Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wife Rule #40: I'm a Drag

My feet feel like anvils, unnatural extensions of my hopelessly weary legs, weighing down every staggering step. I barely have the strength to stay upright. The incessant brightness shines down in my bleary eyes, and my lead arm struggles to raise my hand to sheild them from the intrusive light. I stumble, nearly going down; to finish this task will be an epoch battle of wills.

I have climbed to the top of 12,000 foot mountains; I have hauled a pack into remote wilderness basins; I have trudged across desert wastes, when water supplies have dwindled; I have forged rivers and battled driftwood seas. Those challenges--each an exhilirating reminder of my mortality, each a beast to be conquered through brute strength--are nothing, NOTHING compared the test of endurance that I face now.

I am in a department store, shopping with my wife.

Physiologically, I can't explain exactly why it is that the moment we step over the threshold of the store that my eyes immediately go droopy and my mind starts to shut down. Maybe it's sensory overload from the hundreds of brightly colored "Sale" signs marking the endless rows of discounted merchandise. Maybe it's the bland gray carpet, which pads our feet and mutes the noise of my ever-heavier plodding along. Perhaps it's the siren lullaby of elevator music, piped from mysterious locations overhead, that shuts me down, flipping each circut in my mental breaker off, methodically, one at a time: flip, flip, flip, Shadow, flip, flip, flip, Dimmer, flip, flip, flip, Utter Darkness, flippety-flip, Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I can't explain why this happens; all I know is that the effect is real. Whatever the magic ingredients are, they form a toxic, subconscious coctail that acts as if a powerful, fast-acting, sleeping drug was injected directly into my brain.

This phenomenon can be observed in virtually any department store you go to: take a moment to look around, and you will see some woman dragging her half-conscious man behind her through some bewilderingly boring section of the store, such as Ladies' Hosiery. This effect--we'll call it the Drag Effect--is a little-understood, though well-documented, shopping phenomenon that has been affecting men for millions of years. Cave paintings depict Prehistoric Man, unconscious and drooling, being dragged along by his copious chest hair as Prehistoric Woman browses through endless racks of identical-looking, mammoth-skin fashion apparel. Sometimes these paintings go on for miles. Yawn.

Maybe it's a genetic deficiency. Perhaps the gene responsible for coping with department store shopping is contained in that big section that's completely missing from the Y chromosome. That large hole in male DNA is undoubtedly also the same reason why males don't seem to understand the inherent disadvantages of continually hitting each other ("Ha, ha, ha" (PUNCH) "OW! Ha, ha, that'll leave a bruise." (WHACK) "Ow! Ha ha ha...").

My personal theory behind the Drag Effect is that it stems from a man's obsessive-compulsive desire to have a concrete goal when shopping (call us silly). See, when he goes shopping in an environment of virtually infinite purchasing choices such as a department store, his natural tendency is to panic, grab the first object in sight, thrust a wad of bills at the cashier, and bolt out the door before he erupts into full-fledged screaming. For this reason, you will often see men in the parking lots of department stores, in the cabs of their trucks, curled up in the fetal position and clutching a PEZ dispenser. Give them a break; it's the best they can do under the circumstances.

But pair the man with his woman in the same situation, and his natural machismo prevents him from screaming or curling up into the fetal position. Thus, fully feeling the weight of his sentence to spend maybe a full twenty or thirty minutes in such a hostile environment, his natural tendency is to dull his senses by becoming instantly drowsy. It all makes sense, see.

As a further illustration, consider again our prehistoric friends, "shopping" for dinner. To the man, the goal is simple and clear: kill a hunk of meat and eat it. Naturally, he will throw his spear at the first hunk of meat that he happens to come across, which is usually some type of hoofed animal with antlers. A woman, if she were shopping for a hunk of meat to eat, might first want to browse a catalog of what other women are saying is "in fashion" to eat, and then visit several different hunting locations, capturing and tying up several animals at each, but not committing to a kill. Then, after hours of dragging her man around, she MIGHT go back to one of the tied-up animals and ask her man to throw a spear at it. But it's just as likely that she will decide to go home without any meat at all, and serve tofu instead. Why? "I just didn't like any of the antlers on the animals we found today. Besides, tofu is lower in saturated fat."

You can obviously see the problem here. Thus, it shouldn't be surprising that the next time they go shopping together, he gives up immediately and goes to sleep. "Just wake me when I throw the spear, honey," he says through a stifled yawn.

