If all things are temporal and spiritual, like Nephi said, then blessings have layers, too.
Like when your “parents” are in town and invite you and your husband over for dinner, and your husband’s parents stay with the children.
Then you get respite, date night, amazing food, and spiritual edification all at once.
Do you see all those fans? And the mess around the house? It’s because it is about 96 degrees in our home! Way too hot to move, much less clean up.
We came home from Cincinnati to no air conditioning!
It has been a very hot week, and all of us are extra exhausted and worn out and a bit stressed from it all – but we named it, and have been trying hard to be extra patient with each other and go on extra field trips when we could just to stay cool.
Sometimes, it was even cooler just to play outside in the breeze than it was to be in our house!
Regardless, our family has learned a new lesson that we are mostly very nice people when we are very comfortable, and so it was our turn (again) and being made very uncomfortable just to be sure we are very nice people deep down where it matters.
We are still working on it!
But then, when a family from church had a window unit we could borrow, Kyrie naturally got dibs on that… which somehow naturally turned into a giant slumber party in the girls’ room!
That was movie night with the grandparents tonight.
But know what else happened?
The grandparents brought the window unit we got the summer I had cancer the first time! I didn’t know we still had it! But he knew where it was, and brought it to us, and now we have a window unit in our room, too!
It is such a relief after a very hot week!
Relief from the heat is a temporal blessing that has spiritual lessons, too.
Life can be really hard, and when opposition or challenges turn up the heat, it can feel impossible to find relief.
It has, for our family, felt like one hard after another for five years now.
It has nearly squashed us physically, drained us financially, and drowned us emotionally.
But we will be okay.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
~ 2 Corinthians 4:8,9
We are a family who does hard things.
We know this.
What we are learning, though, is how to find relief.
Relief comes, sometimes, from strangers who don’t know you are hungry when they bring you extra eggs from their chickens. Relief comes, sometimes, from gallons of milk from the bishop’s storehouse. Relief comes, sometimes, from friends who plop a piece of meat on your own plate the size of what you would feed your whole family at home.
Sometimes relief comes through hope, like when your friend surprises your children with t-shirts, or another friend drops off the cutest trike ever for your baby who might be able to breathe well enough to try it, or friends who host all eight of you for hospital week out of town.
Sometimes relief is palpable, like when you have a good counselor, or get a hug from substitute parents, or finally get to sit in your comfy chair at the end of the day.
Sometimes relief comes from daring to ask for help, being bold enough to receive it, and staying still long enough to let it sink in.
That’s how air conditioning works when it’s a hundred degrees inside your house: you have to get it in the window first, then plug it in, then just sit awhile.
Sometimes, relief comes in the waiting and the enduring and the noise of a fan that means the machine is doing its job. The heat is pushed away before you feel the cool, and you stop sweating before you realize the temperature has dropped ten degrees already.
Sometimes, you only need the temperature to drop a few degrees before things feel better already.
שקת, or shaqat (shaw-kat), in Hebrew means “to keep quiet” or “to be at peace”.
This is in contrast to what is not-quiet and not-peaceful around you. It means to work at resting, at lying still, at pacifying the conflicts within and around you.
When you reach that state of peace and stillness and quiet, the ק changes to ב and you get שבת – Shabbat.
I have written about the Sabbath before, but here is something important I have learned:
The Sabbath is a temple in time, in which and during which, we can be taught by the Lord.
Read that talk to see how I conclude that, but I’m serious about it.
Finding relief, and creating space in which we can rest, and doing the basic things required to care well for ourselves is actually what keeps us present and available and participating in the spiritual experience.
It’s why not doing those things leaves us tired, and empty, and struggling.
It’s easier to just run away, or quit, or give in to despair.
Or maybe you have been told just to push through, to force yourself to endure, or to complicate things by trying to prove yourself.
Breathe the cool air.
Let relief come through silence, through rest, and through the peace that passes understanding.