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How to Mourn with Those That Mourn with Lisa Valentine Clark

Tue Oct 11 05:00:38 EDT 2022
Episode 5

Getting comfortable being a support to others in their times of grief and pain isn’t always natural. Mourning with those that mourn and comforting those who need comfort means simply showing up, asking how they are doing, providing a listening ear, and even sometimes sitting with them in their silence. In this episode, we discuss how we can show up for others—both near and far—and comfort one another as we rely on God’s miracles.

The way we show up in the world is a gift to other people.
Lisa Valentine Clark

About Lisa Valentine Clark
Lisa is a freelance writer, producer, actress, and host of BYU Radio’s The Lisa Show. She wrote the book, Real Moms, Making It Up As We Go, co-hosted the feel-good service show “Random Acts,” and headlined the musical improv tv series Show Offs, for three seasons on BYUtv. Lisa and her late husband Christopher have 5 kids and a Labradoodle named Gus. You can find her on Instagram @yourfunnyvalentine

Top takeaways from this episode!

  • As women of God, we need to expect miracles and know that we are seen as individuals to Him; He will come to us in our specific needs.
  • We can show up for people, even when we’re not physically there. When we know our loved ones better, we can be specific about our service to them. (Like dropping off cheese and Diet Coke for Lisa!)
  • Sometimes we just need to sit in silence when we mourn with others instead of trying to problem solve.
  • The Lord can make beautiful things out of the horrible and ugly and unfair things in life when we rely on his promises
  • God will always bless us more than we deserve.

Something to think about: How can you be more compassionate to yourself when you are going through a painful or grieving time?

Small and simple weekly challenge: Think of that person who is going through a really hard time right now and reach out to them. Put the phone away, give them your undivided attention, and ask them, “how are you feeling today—but really? I want to understand.”



Kathryn Davis 0:00

Can simply showing up for someone and sitting quietly with them allow us to live the commandment to mourn with those that mourn? Hi and welcome to magnify an LDS Living podcast where we talk about using our influence as followers of Jesus Christ to make a difference in the world. I'm your host, Kathryn Davis, a mom, a seminary teacher, and a Traeger enthusiast who loves God. And speaking of using our influence, we want to discuss today how we can show up for others in their hurt and pain. Getting comfortable being a support to others in times of grief isn't always natural or easy. Let's explore how we can show up for those that may be grieving or hurting and take on the commandment to truly mourn with those that mourn.

Joining us to discuss the topic is the talented and lovely Lisa Valentine Clark. Lisa is a freelance writer, a producer and actress and host of BYU Radio's, The Lisa Show, she wrote the book Real Moms, Making It Up As We Go, hosted the feel good service show Random Acts and headline the musical improv TV show Show-Offs for three seasons on BYU TV. Lisa and her late husband Christopher have five kids and a Labradoodle named Gus. Hey, Lisa, thank you so much for being here. I know you have a segment on The Lisa Show called the council of moms. And I have heard you ask those moms some rapid fire questions when they join you on your show. So I have some rapid fire questions for you just three to four. All right. All right, here we go. If you had to karaoke one song for the rest of your life, what would that one song be?

Lisa Valentine Clark 1:42

For the rest of my life?

Kathryn Davis 1:44

Yes, that's it. Only one song?

Lisa Valentine Clark 1:46

Oh my gosh, I have to make it good. Oh, this is so hard. This is like choosing your favorite child. What would I do? I would do landslide by Stevie Nicks by Fleetwood Mac. Because I want to give some heart. And I feel like I could spend my whole life trying to sing that song and not do it justice. So challenge accepted.

Kathryn Davis 2:09

Okay, that's a good one. Okay, if you had one food item show up on your table every morning, every day for the rest of your life, what one food item would you want?

Lisa Valentine Clark 2:21

Nachos. Because you can do lunch nachos. They're versatile. They're convenient. They've usually got two different kinds of cheese, liquid cheese and solid cheese. There. Yeah, you can put protein on him. You get your vegetables. They are the perfect food.

Kathryn Davis 2:38

Very good.

Lisa Valentine Clark 2:40

Come at me. I am right on this one.

Kathryn Davis 2:43

Okay, okay, here's another one. If you could be a guest star on any sitcom or TV show, what would you choose?

Lisa Valentine Clark 2:51

That's so good. I would want to be a guest star on Parks and Rec. I love that. Yeah, I could see that. That's a good one. Characters there. Would that be not the funnest cast? And anyway, that'd be so fun.

