Thursday, April 24, 2008

My miracles.

One thing that's hard about blogging is that I struggle to organize my thoughts into just one topic to write about. Maybe I should make a list: my job, my plans, my husband and his plans, our garden, my novel, my nebulous idea that might just become a novel, my endless blood sugar roller coaster, my new church calling, the quirky but great movie I saw last night, and on and on. And there's just so much to life. I used to write for several hours a day and I always felt there was never enough time or paper or words to do justice to all that is out there (or in my head, whichever the case may be).

So how can I update you on what has happened since I last wrote? I think I have never had so much worry in all of my life, but I have also have never felt so strongly the Lord's love for his children. "Love for his children" sounds like a generic statement, but it isn't really. It's such a specific thing.

There was a day last week when I had to go fill one of my presciptions and we had to make the choice between getting the medicine and paying our car insurance. Our policy had expired and if we didn't renew it, we simply wouldn't be able to drive our car anymore. Not that it would be the end of the world, but it was a hard decision to make. I felt like I was being selfish, worrying about myself more than "us," but we made our minds and went to Rite Aid.

When I went to pick up my medicine, the woman behind the counter scanned the paper envelope with the medicine in it and said, "That will be eight dollars."

I looked up in surprise, half-irritated that she had scanned the wrong thing. My medicine cost more than ten times that amount. I said, "What? Really?"

"Um, yes," she said, looking at me curiously, "eight dollars. You are Jessica Robbins?"

I nodded, but didn't believe. "Eight?" I said incredulously, "Are you sure? That's metformin?"

"Yes." she said, "Another pharmacy is having a sale and this is a price match. . . You do want it, don't you?"

I almost started crying right there on the spot. I just laughed and pulled out eight dollars. "Of course I want it!"

So I went running out into the parking lot and we went straight to the car insurance place to renew our policy.

I don't know if it all sounds as miraculous as it was, but I had been so stressed about all my stupid expenses, up all night sick with worry so many nights in a row, trying to figure out some way to make it happen. And just like that, the Lord took it right out of my hands.

And that's just one miracle of so many I've seen these past weeks. It hasn't been a picnic trying to hold down a job when my blood sugar skyrockets and plummets several times a day regardless of how I eat. One day, I was afraid to move because my blood sugar was so low that I was seeing flashes of white. I was at work being trained and right in that desperate moment, some woman showed up and walked right up to me with a plate in her hand. On the plate were samples of highly sugary energy bars. The sample shot my blood sugar up to where it needed to be for me to get through the shift. I knew without a doubt that someone was watching over me.

It just amazes me how aware of my life my Savior is. I don't think there's any part of it that He doesn't care about.

Well, lest I worry anyone, the semester has just ended for Paul and me, my job ends tomorrow, and Paul's job starts as soon as possible. My dear love has pulled off lovely straight A's in spite of all the stress and he's been applying for jobs like crazy. He's got to find something that will give him enough hours and a high enough wage to support me because I'm not working again until I can get my condition under control. (Frankly, I'm a useless worker these days.) We made a killing at the textbook buyback and between that and a yard sale, we will happily be able to pay our rent for May! I'm sure something good will happen between now and my next metformin refill so we'll be able to get that too.

After all, we're not in this thing alone.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Honest for once.

So, here is another day of the Chronicles of Jessio. A blog with that title makes me want to write about exciting, interesting, silly, or hilarious things. It seems that all my stress has made my mind become very serious and when I open the laptop, I can't think of anything that would entertain anyone. It has all become almost a blur of frustrations and days stacked upon days in which nothing particulary improves.

Do I sound like a pessimist? Well, for once I just want to be honest! I am sick and each day is difficult and I can never stop worrying about how we'll pay for my meds, for my doctor visits, for my test strips when we have no insurance and no way to get it. But no matter how many times I have considered stopping my treatment (which is almost every day) I come back to the conclusion that I am too afraid of what will happen if I do. I am terrified of those high blood sugar levels and endless nausea and feeling like I'm starving to death. I don't want it all back, but I feel like it has all been a trade for different miseries.

