It has been the oddest week. Just over a week, I guess. Just a series of not-so-great events and challenges, mixed with a reinforcement of how blessed I feel. Maybe one is because of the other. Not sure. Things aren't related. The difficult things, though, all came on so consecutively... I have begun to wonder... What is coming? Have you experienced this? A series of small trials occur, and then BAM, something significant happens, whether good or bad, and you think back and say, "Ohhh, that's why I had all that struggle."
1- I had to critique a dear friend's book and I'm still waiting for the backlash. It was a childrens book. Children are scathingly honest and she asked me to tell her what mine thought. Ugh. Why are my children so outspoken? They didn't get it from me. I wish I hadn't given her the notes.
2- I was patronized and critiqued myself, as a person, a member of the RS presidency, and Bishop's wife, by a person I was just beginning to know and like, who barely knows me at all.
3- My friend was injured likewise.
4- A neighbor I have seen once before visited me early Monday morning (still in my workout clothes, yuck) and verbally assaulted me (I was alone) and my family over the behavior of our dog, who we have been worrying about and trying to train... she loves to bark... so much that after much progress this summer, she decided to ignore the shock collar and burned a sore on her throat. We bring her in at night and when the temp. drops, but we have been talking, sadly, about letting her go, unsure what to do other than make her a full-time house-dog. She's big and sheds like a... a really sheddy dog. Then Mr. Miserable came over and tore into me, and then the kids, and then me again, leaving me in a pile of quivering, kicked, mess of tears and failure. His hatred was so strong I had to wonder if there was more to this than the dog. Like, maybe our kids were using his yard for a toilet, or our teenage daughter is continually driving up the sidewalk and over his lawn, or we're having loud, wild parties every night and the police keep showing up, and we just don't remember, which would explain why B is always so tired, the parties on top of running a high school and filling his duties as Bishop of our church ward. Maybe the man hates sunflowers, which lined our corner fence across the street from his house. Maybe he is a miserable old man who finds anything wrong with anybody and berates them because he was one of the first houses in the neighborhood and feels it is his duty, and maybe we're not the first ones. This last part is true, as we found out from his neighbor on the other side, who then told us he wasn't bothered a bit by our dog... never noticed she was different from any of the other dozen dogs in the neighborhood. But still, it took me a few days to recover from the abusive tirade. Still feeling it, actually. It helped that Brandon's friends (and mine) at work all offered to go over there and lay into him, egg his house, burn profanities in his lawn with gasoline, flip him off every time they drove by, and a myriad of other testosterone-backed hi-jinks that would not have helped at all, but it sure felt great to be championed. Thanks, guys. And thanks, Jim, for the super shocker hi-voltage whack-your-sweet-dog-into-another-dimension shock collar. It actually seems to be working. I think we'll still try to find a place for her... maybe. And B, thanks for going over there and telling him never to talk to me again. And you never said 'I told you so' about wanting a dog. Not once. Love you.
5- This last one is small. Actually, I'm not even going to mention it. Just stressed over the book club, wanting it to work out. Okay, I mentioned it.
But it's been a strange string of events, among excellent reports at P/T conferences, championship football games (GO BRONCS), new opportunities for service in the community and church, found out what an awesome trumpet player Jacob is at his first concert ever, LOVE my ward family, LOVE that Braeden is happy in school and getting the challenges he needs, LOVE that Chelsea is having fun with real friends, LOVE Maren still loves dance, LOVE my B is working out again.
So, are these trials preparation? Or the cunning of the adversary, wanting to discourage us? Maybe I'm wrong this time, but I am working through these things, and wondering. Experience has made me both wary and hopeful. What is coming?