Monday, April 08, 2013

to simply begin, one branch at a time

overwhelmed feeling lifted one branch at a time
so very welcome are the days in which i feel filled as a mother
as a woman
as a daughter of God
today was such a day

i was able to listen to the General Conference of my church, 
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
and felt enriched and empowered to carry on and hope on
{read more about my feelings about General Conference in this post}

i approached this conference having written questions in my journal to which i have been most earnestly seeking answers
i received promises that if came seeking, i would receive answers
oh how i wanted answers

one such answer came to my question which i will summarize as
how can i possibly accomplish all that i see laid before my eyes, those things that are left to me alone to do?
if you are new to my story, 
a story not unlike your own i’m sure
one of difficulty embedded with times of stretching that yield tremendous growth
one of change coming at an alarming rate
one of blessings abounding in endless merciful ways
you may wish to check out a few of my past posts explaining details of our particular family journey here, here, and here

my answer came in an unexpected simple story followed by a wave of warmth from a song
the story was told of a husband & wife who, over many years, had gathered fallen branches from their heavily wooded lot and had stacked them in the back
these branches grew into a mountain of wood
at one point they determined that they needed to move the pile to the street for proper disposable
they soon found that this task would be more difficult than they thought
they tried many methods of moving it: pushing, pulling, dragging with wrapped chains, and even a plank underneath to slide it
but the huge pile would not budge
at last a simple, yet profound idea struck them
they would need to carry the pile one branch, one limb, one piece of wood at a time
and over the course of several days they were able to move the pile

as i listened to this basic story
i saw my pile of priorities, responsibilities, and to-dos in my mind
the seemingly insurmountable pile that has been added branch by branch over time in my mind
finally unpacking
decluttering and organizing my home
creating an environment of beauty where i feel like i belong and where others want to be
learning how to cook 
exercising and chiseling away at my grief weight by eating healthily
creating a house of order
cleaning and all that comes with it
supporting my husband
mothering my children
quieting my voice
spiritual nourishment
neighborly service

with new unexpected branches falling down at my feet from lofty trees in my neck of the woods every day

i’m sure you can easily imagine your own pile of fallen branches in your part of the woods as well

as i listened to this simple solution
i felt this enormous weight lifted from me and my heart began to swell
i have been feeling paralyzed by my indecision of how to chain myself to this pile of to-do's and to-be's  and yank at them all with my whole might til i reach that finish where they will be lifted and carried away
i have been staring at my pile not knowing where to start
which thing to attend to first
being afraid that by choosing one i would neglect the other or all of them
so paralyzed have i remained
but this gave me an answer on how to proceed
the only way to proceed
is to simply begin
just begin
it has been said that the deed is half done once we have made a beginning
we must do what we can no matter how small it seems

and i echo that yes this requires faith
faith in knowing that i will not carry my branches alone
my Savior will take my branches upon him and we will walk together
one step at a time
He will enlarge my capacities and magnify my abilities
He will show me which branches to attend to first, which to save my strength for
which ones i can leave behind
but we must first begin

immediately following this story
the magnificent Mormon Tabernacle Choir began singing
and a rush of emotion and love immediately filled my heart
i felt the love and presence of my Daddy calling out to my soul 
yes, Briana, you can do this
you can accomplish all that you are called to do
this song was ‘Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel
a seemingly peculiar title for a song
but it was one of my father’s favorites
rightly so as he was the hardest worker i have ever known
a willing worker
this anthem is a call to action
a call to put one foot in front of the other, one step at a time
glorifying God in praise, in song, and with a cheerful step
to put our might, our faith to action in pressing upon that wheel
those tasks that we are called to do, which will invite molding, progression, and the becoming of our best selves

then work and watch and fight and pray
with all your might and zeal
push ev’ry worthy work along;
put your shoulder to the wheel

put your shoulder to the wheel; push along
do your duty with a heart full of song
we all have work; let no one shirk.
put your shoulder to the wheel

branch by branch
yoked with my Savior
pushing the wheel of faith into action
with a heart full of song
i will begin

i want to hear from you!
what tools and strategies do you use to prioritize your responsibilities and to-dos?

***photo credit to Artemis Russell


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