But whatever the cause, one thing is certain: it's not my fault. Just ask my dad. He doesn't wait until he gets into the store to fall asleep; he gets drowsy just thinking about shopping. He has optimized the shopping trip to the point that he never has to leave the house.

Or consider my friend at work, with whom I was recently discussing the Drag Effect. He doesn't have a chance to get tired; he gets an immediate headache whenever he detects that they are shopping together. Really--I'm not kidding. "It's like an instant migraine," he told me. "I have to leave the store and lay down in the car with my eyes covered." I nodded sympathetically, and our male bonding strengthened as a flash of unspoken understanding passed between us. It's a guy thing.

Of course, there are exceptions. Each man has his love, his "Shopping Muse," as it were. For some, it's electronics. For others, it's auto parts. Mine happens to be food. My wife knows that if she sends me out to buy a bunch of bananas and a head of lettuce that I am likely to return an hour later with a car packed full of cold cereal, milk, steak, and cheese. "I forgot the lettuce, but I got some other stuff so we don't have to visit any more stores for a long time," I report proudly.

Sure, there's no fiber to be found, but she didn't have to drag me anywhere, and I don't have to worry about tofu for dinner. At least not this time.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wife Rule #39: What You May Become

You entered this world a mere two weeks ago.

When I look at you, my tiny daughter, I see in your face the indelible marks of my fatherhood. It is an honor and awesome responsibility to know that my DNA is stamped into each of the billions of cells that make up your tiny, precious body.

And what an amazing body you have! Just think, a mere nine months ago you were microscopic in size. Since then, you have grown and multiplied at an astonishing rate: your arms, legs, hands and feet; your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth; your fingers and toes and tiny nails; your heart and lungs and amazing brain; have all flowered from the genesis of creation that started as a few minuscule cells.

Your perfect little body, so tiny and helpless now, will rapidly grow. Your infant cries will quickly fade, being replaced first by earnest imitation, eventually exploding in to speech. Your eyes, which focus now only at intimate range, will soon be able to take in the sweeping panorama of the world as it rushes around you. The kicks of your funny little froggy legs will lose their randomness as you learn to balance and carry yourself with grace and ease. Your arms and hands will soon replace flailing with focused grasping as you discover and develop the use of the incredible tools at your disposal.

And your mind--now so innocent and pure, so simple and sweet--how it will bloom! Your consciousness will expand beyond innate awareness of your own needs, to comprehend more complex emotions, and eventually to envelope empathy for others; to appreciate the supreme beauty of the earth you now live in; to discern smells and tastes and sounds and feelings that will add variety and color to your life; to grasp social systems and science; to understand the liberty of language; to appreciate and produce art and poetry and every other means to add beauty to the collective atmosphere we all share.

As you mature you will begin to grasp with your mind and heart the refined instincts that only your spirit knows now: true love of self, born of a knowledge that you are a daughter of a perfect Father in Heaven who loves you infinitely; adoration and emulation of your Savior, the infinite Being who can carry your every burden, calm your every fear, and cover your every sin and deficiency.

You will realize the value of family as your constant and unconditional friends and fellow-travellers in the grand adventure of eternity; you will begin to develop love of others, as you realize that your stewardship in life extends far beyond yourself and your earthly family, to your friends and neighbors, to the stranger, to even your enemies, and ultimately to every creature that ever has been or ever will share this earth with you. You will then understand that your family circle is meant to be all-inclusive, and you will see that everything truly begins and ends with family.

When you finally know these truths--not just a theoretical, academic knowledge, but when your soul understands and embraces and assimilates them so that they are woven into your very being--you will be firmly on the path that leads to the completeness that the Savior wants us all to achieve when He commanded, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which in Heaven is perfect." And once on this path, if you choose to persist, you will find peace and satisfaction in this life that you could never have imagined, and a reward of incomprehensible joy and ever-increasing abundance in the eternities ahead.

This abundant life is largely wrapped up in another adventure. Whether in this life or the next, if you carefully prepare, you will enter the highest, most refined and pure, most tender and prized relationship you can enjoy: that of the complete surrender of self through the union of your your mind, body, and spirit with another. This, in a complimentary, collaborative, creative synergy that increases the bounds of your eternal family in an ever-expanding circle; a small splash in mortality whose ripples expand throughout eternity.

If you carefully choose the right companion to begin this adventure, and bind yourselves together in the Lord's way, sealed under His power, there are blessings in store for you that you cannot fathom now; blessings that cannot possibly be appreciated until they are experienced. I enjoy a small portion of these blessings every time I think of you and what you can someday become: a woman who will mean, to a man worthy of your love, what your mother means to me.

