Fresh Air

It is ironic, I think, that when I am away from my kids, it is because I am playing with other people’s kids.

What I love most is that my office is Planet Earth, and that to heal children we are allowed to roam free and play hard so they can release their secrets beneath sacred canopies of trees.

It was a gorgeous day, and the beauty nourished my soul. It gave me rest in the chaos, even while playing hard, and made me grateful for the work that I have.

While I work on Tuesday and Thursday in Bartlesville every week, Nathan has the kids at swim lessons after school.

Tonight The Boy swam on a noodle without anyone holding him for the first time.

I missed it.

Nathan said that today while I was at work, The Baby kept running to my picture and squealing and laughing.

I missed that, too.

But it makes me (selfishly) happy that she is excited when she sees my picture.

She is delightful, and a comfort to my empty arms, and a spitfire in her own right, absolutely a gift from my mother to teach me a lesson or two.

On the days I take the children on long outings so Nathan can write, he feels the same as I do tonight, that proud-but-missing-out feeling.

We are grateful for jobs as flexible as they are, so that most everything we can tag team, and our days can still be children-focused, and our shared moments protected.

We are grateful to Him who is our Father and our God, providing just enough work to sustain us, but also providing so many resources so that we can be home together as much as possible.

It has been a hard two years, or four, but also a year of miracles and blessings that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

It has been a hard couple of days, but all things accomplished, line upon line, even treatment plans and homework and Hebrew and laundry.

Angels helped, too, as some Young Men came and did our yard today, and my girl friends are coming in the morning to help me finish cleaning, and they are bringing lunch for us and the camera crew while they are here.

I don’t know what I will say, except to answer the questions.

I don’t know what to share, except for this life of miracles that comes only from my Father-in-Heaven that deigns to rescue me and who blesses me beyond redemption.

My house is full to overflowing, because this is the gathering.

We got kids the day they told us we couldn’t have any, because this is the gathering.

I am sealed to my Nathan, for time and all eternity, because this is the gathering.

My heart leaps in excitement for his sisters to come visit for the holidays, because this is the gathering.

My smile is big and my heart tender when my brother chats with me for hours, because this is the gathering.

My spirit dragged my body through this year of grief, determined not to drown, determined to endure, knowing eternal families already are, because this is the gathering.

My soul did not collapse 284 days ago when my mother was killed, even when my lungs could not breathe, because my iron rod was the temple promise itself, and that is the gathering.

My father and I continue our relationship, as real as anything, because this is the gathering.

My home was gifted to me, promised in covenant for me and the family I could not yet see but now treasure with all that I am, because this is the gathering.

My brother was baptized, and his wife, and their children, because this is the gathering.

My job empowered me enough to live deliberately differently, because this is the gathering.

I did thousands of baptisms and family names, because this is the gathering.

I was rescued from the pit of despair in a dark and slimy world, because this is the gathering.

Even for me.

That’s why I serve this mission.

Because this is the gathering.

It is the gathering of me, my family, and my people yet to be. It is the gathering of all of us, of families, of the people of holiness. It is the gathering of goodness and peace and happiness.

with great mercies will I gather thee.

That’s the promise of the temple: mercy.

That’s the promise of family history work: mercy for each other, and the gathering of us all.

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About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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