Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Being Still

Our usual Sunday school class was canceled this past week. And since it's the summer and some of the Sunday school classes have been downsized, almost the entire ward was packed into the Relief Society room for Gospel Doctrine. Now don't get me wrong- the teacher was great and I love being with the ward, but I had a really hard time sitting through class. In the first place, I haven't been to a regular Gospel Doctrine class in about a year. When Bryan and I first moved into the ward we were called as ward missionaries and were asked to attend the Gospel Essentials class with the rest of the ward missionaries and the one investigator. Well, the one investigator got baptized and so finally a few months ago they dissolved the Gospel Essentials class and we started to attend the marriage and family Sunday school class. This class, like Gospel Essentials, is a lot more laid back since only four or five couples actually attend it. Bryan and I regularly end up in giggle fits and because things are so much less formal I don't feel like I'm being irreverent when I eat my pregnancy snacks during class. But sitting in Gospel Doctrine (in the front row because we didn't make a V-line for Sunday school the moment Sacrament Meeting got out) in a room packed full of everyone in the ward made me feel a little sheepish about getting out my yogurt and granola bars, let alone making funny comments to Bryan. I ended up taking a quick snack break out in the hall and then tried very hard to sit still during the rest of the lesson, but it was hard.

Last weekend Bryan's grandpa passed away and, as a result, his entire family flew in for the funeral. It was great to have them there, but it certainly made our weekend a lot busier. With two trips to the airport and three or four trips back and forth between Provo and the Ogden area, Bryan and I were on the go. We got to spend a lot of good time with his family and, because of this, I wasn't sitting around as much as usual. This was great, but by Sunday night when I was falling asleep I began to worry. By the time you get to be so far along in pregnancy your doctor and any pregnancy book you read will tell you to start "counting kicks." This means you're supposed to start paying close attention to how much your baby moves so that if you notice a big drop or a complete lack of movement you can let the doctor know. Well, as I was lying in bed Sunday night not feeling any movement I tried thinking back over the previous few days, trying to recall if I had felt my baby girl move around much. Finally I came to the somewhat panicked conclusion that I hadn't felt her move much at all that weekend. Monday afternoon was the funeral, but I woke up early Monday morning and called the doctor. The nurse there said I needed to come in to have the baby monitored, so Bryan and I drove over to the doctor's office where they strapped me up to a machine that follows the baby's heart rate and some other things. I knew then and I know now that it was a fairly routine check, but I couldn't help feeling a little scared and overwhelmed. I didn't talk much and I swallowed hard a few times to keep myself from crying.

Everything was fine. Likely I just hadn't felt the baby move as much because I had been up and doing things all weekend and movement will often rock babies to sleep when they're in the womb. As the kind nurse was unstrapping me she gave me some pointers on what to do if I ever felt a lack of movement again. "Lay down for an hour. If you still haven't counted ten movements in an hour, have a snack and lay down for another hour. If you still haven't counted ten movements after that, give us a call." She wasn't mocking me or accusing me of being overly worried. She knew that a baby who wasn't moving could be in real danger. But she also knew from years of experience that I could save myself a lot of time, trips to the doctor's office, and personal panic if I spent some time just being still.

I found myself thinking about this later that day during the funeral services for Bryan's grandpa. Either because somebody quoted it during their remarks or because the mood of the room was such, my mind kept tracing over the words in Doctrine and Covenants 101:16, "Be still and know that I am God." As I considered the chapel full of Bryan's family there for the funeral and the general peace and calm that filled the room, I thought of stillness and that the reason this room full of relatives could be so peaceful was because of their knowledge of the plan of salvation. They were sad to see their father and grandfather go, but they knew that they would see him again. There was no sense of panic or worry at their loss. They were there to console one another and mourn together and just to be together at one of life's crossroads. There was nothing they could do to change the change, but they gathered to witness it together. They were busy in their work of consolation and remembrance, but as a whole they were peaceful and steady and still.

I've been thinking about being still a lot lately and I have come to the conclusion that it is one of those essential things in life. I think it's one of those extremely basic lessons we're supposed to learn while we're here. It's not always easy to be still. Often it's tempting to eat snacks and giggle instead. Sometimes it seems like we don't have time to be still. And I think because it's a challenge, I am all the more convinced of its importance. You know, kind of the principle of "Slow down. You move too fast. You've got to make the moment last." I don't necessarily think we're always supposed to go around feeling groovy, but I think Heavenly Father wants us to learn to not always be in such a rush. I think he wants us to learn to enjoy the moment, to not hurry through big decisions, to have time to look at roses and butterflies and bugs in the dirt. Of course we're supposed to work hard and do a lot of things in this life, but I think there is something eternal in the principle of stillness.


  1. Katie, this was beautiful. Thank you for taking the time to write, to post, and to be still.

  2. Maddy's pregnancy gave me a lot of time to be still, and I am grateful for a number of things that I received as promptings during those times. I am glad that Baby Girl is doing fine and still kicking.