Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The poison of bliss

I had an interesting experience the other day that I feel like I should write down and post. Here ya go.
Some history first.
When Richard and I were first married I found a quote in his mission binder. I love president Gordon B. Hinckley and so I pulled it out and put it on our wall. It has been on our wall in some way or another since then. 

"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he's been robbed. The fact is that most putts don't drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just ordinary people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. . . .

(the rest of the awesome quote is at the bottom of the post)

Fast forward a while later.
We were driving on one of our many drives from ID to WA and drove through a town called "Bliss" in good old Idaho. I mentioned how cool it would be to live there. Richard quickly mentioned how much he hates that word. Taken aback I asked why. He mentioned that to him, bliss meant blind happiness. Unrealistic, blind happiness that wasn't real. Right then I started to re-evaluate my definition of "bliss". While the majority of the world see's it as a wonderful, supreme happiness, that meaning of the word for me has been challenged. 
Anyways, I diverge.

The other day I became utterly de-railed. I sat on the couch after the kids went to bed totally deflated. After spending literally every waking second of the day cleaning, cooking and picking up after kids, the house was an absolute wreck. In my deflated state, I started to talk to Richard about how frustrating it is to clean, clean, clean all day long to the point that you hurt, and it ends up just as messy. 
Some days it feels like I am in a hole trying to dig myself out, while dirt is being thrown back in. 
For those of you who don't have kids, I can't convey to you how time consuming it is to have kids.
For those of you who have 1 kid, I can't convey to you how time consuming it is to have 2+ kids.
For those of you who have 2+ kids, I can't coney to you how utterly time consuming it is to have 2 kids so close together.
And for those of you who have 2+ kids close together, I am sure you are nodding your head in agreement.
Anyways. In my self-pity party about how all the work I do seems for naught, Richard thankfully stopped my negative spiraling with these words:

"Sounds like you are suffering from the thought that bliss is normal"

Wait what?
It's not normal?
It's normal to have utter happiness, complete love and total satisfaction. But that does not come amid a perfect (like in the dictionary definition "entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings"), fault free life. 
Happiness, satisfaction and parts of "bliss" are normal and good.
But when you find yourself saying "why cant _______ happen? That's NORMAL!" you are suffering from the poison of the expectation of bliss. We all have this warped idea that bliss or a perfect life is normal.

While I can say, first hand, that I have utter happiness, satisfaction etc. my life is not perfect. No one's is without some kind of flaw or hardship. We were not created to have a perfect existence without some sort of trial or problem, because we would never grow.
So what is the poison of bliss?
It's expecting that everything is supposed to be perfect. Flawless. easy.
When we have expectations that aren't met, we have frustration. Frustration that our live aren't perfect.
Coming from a huge perfectionist, it is hard to come to grips with this fact. That life isn't supposed to be perfect and always clean and organized. That is my frustration and therefore an un-real expectation.
This can apply to anyone in every aspect of life. Not just as a mother who has a hard time when her house isn't perfect (something I strive to get rid of).

So in all of my rambling, I am trying to say this. Bliss in the sense of realistic normal and to be expected. Please seek it. But, I learned from my experience the other night, that bliss in the sense of the expectation of perfection is not healthy. It is a poison that will canker your heart and your life. When you expect utter perfection you will not see the beauty that comes when things aren't perfect (in the sense of flawless or without defects).

So as a perfectionist trying to reclaim my life, I have tried to let go of the thought of the unhealthy bliss that my husband was talking about all those years ago. And find my truly "perfect" as things in my life aren't as perfect as I want...
Like when I am cleaning the house for the 50th time that day
Or mopping the floor for the 3 time that week
Or up with one of the sick babies every hour during the night (they are both sick now...luckily Brielle not nearly as bad as Liam though)
Or when I have no free time for myself at all during the day
The quote that Gordon B. Hinckley gave in his talk sums it up the best:

"Life is like an old-time rail journey--delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.
 The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."

So today I am thanking my Heavenly Father for my beautiful children and a loving husband. 
Because with them, my life is "perfect"
Liam wanted Brielle in his bed today after they woke up from their naps and they
played together so cute for like 45 minutes. They love each other so much.

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