a robust mortality

Feb 26, 2011

Today I had the privilege of attending a truly wonderful Relief Society (my church’s women’s organization) meeting with thousands of other women from my area. It was soul-filling. It was jam-packed and powerful. I could go on and on about it, but right now I want to focus on a little phrase Sister Beck used that I have fallen in love with.

“We are experiencing a robust mortality and need the blessings our Father in Heaven has for us”

Robust mortality?

I should say we are. As human beings here on earth, we experience birth, death, sickness, excruciating pain, hunger, joy, peace, anger, grief, loneliness, satisfaction, hope, faith, love, passion, regret, guilt, sorrow, compassion, desires of all kinds, selfishness, selflessness, inspiration, and oh, so much more.

When I think back on the robust mortality I have experienced so far, I am grateful for the variety and richness of my life. I think back to being a young girl and singing songs with my mom, to learning to ride my bike with my dad, doing my first back handspring, and cutting my knee open in a race with Camille around the garbage dumpster at our families’ grocery store. I remember walking the groceries down to my great-grandfather’s house, proudly showing my report card to my parents, hitting a home run at my softball game, my mom running over my foot when I jumped out of the car before she stopped all the way, and making gallons of a yummy, juicy concoction with the big pans in the meat department of our store.

I remember the agonizing heartbreak the day my dad drove away from our home, never to live with us again. I remember the endless list of mistakes I made as a teenager. I remember the support my friends gave me all through those long, hard years of trying to figure out just who I was really going to be. I remember the fun of being a checker in our store and trying my darndest to make sure each customer’s experience was a fabulous one. I remember the fun of Pioneer Day parades, rodeos, swimming in the river, chasing cows, catching guppies, and having lots of family reunions all summer long. I remember spending my summers with Camille, each of us attending both of our girls’ camps and feeling completely comfortable in the other person’s life. I remember camping with my grandparent’s at Green River Lakes – cleaning outhouses, picking up used matches and Jolly Rancher wrappers, going swimming in the lake, hiking up to Natural Bridge, picnics at the cave, soaking our feet in Mill Creek, and meeting people from all over the world. I remember going to the 1986 World Fair in Vancouver with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins just a few weeks after my dad left. I remember digging for clams at the ocean. I remember playing basketball and how much I loved to steal the ball and race down the floor to make a lay-up. I remember winning games and feeling like the top of the world and losing them and crying my eyes out. I remember how much fun it was to do back handsprings all the way across the gym floor while the crowd screamed at the top of their lungs. I remember speaking at Stake Conference wearing my $9.79 dress that I just had to have and bought “knowing” my mom could repair the hole in the bottom. I remember my devastation when I lost the election for Student Body President and how elated I was a few days later when I was called to be the Seminary President. I remember precious letters written by my mom that softened my heart and reminded me just how much she really did love me when I was being too difficult for her to talk to me face to face. Those letters were my life-line! I remember trying out to be a cheerleader at Ricks College and obviously being the best one to try out, but not making the team because I was too fat (in the words of the coach). I remember being mortified when I wrecked my brother’s VW bug by driving it into a parked Audi in the 7-11 parking lot on my way to a State Leadership Conference and how the whole bus had to wait for me to finish the accident report. I remember feeling less than everyone else because my parents were divorced. I remember wishing my dad would just come back to us and sit in the stands cheering for me. I remember the shame and rage I felt when my mom was raped by a man in our church. I remember the trial and how it divided our ward and our little town. I remember the anger I felt for years towards men and the peace I felt when I finally allowed Christ to take the anger away.

I remember those days of early marriage…ooohhh, those precious days of learning to live together, learning to trust, learning to love. Those days were hard for me, so very hard. I had no idea what a healthy marriage looked like, how an emotionally safe person responded to her spouse and let me tell you, I was not an easy person to live with. I was tumultuous and he never knew what I was going to do next. One day I would be loving, the next full of rage, the next threatening to leave, the next calm as can be. I would never want to relive those days, but I am oh, so grateful for them. They taught me the power of love to heal a person’s soul. They also taught me how very much my Heavenly Father loves me and to what lengths He will go to rescue His children. I learned of the atonement’s cleansing power.

I remember the early days of motherhood. Blythe and I had so much fun together! We were completely in love with one another and I spent my days exploring her world with her. I think in many ways, I found myself during that time. I was able to revisit those core issues of good vs. bad, what love is, what a family is, how I wanted my mothering days to be spent, what childhood means, and how to find truth. As she discovered her world, I discovered mine. I found ideas that resonated deep within my soul and I followed spiritual promptings to create a house of learning, imagination, and fun.

As the years of my marriage have gone by, we have experienced much joy, much sorrow, but most of all, much love. My husband’s gentle, continuous, and all-encompassing love has given me hope when I felt like giving up, courage to keep striving, and security to be who God created me to be. I am so, so grateful to be married to this man who nurtures me in a way that is indescribable.

We have witnessed miracles. We have made huge mistakes. We have felt aching grief. We have cried through the night. We have lost ten babies. We have felt completely safe in one another’s arms.

We are finding our way through this mortal experience. It is not easy. It is not for the faint of heart. It is full, varied, and certainly, robust.

Related Posts


  1. Anne

    So THAT’S the robust she was talking about. I took it differently when you were telling me about it. I thought you were talking about big families. Well, this was a very tender and sweet post. Thank you for writing it.

  2. Anne

    It’s amazing to me and certainly a testament that Heavenly Father is nearby, within hearing distance, and so full of love and caring for each of us. Especially you, because I don’t know how else you could have grown into who you are from where you came from if it weren’t for his watchul, loving care and guidance. Yay!

  3. Oh, Tracy! I sooo love this post! I have learned so much more about you from this candid, heartfelt message. I wish we could have been able to get to know each other more during the small amount of time I lived near you. Bless you! I hope we can visit at the Forum in a couple weeks. {{{hugs!}}}

  4. Robyn

    Robust indeed! Life is FULL! You have painted your story with such richness that I felt a part of it. You are just full of soul!

  5. tracy

    Thank you, Anne, Rachel, and Robyn! Thank you for reading my words and valuing them. I love sharing myself and it is nice to know it makes a difference in someone’s life.

    Rachel…yes, I will be at the Forum! See you there!