Dear reader, I can't recall wanting many things as a child, at least not things that actually existed, but I have a vivid memory of yearning for art supplies. I longed for a pair of good, sharp scissors, pristine stacks of paper, a spectrum of colored pencils, paints and brushes, ten different kinds of glue. I can still remember how this idea drew me in, how the vision of a creative space with all its accoutrements lingered in my mind as one of the happiest places to be.
Today I'm only the most unrefined of artists, but I still love my art supplies. It gives me a good feeling to see them when I pass by, even if it seems I hardly have a minute to stop and make anything.
In the week before Valentine's, however, we get them out and they stay out. After all, you never know when you'll have five minutes to pen a pretty sentiment and sprinkle it with glitter.
I've been thinking a lot about love lately...how it seems to be at the root of the solution to almost every one of my problems. When troubles build and I find myself feeling overwhelmed or anxious beyond degree, so often proceeding with greater love either solves the dilemma, diffuses it, or makes me feel much calmer about going through it.
It is, by the way, that last dynamic that has come to mean the most to me. I don't expect or even want my problems to be whisked away, but when I feel a deeper strength guiding me through them, I'm lifted by an undeniable awareness of heavenly help. Though it might not change any other detail of the situation, that awareness changes me. It strengthens and comforts me in such a way that, inexplicably, I've sometimes felt any trial would be worth enduring just to know, in a way only extreme humility seems to make possible, the nearness of that love.
I'm learning more deeply of the power that exists in my love as a mother. As Jeffrey Holland recently noted, it's not just in the bearing of children, but in the continued bearing with them, not just in the prenatal carrying but the lifelong carrying that makes mothering such a staggering feat and, as I'm finding, endows my love for my children with a strength that is deeper, greater, and more enduring than whatever problem might bear down upon us. It's not that my worries are dispelled or that I don't suffer bitterly to see my children struggle, it's not that I always recognize a solution or see some light at the end of the tunnel, but lately I've noticed how this love can be so whole and encompassing that, when I give myself to it, every other care may still exist but must do so outside its bounds.
I need to run make dinner, dear reader. I can't keep trying to write down thoughts which continually defy expression, but this is what's on my mind: amor vincit omnia, love conquers all. It is the power that can change and save us, clarifying and expanding our vision to see things more clearly and with greater perspective. It's the lens through which we should look out upon the world, especially to those with whom we are most deeply connected, and perhaps most especially toward ourselves.
I don't know if I will get back here before Valentine's Day, and this doesn't begin to express everything I wanted to say, but I find a certain peace in hoping you will feel it anyway.