HALLOWEEN? SCARY!

Kyle

Elizabeth Willis Barrett………………November 1, 2015

I need to add to my list of disliked holidays.   I have made it very clear that I am less than a lover of Christmas.  I’ve said it so much that people who I didn’t think were aware of my idiosyncrasy, have become a bit confrontational.   I will probably have to write more on that subject since we’re now in November.  But today I will talk about my least favorite of all holidays:  Halloween.  For many, Halloween is their all time favorite holiday, even embracing it more than Christmas.  I don’t understand it, but I realize it.

Last night I HAD to go to a Halloween party.  A HUGE one.  Probably about 1500 Young Adults in an unsuspecting park.  We couldn’t even go late because our car was used for Trunk or Treat and had to be decorated. At least I didn’t have to do the decorating.  Plus, we figured we’d have to stay until the bitter end because of the same dilemma—our trunk was needed.  Young Adult hours are considerably later than Old Adult hours, so I was bracing for a late night of wandering and schmoozing.  Brad is a great schmoozer.  I am not.

Since we had just returned from a two day outing with some of those Young Adults and hadn’t slept the long and peaceful sleep of the undisturbed, I was anxious to give up Halloween all together and crawl into my own dependable bed for a long hybernation.  But no, I had to quick get into some kind of Halloween costume and hurry over to yet another gathering.

I have one go-to Halloween costume that takes no elaborate preparing, makeup or clothing.  Well, two.  I was going to wear a gray sweatsuit but I must have packed it when we crazily got the notion of selling this house and moving—more on that another time.  So I just wore black pants and a black shirt and safety-pinned socks all over me.  I went as “static cling.”  I don’t know who first thought of that as a costume.  Probably someone else who hates Halloween and wanted to get to some party with the least amount of preparation.

It is a little hard to “static cling” yourself, but Brad was busy trying to get ready and I didn’t want to ask him to stop and help me.  He has a floppy hat and some fake glasses that hold a fake mustache so he thought he was in great shape costume-wise.  Unfortunately, he had packed his glasses at the same time I was packing up my sweatsuit so he had to scramble for a costume.  Quickly he chose my second go-to costume: a ham sandwich.  This was a little difficult to create since I had also packed up the construction paper that would have provided all the colors we needed to turn him into a memorable ham sandwich.  But I hadn’t yet packed a roll of butcher paper and thankfully found a roll of green plastic table covering that hadn’t yet been included in the packing frenzy.  I cut out two pieces of bread from the brown butcher paper and two lettuce leaves from the green plastic and quickly safety-pinned them to Brad—a piece of bread and lettuce leaf in front and a piece of bread and lettuce leaf in back.  At least the ham was authentic.  He would also have made a believable bologna sandwich.

 

We finally got to the party.  Once again I found myself climbing to the side of the minority.  Of the 1500 gallivanting through the park in their very clever costumes, most looked like they had a love affair going on with my un-beloved holiday.  Halloween was well honored and celebrated.  And to be fair, I had a very good time visiting with friends and commenting on superb creativity.

I like my life.  I like what I do.  I have always considered time to be a very precious commodity and I’m heading to the scarce end of it.  The thought of taking valuable time to decorate the house with ghoulish specters or to dream up time-consuming costumes just doesn’t sound very inviting.  I’d rather take the time to practice photography, or practice writing or practice my “just the right size” guitar.  And now that Halloween is over, it will only be minutes before the need to prepare for Christmas will be hollering at us from every direction.  Aaaaaaaaaa!

I give thanks for the welcomed holiday in between—Thanksgiving.  My favorite.  I’m with my family—the absolutely most important people in the whole world—for an un-pressured  day of good food and gratitude.   And all Thanksgiving asks of me is some beautiful fall leaves and one huge, delicious meal……Plus lots and lots of thanks.  I’m up for that.

 

 

CLIFF NOTES

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Elizabeth Willis Barrett………….April 2015

“Stay away from the cliff,” Mama called to Charlie for the 426th time, but Charlie didn’t listen even though he pretended to.  He’d heard those words so many times that they just bounced off his hard reward-centered brain like a ping pong ball and got imbedded in the walls with all the other words he didn’t like hearing.

“Don’t go near it or you’ll fall off!”  Mom’s voice got hysterical as it always did but Charlie grinned and promised again that he’d never get close enough to fall over its edge.

