Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Perspective

We went to my parents' house for FHE tonight. My mom made dinner, Patrick made a cake, we played with David's old hot wheels race track (more on that later), and I gave the lesson.

I've been reading The Bible Tells Me So... by Peter Enns. I've loved his discussion on perspective throughout the book, which helped inspire my lesson for this evening. (And now I'm all out of ideas so expect no brilliance from me for the next little while).

As an opening exercise we chose a common memory to write about for a few minutes. I threw out a few ideas but Rachel and Miriam clung to one—Zoë's birth story—so that's the one we settled on. Everyone got a pen(cil) and paper and wrote down what they remembered, and then I collected them and read them.

Zoë's story was so complicated that we couldn't really understand what she wrote, but she wrote a lot.

Uncle Patrick said: When Zoë was born I remember Facebook posts from Andrew, and my mom telling me she was born.


Bumpa said: When Zoë was born every time I saw her she had a disgusted look on her face as if, "Why am I even here?"

Rachel said: I was seven. Miriam was sleeping in my bed. She was five. I woke up before her. I saw that Mom and Dad weren't in their bed. I went outside because I heard a dog bark. It was the Doyings.

Naanii said: I remember that Zoë was bald. And in the picture of her, she looked very worried.

Miriam titled her piece I Remember Zoë's Birth and said: On May 23rd, I woke up because Rachel got out of bed. When I went to the table I still thought Mom and Dad were still in bed. But then I heard a dog bark. I went to the back porch and there were some church friends. Then they told me I was going to have a new baby sister. Zoë!!!

Andrew said: Nancy woke up early in the morning in labor and we had to rush to get to the hospital. We called the Doyings and woke them up and they said they were on the way, but it seemed to take forever for them to get there. We checked into the hospital and Nancy had a, um, standard labor (?). After the delivery, I had to run home to let the kids and Doyings back in because I forgot to give them a key and they were locked out. I went back to the hospital and stopped to get Cook Out food for post-diabetic Nancy. The end.

I said: I woke up and timed contractions and woke up Andrew when it was time to go. We called the Doyings to come over (it was hard to wait for them). I got an IV for antibiotics, pushed Zoë out. The doctor was very calm and gentle. I worried that I had been screaming like the woman next-door but I hadn't. Zoë wanted to nurse right away. Andrew left to let the kids into the house (and to pick up a milkshake for me).

Benjamin's version of the story, however, got me right in all the feels:

In the lefthand corner is the world. The other circle is me getting Zoë from Heavenly Father.

He simply wrote, "I love Zoë," and then asked, "Can I draw a picture of Heavenly Father handing Zoë to you now?"

We just recently read It's Not the Stork together (again) so he's not unaware of the biology of how babies get here. He's simply acutely aware of how our spirits get here, too. I love the imagery of Heavenly Father handing parents this fresh little spirit to tend.

Of course, there was no moment where Heavenly Father physically handed me Zoë (or Benjamin or Miriam or Rachel or...Alexander), but Benjamin's insight was so touching to me, such a powerful reminder of the purpose of motherhood. That boy is a gem. He's a challenge, but he's a gem.

Anyway, we discussed how even though we were all telling the same story and not a single one of us lied, every story told was different. There is no one true version of events. We all remembered different things because different things were important to us, because we'd experienced it differently, because we were in different stages of life. We could cobble together one cohesive story from all our accounts...but they're also important separate. And how would we fit in Benjamin's perspective?

I asked them if we went back and read Zoë's birth story on the blog if it would be exactly the same—and the kids knew it wouldn't be because Rachel and Miriam have gone back and read all their birth stories. What I wrote isn't the same at all. But it's still a true story.

Then I asked them what that had to do with the gospel.

Miriam pointed out that every person is an individual and we need to respect their individuality; my mom mentioned her recent reading of The Gospels in the New Testament and how Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John tell many of the same stories...but not in the same way; and Andrew brought up the fact that there are multiple versions of The First Vision (Benjamin did us the honour of reciting the version found in Joseph Smith—History 1: 16–17).

It was a good discussion. They hit upon pretty much every point that I wanted to make (it's always nice when lessons go that way). 

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