"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
September 18, 2014
Leaving Things Unsaid
by Hannah Bird

My husband and I have the same annoying habit. We will neglect to mention really important things.

For example, one time I had a heart attack and my husband found out because I said “Remember when I had that heart attack?” several years later. I had already been in the hospital for quite a while being treated for pre-term labor. My husband was away working on housing. I had a small heart attack due to some medicine. Apparently I forgot to share that.

But he’s no better. A car accident this spring left him battered and in pain. I knew about that. I knew the top of his head was scalped. I knew it looked like someone shot him just above his ear.

I did not know the thing I should have known. He avoided being paralyzed by mere millimeters. He is seeing a surgeon specializing in his type of injury to see if a repair for the displaced vertebra will be possible.

I found this out when he mentioned he wouldn’t be home when the neck surgeon called.

If you think we are poor communicators, I can only agree. I come from a long and noble tradition of not talking about the most obvious things that should be talked about. Compared to my extended family, I am a veritable geyser of sharing and emotion.

My daughter once asked if my willingness (comparatively) to talk about issues would make her weak compared to the rest of the family. I responded that I didn’t know since it had never before been tried and we had no data.

In college, I wrote an essay about my husband. It was about the steps that would be required to elicit information from him about a bleeding head wound. It was five pages along. Now that we have done this with an actual head wound, I feel I was optimistic and should probably revisit my premise.

So all these months, there has been this miracle walking around my house. That he could drive the kids to the ranch was a miracle. Every hug was a miracle. Him holding my hand was a miracle. Him petting my yippy little dogs was even more of a miracle than usual. Still having him near to not talk to me for hours is a miracle.

Hopefully he will be here for many years of knowing every opinion I have about world politics but not why I had part of the house remodeled.

Do not confuse our not talking for not loving. He is air and light to me. The loss of him is unthinkable. I got everything I ever wanted (again) when he survived that accident with some bad scars but some good stories.

But I didn’t know. It made me think about how often we don’t. We try to be grateful. We see some things that happen and try to be grateful. But obviously, we cannot see what didn’t happen. We do not always see that millimeter between what happened and what did not.

It sounds funny, I am sure, that we at my house leave so many things unsaid. Ours are maybe more obvious failures to communicate. But I know I am not the only one who leaves such big things unsaid.

Maybe you do it too.

In prayer we give quick thanks for “safety” and then move on to specific needs. We mention health but do it more often when it is in question. We forget to be truly grateful. We overlook the web of miracles that moves us through our days, brings us love, gives us gifts. We don’t see the unhappenings. We do not know that we have already gotten everything we ever wanted.

We worry about answers for prayers we have prayed standing knee-deep in the glory of the answers we didn’t even know to ask for. Our needs feel huge and our time feels tight and we forget to say and be grateful for all the ways in which we are already held.

I know now that my gifts were even greater than I imagined those months ago. But it is not the gift that changed. It’s me. I see now what already was. If we want to be held, if we want to live surrounded by our Father and his many gifts, the way is not to get more. It is to see the more that has come already.

Once we see it, we shouldn’t let those thanks go unsaid. That would just be silly, after all.


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About Hannah Bird

I am me. I live at my house with my husband and kids. Mostly because I have found that people get really touchy if you try to live at their house. Even after you explain that their towels are fluffier and none of the cheddar in their fridge is green.

I teach Relief Society and most of the sisters in the ward are still nice enough to come.

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