Kathryn Davis 3:07

Okay, last question. Okay, I just wanted to ask you, how did you get them to name a show after you?

Unknown Speaker 3:15

Total fluke. You know, it's so funny, because, you know, I was asked to do a podcast and super excited. And I spent about two weeks generating a list of possible names for this podcast, right? I had about three sheets, just single line of different ideas that I thought were funny or clever or whatever. And then my boss at the time, Don Shelline, who is great. He came in and he's like, You know what? We're going to call it The Lisa Show and I was like, come on, look at the list. We were so much more clever than that. And he was like, No, it's just gets to the point. So wasn't even my choice. Isn't that funny?

Kathryn Davis 3:53

That is funny, but I love it. I have to tell you, the first time I ever heard you speak, I was at a timeout for women with my mom and my sisters. And you said something that actually my sister made like a print of and it's been in my house ever since. And it's right above my desk. So on and it's like kind of my favorite mantra. It was lower the bar and be awesome.

Unknown Speaker 4:21

Yeah. That's so funny, because I've been saying that to my friends since I don't know, Kid two or three came along with you have got to just lower the bar, be awesome. Yeah, those are words to live by. Oh, I'm honored that you have found some meaning in them as well.

Kathryn Davis 4:40

No, I look at it so often and think, hey, lower the bar and be awesome. Because when I'm in the thick of it...

Unknown Speaker 4:47

No, you just don't think that right? Yeah. I'm sure that most women need to lower the bar on their expectations. And you know, I certainly do. Yeah, for sure.

Kathryn Davis 4:58

So I just have to tell you that was one of my favorite little moments from listening to you. On our show, we like to talk about using our influence as followers of Jesus Christ to make a difference in the world. And something we really wanted to talk about today is how we can show up for people in their moments of pain and hurt. And as many of our listeners know, you lost your husband after a four and a half year battle to ALS, almost two summers ago. From your experience, what have you learned about mourning with those that mourn? And how have others lifted you in your mourning process?

Lisa Valentine Clark 5:37

What a great question because I feel like I have learned so much, you know, it was really interesting and sort of meaningful. At the end of my husband's life, it's a global pandemic, he can't move or speak, we're at home with our kids, we're so sad. It's bad. And my husband is happy and full of joy, because that's who he is. And he would say to me, meaning he would type it out with his eyes on a screen, and the screen would say, you know, like Stephen Hawking, he would say to me, I feel so bad that I'm so limited in what I can do, because of the way that people have served us, and helped us he's like, now I get it. Now I'm like, oh, that's how you show up for somebody. That's how you mourn with them. That's how he's like, I just learned that lesson, almost like, you know, at the end of my life, and I wish I could go forward with that. And I think about that all the time, because I didn't die. And I'm still here. And the meaningful ways that people showed up for me, changed my life, right, like forever have been the most important moments of my life. So I mean, we could talk for hours and hours about the kindness of friends and family who showed up and mourned in the right way. And I will just, you know, highlight a couple of them. You know, my sister, Gina is the best example of this, because she would just show up and be there and be like, sort of another set of eyes. Because when you're going through trauma, when you're going through mourning, you don't even know what you need. So that whole thing of like, let me know if there's anything that I can do for you. Although it might be really sincere. And I've said it before, it's not helpful when someone is in the worst part of their life, because their brain isn't really working. So Gina was really great, because she would just show up and do some dishes, or make a meal, or bring over Taco Bell, or clean a bathroom, or put her arm around one of my kids and have an important conversation. She didn't wait, you know, she's so good. She just did. And she would say, to me, this is awful. And I don't know what to do. But while she didn't know what to do, quote, unquote, she was just seeing a need and just taking care of business, you know, like moms do. And this is, women are so great at doing it, because they're so good at seeing the need, and then just doing it. And so Gina just was amazing in that way. You know, my brother, Christopher is a physician. And for a short while he was a hospice doctor, and he was able to mourn with me in a really unique way. And I think this speaks to the fact that like, we all have such weird, specific interests and jobs and personalities. And you can use anything, you should use the things that you're the best at, to help serve other people and mourn. And sometimes we think, oh, there's just a list of things like just bring over a meal, or watch some kids, or clean the kitchen. Like, we go through these... like, that's what you do. But we got to get rid of that. Because there's so many ways that we are so weird and odd that we can serve each other. And so my brother, having been a hospice doctor, was able to really mourn with me in a different way, because he was able to pull me aside when I was like, okay, so they say that we should give him this medicine. He has a DNR thing. How am I going to not try to save him, or make him get a trach? Like, these are like medical questions. And also, they're deeply personal and difficult. But he was able to do that for me, and I'll tell you this, one of the best things that he ever did for me, and also he just again, showed up and was just there in the corner and not trying to take over not trying to be the doctor, but trying to be the brother, you know? Two days after Chris passed away, I had an absolute panic attack, just questioning like you do with trauma and mourning. We don't talk about it a lot. But with anxiety I was like what happened? And my brain trying to catch up with this deep loss and understanding like, why didn't I just make up get a trach even though he didn't want one and we had conversations about it for four years, then he would still be here and what did I do? Second guessing everything and everybody does that in mourning. It's horrible. Christopher came and sat down on my bed. And I said to him, what happened? He could see me and with all the love and compassion, he gently walked through the events of the last two weeks. First this happened. And then remember, we made this decision. And then we have this conversation. And he walked through in a medical way, without any emotion, taking me through all the steps, it took about two hours to tell all of the medical things that happen. And he's like, and this is what we call a good death, remember? And this is what we decided to do, remember? And he just did that in such a clinical way that it calmed me down. And I think about it all of the time, about like, Who else could mourn with you in that weird way? And he did it. And he did it without emotion. But it was exactly what I needed. I didn't know how to ask for it, or how to do it. And so I love to remember that and to tell people that because I do feel like, especially as women of God, we need to expect those kinds of miracles and know that we are seen as individuals, by God in specific things, and the weird, specific things that we need will come to us in our most desperate hour, and they most often won't be those ways that you think they will be. So when you find yourself unimaginably difficult position, you have to expect an unimaginable, you know, way to answer that prayer and to trust. But when you can't imagine it, you know, you have to rely on hope and faith. So those kinds of experiences have changed the way that I show up in the world. I don't spend any time now going well, am I going to bug them? Should I not bother? Should I not stop by? Oh, they'll think this text is dumb. I don't second guess any sort of like inclination. Like this morning to have my friends popped into my head. I was just like, Oh, I wonder how they're doing? Oh, they've got this big thing coming up, or she's having a hard time. I don't hesitate by texts them right away. And texts aren't dumb. They're wonderful.

