Tuesday morning called for Chopin. No listening to NPR or podcasts, per my usual kitchen clean up. Just Chopin. The Nocturnes (No. 20 in C-Sharp Minor for starters), Berceuse in D-Flat Major, and the Preludes. These chords on the piano always soothe my heart when I’m feeling a bit melancholy.
It was a tough week.
Man, it’s hard to watch your child give something her all, come home broken and bruised from the intense work of it, and still come up short, not get the placement she was hoping for. And then to attend her recital just hours after getting the news, where she had to watch the dances she would have been in had scoliosis not pulled her from her company. To know her heart was aching as she watched them perform. To find her in the lobby after she danced her two pieces, waiting alone near the doors, feeling invisible, while everyone else posed for photos as they celebrated their accomplishments and wins of the day.
When we’re in the slump of disappointment, those who seem to have it easy, who always get the part, the win, the accolades – they seem to be all around us. And we wonder through our tears why it has to be so hard.
So for you, my young friends, who didn’t make the audition, didn’t get the part, the scholarship, the award, the recognition, the school entrance you wanted, the test score you prepped for, the job, or the opportunity you’d been banking on. For those of you who sat in row J and clapped for everyone else, who stood on the fringe while others celebrated, who felt like your efforts were equal to those who were recognized, but you got overlooked, my dear friends, I see you.
I am putting my virtual arms around you to tell you, YOU are amazing.
I stand with you. I feel you. And I feel for your parents, who break when you break, and cry when you cry. It’s the pits to watch your child hurt.
Most mornings, I try to read a few scriptures with each wave of kids as they leave for school. For Eliza, it’s 5:23AM in the school parking lot before swim – just a couple verses from my phone – words that glow in the dark of pre-sunrise hours. For Sami and Ali, it’s the Word over breakfast before driving them to the junior high. For the boys, it’s by the front door, as we huddle for prayer before they go barreling up the street on their way to the elementary school.
Tuesday morning I began reading in Doctrine and Covenants 58 and a single verse rushed off the page, as if it had been waiting in the most prominent place, waving its black print for me to notice.
“Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.”-DC 58:3
These are words I want to believe. Words I have no option to ignore if I trust in a loving God who keeps His promises.
I shared them with my girls.
You can’t see it now. The design. The glory. You can’t see what God is doing with your disappointment and discouragement, how there will be a purpose in this experience of coming up short and feeling forgotten. But I promise you, He will make it purposeful. He is crafting something beautiful and meaningful with your loss – a loss that feels like ashes caught on the wind right now, but in time, it will be reclaimed, remade into so much more. There will be glory after your heartache. Glory when you see others as they too stand on the periphery and swallow hard the hurt of the day. Glory as you stand in for Him, be His voice of comfort, His words of understanding, so someone else doesn’t have to feel so very alone.
I tell my kids this often, that I’d much rather have them lose some battles, be left out, even brushed aside, rather than be consistently in the center of attention and popularity, where all the world goes right. Because if you’re never on this side – the side of things not working out, of having to do the hard task of working through, you will walk right past those who need to be loved and seen.
And there is glory in seeing others. In loving others. It is God’s glory. Because remember? He first loved us?
This truth was carved into law, written as two great commandments, and it echoes in every parable: Love God. Love People.
So to our amazing teens, consider this:
In God’s world, there are enough parts for everyone. In fact, there is a specific and divine part for every single one of you. There may be leaders but no leads. No one part is better than another. Each is equally important. And if you are feeling a little like the lost sheep, the one who isn’t part of the ninety and nine, because too often you sit the sidelines, play second string, or come up a dollar short and a day late, know this: There is someone searching high and low for you, seeking you out until He finds you, so He can turn your face to His and look into your eyes and say, “I see you. I see you when no one else does. I see your efforts and I promise, they will not be for nothing.”
Right now, it’s not so much about what you’re going through, but how you choose to go through it. I know it takes a heap of courage, but try this:
1- Dig deep for the confidence to celebrate others, even when they don’t know what to say to you. They worked hard. They deserve your congrats. And they will appreciate it.
2- Look for those who are experiencing what you’ve experienced. They’re there. Drop them a note, a text, a few words of reassurance to tell them they are talented and loved.
3- Listen to Chopin (or something else that soothes your soul). Sit with your own grief until you feel it begin to lift and you’re ready to venture out and try again. It’s okay to feel sad or hurt. It’s a wave, like all emotions, that is sweeping across the sand of your mind and heart, but I promise, it won’t stay forever.
Your natural eye can’t see it, but you have an absolute force of angels cheering you on. You have a path, a grand design that God is working on. And if you let it, every bump in the road will be transformed by Him, to work for your ultimate and glorious good. I believe in you.
And steady on.
Oh Catherine- how you weave words of beauty and wisdom! I love this and needed to read it today; for myself and for my tribe. Thank you.
Beautiful, Catherine! Something all of us need at one time or another. You have an amazing gift of expression. Thank you!
Someone just shared this with me and it is so perfect! Thank you for this beautiful perspective which is needed in our home right now! ❤️❤️
Love those darling Arveseths!
Beautiful, timely, true and essential!! Thank you, Catherine ❤️
Beautiful and wise, as always, Cath! Thank you for finding time to share your wisdom. It blesses me (and the world!) 💕
Kelli Thomson Liston
Catherine I needed this today. Thank you. And reading your words makes me feel 25 years younger, I can feel the spirit radiate from my old friend that I walked Holy Streets with. I love you my dear friend. – Kelli
Such beautiful, wise words. What a gift you have, my dear friend. Thank you for your encouragement and perspective. You have such a compassionate heart. That verse in D & C has always been a treasured one for me, but now it will have even more meaning. Much love to your sweet girl and to your whole family
Annie Randle Morgan
This is so beautiful. I couldn’t have “stumbled” across it at a more perfect time. Thank you for sharing.