BOTTLED

  • ... "[do] you demand truth for its own sake, or merely to prove yourself right? - p. 138,This Star Shall Abide

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

CONFIDENCE

What can you do confidently?

Why?

I can walk. I have two feet. 

My feet are attached to my two legs and by various joints, muscles and other structures common to the human body they move me about without any real need to consciously consider them.  At least that was the case when I was younger. I loved to run and hike, actively participate in work and play,  and dance - and dance and dance.  I expected to always do so.

A morning of September 1988 changed my confidence levels forever. That morning, in the early cold of predawn,  my youngest son stood crying on the stair landing as everyone hurried down to warmer kitchen and living areas.  No one, even me really, wanted to deal with the sodden, droopy 'morning' diaper or the endlessly running nose. I scooped him up and turned to descend the dozen or so steps and join our brief morning gathering to read scriptures and join together to pray as a family before everyone began their other usual schedules and activities.

My father allowed his children to work along side him on the farm and construction sites IF we obeyed and IF we worked. Many of the tasks we learned required agility and endurance.  'High wire' walks along beams and rafters was routine.  We walked up and down ladders, extending more than one story, with habitual confidence the way most people walk up and down stairs  - yes we did go down walking forwards, facing out from the building! I think Dad told us not to but he did it to transport larger loads so why wouldn't we? I once saw him sit on the edge of a high ladder and slide - zip - just like that, to the bottom.  He was in a hurry. I was never that brave. To my brothers it was like a game.

Our confidence was gained over time and based on acquired experience, tested and repeated again and again.    Like a toddler learning to walk, we began climbing ladders one rung at a time clinging to each step and having difficulty negotiating the transitions from ladder to roof and roof to ladder.  Soon we could scramble up a ladder in no time at all and then we learned various ways to carry things needed for ourselves and others.  Incentives of all kinds encouraged us: the simple challenge of doing it - of being 'up' there, being with dad, wages given for nailing sheeting and shingles or other simple but tedious jobs, and what child can resist being a hero - taking daddy a drink of water, more nails or his dropped hammer?

That morning of 1988 as I turned and confidently stepped down the first step, with a young child in my arms, my left heel caught on the rubber stair nosing. I tried desperately to regain my balance and stay upright or even to only sit down. Many scenarios and options flashed, like a movie reel on fast forward, through my mind. I was instantly certain of impeding injury.  I could imagine my child's head hitting the distant vinyl covered, concrete floor like a pumpkin thrown onto a sidewalk. I could imagine my body twisted or my face skinned, scabbed or bruised purple yellow. An instantaneous impulse of self preservation provided the option to drop him and grab the handrail. The same split second evaluated holding him with one arm and grabbing with the other.

My mother instinct, combined with that image of a smashed pumpkin, provided to mind the only option being to lean backwards and hold him tightly to my chest so that my body would be his cushion.  My left leg remained caught. As I began to slide my full weight fell onto the leg as it folded behind and underneath me.  I felt the skin tear from the shin and foot and knew this was going to be a big nuisance - and I had so much to do.

I was extremely exasperated to consider how my busy schedule would be so messed up. Part way down the stairway I heard and felt the snap.  I knew the bone was broken. I tried to conjure solutions to what I considered a ridiculous situation. I was too busy to have this happening!

My husband roused a neighbor, backed our car over the apartment complex lawn to the door and they carried me to it. I kept the leg bent at a 90 degree angle - that seemed to lessen the immense pain. At the hospital David drove up to the ambulance entrance and ran into the hospital. Soon he returned with a nurse.  She wanted to know if I wanted a wheel chair or if I thought I could walk!?!?!

My confidence in anyone's sanity, including my own ebbed when I had to insist I could not get into a wheel chair. In her defense I later learned she had asked him if I was pregnant. When all she could understand of what David told her was that 'it was broken' she assumed my 'water broke'.

The oblique fractures of the tibia and fibula required a 10 day hospital stay, shortened my leg by 3/4" and required extensive Physical Therapy. A cast from toe to hip provided very limited mobility for approximately 8 months.

My visiting teacher came to the hospital to see me.  She reminded me that if I had enough faith in Jesus Christ that I could 'rise and walk'.  I knew I could IF that was God's will, but I did not feel like it was. I tend to trust God.  I trust that He knows what is best and will bless me to have what I need when I need it.  I have complete confidence that He knows me and loves me and will bless me with what is best for me and right for me - especially when I ask for the blessings I need. (My family prayed and asked for me and I asked for Priesthood blessings also.)

