I wrote a few months ago that we were writing Little Women. Well, we’ve done it. It opened last weekend. Writing it was an exercise in relying on God and receiving answers to prayers, a sacred experience from start to finish. A handful of photos (and plot spoilers, if you don’t know Little Women) under the cut.
As a tall girl, I will always find this episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show funny.
So the following is what I wrote a year ago when beginning this post, chronicling the last day of our 2010 New England Autumn Trip:
It’s funny I should be working on this post today when I miss Red Apple Farm so acutely. I feel physical pain from the separation. It makes me poignantly sad that it is August–the time Marianne and I have been planning New England trips in previous years–and we have no plans to go anywhere, especially not to New England. Continue Reading »
In 2010, Marianne and I started hounding my dad to write a musical version of Little Women. He was looking for something to write and we had just gotten back from our second trip to Concord, where we had been lamenting that there was/is no satisfying musical of the book. Continue Reading »
I think costume designer Colleen Atwood has a thing for blue dresses of a certain shape.
I’ve been having some health trials lately. I haven’t been writing much because I haven’t felt well, but today as I relapse back to square one, I figured I should share some of the things I’ve been learning through this experience.
I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been having gallbladder problems. That’s still true. For a while, I was doing much better and feeling more or less normal as long as my diet was strictly controlled. I guess my vague plan was to help my gallbladder heal through exemplary diet and supplements and then decide if it was really necessary to remove it. I’ve read some horror stories about people being unable to digest certain fairly normal foods after gallbladder surgery. I’d like to have the possibility of having my body functioning normally again someday, even if it means months of a strict and unforgiving diet for me.
I’ve been experiencing symptoms for about a year now, but never so consistently that I could figure them out. In fact, it was almost a year ago exactly that I had my first incident–my parents and I were in Washington D.C. so my dad and I could see the now-Tony-nominated revival of Sondheim’s Follies. We had dinner at some mediocre place around the corner from our hotel and I felt sick for the rest of the evening. Wait, details are getting fuzzy: I just remembered we also visited Mount Vernon that day, it was wickedly hot (as in I-have-literally-never-been-so-hot-in-my-life hot), we ate lunch in the cafeteria and then I ran to get the car for my parents who were wiped out. I think I felt sick after that and blamed everything on heatstroke. Either way, I’m 99% sure those symptoms were gallbladder-related.
In mid-April, everything went downhill. I became constantly sick (including one big incident) and constantly anxious and upset. I was literally surviving minute-to-minute emotionally. I did not want to get out bed in the morning and I most definitely did not want to go to work. (I learned later that a lot of people experience anxiety along with gallbladder problems.)
The only thing that kept me going was my relationship with God. I knew when I couldn’t depend on myself that I could trust Him. I knew if He had promised me that I would be able to get through work each day that I could rely on Him to help me do it. I felt a lot like Peter, trying to walk on water to the Savior. As long as Peter kept his eyes focused on the Lord, he was fine. It wasn’t until he took notice of the situation he was in, thinking he could never make it, that he began to sink. (I stole that imagery from a much better sermon on the subject.) In other words, whenever I could successfully forget about myself or how I felt was when I was at my emotional best.
The Savior said “let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.” When the Lord promises to help us through hard times, He doesn’t mean he can change our hearts without us putting in any effort. We have to do our part. We have to give him the only thing we can give–our will. Sometimes that just means doing our best to forget, to put things out of our minds, to let go and trust, and go to work on other things. Actually, I think that’s what it means most of the time.
Do you think Peter ever gave one thought to the steps he took on solid ground? No, walking on solid ground was second nature for him, like it is for us. I guess the trick with walking on water is to forget you’re walking on water and just let go. Instead of thinking “oh my goodness how is this possible?” think “The Savior is over there. I think I‘d like to be over there, too.”
Last Friday, out of nowhere (and with no cause I’ve been able to determine), my gallbladder decided it was time to mess with me again. One of the side-effects of my earlier gallbladder problems was insomnia; my body just wouldn’t stop worrying long enough about how I felt to let me sleep. As I lay in bed that night, the only sleep I got was when I envisioned myself like Peter, trying to walk on water. I pictured the Savior’s face and tried to move toward Him. Then, of course, because I’m human and imperfect I’d always think, “Hey I feel okay! I’m doing it!” and that’s when I would notice that I didn’t feel okay and we were back to the beginning, wide awake.
I’ve had lots of other experiences with this illness that have reinforced my knowledge that God lives and He is very present in our lives, more present than we ever realize. To list them all would perhaps be inappropriate, but today when I felt sick again and most certainly did not want to get out bed, I thought maybe it was time to “publicly” testify that God answers prayers, and He’s there for us. Always always always.