Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Forget Yourself and Go to Work

There's a story told frequently about the 15th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley. When he was a young man, he went to serve as a missionary in England. While he was there, he was discouraged and felt that he wasn't doing very well in the work and thought he should come home. He wrote of his concerns to his father. President Hinckley then received a letter back and his father replied, "Forget yourself and go to work." President Hinckley took his advice and was very successful in his work throughout his life.

I remembered this story recently as I've been trying to figure out how to do everything I want and need to do. I've been focusing on how to meet my needs, like a regular sleep schedule and exercise time, so I can feel more energetic and help my family with what they need. I haven't been very successful and that has been discouraging. After thinking about it, I've decided that I might be tackling this problem in the wrong way.

Another quote comes to mind from Dieter F. Uchtdorf, current second counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS Church. He said, "As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness...In today’s world of pop psychology, junk TV, and feel-good self-help manuals, this advice may seem counterintuitive. We are sometimes told that the answer to our ills is to look inward, to indulge ourselves, to spend first and pay later, and to satisfy our own desires even at the expense of those around us. While there are times when it is prudent to look first to our own needs, in the long run it doesn’t lead to lasting happiness."
(Happiness, Your Heritage, General Relief Society Meeting, September 2008)

I know from experience that when I help others, I forget about my own troubles and challenges and I feel better in general. So, I'm going to try to focusing more on my family's needs first and then see if by doing that, I'll meet my own needs, too. I may or may not let you know how it goes. We'll see.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Minor Annoyances

It's technically still fall since it's before December 21st, but it's really winter. The weather is cold and dry with occasional snow, depending on the year. It seems that the colder it gets, the drier it gets and that really affects my skin, especially my hands. I remember my first winter here, eons ago, as a freshman in college. I'd moved from a slightly more humid, but not much more, place and by the middle of winter, my hands were very dry and cracked. I have a picture of myself sitting on my bed studying with socks on my hands to keep the lotion from coming off them.

Over the years, I thought I had gotten used to the weather because my hands were never quite so bad until the reaction of my hands changed. It used to be an overall dryness. Now the dryness centers on my fingers, especially my thumb and first two fingers on both hands. If I'm not careful, I get deep cracks near the tips by the nail or on the joints. It hurts, especially since I use them a lot. Once the cracks form, it takes a long time to heal and then I remember how to better prevent them from happening and it slowly gets better.

So what's my point? Well, I wanted to see if I could seek the positive in this situation because my fingers hurt and itch right now. :)

So, here we go. I'm grateful my condition is relatively controllable and that I have a way to make my apartment more humid and rubber gloves to wear when I work in water. I'm glad it's just my fingers and not anywhere else. I'm grateful that it's only harder to control in the winter instead of all year round.

Well, I think that made me feel a little better. I think we all have minor (or maybe not so minor) annoyances that we each have to deal with in one way or another. We can choose to gripe and complain and make excuses for it or we can just understand it, deal with it, and work around or through it as best we can. I think the first way can make these annoyances worse because we stay focused on it. However, the second way allows us to do what we really want and hopefully minimizes the effects of our annoyances because we aren't focused on the problem anymore. May all the effects of all our minor annoyances be minimized.