But I always have Paul and he is more nurturing and sweet than I could have dreamed. He loves me so much and is patient every day with me. We only have about two weeks now to the end of school and then he will start working again. Cross your fingers that he will be able to get medical insurance. There are a few different jobs he's applying for and he's still looking for others too so he can find something really good. He has done very well this semester and has shining A's to prove it. I'm proud of him for working hard in school and improving his chances of being accepted to graduate schools this coming fall. Won't life be swell when he has a PhD and medical insurance is no longer an issue?

I am strained and frustrated and exhausted, but I'm sure that things will somehow work out. I still remember what I learned in Primary.

"Why did we come to earth, children?"

"To be tried and tested!"

"And why is that important?"

"To see if we really love Heavenly Father."

Well, I do love him and I hope all this will somehow show him that I do. I don't know if honesty in blogging will make for a very popular blog. (People generally seem to like a lot pictures and humor.) But I don't care. This is my life right now and while I'm living it, I wanted to write about it.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Conference Thought.

Well, Conference is over! I looked forward to it with excitement and now it has passed so quickly. One of the last talks, by M. Russell Ballard, was about young mothers and ways that we can all help them. It was a really good talk and I was struck by one thing he said. I didn't write down the exact quote, but it was something along these lines: A woman who is not being nourished herself has much less to give to her children. He talked about mothers finding time alone to cultivate talents and grow.

I'm not a mother yet. That's one adventure that hasn't hit me yet, but I like the principle. Giving to others is wonderful and service undoubtedly builds love. But when your personal needs are not being met, you cannot be your best self to give to others. It's hard for a starving person to think about anything but getting the food they need. Similarly, if your life does not fulfill all of your personal and emotional needs and dreams, you will not be able to give your full attention to the people in your own life. You won't be the best version of yourself.

So, of course, this all applies rather directly to me. There are things I love to do that I NEVER do. Why don't I draw anymore? Why don't I sing? Those things I love and they refresh me and help me face life in a more relaxed way. It's stupid to not set aside a little time each day to do these fulfilling things. Then I can be a better happier me and it will be easier for me to care about others and feel satisfied. How can you spread happiness if you don't have it?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The power of one life.

Yesterday, I went to the funeral of a little cousin of mine. Her name was Hunter Watkins and the funeral was quite an emotional event. She had been ill for a very long time and I didn't expect to be as affected as I was by the funeral.

As I walked into the viewing, I was reminded forcefully of my own sister's funeral fourteen years ago. I was eight years old at the time. The thing that stands out in my memory of that day was how cold her fingers felt as she lay in the casket. I reached in to touch her and I had the distinct impression that the cold body I was touching was not her. The body was a thing and she was separate from it. I understood that at the time, but it was not until later that I began to comprehend the significance of it.

I looked down at Hunter's body and she looked beautiful in a white dress. Her hair was curled and placed perfectly and she looked just like a sleeping princess. I was surprised how much she reminded me of her sister Lacey. I hugged her parents and didn't know what to say to them. I sat down and gazed at the casket in wonder. In my mind, it was easy to see her sitting up and looking around, beautiful and completely whole. No more wheel chair. No more disease and suffering. I felt so strongly the power of the atonement in that moment and I thought back.

My sister was tormented as well by sickness and pain and surgeries. Her poor heart had to work so hard with two holes in it. She would begin crying anytime someone touched her feet because she knew that usually meant a shot. I think about the courage of these children who come to earth knowing they will suffer. Children like Sheridan and Hunter endure these things willingly because they know that they can help the rest of us. I know I have been changed forever by the experiences I had as a small child with my sister Sheridan.

Perhaps the hardest thing about the funeral was seeing Hunter's sisters weep as the casket was closed. I wondered if they felt what I felt as a little girl when my sister's casket was closed. Do they know that the body they placed in the earth is not the sister they cared for and loved? Hunter is separate and happy and will come back to her body again someday. I believe that.

I have cause to ponder on the purpose of one life. I think we sometimes forget the power that one life can have. And we all have this power in whatever our situation. No one was placed on this earth alone and it is significant to consider the people within my own sphere of influence. I feel inspired to reach out to others, to do better at thinking of them and finding ways to show love. Isn't life all about becoming like the Savior? And he didn't withold his love from anyone.