Sunday, July 6, 2008

If by Rudyard Kipling


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And—which is more—you'll be a Man, my son!
--Rudyard Kipling

I decided at the start of this year that I would write down spiritual experiences when I had them. As you know, I’ve been very upset by the events of the past month, and when it really sank in that we’re in bad financial trouble, and I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next few months, I started having serious anxiety attacks. It started with waves of nausea that would wash over me at random times, then escalated to full on fight or flight response. I wiped myself out with cleaning and weeding for a few days, but after a while, with nowhere to go and nothing to fight, I got kind of paralyzed, and found that I couldn’t make any decision -- even one as small as whether to get up and do the laundry or not. I can fight off a panic attack if I sit and breathe and tell myself it’s going to be OK and I can relax and so forth, but when it got to the point of trying to fight of a hundred a day, I knew I was in bad shape.

For various reasons, going back to my last therapist isn’t a convenient option, and though I was beginning the search for somebody local, it got cut short by the flood of events in June. I saw myself spiraling out of control and losing even the ability to do anything about it.

While Mom was here, she borrowed a random book off our shelf. It’s called To Him that Believeth - Claiming Heaven’s Blessings by Frederick and June Babbel. Evidently, Peter’s mom had given us this book, and I had never noticed it before on our shelves. When my mom gave it back, she mentioned that Daddy had really been impressed by hearing the author speak about his experiences in Europe after WWII touring with President Benson. I thought I’d give the book a try, and read the first chapter. It talked a lot about how having faith can bring miracles, especially miracles of healing. It stressed that if we have faith to be healed and expect to be healed, we truly can expect a miracle.

Well, last night I told Heavenly Father that I NEEDED to be healed. I KNEW He could take the panic attacks away, and I BELIEVED that He would. He knew that I would be substitute teaching in Sunday School, and also had to take care of Elizabeth, and I really couldn’t do either if I couldn’t sit still at church (like last week). Nothing else changed between last night and this morning. I still don’t know what’s going to happen, but I was remarkably calm today. I taught a really good lesson, and made it through church without having to go hide in the Mother’s room.

I truly believe that this was a direct answer to my prayers. Heavenly Father knows what I’m going through, and He’s going to take care of me. It’s still scary, but we’re gonna get the support we need, and we’re gonna make it through this tough time. He’s gonna bless us with a new opportunity for Peter, and we’re gonna be okay again. I experienced one of the tender mercies of Heaven today.

While I was looking for poems for my two posts Friday (since I don’t have a therapist at the moment, blogging is my therapy. You’re just lucky enough to be along for the ride), I saw this poem on my list of possibilities, and thought, “Yeah, right, IF only! The way I’m handling this crisis I’ll never ‘be a man, my son!’” Today I feel differently. I still don’t feel like I quite measure up to this ideal, but I’m closer today than I was yesterday. Keeping my head is the big problem for me. I’ve also had trouble with sounding ‘too wise.’ It’s good to be reminded that disaster is an imposter -- it’s not the end of the world. I’ve started over before. I’ve been in worse debt (at least worse than we are at the moment). The difference is that now I have Peter and Elizabeth, and nobody’s gonna take them away from me. I’m not in this alone, and I have enough support from them and other family members that I don’t have to resort to living on will power alone as I have in the past. One bad month does not mean that I have to end up with a nervous breakdown that’ll take me a year or two to recover from (which has been one of my paralyzing fears).


  1. Karen--
    I just wanted to let you know that we're thinking about you and praying for you daily. I was at a Cosby family reunion this last week and my sister-in-law was telling me how much she loved blogging. I agreed and told her how much I liked receiving your blog posts. I feel like I know and understand you better than I ever have before since you started your blog, and that makes me love you more. If there's anything I can do that would help-- call you more, send more emails, send you dinner ideas-- let me know. I love you very much and I hope knowing that will add to the calming influences in your life.
    Love, Heather

  2. Praise God for the tender mercies:)

  3. Dear Karen,

    I just got out "To Him that Believeth" recently also. It is a great comfort to me. Bro Babbel also came here and spoke some years ago, and we used to see him when we were going to the Washington Temple. He was one of the workers there. We also have his book "On Wings of Faith" which is about his touring war-torn Europe with Pres. Benson, to help the saints there. Reading things like this can help so much when there is so much unknown to face. If you would like to borrow it, I'd be glad to send it to you.

    I know that Heavenly Father loves you and knows what is happening in your life. It's still amazing to me that he brought you and Peter together when he did. The timing was right, and the timing will be right again for good things to come to you.

    We also pray for you daily.

    My health has been the pits since getting back from California, and sometimes it gets me into a near panic too. I heard some wise counsel and when I remember to apply it, it helps a bunch. You mentioned sitting and breathing. Often when a panic is involved it's difficult to get deep breaths, so what really helps, and is more realistic, is SLOW breaths. I've found that when I remember to slow my breathing down, after awhile I can breathe deeper and the result is a much more calm spirit. When breathing is too shallow and rapid it increases panic, and can cause prickly hands and feet, and a cold clammy feeling, and other horrible sensations.

    A quote just popped into my head: "Never doubt in the dark what God has told you in the light…" I don't remember who said it. I heard it on Christian radio some years ago. It sure has helped me, and so I pass it on to you.

    Love, Kathey

  4. Karen,
    You hang in there! You're going to get through this because you have people who love you and you are a very good woman. Please know that others have days like this and you are not alone. In fact you are never alone as long as you have H.F.

  5. Hey Karen,
    You haven't written in a while; you doing okay?