Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Pride is a funny word. It seems that there is good pride (pride in ones family, country, achievements, etc.) and there is bad pride. I guess in that sense, it's sort of like cholesterol. Like cholesterol, we not only have to be careful about the amount of pride we have, but we also have to maintain a proper balance of good and bad pride.

I seem to be cursed with pride - and it's mostly the bad pride. You know, the kind that is often used in the scriptures in conjunction with words like wickedness, abominations, and whoredoms. I don't mean the boastful kind of pride (I guess that's one advantage of having self esteem issues). but the exaggerated estimate of one's own abilities type of pride. the kind of pride that prevents one from asking for help when help is needed.

Not asking for help in completing my deck is just the latest example of my pride. Last night I was thinking about this, and I remembered an earlier experience where my pride prevented me from asking for help when help was needed. This was before my youngest child was born. My son who recently returned home from a mission was just a baby. But, first I have to backup and relate the story of

Our family vacation from Hell!

We were going to a family reunion in Hot Springs, South Dakota. We were a young couple with three young children. Money was tight, so we decided that we would drive (instead of fly) and camp (instead of hotels).

Day 1
We left early Saturday morning. Heloise (my wife) had made a lunch. Unfortunately, the contents of our cooler shifted, and the sandwiches fell to the bottom and sat in the water from the melting ice.

That night, the campground was full, so we were directed to the overflow camping area. We ended up setting up came near another family who was awake all night partying. They kept having to go get more beer. The door on their car was, evidently, damaged because it took 3 or 4 tries to get it to close. Also, I think their car was in serious need of a new muffler. So, all night long it was

"dang, we're outta beer"
Vrrrooommm, putt-putt-putt ...
(about 20 minutes later)
... putt-putt-putt Vrrrooommm
"Oh good, Earls back with the beer"

Day 2
I awoke early (actually, I'm not sure I ever got to sleep). The air had that feeling of impending rain. So, I woke up Heloise and suggested that we skip making breakfast at camp, instead we should break camp and stop for breakfast after we had driven for a while - and we almost made it. We had the kids in the car, all of our stuff. We just had to take down the tent when the sky opened up. By the time we got the tent into the car, Heloise and I were drenched. We stopped at a restaurant down the road for breakfast. It was Sunday, and the restaurant was crowded with people in their Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes when we walked in grubby, drenched, and three crying children.

That night we camped in Missouri. The campground was nice. The only bad thing was that our baby got a tick on his head which grossed us out. We didn't have any tweezers, neither did the camp office nor any of the other campers we talked to. But, we finally got the tick removed. (in case you are wondering, no, I'm not an Eagle Scout)

Day 3
Somewhere in Nebraska, on the last leg of our journey to South Dakota, the air conditioning in our minivan went out. Other than that, the journey was uneventful and we arrived safely in Hot Springs.

Day 4
First day of the family reunion, uneventful. I drove to a nearby town to a dealership to see about getting the a/c fixed (since it was still under warranty), but was told they didn't have any in stock and it would take a week. So, I decided I would wait until we got back home to address the a/c.

Day 5
I took my two older children fishing at a small lake near our cabin. Heloise walked over to the lake to take pictures, slipped, fell, and broke her leg. Her parents took the kids while she and I spent the rest of the day at the local hospital. This was a very small hospital (I think they had 6 beds). The emergency room didn't have a doctor on site, just a nurse. So we had to wait while she called a radiologist in to come take xray's, and then for a doctor to come in to look at the xrays and say "yup, your leg is broken".

Days 6&7
Cutting our vacation short, we loaded up the minivan and began the long journey home without a/c and with Heloise's leg in a cast. The first day wasn't so bad. But, by the time we made it to Oklahoma and Texas, it was getting pretty uncomfortable. Heloise was dipping towels in the cold melted icewater in the cooler and draping it around my neck as I drove. We finally made it home late in the evening.

Day 8
We're home but baby was getting sick, so I took him to a doctor who immediately checked him into the hospital. He was diagnosed with Rocky Mounted Spotted Fever (from the afore mentioned tick), so he spent several days in the hospital.

There we were: My baby was in the hospital, Heloise had a broken leg. Problem is, Heloise was the Relief Society President. Who does the RS Pres go to when she needs help?

Did I ask for help? No,
Did I even accept help that was offered? No.

I was too proud. I interpreted offers of help as saying that they thought I couldn't handle it on my own.

I've always been an independent person. I paid my own way through college. My parents are non-members and weren't too thrilled about me going on a mission, so I paid for that myself as well. But, sometimes, I think I take this independence too far.

Maybe it's the gay thing. I have this part of me that I don't have any control over, so when I find something that there is, at least, an illusion of control, I go overboard. I'm starting to come to terms with being gay. But, this damn pride thing is driving me crazy!


drex said...

At 5:30 or 6:00 tonight, pick up the phone, call your home teachers, and ask them if they can help you work on your deck some time before the weekend. If not, ask if they know anyone that can. You can do it!

I think I haven't found any decent way to just change my mindset away from pride - I just have to suck it up and plow forward through my (insecurity?) pride and do something uncomfortable.

drex said...

And that is simultaneously a horrible and hilarious vacation story. Thanks for sharing! I laughed; I cried. It moved me.

Mormon Enigma said...

We can look back and laugh at it now. But, it wasn't so funny while it was happening. It was one of those 'just when you think nothing else can go wrong - it does' sort of experiences.

But, we survived. And, I'm sure I'll survive my current crisis. And, who knows, maybe one day I'll look back on this and be able to laugh about it too.

Loyalist (with defects) said...

your vacation reminded me of a Erma Bombeck or Dave Barry novel.

painfully funny.

call in the troops, damn the pride. others need blessing too you know, let them help so that they can receive that which you know they are seeking.