Later I wondered what took more faith - to 'rise and walk' or not to. I thought of the man in Acts that was lame all his life that was lain near the door of the temple to beg.  He was not healed by Christ but by Peter and John after the crucifixion. How much faith does it take to submit my desires and will to God and trust Him to grant or withhold omnisciently?

At first I held a rather big pity party. When I could at last turn over from side to side doctors discovered injuries to my back. After being informed that I was really lucky that my leg took the brunt of the fall and saved my back I was suddenly quite happy to have only a broken leg.  In my heart I knew what doctors were saying was sort of correct - I had been 'lucky' - blessed and protected and so had my son.  He had no injury at all.

At the hospital one specialist voiced that I might never really walk again.  That made me quite cranky. I had a life to live, a family to raise and besides I wanted to dance.  One of my pleasures in life has always been to dance. I consider my sweetest moments to have been encircled in my husband's arms as we waltzed or jived.

The next couple of years I did not dance.  Wheel chairs are MUCH more mobile than crutches and besides I could look my 5 year old and toddler in the eye AND they loved to push mommy and go for rides.  We were even able to go to the park on nice days. Crutches allowed me to negotiate restricted spaces and after a few weeks I was able to resume many activities and take care of most basic needs for myself and my pre-schoolers. Who needs dancing when you can manage basic hygiene with minimal help?

2 years later I walked without crutches or canes. Climbing ladders, even carefully, was out of the question but I continued to work on mobility and could walk up and down stairs.  I never know when the joint, leg or weight of the built-up shoe will do something strange or unpredictable.That leg has not inspired confident activity since. Experience induces caution.

 There are many things I can do. There are many things I can't.
 I am now confident that caution is needed when I walk or run, climb or dance.

What inspires confidence?

In 3rd grade I took piano lessons for 6 months. The teacher indicated mom should find another teacher.  I frustrated her - but that is a different story.  I have plunked away on the piano every since then.  I am not a confident piano player.

When one of my brothers was married I had sheet music for a popular song. At home I could play it well enough that it was recognizable.  I was asked to play that song as part of his wedding program.  I hesitated but was 'talked' into it.  You might think I would have begun to seriously practice playing it - you might be wrong.  When his new sister-in-law (an accomplished pianist my age) played her song, I knew my stumbling plunking should never have a public hearing.  When I was pushed to play and refused everyone thought I had stage fright. I knew better.

I walked out and did not return until the last item on the program was being performed.  The master of ceremonies then announced that I would play.  I could have died.  Of course everyone thought I was just nervous and told me not to worry about it.  My fear had nothing to do with the stage.  I had not prepared properly.  I could have.  I didn't.

Confidence does not come from laziness or neglect. Confidence and faith are the opposite of fear.

The Book of Hebrews in the Bible teaches about Faith.
(see chapter 11)

Faith is an action word. Faith requires me to do and think.

How many hours each day do professional musicians practice?

I seldom practice consistently every day. If I did I likely could play the piano more confidently. It isn't a priority for me. I don't have sufficient desire. It seems to be merely an idle curiosity. 

What can I do confidently? Why can I do it with confidence?

I can do almost anything I truly desire to do - God willing.

What do I really desire? What am I willing to practice? repetitively make a priority?

Do I want to dance? Will I make the effort?

Consistently?

Persistently?

I am a seamstress. I make, alter and mend clothing and furnishings of all kinds. I have learned, practiced and applied rules and techniques many times. Consistently!Persistently! I know I can do most things and figure out things I may still need to learn.

Modern scripture teaches that confidence begins with obedience to true principles and faith.

"All true faith must be based upon correct knowledge or it cannot produce the desired results. Faith in Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel [of Jesus Christ] and is more than belief, since true faith always moves its possessor to some kind of physical and mental action; it carries an assurance of the fulfillment of the things hoped for. A lack of faith leads one to despair, which comes because of iniquity." Bible Dictionary: Faith

What can you do confidently? Why can you do it with confidence?

You know you can do it because you have paid a price. Jesus Christ the only begotten son of God the Father paid a price for our confidence in him - he gave his life and all his love. What will I do/give for confidence in him?

I can do almost anything I truly desire to do - God willing
- so can you..

What do I really desire? How about you?

What are we willing to practice? repetitively make a priority?

I need to just try!

AND TRY AGAIN!!