This is what I wish for you, my daughter; my newest love; the finest expression of my faith; the incarnation of my hope for all that is good and worthwhile in this world and the next; my Charity.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Wife Rule #38: She's Pretty in Pink

I'm sure you have heard the ongoing debate about gender stereotypes: you know, sugar and spice and everything nice vs. snakes and snails and puppy-dog tails. The "nature vs. nurture" question in gender roles has been the subject of much research, and the impetus of politically-correct challenges to age-old instincts and traditions.

Oh, stop it already.

As far as my family is concerned, there's really no need for further debate. With our kids, natural instinct clearly dominates, albeit reinforced without resistance through parental support.

Our two oldest children are pink little girls. I suppose that if we had been given boys first, we might have reconsidered painting over the hero-sized mural of black-and-midnight-blue Batman standing in front of a giant yellow-ochre moon in the kids' bedroom of our first home. But as it was, we turned the walls a nice, neutral baby-blue, with the idea of accommodating both genders for future occupancy. Incidentally, it took four or five coats of white paint to cover the Batman-black trim around the closet and bedroom doors, but hey, we didn't want to inadvertently create a household of little Goths, did we?

But blue bedroom walls did nothing to stifle our little girls' inborn affinity for Official Princess Colors: pink and purple. One of our first hints that their color preferences were instinctive was that as toddlers, after being introduced once to pink and purple dinnerware, they each refused to eat out of anything of a different color. Thus, we ended up with pink and purple cutlery and bowls. Soon we had a house full of pink and purple everything.

Those of you who have raised little girls in the Golden Age of Barbie and Disney Princess Merchandising know exactly what I mean. Our house looked kind of like Barney the Purple Dinosaur got caught in the machinery at the Pepto Bismol factory, causing a mass explosion that covered everything in sight: we had pink and purple pots and pans; pink and purple cell phones and hair dryers; pink and purple cars and boats and wagons and carriages; pink and purple horses and ponies and dogs and cats; and let's not forget the pink and purple dress-ups, consisting of gowns and crowns and gloves and feathered boas and high-heeled shoes.

Speaking of pink high-heeled shoes, it wasn't until we had moved into our second home, when our first boy Scott was just over a year old, that the stark contrasts between the gender stereotypes were thrown into sharp relief. I am speaking of course, of the incident wherein our toddler son picked up one of the many dress-up shoes that regularly littered our floors, considering it for a moment. Then, instead of putting it on his dainty foot as had been the prior exclusive behavior of his sisters, he chucked it hard at our freshly-painted wall, leaving a good-sized dent in the drywall that is still visible behind our couch.

A single pink feather, ripped from the shoe by the sudden force applied to it, fluttered down from the hole in the wall, like a fried moth from a bug zapper.

I was stunned; our pink little girls had never done anything so un-Barbie-like in their lives. While I stared blankly at my son, he toddled over to where the shoe had landed, picked it up, and before I could react, promptly chucked it again, creating another dent in the wall. The wild look in his little boy eyes seemed to say, Wow, that was even better than the first time! Cool!

Clearly I was dealing with a person from a different color palette.

And so I have watched with amusement and interest as the pink-and-purple crowd and the black-and-blue crowd in my home have asserted their obvious gender differences through their interests and actions.

Consider my two-year-old son Andrew, whose ears are tuned like a precision instrument to the slightest hints of any type of oversized vehicle that passes through the neighborhood. It's not uncommon for him to suddenly zip out of the room, his little turbo legs a blur, as he runs to the front windows to try to catch a fleeting glimpse of a passing truck.

He gets so excited when the garbage truck comes every Monday morning that his whole body literally shakes when he hears it. "Tash Cuck! Tash Cuck! Tash Cuck!" he screams, and then runs out to the front porch, to wave at the garbageman with wild enthusiasm as he drives by.

I can't say that our girls ever cared about the garbage truck, or any other vehicle, short of occasionally grouping toy cars into "families." Our boys, of course, cause the immediate destruction of all toy vehicles by driving them off cliffs so often that there's no way any lasting familial bonds could ever form.

Speaking of which, the first time I ever took our girls to the fabulous dinosaur museum near our house, I was completely blown away by a large hands-on exhibit that involved a huge, winding basin filled with sand and pumped water. In this miniature wonderland, you could create sand mountains and lakes and rivers and dams, and place little plastic dinosaurs and trees in them, and then watch the Power of Water wipe out entire dinosaur populations, bury them in sediment, and then erode the landscape until they were visible again. Too cool! I was enthralled with the concept of a giant indoor sand box with running water features. To this day, I want to install one in my living room.

