C&C Meerdink Factory

cc1When I told Carey this morning that I was going to write about how we met, he said “Well, your version of it.”

True.

We have slightly different versions of how we met, but mine is the correct one. He can do a post sometime about his perspective.

The Date: Monday, January 18, 1999. Martin Luther King Jr Day.

The Setting: LDS Church building on Par Street in Orlando, Florida. Singles Ward FHE. Yep, that’s right. Singles Ward Family Home Evening.

The (true) Story: 
I walked into the Relief Society room with some friends. We were chatting and caught up in our own conversation. We went to the piano and I fiddled around on there for a few minutes and then we continued talking. 016
At one moment, I glanced up and away from my little group toward the back of the room where a guy was looking at me. Then I did probably the most obvious double take ever seen by man. Who is that guy? I hadn’t seen him before, and he was so freaking cute. We both smiled at each other and then it was time to begin FHE. I sat down a few rows of chairs in front of him.

As was tradition in that ward, we began every family home evening with a little get-to-know-you activity where we all stated our name and answered a common question. That evening’s questions was “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Each person took their turn. My turn came around and stood and I said, “My name is Carrie, and I want to be a special agent for the FBI.” Sitting down, I eagerly awaited for the boy on the back row’s turn. Who is he?cc2
Finally, his turn came up and he stood and said, “My name is Carey Meerdink, and I want to own my own theater company.”

Carey? His name is CAREY??

No way, I thought to myself. It’s not going to happen.

Throughout the night we kept glancing at each other and smiling. My heart was all aflutter and I knew that we had some sort of connection even though we hadn’t even spoken to each other yet.
Finally the lesson came to an end and it was time to socialize. At this point I was on the opposite side of the room as him, so I started working my way closer by jumping from group to group and conversation to conversation. I was almost to him when he walked over to the other side of the room. Arrrrghhhhhh!  I was not one to give up easily, so I began making my way over to him again. I think it was pretty obvious. I was right next to his little group of people when I heard him offer someone a piece of gum. That was my in. I piped up and asked for a piece, which he gave me. dscn3087

“I hear you have the coolest name in the room,” he said to me. So smooth. I don’t remember my answer. We talked for a minute or two and then he asked me this: “So how does working for the FBI work with you raising a family?” 
Okay, I know that that is sort of a lame question and people do it all the time. But for some reason it struck me. I had never really thought about raising a family before, or anything like that. And for some reason, when he asked me that question, I knew right then that I was going to marry him.

I don’t remember what else we talked about that night, but we both had to leave and went our separate directions. When I got home I called my mom. “I met the guy I’m going to marry,” I told her.
dscn6383I didn’t see Carey again until the following Sunday. We sat together in Sunday School and he passed me a not that said: Will you go out with me? Check Yes or No.

I checked yes and we passed notes

the rest of class. The following Friday I met up with him in Orlando. I was living about an hour or so away from him working as a nanny, so I actually stayed that night at his parents house. We went to Olive Garden and then miniature golfing, then went back to his house and watched The Truman Show. We had a great connection and it was like we had been together for years. The next day he kissed me. We hung out most of the day and talked about our lives and our future plans and everything and anything. I was already madly in love with him.candcinorlando

When he was driving me home, he said to me, “If things keep going like this we should talk about getting married. We could be the C&C Meerdink Factory…”

 

The Pride Cycle IRL

Most of us are familiar with the pride cycle that happens over and over again in the Book of Mormon.

pride-cycle-colorful
Book of Mormon Student Manual, (2009), 414

Ultimately it comes down to the people being blessed and then slowly turning away from the teachings of Christ. They are then humbled in one way or another, be it famine or war etc., at which point they begin to cry out to God for deliverance. God blesses them and the cycle continues.

The pride cycle happens in real life too, obviously. I’m not here to judge where other people are in the cycle, but I can take a step back and try to take an honest review of where I am standing.

My pride cycles don’t usually end up including famine (unless you count spiritual famine) or war or destruction. But usually a gradual slipping of one thing or another that I should be doing- like reading the scriptures or prayer.

Currently, I feel like I’m in stage five of the cycle: Humility and Repentance.

Almost a year ago we were super unsatisfied with Carey’s job. After lots of prayer and some giant leaps of faith, Carey was offered his dream job in May. We were so grateful and honestly, I can’t think of a day since that we didn’t thank Heavenly Father for that job.

Fast forward to the first week of December 2016. The firm was merging with another and Carey was the last hire, so he was the first to go. He got laid off 3 weeks before Christmas. We were devastated and felt like we had been punched in the gut. We immediately turned to prayer and sought guidance and blessings. We’re still trying to figure things out, but one of the great blessings of this gospel is that we know deep down that things will work out.

Here’s the thing though- as I look at it from this perspective, I can see where the cycle started working it’s way through. Not in an overt manner, but very subtle. And it all starts with the temple.

9 months ago, we were attending the temple often as we were seeking guidance and the blessing of a new job. Then, after he got the job, life got really busy. Too busy for the temple.

All of a sudden months went by without us going. And it’s not like it would have been difficult- we live exactly 4.4 miles from our temple, and pass it daily.

When we got the news of the lay off, one of our first impulses was to go to the temple.

How easy it is to go to the temple when we need something- direction, comfort, answers, blessings. But when life is going smoothly, it just seems harder to get there.

So temple attendance started to slip, and I began to rely less on the Lord, relying on my own capabilities and the confidence in my husband’s career. I was not in open rebellion against God, I wasn’t putting myself above others or above God as we typically think of pride. President Benson taught that pride is also “faultfinding, gossiping…living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude…and being unforgiving and jealous.” That’s how it happens in real life. We can all see traces of those characteristics in our lives. And as we slowly draw away from the Lord and His influence, those traits have more room to grow within us.

Fortunately step number four in my current cycle, destruction and suffering, were equal to the pride that had taken over. God is just and merciful. He will give us a nudge when we need a nudge, and a punch in the gut when we need a punch in the gut. He wants to help us get back on track, not make us suffer.

So we started going back to the temple and remembered how much we love it. We remembered that when we go- inside or outside- we feel the spirit and we feel joy. We remembered how much our children love the temple. And we recommitted to attending the temple weekly.

Step five of the cycle is great, because as we begin to humble ourselves and repent- in this case turning our minds and hearts back to the Lord by focusing on the temple, we begin to have hope. And that is the best thing of all.