Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nancy Baird's Message for June

 Moveable Feast

Dear Women of the Salt Lake Olympus Stake,

    Here is a question:    How can someone transform what feels like a desert in her life into a moveable feast?

    I have some thoughts, especially after watching several of my children move around the country this week.

    Hemingway used the term "moveable feast" to describe how he felt about Paris; that wherever he went, Paris would always stay with him.  In other words, he didn't need to be in Paris to experience the joy that Paris had given him.

    Jeremiah said much the same thing when he sent a letter by envoy to the Jews in captivity in Babylon.  This is part of what he said: "Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters...that ye may be increased there, and not diminished..."  (Jeremiah 29:5-7, italics added).
    He is addressing their restlessness, their homesickness, their grief at not being where they want to be, doing what they want to be doing.  He tells them to build, to plant, to pray, to increase.  He wants them to see that their faith doesn't depend on living in Palestine. He wants them to (figuratively) take their belongings out of storage, to build lives and homes and plant gardens and trees.

    It is difficult to leave an old life behind and live fully in the present; but to grow and to change is the only way to be truly "awake." I have found it is the only way to truly experience joy.

    If we are always looking back with longing or are afraid to jump out with faith into the unknown, we will never grow and we will begin, in many ways to die.  But more than that, we will never feel what Einstein called "the deep shudder of the soul in enchantment," a soul that is always learning and moving toward the Divine.

    In Thornton Wilder's play "Our Town," Emily, who has died, is allowed to return to earth to watch herself as a twelve-year-old going through an ordinary day.  Emily is so moved that she cries aloud, "Oh earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you!"

    We are blessed to be here, blessed to turn our lives into "moveable feasts." 

    Cathy, Diane and Shawna and I are blessed more than we can say to know you.
                                Nancy Baird