“Silly Mama,” he nearly added as he put a slight shake in his head and continued his exit through the kitchen door and out into the inky blackness.  As usual he called back:

“Just lookin’, Mama.  Just checking it out.  Trust me.  Don’t worry.”

Those words: “Trust me” and “Don’t worry” had become for Mama a red flag that was heaved and waved and blazed with the words “Don’t trust me, Mama, and you’d sure as heck better worry.”  The flag waved so close to her in her waking hours and as she tried to sleep that it was hard to see anything else—-the pride of Marie’s straight A report card, the thrill of Margo’s piano recital.  “Don’t trust me, Mama. Worry.” had become an unwelcome and constant mantra.

It was a dangerous place to live Mama knew, but they had tried other places.  And those had had their own cliffs and dangers.  Was there anywhere in the world that didn’t have a unique set of perils?  The four other children didn’t have a problem with the cliff.  They stayed away and found activities that kept them from even looking in the cliff’s direction.

But Charlie was different.  For some reason, known only to the Creator of all mankind, his focus was riveted on the cliff and no matter how many times Mama told him to stay away, there he was just teetering on its edge.  Mama begged and pleaded and bribed but it didn’t make any difference.  She might as well have been attempting to teach math to a cougar.  It didn’t stop her from trying though.  Somewhere in her vast vocabulary, there must be just the right words she could say.  And in all of her abundance of great ideas there must be one that would finally illuminate Charlie, make him see the error of his ways and get him back on the path leading far from the edge of the cliff.

On a particularly terrifying night Mama heard Charlie calling from a distance and knew at once what had happened…finally happened….inescapably happened.  Mama jumped out of bed and grabbed the rope she kept nearby for this anticipated emergency and ran out into the night barefoot and nightgowned.

“Charlie,” she called.  “Charlie?” more insistent.  “Charlie, Mama is here.  Tell me exactly where you are so I can help you.”

Mama ran along the edge of the cliff forcing her eyes to slide away the darkness so she would know where to throw the rope.

“Here, Mama.”  Finally a faint call and she heaved the rope over the edge.

“Grab it, Charlie.  Grab it.  I’ll pull you up.  Grab it, Charlie.”  Her voice was choking.  Her eyes were streaming.  What if she wasn’t strong enough to pull him up?  What if her hands slipped?  What if he was too heavy for her and he pulled her down over the cliff instead?

And that’s what happened.  Mama gave one futile tug and  Charlie’s weight—bloated with defiance, selfish arrogance, stupidity and disregard for her well-being and safety—pulled her down over the cliff and she landed with an agonized crumple on top of him.

“I’m sorry, Mama,” whispered Charlie when he could finally speak.  “I’m sorry, Mama.  I won’t go to the edge again.  I won’t.  You’ll see.”

Hope eased into Mama’s battered limbs.  “This fall was worth it,” she thought. “At last he will stay away from the cliff and we can all pay attention to other things.”

After Mama and Charlie were ceremoniously and painfully rescued, Charlie kept his word—for a time, a short time.  Then the old pattern blasted back ready for battle.  Charlie spent even more time at the edge of the cliff and Mama spent even more time trying to keep him away.  The other children felt neglected.  The Disneyland fund was spent on a protective—but ineffective—wall.  The money set aside for a new bathroom was spent on classes for Charlie.  In them he was supposed to learn ways to stay away from the cliff. But he didn’t learn them and he didn’t stay away.

Mama never ventured far from home since she needed always to be ready to save Charlie from himself.  She was missing out on a lot of things she had planned on doing at this stage of her life.  But isn’t that what mothers do? Sacrifice? She adored Charlie.  She’d give her life for him.

Her saving attempts forcefully wrenched her over the cliff so often that she had lost count of the times and the bruises and Charlie’s whispered and insincere promises ceased to make the fall worthwhile.

One night while lying in the muck at the bottom of the cliff with Charlie’s assurances rattling around in her despairing mind, other words came to her that she had heard over and over:

“You have to let him go.”

“You are as addicted to Charlie as Charlie is to the cliff.”

“He will never stay away from the cliff if you keep rescuing him.”

At last those words made sense to her.  Here at the bottom of the cliff, wallowing with her beloved son, those words finally made sense.  And something happened.

It had tried to happen before but Mama just hadn’t been desperate enough.  Perhaps she hadn’t hit the rock bottom that all the experts raved about.  She had thought the rock bottom analogy was for Charlie’s necessary change.  But maybe rock bottom applied to her, too.  And she had hit it.

