A few weeks ago I wrote a post titled, "In the Thick of Thin Things" about prioritizing the things we invest our time and resources on. Well, this week I had several opportunities to put my own advice into practice.
Each year the LDStorymakers group, of which I'm a part, holds a wonderful writer's conference in Provo, Utah. Fun trip. The classes are taught by some of the most recognizeable LDS authors--writers on the front lines of the decency war in literature. There are excellent classes, pitch sessions with agents and editors, opportunities for networking, book buying and autograph collecting. What I love most about it is the chance to be among my peers--other nutty, obsessive LDS writers who crank out novels at what works out to about 15 cents an hour because they have a passion for writing clean, uplifting books. Attending the conference also provides an excellent opportunity to extend the trip and vist my Utah children and grandchildren. Not a bad plan, right?
Well, it's that priority thing. My newest daughter-in-law is graduating from BYU's School of Nursing on Friday, the same day the conference begins. When we realized there was a conflict, there was no question where I wanted to be on Friday. Family trumps writing every time.
And then things became more complicated when my pregnant daughter, who lives here in Maryland near me, became ill. I was packing my briefcase when I felt it . . . the undeniable whispering of the Spirit telling me, "Call Amanda and offer to delay your flight." I made the call and Amanda's response was, "They want me to go to the hospital, Mom!"
Again, priorities became clear. Her husband was torn between being with his wife and caring for their son, and I knew my wonderful daughter-in-law would understand, so I changed my itinerary to remain in Maryland and help out.
It was the right choice, and the choice I wanted to make, but guilt does still come when circumstances force us to choose between two good and needful things. My daughter learned that herself this week. Staying in the hospital was good and needful to protect the baby she's carrying, but even so, leaving her 15-month-old behind nearly broke her heart. Life has taught me that these situations arise frequently, and choosing correctly isn't hard, but avoiding self-flogging can be. We can't be two places at once, but we often punish ourselves as if we could. Why is that? I wonder if men are as likely as women to torture themselves over such things.
Everything is working out now. Amanda is home and feeling better every day. My daughter-in-law's parents arrived a few days ago to celebrate this great milestone in their daughter's life. I'll miss the actual graduation, arriving a few hours late, but I'll be there to hug the graduate on her graduation day and participate in the revelry. Life will go on and the world will not end.
More of these good/good choices will arise in the future. If only I could master the skill of being in two places at one time before then.