Two-year-old Rachel only had interest in finding identical plastic dinosaurs and making them kiss. I'm not sure she even got her hands wet.

Then there's the time I walked in on Dawn, also age two, sitting in her grandpa's lap watching Star Wars. Her eyes were wide, her blanket clutched in her arms, and her two favorite sucking fingers were taking the brunt of her emotion. "This is a noisy movie," she solemnly observed.

Not so for my boys. Star Wars causes them to jump up and down and spin around and hit things.

Then there's Barbie herself, with her thousands of accessorizeable friends. My girls have enjoyed an innocent obsession with Barbie over the years. My boys have never had much interest (except in Barbie's hot-pink convertible car, of course). However, Scott recently had a neighbor girl over to play, and she wanted to dip into the Barbie stash. Scott obliged, resulting with startling swiftness in the first complete Barbie decapitation we have experienced in our home.

Apparently Barbies aren't manufactured to the same standards as Scott's Spiderman and Superman action figures. Rather than smashing through buildings, Barbie prefers to talk on the phone and change pink clothes a lot.

And there's nothing wrong with this; pink clothes are great. We have a new baby girl, and the formerly yellow nursery that Andrew used has magically transformed into a pink monument to petite feminimity. I love it, too; pink just seems right for little Charity. We have pink crib sheets, a pink changing table cover, pink curtains, tiny pink socks and shoes, pink pajamas, pink everything again.

Even a pink wife. See, my wife has recently given up trying to deny that she absolutely loves the color pink. Since then, she has added several soft pink numbers to her wardrobe, and she looks great in them. Somehow any shade of pink on her comes across as hot pink to me, if you get my drift.

But this is no surprise; to me, she's the fairest member of the fairer sex, complete with an arsenal of all the girlish and womanly charms I could hope for. Of course she's pretty in pink.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wife Rule #37: Charity is Love

Charity was born just four days ago, and I suppose the title of this Wife Rule is the first of a thousand times our daughter will have the obvious double-meaning of her name exploited. I hope she doesn't mind this aspect of her name. Charity is one of the most beautiful words in the English language, one I am well acquainted with because of my wife.

I have been thinking a lot about what I could write that would sufficiently honor this special little person who has so recently joined our family. We are all madly in love with her. Even Andrew, just two, raises his already squeaky voice up a few notches in pure adoration when he approaches her, cooing excitedly as he gently pats her forehead with his chubby toddler hands. My wife has really outdone herself in growing this little beauty.

So, I'm going to honor Charity with two brand new poems, written today, just for her. I don't usually write poetry, but occasionally it seems the only medium refined enough to do my feelings justice. It doesn't much matter if anyone else likes them; they're for Charity.


If I could only know what you can't tell,
What images dance behind tightly-closed eyes,
What would you say to me?

Would you tell me of Him
Whose arms you recently left
To come
Into frail mortal arms waiting anxiously?

Would you tell me just how I could possibly be
Worthy to bear the same name,
The title of nobility?

Would you forgive me up front
For future foolishness,
Because of parental pride and anxiety?

Would you join me in thanking
Those who gave you to me,
Your angel mother
And the God of heaven, tearfully?

Would you affirm to me what I already know
When I look at your tightly-closed eyes:
That I'm getting a peek at Divinity?

"Baby in My Arms"

If it's possible to draw new meaning
Out of an old, worn-out cliche
I would speak of the brilliant whiteness
Of pure snow that fell today

Of the amazing singularity
Of each fluttering flake of fleece
To some, just one of a billion more
But to me, a masterpiece

Of the lush freshness in the air
After rain falls in sheets to the earth
The cleansing, heaven-sent, that comes
Bringing life, giving new birth

Of Nature giving her best to men
As from heaven distills the dew;
Yes, the old, worn-out cliches are fresh
To me when I'm looking at you.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wife Rule #36: She's Probably in the Twilight Zone

I'm reading the teenage girly vampire books.

I still remember the first time I ever heard of these books. One of the teenage girls in our neighborhood was over for babysitting, and she had a copy of Twilight with her. My wife asked her about it, and I remember her blushing a little as she sheepishly described a plot about a teenage girl who falls in love with a very handsome vampire who goes to her high school.

