The Great Endurer--{or, i want to do something great}

Friday, March 22, 2013
The following post is not a brag. It is a lesson. An insight. A journey. A balance trying to be achieved. I should also say that I'm not fishing for compliments. But I am fishing for advice on how to balance it. 

I've had some prevailing emotions and thoughts this week. They mostly center around "success". I'm feeling the pulls of a desire to do more, be more, learn more, make more (money), know more.  Going back to school for a graduate degree has crossed my mind more than once. Getting a job and having a "real" career sound so enticing to me right now. I'm not sure what exactly it is I'm craving--but I want to do something great. All while being there with my kids to see them grow and develop and share sweet moments, of course. (Right.)

Everywhere I look I see another mom inventing something--starting a company, making a lot of money, getting a promotion, publishing a book. I want these things! I want the adult interaction. I want to use my talents and gifts. In short, I want to become more than I am. My mind's sponge feels long dried up and begging for a torrential downpour. A new language, a new skill, a new experience, a new show, new scenery...something!

I saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang last night at the Hale Center Theatre. It was phenomenal. I really needed to be on that stage playing the Baroness and being hilarious. I got to see old friends, go out with a great girlfriend, be entertained, have a break from the tedium of my day-to-day life. It was great.

My friend who choreographed the show was there that night. We had fun chatting it up during intermission. She is my age. She owns a dance conservatory, choreographs all over the state, recently flew to NYC to interview with a super Broadway legend...MAN. She's the cream of the crop. But after intermission I sat there thinking, "I want to do all these great things. I want to LIVE MY DREAMS!"

After the show I spent some quality time (not enough) with my girl Ali (who, coincidentally, does play the hilarious part of the baroness and kills it all the way to the moon). I mentioned these thoughts to her then said, "I want to be known as more than just 'a great ENDURER'. Ya know?"

So there it is. Molly the Endurer. How about Molly the great performer? Or Molly the great writer? Or Molly the great business woman? (And again, this is all on top of Molly the great Mother--of course. I want my cake and to eat it too.)

The next day I got a phone call from my neighbor. She is a single mother. She is separated from her son. She recently left the local Women's Shelter (The Peace House) and is renting a room in a home up the street from me. I've been helping her get some clothing (we are the same size), a computer, and back on her feet. We met at the grocery store bakery when I mentioned I'd seen her walking in my neighborhood. (She doesn't have a car. And Peter loves doughnuts...thus, the trip to the bakery where she worked.)

Anyway, long story short--she needed a ride from Heber City back to Park City. She was stranded (long story). This phone call came as I was writing the above paragraphs about wanting to do something great. I loaded Peter, Soren, and Zoë into the car and headed down in the snow to pick her up. I was happy to do it.

As we were driving, I heard the faint whisper of a sentence that sounded something like this, "Something great."


  1. "The best antidote for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired." -Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley

    Yes, you did something GREAT!!!

  2. These are the exact thought that have been on my mind lately, except the singing/acting part :) It made me feel better knowing others feels the same things. And I totally agree with that feeling you had. I don't think the "great" things are always what we expect them to be. I don't necessarily know what they are for me, and I'm open to them being whatever is right. They can be small or big. I just want to feel more purpose. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  3. Yes, you did something great! :) and you also sure taught me a lot with this post. I think we all tend to think by doing something great it must be something big and exciting. But no, its not that at all. Something great can be simple and yet makes us feel amazing inside. Your sweet friend is amazing and lucky to have you.
    This post was just what I needed to day! THANKS

  4. It is so interesting your post has reflected my own personal ups and downs over the last two years. The desire to get lost in my own ambitions, the real yearning for easy-to-identify adulation. Facebook is an awful place to watch what seems like the "real world" pass you by. I heard a whisper the other day too. I was trying to explain why I am not on American Idol or singing in LA for the 100th time -- when I stopped myself and found myself saying -- "because there are so many more important things to be doing."

    I have had to stop watching other people live their lives. No more spying on Voodoo Production or Jenny Frogely or countless others. I know in my heart what I am supposed to be doing. Where my focus must be. If I look for just a moment across at the beautiful spacious building, I find myself stumbling. (read Lehi's vision in the BoM and see about those who "cling" to the iron rod and those who "hold steadfast". It is fascinating the difference).

  5. Can I say this is exactly why I love the movie It's A Wonderful Life? In today's world it really seems like more than ever before anyone can be famous. It used to be just the really talented, creative, beautiful or smart it's anyone. In some ways thats very, very good. Not everyone worth knowing is talented, creative and beautiful in the traditional Hollywood sense. I'm glad there are people in the spotlight who wouldn't have been 30 years ago. But in another way, it's very very bad. People aspiring to be famous, just to be famous. Sometimes this desire for attention drives people to do some really insane things (remember the balloon boy and his I-want-to-ink-a-reality-show-deal-for-my-family dad??). I don't think it's just evident in reality shows either. In the blog world suddenly someone shoots to the top and we might think, "why is their blog so great? why am I not getting more this or that?" As a performer you probably crave that spotlight more than most--which isn't a bad thing. You love it! You're great at it! It's fulfilling and exciting.