“No where to go but up,” she thought.  And saying nothing, she walked away, ignoring Charlie’s calls of “Mama, Mama.  Where are you going?  You’re not going to leave me down here all alone.  Mama?”  At last Mama found a way to climb out of the gloom and home again.

After that, Mama lived her life.  After all, if she didn’t, who would?  And Charlie lived his.  It wasn’t the best life to be wished on a son, but it was his life and little by little it started getting better.  When Charlie finally understood that Mama wasn’t going to be his savior anymore, he started reaching down into his own rescuing options and found that he had a few to choose from. With tedious effort, he eventually turned from the cliff and explored paths that held greater promise.

For Mama, life became doable again.  Joy invaded the cracks made by everyday happenings and peace left its calling card much more often.

The cliff, the looming hated cliff,  seemed to dissolve into the horizon and Mama, just like Charlie, gladly turned her back on it and followed safer paths.  Sometimes she even followed Charlie—but not too often and not too close.

ANOTHER AGING VENTILATION

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ANOTHER AGING VENTILATION

Elizabeth Willis Barrett…………..March 2014

 

The other day Brad and I drove separate cars to a detailing shop so Brad could leave his car there to be detailed.  There was a slight problem owing to the fact that  Brad hadn’t brought the shop’s address or phone number and thought he could just find it.  But he couldn’t.  It was sort of my fault that he couldn’t find it because there was heavy traffic on Baseline.  Because Brad knows how much I hate to turn left when there is even a moderate amount of cars whizzing and honking by, he turned right which was very thoughtful since I was following him.  But that put him in unfamiliar territory as far as the detail shop was concerned and he couldn’t remember if it was closer to Broadway or Southern.  The lack of knowing made for several turns and backtracking.

Finally I called him (thank goodness, he remembered to bring his phone which isn’t always a given) and said I would just park somewhere and he could tell me where to find him after he knew exactly where he was going.  Trying to follow him in tight circles behind the wheel of a potential weapon didn’t seem like a very safe thing in my opinion.

“No,”  he said.  “It’s here somewhere.”

Finally he did find the detailer after stopping a couple of times and squinting at the road sign to see if it said Broadway or Southern.  And, by the way, which comes first—Broadway or Southern?  It’s funny how things like that escape your mind at times.  Again, I will take some of the responsibility for getting lost.  No, I will take a whole bunch of the responsibility, since my left turn phobia made him come at the shop from a different angle.  What’s a little more guilt added to the great weight of guilt that I insist on carrying everywhere I go?

When he finally left his car with the attendant and got into mine he was very frustrated.

“I don’t want to be old,” he said.  “That’s what an old man does: wanders aimlessly and slowly and shuffle-y looking for things.   I don’t want to act like that.”

“Neither do I,”  I said as I pawed through my purse, forgetting what the object of the pawing was.

“See,” he said.  “That’s what your mother used to do.”

“What?” I asked.

“The rummaging.  The rifling through your purse. That’s what your mother used to do.”

He was right.  I felt just like her as I pawed with seemingly no purpose.  A definite sign of aging.  What a pair we are, Brad and me!

“Aaaaaaaaaaa!

The drawbacks of the aging process  hit me once in a while and I just have to vent.  I feel like Diane Keaton’s character in the movie And So It Goes when she splays her arms and says with an emphatic grimace, “I’m sixty-five.  Uuuuuuuuuu!!!”

I do not like growing old.  There must be a better way.  I know, I should be glad to still be here on this fabulous earth and I should enjoy every minute and relish the now.  But aging is a big deterrent to relishing the now.

The other day I found a hair on my chin.  A dark hair!!! What was that doing there?  I have always been blond.  How long had it been growing?  How many people saw it before I finally did?  What would make a hair grow on a chin that has never had a hair before?  Weird things happen as you grow old.

Another sign of my own aging happened when I bent over to pick up something off the carpet.  I couldn’t tell what it was and I turned it over and over until I felt my mother slipping into me again.  She had done that action often in her old age, turning something over and over in slow motion trying to determine what treasure was indicated by a scrap found on the carpet.

Slow motion is becoming more of a companion to me and not an amiable one.  What happened to my drive, my focus, my hitting the deck running?  And weight that used to roll off without much trouble has become attached to my middle and it seems to delight in giving me a backache.  Arthritic thumbs add to my annoyance.

If age was honored and respected and not snickered at, it would help a little.  This might be a good time to move to old-people-loving China.  Hopefully, Brad will go with me.

