Trial Number Five by Carol Lynn Pearson
Carefully they laid
Out on the table
Trials one, two, three,
Four, five and six.
"Choose one," they said.
"On, any," she cried, with a horror
Born of the best of Halloweens.
"Any but number five.
It would kill me.
I promise you I would not survive.
They thanked her graciously,
Escorted her out,
The gift-wrapped, addressed,
And labeled "Special delivery"
Trial number five-
Sent with love from
Those whose assignment it is
To make sure you know
That you can go
Through trials one, two,
Three, four, ninety-nine,
Come out alive.
I have always loved this poem and I always knew I had a similar conversation with the Lord before I came to Earth.
Trial number five for me had a name, and it was a thing that you do not speak of, do not name, otherwise maybe the Lord will think you can handle it.
I have some wonky understanding of the gospel, I know, and it is a challenge for me to separate the nature of God from the nature of my Earthly parents. Heaven knows they had a hard time separating their will and perception from God's.
It stuck to me in weird ways and I work hard to not see God as someone who is at times, punitive and annoyed by me.
I've come a long way and I can identify when things aren't right, but I have a ways to go. It's always work, never what comes naturally. I wasn't trained to have that come naturally.
I was trained to survive, and survival brings growth, sure, but it's heavy and messy growth.
Trust is tough with me.
Believing he could love me and He wants me always is tough.
I'm a lot better than I was before, but it gets tricky when it's about parents- Earthly and Heavenly.
So anyway- from the start, I have said "not trial number five- please, please please, not trial number five."
And as the years passed my kids have grown like sunflowers. Sometimes, with their glorious heads turned towards the light and at other times, hanging heavy and sagging towards the ground, unable to lift themselves up because they cannot see the sun.
So far, no trial number five.
Some near misses, some nights I stayed up all night and prayed and cried and paced the floor and wondered if we'd make it through, but trial number five hasn't happened.
But oh, trial six.
What a doozy.
Holy crap, each of those trials are so...
And I'm glad there is not trial number five in my life, I am thankful for that and I still know I couldn't do it, but these days, I'm not sure I'm going to get through trial number six.
Being a parent is hard.
It's hard and scary and every screw up you make- you never forget it and you wonder if that is why a bad thing happened, or your kid is broken in some way. If the problems are even obviously not your fault, you still blame yourself. There is always a way to make it your fault. I don't know why human nature needs to do that, it doesn't help and I know it, but by damn- every other thought in my head is that trial number six is something I could have prevented if I'd have just done family scripture every night, or if I'd read more bedtime stories to the kids, if I'd never let them have a playdate with that one friend, if Matt and I had never had that one argument that the kids heard, if I'd said the right things in my prayers and not ever said the F word.
I don't know how to get through this one.
I see absolutely no clear path.
And I know that I am not lost, that God is with us all, that He will help us, but right now-- I don't know what to do and I don't know how to stop being so scared.
Still I am reminded that it's not trial five,and I said "anything but five" and God didn't give me five.
Holy crap, six.
I guess since I'm crumbled to the floor anyway, I might as well try to pull myself up to my knees and pray.
I don't know.
I'm tired and I feel selfish for being tired.
I'm tired of feeling selfish because I can't predict and fix everything.
Because I made their lives too easy or too hard.
Because I gave too little but too much.
Because Family Home Evening didn't keep mental illness from visiting my kids, the same as it visited me, the same as it visited my parents and their parents.
I don't know what to do, how to fix, how to mend.
I know to love, but I sometimes feel like I'm doing that wrong and I'm just making things worse.
Trail number six, you suck.