The house is quiet. So quiet---like it used to be on an early Sunday morning when the children were small. I would rise before everyone else and savor, like the last drops of a shared milkshake, the quiet that would soon reach its end.
Quiet is only understood by its contrasts: noise, joyful noise, chaos, six-way conversations, jokes, laughter--often self incriminating; the blare of the TV so the person in the kitchen beating the whipping cream can still hear.
This is conference weekend. A feast of spiritual council which we believe comes from a prophet and twelve apostles patterned after the church during the Savior's sojourn on earth. It's an amazing concept and when grasped, changes the hearts of believers of such a fantastical claim.
On Saturday, the house was full of visitors, food, baking, eating, a half-time spike ball tournament. Then, Saturday night, like rain dissolving the chalk drawings the Banks' children had jumped into, we were left all to ourselves, to create a new chalk drawing into which only Tony and I would jump.
I like the phrase. It conjures up various images, some rather dire, but when I focus on the positive aspects of jump into, it brings joy. It implies whole-heartedness. Devotion. Carpe diem. A go for it attitude.
I picture all the times I jumped into the water, or into the kayak, or into the car about to pull out of the garage on a long journey. A hundred miles down 1-15, there was no turning back. I even jumped from an airplane and once that jump was made, the descent, the risk, the exhilaration, the laws of physics could never allow a return.
I even jumped into marriage. We jumped into parenthood. But parenthood is its own league of jumping into, as it is one of the few things from which there is no turning back, the one thing we can never disengage from. Being pregnant for the first time in my life, was the first experience from which I couldn't get out of.
I'd had a childhood of getting out of. I was in a speech contest once and hadn't prepared well, but I didn't realize it until I was standing at the pulpit in the pre-contest practice. I stumbled again and again, and that night I chose to completely fall---I refused to attend the contest.
As a sixteen year old, I took a job and realized I was in way over my head. The tasks were torture, the hours dragged and I admit with shame, I called my employer and told her I'd broken my leg.
All my life, I tried to get out of doing the dishes, cleaning my room, doing homework.
Ironic that it was children who really taught me how to jump in. And because I loved them so much, it was even easy to change a childhood of bad habits.
A long time ago, I jumped into religion. I embraced the precepts, the theories, the truths. I committed myself whole-heartedly. That commitment doesn't guarantee ease in the kingdom; it often brings the opposite through opposition, doubt, persecution. But the willingness to jump also gives me confidence to hold tight through the opposition, doubt, persecution. It is also why I wake on conference weekend ready to devote hours to listening to a prophet, apostles and other inspired men and women.
Having jumped in, I keep jumping, but the jumping is now to higher places of understanding, higher demands on my character, higher laws to abide...and the view is better the higher I jump.