Sunday, March 29, 2009

Life Is Beautiful (the sentiment, not the movie, though it is a fabulously poignant film)

Little by little, life has been getting better. You can tell how well I am handling my depression based on the number of blog posts I write. (Notice the number is increasing.) I felt so good this week that I think I actually exuded joy. On Friday my therapist said to the group, "Look at the light in her eyes. We've never seen her so bright." I went to the temple yesterday, and the worker at the recommend desk picked me out of the long line of patrons showing their recommends and said, "Young lady, you have a sweet spirit about you." Today, I taught Sunday School, and I started the lesson by telling the class how overjoyed I was to be there and to teach them. I told them that I loved them and wanted to give each of them a big hug. Then I said, "I won't actually hug all of you, but if you feel like you need a hug today, come up after class and I'll give you one." I was excited when several people took me up on the offer.

Life is beautiful.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Many Uses of a Fork

I've decided that every week I go to group therapy, I will post my favorite quote of the night. This week's knee-slapper, said oh-so-casually: "I use a fork to eat with. She uses a fork to stab me in the eyes."

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Color Purple (the color, not the book, which I have never read)

On Friday I was making dinner, and my friend Lacey was sitting in my living room. Seemingly out of nowhere, Lacey said, "When I was younger, I didn't like the color purple, but now I like it."

I stopped what I was doing and thought, "Lacey has read The Color Purple? Maybe she's just seen the movie. Either way, it doesn't seem like a story she would like." Then I looked over and saw that Lacey was looking at my new shoes: a pair of purple Chucks.

Aren't they awesome?

I laughed and said, "At first I thought you were talking about the book The Color Purple."

Lacey laughed and said, "Oh, Anna, you know I don't read!"

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I started going to a new group therapy a month ago. Last week, the therapist, a Native American medicine man (who also has a PhD in psychology from Cornell, for all you skeptics), worked with me for about an hour. He said that I am tricky to work with because I am so postmodern.

Postmodernism, as defined by the OED: "a style and concept in the arts characterized by distrust of theories and ideologies and by the drawing of attention to conventions."

A few days ago, I told my best friend, Shaant, what the therapist had said, and Shaant said, "I want to be postmodern! Can I be postmodern?" I said, "Don't worry, you're at least as postmodern as I am." Clearly he did not understand that this is a negative attribute in the pursuit of spiritual healing.

This week's quote from group: "Here's a tissue for your issues." I thought it was funny.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sweetness Follows

Every Thursday morning at 9:45, three little elderly women come to the Provo Temple to do initiatories. I am privy to this as I spend more than half of my shift in initiatory, either organizing patrons at the desk or performing the ordinance. We were surprised and concerned last month when we did not see Sisters Nelson, Jenkins, and Ellsworth for three weeks. They rejoined us last week, to everyone's relief.

Sister Nelson is easily the strongest and healthiest of the three. She calls around 8 a.m. on Thursdays to schedule their appointment and drives them all to the temple. Her husband died a month ago, hence their absence.

Sister Jenkins is usually the first to shuffle slowly in by herself. She has poofy salt-and-pepper hair and her eyelids droop with age so that I can hardly see the whites of her eyes. I have never heard her say a single word or seen her smile, but today she leaned close to my chest to look at my name tag and then looked up, with her face close to mine, as though she were memorizing me.

Sister Ellsworth is my favorite. She had a stroke--I don't know when--she just says, "I had a stroke, but I can still come," and I am sure that Thursday morning initiatories are the highlight of her week. She thanks me every time I put my arm around her to help her stand and walk from one chair to the next for each part of the ordinance. I can't tell if she recognizes me from week to week, but she looks at me as though I'm someone special, and I wonder how she can think I'm special when she doesn't even know me. Her eyes look deep into mine and lock me in place so I cannot look away, and I know she sees me as a daughter of God, and I wonder how she can see that when I can't feel it.