Friday, August 06, 2010

Reflecting on my roots, my blog posts from 1997, what I had to say at Sunstone

My blog, as blogs are now understood, began in 1997.  My first posts are at:

Back in the day comments were not like they are now.  My comment thread for my posts is at:

I got to thinking about that when I spoke last night. I really do not write the same sorts of posts any more.  I've shied away from that ever since I dealt with someone who was constantly attacking me over posting about my life and experience.  Changed my topics, changed my sub-title to my blog, and withdrew.

I admit, they succeeded in causing me personal harm, in withdrawing not only on my blog, but in my life from dealing with grief and recovery. 

But speaking in public last night on the story of my life got me to thinking and realizing that I still have a long way to go.  Last night I was asked to introduce the topic and the other speakers, which I did (of all things it was a panel based on a blog post I had written:  I was then asked to tell my own story, so I did.

So, what have I learned from my personal story?

I have learned that for me, in my patience I keep my soul.

I have learned to keep the commandments because it pleases God, with no other expectation.

I have learned that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. I have learned that nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ.

So, how in my story did I learn these things once again?

Hmm. I have to admit that I began blogging in the 1990s (first on paper people spread around, then on-line), before it was called blogging, in order to avoid talking in public. But here I am.

So, my story.

About Christmas our six year old came down with the flu. Her last night at home I held her all night so she could sleep. Then she was admitted to the hospital, spent thirty days in various ICUs and died on January 26, our wedding anniversary.

Eleven months later, just before she turned two, our youngest daughter died on December 26. Again we were left with unopened Christmas presents, neighbors who took down the decorations for us and a home teacher who avoided us.

But, we remained engaged in the community. Win went back to school for a second degree and graduated as co-valedictorian. I rebuilt my legal practice.

I was approached by a group to run for office against an incumbent they were desperate to beat. Since it was a tipping point seat they were willing to spend a million dollars or so. The current office holder responded by announcing his retirement.

My wife spoke at the BYU women's conference. She was seven months pregnant and I had promised myself that with the birth of this child, who we decided to name Robin, that we would heal.

I had also continued to publish, and unknown to me there were groups who would be contacting me in a couple of years to interview for tenure track positions.

Edited that way it sounds like a triumphant happy ending, doesn't it.

So, Robin was born, my dad beat the skin cancer that was going to kill him in six months.

But. Robin had a heart defect. She survived the surgery when 40% of the children with the problem die. She reached a safe place and we took her home. Then she developed a hidden arrhythmia.

If you know us, you know the rest of the story. Win came home from work to see an ambulance and the first responders. They took over from me, but the CPR still failed. Four and a half years, three burial services. We also had some miscarriages as well during and after.

And here I am. I have two children I adore and a wife who is my life. My youngest has Tourrette's and needs time. Instead of a thirty-something guy who was in windsurfing focus groups and building a reputation in a breaking academic area, I'm in my mid-fifties with an interest in a new area that is, honestly, dead stone cold.

But, I have learned lessons because, much to my surprise, God sustained me. I've learned that in life or death that Jesus is the Christ. That life is in Christ, not in other things. That virtue is its own reward because virtue itself is the true goal -- we seek God, not to trade God in for the things of this world.

That is my story. Now tell me yours. The floor is open to the audience to share with us your stories and ask any questions you might have.

1 comment:

JA Benson said...

Thank you Stephen.
I am sorry for your many losses. I was in attendance at your session at Sunstone. Your talk was just as moving in print form as it was live. The panel discussion was a kind of much needed group therapy session for me. I came away with deeper insight.
Thanks again, Joanna