Like trying to describe a vivid dream--you know the one, in which you are sprinting after the mail truck, only to realize that you left your pants back at the mail box, when suddenly the truck turns into a pteradactyl and then you are eating pudding--it was obvious that no matter how much sense it seemed to make in her mind, our babysitter felt a silly saying the words out loud. She sounded a little like the female version of the chess-club Trekkies you knew back in high school, but with enough sense to feel self-conscious about it.

I do give her credit for having the honesty to admit that although it sounds dumb, she really liked the book so far. Besides, as far as I'm concerned, she gets a Free Pass, because after all, in our Free Land, rich with traditions like Free Speech and Freedom to Depress, teenage girly vampire books should be able to be openly enjoyed by teenage girls.

However, I've seen a disturbing trend develop as I've watched several full-grown women get sucked into the Twilight Zone. They each go through this same, identical pattern: first, curiosity is piqued by a hearing another female gushing (while blushing) about a bizzare story concept that, quite frankly, makes the person describing it sound like a giddy, love-sick, teenage girl ("Oh, Edward is so dreamy! He has such brooding, penetrating eyes!")

Next, more and more witnesses repeat to her the same story, each with mounting enthusiasm, until the ridiculousness of it all starts to fade and the story begins to sound feebly plausible, kind of like the absurd idea that Ralph Nader doesn't take orders from a space alien via a secret implant in his nose.

The next step in the pattern is that the victim breaks down and borrows a copy of the book, or checks it out from the library, determined to know for herself what all the hoopla is about. This is the first real sign of danger, kind of like when a guy first announces that maybe it would be fun to attend a Star Trek convention, just so he could go mock the people speaking in Klingon. Though you're too polite to say it, you know that if he goes, he'll probably be mocking them in Klingon. He insists that he's not like them--it just sounds like innocent fun. Never mind the "I Grock Spock" t-shirt he has on while protesting his innocence.

But we're talking about vampires here, not vulcans. The disturbing next step in the pattern is that, evidencing the tell-tale signs of being completely sucked into the Twilight Zone, the woman goes out and buys her own copy so that she can put lip-shaped kiss marks on the pages about Edward that she finds particularly appealing. About every other page will end up with a lipstick smear on it, usually combined with droplets containing runny mascara.

At this point, she's completely gone, beyond recall. You will then not be surprised when she goes out and buys all the other books, and reads each of them about a hundred times, which leads to the inevitable final step in the pattern, in which Stephenie Meyer goes out and buys another Hummer.

If you don't know who Stephenie Meyer is, then try sticking your head out of your horse-drawn carriage and embrace the new world where vampires and werewolves play nicely together and girls with absurd names like "Bella Swan" roam the streets freely. Honestly.

So I'd heard so much about Bella and Edward, including being compared to Edward about a dozen different random times (and I'm not sure I always came out on top, either), that I decided to enter the Twilight Zone myself, and see exactly where Edward lived so I could go beat him up. I mean, what's the big deal with beloved, stupid "Eddie" (sorry, ladies; I meant beloved, stupid Edward)?

I could learn to eat my steak rare.

So, in order to set right the wrong in the universe, I wilfully and consciously have entered the Twilight pattern myself. And so far, I... I... HACHOOADMITTHATITSPRETTYGOOD. Sorry, I sneezed there. What I meant to say is that I... I... I... HACHOOADMITTHATITSPRETTYGOOD! Wow, another sneeze. Unfortunately, I don't remember what I was trying to say. Oh well.

So far, the story line is...okay, and the writing style is easy and relaxing, and I've been able to kind of hold my nose and not inhale during the overtly teenage girl parts of the book. I do have to say, for the record, that Edward is kind of feminine: the annoying pretty-boy type that spends as much time futzing with his hair in the bathroom mirror as a typical teenage girl does. No wonder the women all go gaga over him. Big Sissy.

But really, I'm going on far too long here. Duty and the Greater Good calls me back to my book. I just read a part where some young dude named Jacob told Bella some very interesting folklore while on a trip to the beach. I've just got to see whether this affects her relationship with Edward. My interest, I assure you, is purely academic.

Stop looking at me that way. I'm not blushing. I've just been pumping some serious iron and my face is a little flushed, that's all.

And please don't tell the guys, okay?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Wife Rule #35: What Our Kids are Entitled To

Last week in church, I was sitting back a few rows from a beautiful family that combines the genes of a native Hawaiian with those of a native American. The resulting children are beautiful, with deep, brown eyes, and dark, tanned skin, and smiles full of brilliant white teeth. As I watched them converse and laugh quietly amongst themselves, I could that tell their parents adore them--and indeed, it would be hard not to on the basis of physical beauty alone.

