Ever hear of adult nocturnal enuresis? I can give you a hint. If you're in a room with 50 adults, one of them wets the bed. And that one person is me.
It's not all the time. It's only about once a year that I get to wake up Wendy, change the sheets, and go cry in the shower. She used to hold me tight afterward to console me. Now she just scolds me, which doesn’t help. When I tell her it doesn’t help, she says, "I sure wish I knew what would help."
So that happened this week. Plus a lot of other fun stuff like getting behind at work and getting behind on the thesis I'm supposed to be writing for the master's degree I'm supposed to finish this fall. Then I calculated my upcoming payments on a student loan whose grand total is now somewhere around 20% of the nation's GDP. It was just a long week.
By the end of it, I was a complete train wreck this whole weekend. I was tired and stubborn and sulky. Then, when we made our obligatory Saturday night visit to Wal-Mart, Olivia started crying. I was sure it was because of my all day nastiness and kept apologizing. But it didn't help. It turns out it wasn't because of me at all. Olivia had gotten seriously behind on a history assignment and felt like she couldn't catch up. The stress had finally bubbled over, and my sweet little nerdy straight-A student was devastated over the prospect of getting her first bad grade.
We stood in the Wal-Mart parking lot and hugged forever long. I told her not to worry because I was her Dad and I'm an expert in getting a whole lot of work done at the last minute. I was 100% sure that we would get it all caught up and done on time. "You have no idea how bad it is, Dad." But I did know, and it wasn't bad. We stayed up late, woke up early, and easily got it done. Not only is she relieved, but she now has a foundational experience to build upon for the rest of her life: When life looks overwhelming, it really isn't.
It reminded me of how my Heavenly Father must feel about me and my little stresses. "You have no idea how bad it is," I want to yell.
"I can't stay ahead at work."
"My student loan is so big."
"I pee the bed once a year."
But my problems surely seem small and my obstacles easy. "Don't worry," I hear Him whisper. "I'm your Father and I'm an expert at getting my children through this stuff."
"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment."
"All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."
I remember what the prophet Howard Hunter told my young generation when he saw us moping in self-pity: "I'm here tonight to tell you that despair, doom, and discouragement are not an acceptable view of life for a Latter-day Saint... Knowing what we know and living as we are supposed to live, we really have no place, no excuse for pessimism and despair."
And tonight—when I hear a relieved "Thank you, Daddy" from my little girl who has now returned to confidence and bliss—tonight, I'm inclined to believe that the prophet was right.