NAPOLEON DYNAMITE??

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NAPOLEON DYNAMITE??

Elizabeth Willis Barrett………..January 21, 2015

The first time I saw the movie Napoleon Dynamite was in Rexburg, Idaho, with my husband Brad, and my two youngest—Kyle and Allison—who were in Rexburg going to school.  We had traveled all the way from Arizona for a short visit and had some hours to kill.  And they were definitely killed in my opinion.  Shot through.  Kyle and Alli had seen the movie already and couldn’t wait to watch it with us.  There had been so much hype about it that I was ready to have a great experience with half my family.

It turned out to be a very slow day at the movie theater.  We got in our seats after the film had started and since we were the only ones in that particular theater, they started it all over again just for us.  Kind.  If they had started from the ending and played the whole thing backwards, it would have had the same effect on me.  I was completely unimpressed and once again my lack of humor sense was made manifest.  That was truly the dumbest movie I had ever seen—up to that point.  I think Nacho Libre would create a very close race if the two should run a 1/2 marathon together.

Kyle and Allison kept looking at us to see our reaction to this very unorthodox film.  Most of the time they could hear Brad’s reaction because he was laughing uncontrollably.  If there had been anyone else in the theater they might have asked him to keep it down.   But I must have seemed like a matronly Queen of Hearts at a quilting bee.  Not a guffaw, not a snicker, not a smile escaped my pierced lips.  I think my left eye brow was raised during the whole pitiful showing.  The movie wasn’t funny.

Again, as I have been made very aware of on many occasions, I was most likely in the minority.  I think I am in a perpetual minority.  I would be standing practically alone in a group of 1000 people if we were to choose sides of a room according to our likes and personalities in a variety of categories.

“All those who like chocolate go to the right side of the room.”  I’d be left alone on the left.

“All those who prefer Barbra Streisand to blue grass music go to the right side of the room.”  I’d be left alone on the left.

“All those who love to stand outside and chat rather than clean out a closet, go to the right side of the room.”  Again, I’d be left on the left.

This would not be a good thing to do on a boat.  The weight wouldn’t be balanced.

As we came out of the theater at the end of N.D., the sweet girl at the candy counter asked how we’d liked the movie.  In answer, I turned around and waved a bemused hand at Brad.  He could barely walk because he was bent over in hysterics with Kyle and Allison laughing, too, mostly at him.  He loved Napoleon Dynamite.

When attributes were being handed out in the pre-earth life, I believe Brad was first in line at the Sense of Humor counter.  He can roll into a belly laugh quicker than anyone I know and at the slightest provocation.  I was probably queuing up for other qualities (I’m not sure which, at the moment) and totally missed out on the Humor distribution.  My Dad and sister are wonderful at seeing the funny side of things.  They must have been in that humor line.  You’d think they would have let me have cuts or something since I probably wasn’t patient enough to wait behind 4,376,000 other humor wanna-haves.

I wish now I had put in more effort to obtain a sense of humor because laughter can imbue the soul.  Maybe a little humor blew off the counter in my direction, though, because I do love to laugh with friends and family.  And even though Napoleon Dynamite did nothing for me, I once laughed right out loud in Three Amigos.

GET OUT OF MY MORNING!

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Elizabeth Willis Barrett………….January 13, 2015

I love mornings.  Not that I have gotten up early enough lately to claim their full benefits.  When I’ve had to catch a very early flight to Seattle or Salt Lake or take someone to a 5:00 am job appointment, I realize how much I am missing by not getting up at 5:00 every morning.  Getting to bed in a timely manner to allow a 5:00 am reveille hasn’t happened for a while.  But it really is a shame to miss those early hours when the sun is beginning to stretch and blaze its promise across the sky.  It is so beautiful and renewing.  To me, morning is when the vital doings of the day must be done. As the day moves along toward sunset, it seems to collapse and press down on all the remaining minutes leaving them rather unproductive.

If I had my way, I would wake up to an empty house with all other occupants hard at work somewhere else.  I wouldn’t need to help anyone find a missing phone or satchel or point out that the peanut butter is right where it has been for at least the last 10 years.  I wouldn’t hear the radio blaring out heart deflating accounts of kidnappings and murders and political sniveling.  My psyche is so fragile that an overheard bit of bad news acts like a stiff scrubbing brush to my good humor and sense of well being.  And although I really love to hear new insights on religion and the way of the country gained by deep spousal study, morning is not the time to pour any new found truths into my brain.  In the morning, the mixer of my cerebrum is whirring with other ingredients and extra bits and pieces are likely to get flung aside, my congeniality with them.

