Thursday, October 18, 2012

I'm a Tool

I like to believe that once upon a time, Heavenly Father sat at a table and made a sort of game out of people-placement.  He made sure not to put too many healers in one corner... not too many seamtresses too close together.  He spent hours arranging, rearranging, finalizing, and then sending us all down to find out for ourselves what our callings were.

I'm a teacher.  I'm a writer.  I'm an entertainer.

A few months ago, my mom said, "We need to gather our family together and do a sort of inventory... see what we all have to bring to the table.  I just feel like if things get bad, it would be nice to know what we each have to help each other out."
I later found out she was talking about food.
But I thought she was talking about skills and stuff.  I went home and sort of agonized because I have this incredible sister in law who can do everything I can do, but she does it BETTER and simplifies it.  If things go bad, they won't need me if they have her.
I say this 100% without guile... I promise.  She is a rockstar.  If things go bad, I'm going to her house.
It did get me a little down on myself.  I mean, there ARE things I do that she doesn't do, but none of them really matter.  At least I didn't think they did.
Until I imagined it...

If things got bad...
If there were fires and bombs and a lack of food, what place would I have in the building up of the people?  I can make them laugh!  I can tell stories!  I'm a story teller -a writer!  I can use my words to teach!
These are all wonderful additions to destitute people!  Down-trodden and depressed people NEED people who can quote comical movies and skits in their entirety!!  Right?!

The thought salved my self-inflicted wounds for the time being.

I label myself as a teacher.  I'm not getting paid to teach, nor do I have a teaching degree.
I label myself as a writer.  I've never held a job where I got paid to write.  And yes, I've applied.  And yes, I've been rejected.
I label myself as an entertainer.  I'm not getting paid to tell stories, write poems, quote movies or anything like that.

But I do things like that because I can't help it.  It's just... me.  And I do things like teach and write and entertain because it brings me true happiness to do it.

I used to strive for recognition for these kinds of things.  I wanted so badly to be discovered as a writer -to have someone read my junk and go mad with satisfaction.
I felt like Ralphie from "A Christmas Story" when he daydreams about turning in his Christmas theme, and his teacher is completely overcome with the awesomeness of his writing.
"Listen to this sentence: 'A Red Ryder BB Gun with a compass and a stock and this THING which tells time...' Oh, Ralphie!  A plus, plus, plus..."

And his classmates lift him to their shoulders and parade him around the room...

Anyway, in the midst of my urgency to be noticed something happened: I hit rock bottom.  I realized the true depth of my husband's porn addiction and I was stunned and scared and panicked and suddenly nothing but survival mattered.  I stopped caring about whether or not people thought my writing was witty or funny or cool or whatever.
I just WROTE.
I wrote because I needed to write -I have to write.  My brain is wired to write (even as a small girl, I used to narrate my own life in my head.  I thought all kids did that.  I didn't realize that Constant Mental Compose Mode wasn't the human norm and I walked out of my door to walk to Elementary School and my brain went something like, "The front door creaked open and she set foot into the cutting chill.  A shiver went through her as she pulled her coat up around her ears, trying to seal in the warmth from her mother's oatmeal...").
I stopped dressing my writing to impress, and I just started vomiting words up out of my soul.  When I shared what I'd written, I didn't hear, "You are SUCH a good writer." 
Instead, people would say things like "I needed to hear that today.  Thank you so much for putting into words what I didn't know how."
And the more it happened, the more I could feel my Heavenly Father saying "You're an instrument."
I can use my God-given ability to express myself to try and turn a profit somewhere (if anyone would bother hiring a housewife with no experience).  But Heavenly Father didn't put me down here to turn a profit or to be discovered.  He put me down here to serve a purpose, to do for others what they can't do for themselves and I'm SO HAPPY to do it because so many people have done for me what I can not do for myself!  I want to give SOMETHING BACK if I can!
I can not heal my own infections, perform my own surgeries, match clothes, style hair, decorate my home, organize it... until one of the Lord's instruments takes me by the hand and lifts me.

They're tools.
I'm a tool.
Everyone's a friggin' tool.

We sometimes think we have to BE ALL THE TOOLS.  And if we need a tool we don't have, we use a a tool we DO have to do whatever it is that needs doing.  It takes longer and it's more stressful and time consuming than it ever should have to be, but hey.  At least we didn't have to call the neighbor, right?  At least we didn't let our guard down long enough for them to see our vulnerability and weakness.  At least we broke our back and denied someone a chance to serve and create joy in their own life.  Whew!

Needing help is so hard.  ASKING for it is downright agonizing.  Receiving it is hard to stomach.  
Giving it?  Giving it is celestial in every sense of the word.

When I felt prompted to start a recovery blog, I pushed the prompting away.  The internet was the one place in my little life that wasn't touched by the porn addiction in my home.  I could log onto my family blog -the place I go to write every day -and I could let porn go and focus on what my family had done the day before.

After listening to President Monson's talk in conference about following promptings, I knew it was time.  I was sad to let porn addiction affect my "safe" place, but it's been nothing but a blessing for me.  I'm learning so much about myself as I write, and I'm receiving little taps to the brain... they're writing prompts.
I'll be in the middle of doing dishes and *BAM* something whispers in my ear, "You should write about _____."  The more I dwell on the writing prompt, the more ideas flow.  Before my head hits the pillow, I have to get them all out through my keyboard.
I go to bed satisfied, happy, and I sleep soundly (ish.  I mean, as soundly as a pregnant lady in her third trimester can sleep). It feels so good to WRITE!  To compose! To put those words down and watch them work together and to hit the "publish" button and know that it will STAY written... unlike the living room that no matter how many times I clean it, it never stays that way.  I seriously think it has some kind of beef with me.

I love being a tool.

It doesn't profit anything material, but it profits soul cash... and soul cash can never be lost or spent or badly invested.  What's more?  You take it with you when you go.

Tonight I'm grateful for careful people placement and a wide variety of tools.
I realize tonight's post could come across as completely egotistical, but it isn't meant to come across that way.
And anyway.  Can I really be stroking my ego if I'm blatantly calling myself a tool?
That's rhetorical, by the way.  Please don't answer...

1 comment:

  1. sound like me! I loved to write as a kid. I once spent an entire summer sitting at my mom's old typewriter, making up stories and poems. I also lived in books and dreamed of being a songwriter. Maybe someday I will have the time to devote to music, but for now I am enjoying my children and developing skills necessary to teach them.

    We are the Master Craftsman's tools, each with unique talents to share. I am grateful for the talents I have been given and have yet to be blessed with.

    Thanks Alicia! You are so inspired:)