was OK and they would be protected. I also received comfort and assurance about other concerns that I have been praying about for weeks. I relearned that the Spirit speaks softly and that if I am not actively listening for answers, I will most likely miss them.Finally, I relearned that the family, namely a father and a mother and children, is the divine unit of the Gospel. I have been taught this truth and have taught this truth to others ever since I was a little kid. A husband and a wife, working together as one to raise righteous children in the Gospel is the way that it's supposed to be. Michelle is the most wonderful wife and the kindest mother to our children that I could have ever hoped for. However, towards the end of last week, when she had been husbandless for over 3 days, she called me on the phone and was struggling with the kids and not having me there. (I know, go figure) I mentioned to her that she had help because her mother was there and Tyler and Julia are always very helpful. I realized as I spoke to her, and it hit me again like a ton of bricks, that even though she had help from her Mom with the kids, it's just not the same as having your husband there. There is something that is divinely correct about a man and a woman who love each other and love their children and who spend every waking moment trying to make a happy life for themselves and their children. There is something about a husband and a wife working together in love that is different from any daycare or school facility or any other kind of substitute for the family. I am grateful for this time that I had alone and for the lessons that I relearned. And, I am extremely grateful that my family is home where they should be. (By the way, notice how unhappy my family looks as they are away from me - truly sad)


Cameron said...


Nabby Hazar said...

i loved this post. i wish you would have written it earlier david and I had to speak in church this past sunday and i would have loved to share some of your lessons during it. it was on this subject. anyway, i loved it and the pictures. those dresses julia and kate are wearing are adorable. where did you get them??? no seriously they look cuter than i could have ever imagined. loving the comment above mine "nice" i wanted to put a similar comment but i had to say more.