In the morning, I’m trying to concentrate on my weekly list.  It is a very long to-do list that I usually write out during Church on Sunday. I want to get on with the day and that list without any interruptions.  That is probably a very selfish desire.  But I’m just trying to put on my own breathing mask first so I can help others put on their breathing masks, so to speak.  And to me, that means getting certain things done in the morning.

For instance, if I don’t “stretch with Jane” before 8:00 am, the opportunity for that particular get-it-done item will be gone for the day. Without this stretching (which I have tried to do every morning for about 30 years since I discovered the wonderful DVD of Jane Fonda called “Start Up”) my aging body will just quit moving all together, and what help would I be to anyone then?

Next, I need to be totally ready for the day—showered, dressed, blown, curled, contacted, made up.  It is very deflating to look in the mirror at mid-day and realize that several of these points didn’t get addressed.  Of course, by then even the addressed items must be re-addressed.  If someone wants me to do something—after my morning, of course—I want to be ready.

There are about ten things I really want to get done each day and morning is the best time to do them.  Without distractions, I could easily get them all done by ten or eleven and then I would be eager to get on with the interaction and saving of others.  Not that anyone will need saving by then or want to interact either.

Again I find that I am not only thinking outside the box but outside the universe of my family and friends who are ready to engage way before I am.  Maybe they’ve already secured their own breathing masks and they are trying to help me with mine.  As usual, I could use some help. That universe has tried for years to teach me that warm, wonderful people are far more important than crossing items off my lists. So, come back into my mornings and my days and my nights and I will try to be more discreet as I’m making a list and checking it twice.

IN DEFENSE OF SARAH’S MOM

TemplepillsLisa Ling

Elizabeth Willis Barrett…………Oct 14, 2014

The other day I watched “This is Life with Lisa Ling: Inside Utah’s Struggle with Drug Abuse.”  She showed that even though Mormons have a strict health guide, they are still falling in high numbers to the addiction of pain pills.  I felt that she was very compassionate in her interviews.  She attended a Mormon Addiction Recovery Program meeting, spoke with a Mormon Bishop and in addition to others, met with a very candid girl named Sarah.

I didn’t learn about the danger of prescription pills until my son was in high school.  He went to a friend of mine who worked in the school’s bookstore and asked her for one of her pain pills.   Very responsibly, this friend called me before giving him one.  She told me that Jeffrey had come to her saying that his back really hurt.  As a football player, Jeffrey had many reasons to have a hurting back.  I told her it was OK to give him one of her pills.  Unbelievable, I know.  Looking back, I am astounded at my naiveté.  I had no idea that I had just given my consent to an addiction that would become so full blown that we wouldn’t see the end of it for fifteen years.  I knew nothing about addictions and, of course, nothing about the role pills play in dependency.

Drugs were so out of my realm of consciousness.  I had five nearly perfect children.  It was very interesting to watch the Ling program because it stressed the obsession we as Mormons tend to have with perfection.  We don’t want anyone to know that our family might be having problems, so disasters like drug addiction can be swept under the rug of denial for years.  Although that’s probably not solely a Mormon dilemma.

Lisa showed how easy it is to get addicted.  Many start innocently with prescription pills given by a well-meaning doctor.  When pills get too scarce or expensive many turn to heroin and other illegal drugs.  Addicts need their next hit just like everyone needs their next breath of oxygen and they’ll do about anything to get it.

When Lisa Ling was interviewing Sarah—a full blown heroin addict—she asked her if she wanted to quit.  “More than you’ll know,” said Sarah.  Lisa also asked Sarah what she wanted.  Sarah’s answer was that she just wanted a hug from her Mom.

Sarah’s Mom, who was never named, might have sounded like an unfeeling woman, one who wouldn’t even hug her daughter.  But not to me.  I have been that mom to some degree and I praise her for her courage.  It takes a lot of courage to divorce your addicted child and let her determine on her own that she is ready to pay the price for sobriety.  I would guess that Sarah’s Mom has already spent years hugging and encouraging and saving Sarah from the consequences of her disastrous choices.  After all, she is raising Sarah’s child which is a difficult thing to do after raising your own children.  I would also assume that Sarah’s Mom has been lied to and stolen from because that is what addicts do—they lie and they steal.  Enough is enough.

