One of Brittany’s online groups was holding an art contest and Brittany decided she’d like to enter a picture. The theme was how your life and the lives of your family has changed with your diagnosis. As she thought about it, she commented to her dad that our lives haven’t really changed. He reminded her of how drastically things have changed for us. But, the basic elements of our life have not. One of the blessings of this time is that we have had to simplify our lives. We have had to eliminate the non essential items and just continue with the things that are important. It has helped us to focus on our religion and our family. We used to participate in many extracurricular and community activities that we have put on hold for now. The activities we still do are generally those we can do together. Eli and Kelly do karate together one night a week and Brett and Eli started a running/walking excursion every morning. And we spend lots of time with Brittany wherever she is. We have found that we value our time together. Our home is our family and that togetherness can occur at home or at the hospital. We enjoy our weekly family home evenings, playing games and having lessons and songs (we usually leave the refreshments at home although we do have snacks in the cupboard). Brett has been able to move his meeting and interview schedules around so he has the whole evening to be with Brittany while Eli and mom are at karate, who would have thought that was possible. Brittany and Eli love their time together at the hospital. They watch movies, do crafts, draw on the window with dry erase crayons (the coolest new invention), and have nerf gun fights.
Dieter Uchtdorf, one of the Apostles from our church, in a recent talk, reminded us that it is easy to get away from the basics because of the busyness of life.
“The wise … resist the temptation to get caught up in the frantic rush of everyday life. They follow the advice “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” 1 In short, they focus on the things that matter most.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, in a recent general conference, taught, “We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.” 2
The search for the best things inevitably leads to the foundational principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ—the simple and beautiful truths revealed to us by a caring, eternal, and all-knowing Father in Heaven. These core doctrines and principles, though simple enough for a child to understand, provide the answers to the most complex questions of life.”
“We build deep and loving family relationships by doing simple things together, like family dinner and family home evening and by just having fun together. In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time. Taking time for each other is the key for harmony at home. We talk with, rather than about, each other. We learn from each other, and we appreciate our differences as well as our commonalities. We establish a divine bond with each other as we approach God together through family prayer, gospel study, and Sunday worship.”
These things don’t require us to be in any specific place, only in specific times together. We are grateful that we have been able to simplify our lives, to be able to get rid of the busyness and enjoy time together. We rejoice that we can strengthen each other.