The Frog in Boiling Water

Despite everything we have tried my son ended up in the state hospital.  I haven’t written much recently because there is not much to say.  Well there is actually a lot to say but I haven’t know how to say it.

I feel a little like that story of a frog in boiling water.  I’m not sure where I first heard it but it’s one I haven’t forgotten.  Here is one version I found on facebook.

Frog boiling

 

You’ve no doubt heard the story of the frog in boiling water. If you drop a frog into boiling water, it immediately jumps out (or so the story goes). However, if you put a frog in a pot of room-temperature water, and then bring the water to a boil very, very slowly, the frog will stay in the water until it dies. It’s an odd experiment that I have no intention of testing in my kitchen, but it’s an apt metaphor for how people sometimes deal with slowly deteriorating situations.

Over the last couple years things have been deteriorating but like that frog in the slowly boiling pot of water I don’t think we realized how bad things had gotten.  At least until I hit my breaking point.  The Friday before Thanksgiving I lost it.  I was exhausted and just wasn’t handling things.  I was tired and overwhelmed and worried.  So many ups, so many downs and so much uncertainty of what the next moment would bring.

This quote from Elder Holland’s talk definitely applied to me.

For caregivers, in your devoted effort to assist with another’s health, do not destroy your own. In all these things be wise. Do not run faster than you have strength.

It was a rough weekend which included 3 phones calls to the police to help us locate our son because he had been out walking too long in the cold and we couldn’t find him.  By Monday afternoon I was at my end and needed a break. After speaking with my son’s doctor I gave my son two choice one of which was to go to the hospital and that was the choice he chose.  So we climbed into the car and went to check him in.  He was admitted to the Behavioral Medicine Unit and was then transferred up to the Utah State Hospital.

In hindsight I see how we had become like that frog in the pot.  Things had deteriorated but had happened at such a slow downward spiral that we didn’t realize how all consuming things had become until we jumped out of the water.

The past three months have been an interesting journey.  In a lot of ways I have felt like it has been an extended vacation for me.  The burden for caring for my son has been on someone else. But with that many of the blessings that came from caring for him have also gone.  I’ve come to learn God cares for these special children of His and is very aware of them.  I saw His hand in my son’s life on a daily basis when things were the toughest.  Although my prayers have not all been answered how I wanted them to be, they have been answered and I trust that God knows what is best for us.

I know God lives and loves me and watches over me.  I know He has a plan for my life and for my son’s life.  I may not understand it but I accept it and that is a good place to be.

I’m contemplating how to share more of the journey we have been on without being too personal.  For now I am happy to report that my son is doing fabulously and if things continue how they have been he will will be released soon and be returning home to us.

Come What May and Love It!

come what may

This is a talk that I have loved since Elder Wirthlin gave it 5 years ago.

 

When I was young I loved playing sports, and I have many fond memories of those days. But not all of them are pleasant. I remember one day after my football team lost a tough game, I came home feeling discouraged. My mother was there. She listened to my sad story. She taught her children to trust in themselves and each other, not blame others for their misfortunes, and give their best effort in everything they attempted.

When we fell down, she expected us to pick ourselves up and get going again. So the advice my mother gave to me then wasn’t altogether unexpected. It has stayed with me all my life.

“Joseph,” she said, “come what may, and love it.”

I have often reflected on that counsel.

I think she may have meant that every life has peaks and shadows and times when it seems that the birds don’t sing and bells don’t ring. Yet in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result…

 

come what may 2

 

 

How little I knew then of what awaited me in later years. But whenever my steps led through seasons of sadness and sorrow, my mother’s words often came back to me: “Come what may, and love it.”

How can we love days that are filled with sorrow? We can’t—at least not in the moment. I don’t think my mother was suggesting that we suppress discouragement or deny the reality of pain. I don’t think she was suggesting that we smother unpleasant truths beneath a cloak of pretended happiness. But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.

If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times of greatest happiness.

 

come what may 3

 

Although my mother has long since passed to her eternal reward, her words are always with me. I still remember her advice to me given on that day long ago when my team lost a football game: “Come what may, and love it.”

I know why there must be opposition in all things. Adversity, if handled correctly, can be a blessing in our lives. We can learn to love it.

As we look for humor, seek for the eternal perspective, understand the principle of compensation, and draw near to our Heavenly Father, we can endure hardship and trial. We can say, as did my mother, “Come what may, and love it.”

 

Dealing with the unknown of mental illness has really worn on me at times.  By adopting the motto “Come what may and love it” I’ve been able to better deal with what comes my way.  Instead of worrying about the future and what tomorrow will bring if I instead have a come what may and love it attitude I’m so much happier.

We’ve learned to laugh and find the silver lining in things.

 

I’ve always been a huge fan of the movie Pollyanna.  I love the quote in her locket

“When you look for the bad in mankind, expecting to find it, you surely will”. – Abraham Lincoln.

I believe the reverse is also true.  If we look for the good we can and will find it.  So rather than dwelling on the negative and the unknown I try my best to see the world through rose colored glasses. I look for the good.  I focus on the positive. I play the “glad game”.

So here are a few of the things I can be glad about.

I’ve seen miracles.

I’ve had my prayers answered.

I’ve felt the Lord’s love for me and my son.

I know that whatever the outcome may be it is going to be ok.

I’ve felt the love and concern of family and friends.

I’ve got to know some amazing doctors and nurses who truly care.

My faith has increased.

I have learned so much about so many different things.

I can empathize with others who are going through trials.

I’ve tasted the bitter which has helped me to appreciate the sweet.

I’ve learned to be grateful for what I have.

I celebrate the small things like a good symptom free day.

Come what may I will love it!