Brad and I have had many couples sitting in our living room trying to absorb any advice we can give them about dealing with their own addicted children.  We tell them all the same thing that a recovered addict told us:  “There is nothing you as a parent can do or say that will change your child.  They are the ones who have to decide when they are really ready to walk the difficult path of recovery.”  We also tell them of helps that are available to parents and meetings that would strengthen their resolve.  Most parents don’t like our advice.

I am assuming that Sarah’s Mom finally arrived at the point we all must come to: we are not helping our children by enabling them.  We are not helping our children by giving them a nice place to live and driving them places and paying for their needs.  They will never recover until it is harder to be an addict than it is to be sober.  When we make life easy for them,  addicted children continue farther down that destructive path and there is no retrieving them.  Our son wasn’t willing to get ultimate help until he had been homeless for about a year—living behind dumpsters and on the canal bank in a bush, panhandling for money to get more drugs.  We couldn’t coddle him anymore.  We couldn’t bring him home.  We had to go on with our lives and let him go on with his even though his path might lead to death.

So to Sarah’s Mom I would say that there are many imperfect Mormon Moms who are behind you right now, wishing you the best and saying, “Hang in there, Sarah’s Mom.  You are doing the right thing.  The only right thing!”

I wish I could tell Sarah that although she wants to be clean she didn’t sound like she was quite ready to throw herself into a program where she’d have to give her all into getting well.  With the nation watching, I imagine that many would step up to help her into a rehab if she had said that she was ready and willing to go right now.  But when she is done, truly done with her addiction, there is help for her.

Our son finally got the help he needed in a 24 month program that changed his thinking and his life.  It is called the John Volken Academy . It was started by a wonderful philanthropist and costs next to nothing. Two years seems like a very long time to be in a program, but the many expensive thirty day and three month programs worked only for a little while and then the addiction returned.  When you are deep into addiction, a few months isn’t going to pull you out. Thanks to John Volken we have our son back—our wonderful son.

And one day, Sarah, if you are willing to make recovery your first and only priority, your Mom will get you back .  And, I promise, the hugs won’t stop.

PRAYER?

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Elizabeth Willis Barrett

I heard the other day that a very determined woman pointed her shaking finger at a school group demanding that prayer be allowed in the schools.  I used to feel that it was a huge mistake when prayer was deleted from public forums but I have a different feeling now.

I‘m for prayer, but I’d want the prayer to be my kind of prayer.  I wouldn’t like it very much if I were required to kneel to the east several times a day because the one in charge worshiped in that way.  And I don’t suppose those of the Jewish faith would like to be prayed for in the name of Jesus Christ at every secular meeting they go to.  I love the Savior.  I wish every religion accepted, loved and worshipped Him.  But they don’t and we can’t assume that He is in everyone’s life.

Once our family made some people very uncomfortable by insisting that they pray like we pray.  We had associated with a born again Christian group for some time because they were trying to help one of our children, for which we were very grateful.  In the process, we had been preached to and prayed for and blessed over and over by them as they waved their hands in the air and quoted scripture and treated us as lost souls who needed much spiritual guidance.  Since we feel that we have quite a good grasp of scripture and spiritual things ourselves, we were a little resentful.

So, when we had them in our home, Brad thought he would return the favor by having them pray like we do for a change.  We all knelt in a circle and Brad offered a prayer.  That is how we have family prayer in our home.   I feel that it made them uneasy and I’m sorry we were so adamant about them joining us.  Brad just wanted them to know that prayer was not foreign to us and that we definitely loved and worshipped Heavenly Father, too.

Prayer is a very personal thing.  Those people in our home loved God.  They had dedicated their lives to His service.  We didn’t have the right to make them worship in our way.  And we don’t have that right in the schools either.  There is so much diversity, so many ways to talk to God.  Maybe a moment of silence would be more appropriate where each could reflect or pray in his or her own way.  Our kids certainly could use some spiritual help.  We all could.

I rejoice when friends of other faiths say they’ll pray for me or for one of our kids.  Those prayers are so welcomed, heard and felt even if they have a different way of reaching Heaven.

As I went to a Mormon Temple dedication with a wonderful Catholic friend, she said in reference to the numerous religions, “We’re all trying to go to the same place; we’re just driving different cars.”

If we want someone to ride in our car, we’d do better with kind invitations.   We ought to make sure that our car is driven by and filled with happy, loving and accepting people.  Or who would want to join us?  Those with angry pointing fingers will have no passengers no matter how much they promote prayer.