    I've totally wrestled with these same desires--to DO more, to BE more. But when I'm honest with myself a lot of it has little to do with actually being a better version of myself (more humble, kind, generous, etc) but rather with getting more attention and praise. When I think about what I really want to do and why, I know that being myself and doing what I really love has to be top priority. Not money or attention. Which is why, once again I love It's a Wonderful Life...I think that we're told so often to reach for the stars!, dreams do come true!, that we think there is failure in a life that hasn't achieved something of that measurable worldly success. However, I think some of the most successful lives are ones filled with a simple beauty. For me I find that focusing on gratitude has helped quite the noise in my head immensely.

    And yes, that was some great thing you did. Have you ever read The Great Divorce by CS Lewis? It's my favorite, and I think you'd love it. (I hope that none of this came off preachy...but just speaking from my own thoughts/struggles with the same issues).

  6. I know what you mean. I used to get so bummed watching other people my age doing way more with their lives and having a way better experience. While being a mom is a super important job and I work hard at it, it is often more frustrating than fulfilling. Our oldest son (now 19) is bipolar and our middle son has OCD and anxiety. It's an ongoing struggle. Actually, it is part of the reason I love your blog--you help me put my life in perspective. For a long time, I really needed SOMETHING...the day to day of life was not making it for me. So, about a year and half ago, I started volunteering at an assisted living facility nearby. I'd go in a couple of hours a week to paint nails, play games, visit, and help with shopping. It changed my life. Seriously, a HUGE difference. The residents were so sweet and appreciative. They were so glad I was there. They made me feel like I was doing something amazing even though it was something so simple. It felt truly meaningful. I took my kids on one of their days off from school, to my surprise, they liked it so much, they started asking to come with me. Last September, I was offered a job doing what I had been doing as a volunteer (all the same fun, but getting paid now too? What?), I accepted and I love it :) This job is about a million miles from my original career path. I never would have thought of something like this before. It goes to show how the little things, the little choices, can often be the most impactful. On a side note, if there is one near you, consider taking your kids to visit an assisted living facility. The residents would love it! Especially the memory care residents. There's nothing they love more than playing ball with a child. It makes their day. One told me that it makes them feel young again. Like your story shows, it's those little acts of kindness that matter most. That's what makes us the kind of people we should be. All the fame, success, money, etc, is just fluff :)

  7. This is very interesting to me, since I have been thinking of this same topic the last few days. I too struggle sometimes with wondering if I will ever do something "extraordinary" and amazing. Not that I want fame, wealth and a castle of my own (there was an article on how to buy your own castle in the Wall Street Journal today. Germany was the best place to do it. They were totally serious, too. ) Sometimes I just have a nagging feeling that I feel like I could have been successful at other things, other paths. There was a time in my life when I had a lot of potential to be a lot of different and amazing things. I was applauded on a regular basis. I was "famous" in my part of the world. My reputation for amazingness preceded me.
    Now, no one knows who I am, and going to a Relief Society activity and having a belly laugh with another sister is the highlight of my month. A long time ago I was pretty special...but as the years go buy I am realizing I am pretty much like everyone else. Bummer.
    This is a good thing for me to come to grips with, though. It is a good humbling realization. I was happy to see you have had the same feelings, as I'm sure most moms feel this way from time to time...even the "famous" ones.
    Then I think about The Four Women in the my ward. Molly, I find this very strange, but perhaps it happens more often than I think. There are four women in my ward, women whom I visit taught with, laughed with, read poetry with, commisserated with, women who were my dear friends, who, in the last five years decided to leave the church and leave their husbands.
    I think a lot of it had to do with this very thing. This tugging and yearning to be "special" and "important." They needed to "find themselves." They needed to be "true to who they were."
    Each time I heard about one of my friends who made this decision I felt a great remorse for them and their families. I also felt a greater desire to "endure" like you mentioned. It is not as glamorous, it is not as special...but then, this life isn't about me, is it? Sometimes I wish it were, but it isn't.
    So thanks for writing this and letting me know that I am not alone in my desires to be "extra."

    You are right, that the places we are needed the most are seldom in the spotlight, and the people in the spotlight are seldom needed the most.

    I will have to think about this some more and maybe write about it on my own blog. Thanks for bringing up the topic.

    Love you, Molly.

  8. for whatever its worth... i think you are already great. its hard not to want a glamorous label... seriously. i have felt that pull before. the only advice i would offer you, SINCE YOU ASKED, is that you kneel down and pray to your heavenly father and ask him what he wants you to do with your life. offer your talents up to him and he will guide you. just like he already has. reading my patriarchal blessing has helped me, too. good luck! xo

  9. Remember that life is long and times and seasons for everything and all that jaaaeeeazz. What if you did 1 show a year while your kids are little? There is give and take in everything so if you chose the worldly view of what is great you would be sacrificing other things.

    But I think we have to change our definition of what is greatness. Truly what you are doing with your kids is amazing and great and will never come again.

    Have you ever considered going to a Power of Moms retreat? There is one coming up in Park City in may. It changed my life when I went last year!

  10. These feelings remind me of feelings I had last month that spurred this article titled, "I Want To Be Fabulously Ordinary." (

    Why are we so prone to thinking the grass is always greener...

  11. I love, and identify with, this post so much. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "We can do no great things, only small things with great love." - Mother Theresa.

  12. I say if you want to do something do it. I say you are already great. Just be you, your whole self and follow your dreams and you will be successful. And you are already a great writer. You inspire people everyday by just being you and telling your life stories.

  13. Unexpected ending to a great post. Awesome.

  14. What a lovely post. And what a lovely day to meet you. Kudos to you, Molly.


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