To never look away (to notice)

Arundhati Roy

“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”
–Arundhati Roy, The author of The God of Small Things was born 24 November,1961.

I’ve spent the last couple of days pouring over old calendars, photos and journals as I’ve been working on a special Christmas gift for my kids. I’m putting together chronologies of their lives, from their births until now. In the process, my own life is also displayed, for better or worse.

Yesterday I read the quote above and I’ve been thinking about my life in those ways.
It feels like my life used to be so simple. My children’s lives were simple. To love and be loved. Period. In these records I’ve watched my life unfold next to the lives of my children during the last 21 years. I remembered the heartache surrounding getting them here. And the joy of welcoming them into our family. And the pure love that surrounds raising little ones.

I’ve remembered their growing, their questions, their trust. I’ve charted their years,
their growing independence and branching out away from my life. How quickly the years are moving them away from me.

I’m wondering if I’ve taught them the right lessons. Last Monday evening for our
Family Home Evening before Thanksgiving, John had us read Mosiah 4 together. King Benjamin would also have liked Arundhati Roy’s quote. I wondered if King Benjamin’s words registered with the kids. Or if they were just eager to get on with the evening and activities with their friends.

The other day I was reading chapter 8 in Mormon. In verse 39, Mormon, who saw our day, asks, “Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?” Isn’t he asking us not to look away?

I wonder if I’ve taught my children to notice, to appreciate, to love. I wonder if they are learning to go to the hard places, to help the sufferers, to make a difference in the world, to notice how blessed they are and now much they have to share. I don’t believe my work is finished yet.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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