Seated on the row beside me was another family, this one with a different mixture of genes among the children. There are several Caucasian children born to the parents, and two beautiful African-American children, the youngest in the family, that were adopted. These neighbors live close to me and I have observed them both in church and at home. I have noticed that there is absolutely no difference in the way the parents, or the older siblings, treat the youngest two children as compared to the others. Any physical differences in the children are inconsequential. Again, these parents adore their children, and it shows.

I'm sure that when these parents look into the faces of their children, they think they are looking at The Most Beautiful Children Ever Born.

Unfortunately, they're wrong. You see, my children are The Most Beautiful Children Ever Born.

I know what you are thinking right now. You are thinking: "You pompous, arrogant jerk, how can you say that when my children are The Most Beautiful Children Ever Born?" And that kind of proves the whole point of what this Wife Rule is about: Entitlement.

"Huh?" you insightfully respond to this revelation. Let me explain. I'm not referring to government entitlement programs. Nor am I talking about the obvious spoiled-brat tendencies of the kids of spoiled-brat thirty-somethings who still feel entitled to every luxury they grew accustomed to having while living in the house of a baby boomer. I'm talking about what my children--and your children--are truly, divinely entitled to.

Our Founding Fathers made a short list of these entitlements: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. My church adds to the list of entitlements for every child: birth into a family with a married father and mother who love each other and honor their marriage vows with complete fidelity. And I add to this list that every child is entitled to be adored as The Most Beautiful Child Ever Born by at least two people in this world, that child's mother and father.

When parents look into the faces of their children, they see miniature shadows of themselves--or at certain times, the best possible reflections of themselves. For that is what I see when I look into the faces of my children too. I see my wife's grace and beauty in the faces of both my daughters and my sons, which makes my heart surge with affection. But I also see myself in them--their countenances reflect my own image back, but somehow with an innocence and purity and grandeur that I don't usually detect in myself.

I am convinced that even without the striking physical resemblance my children bear to my wife and myself, we would still see ourselves in them. For they are products of our union--in a literal, physical sense, but more importantly in an exemplary, modeling, teaching sense. This ongoing influence is by far the more important one, for it never has to end.

I know this because I grew up in a home with all the essential entitlements I listed above. Even though I am far from the innocent little boy I once was, I still know that my parents adore me, and in turn, I still observe and learn from my parents. I still look up to and admire them; I watch what they do and why they do it. As I continue to discover special things about them that I never saw before, I try to learn to become more like them all the time.

Only now that I am a father do I realize how rewarding giving these entitlements to my own children can be. My wife and I are learning what my parents already know: that the beauty of our children is not so much dependent on physical features as it is upon the light and love that radiates from their countenances; and that light is greatest when it includes reflection from the beaming adoration and examples of their unconditionally loving parents. In other words, beauty begets beauty, and love begets love.

Every kid is entitled to some of that.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wife Rule #34: We Are Family

I have only known about Hser Nay Moo for a little over a day. She is the seven-year-old daughter of refugees from Burma, and is the latest subject of an Amber Alert, sent out to inform the public of a potentially abducted child.

People in the apartment complex and surrounding community joined in the search. Police on the case became emotionally involved and refused to go home, searching through the night. And many more, countless thousands, perhaps millions, prayed for Hser Nay Moo's safe return.

Last night, a little more than 24 hours after she was reported missing, the police found her body in the apartment of a neighbor, a tragic end to a frantic search. The news reports have used words such as "sorrow" and "outrage" to express the feelings of neighbors and community members. In truth, no words can describe how they feel--how we all feel.

Today life goes on in usual manner for most of us: working, playing, and attending school. But I want the parents of Hser Nay Moo to know that this really isn't a normal day for us. Though we never knew you, or your daughter, we don't just take this in stride.

When I awoke this morning, I joined the thousands who are praying for you to find peace and comfort. When I sent my six- and eight-year-old daugters off to school today, I held them a little longer. When I drove to work this morning and heard the latest news reports about your tragedy, I cried in my car for you and offered up prayers again.

We are all children of our Heavenly Father. We are all family. Your tremendous loss in some small way is also my loss, because even though I don't know you, I know that your daughter is as precious as my daughters, and your grief is just as great as the grief would be of my wife and I.

I'm so sorry for your loss. We will all be praying for you.