Kathryn Davis 11:57

Did you ever feel, like when you receive texts, did you ever think... because I think sometimes we feel like we might show up in the wrong way or say the wrong thing because we're sad anyway.

Lisa Valentine Clark 12:07

I think well, if I'm wrong, and I'm bugging them, then they'll ignore it. And I don't care. Or they won't text me back, that's fine. I don't expect it. I just don't expect anything. I just felt so much when Christopher died, seeing how many people... how it was meaningful to get a certain message or a certain note or something because it was during the pandemic and I couldn't see my friends, I couldn't, you know, go to lunch. It was at the height of the pandemic. So they would send me emails or phone calls or Marco Polos or you know, video chats or texts. And they came at the right moment, they said the right things, you know, and a lot of them were prefaced with, I know, this isn't the same thing, or I know, this isn't going to help but, and I just don't second guess that anymore. Just go and do. I think if we're so busy just doing and trying to help, then we're gonna hit more times than we're not. And if we sit there and make it all about ourselves, and if we're going to look stupid or dumb, like, I don't care anymore. I just don't care. You know, I know I'm too much. I know I am too enthusiastic and I am too extroverted, and I'm too loud. I don't care. That's how I want to show up in the world. And if I can do some good with it, great. But the time for second guessing is gone. You know, when Christopher passed away, I felt this sense of urgency that I had never felt in my life of like, none of us knows how much time we have left. Everything that we do and say to each other it matters. And the only thing that matters is our relationships with each other. And it helped give me like sort of a different focus for the rest of my life. You know?

Kathryn Davis 13:47

I think that's a beautiful focus. And you said something that I think is really interesting. And I want to talk a little bit more about is that you mentioned that Christopher, like the last few months of his life that he died in June of 2020, during the heart of the pandemic. And we were isolated, of course and I can only imagine even how much harder and isolating that would be for you and your family. And I just have been thinking how can we support people in their hurt and their pain when we can't be physically with them?

Lisa Valentine Clark 14:21

One of my best friends from college, Rebecca, lives in California and she was having her own difficulties with her family and obviously with traveling couldn't. And if things were different would have been living in my home I'm sure. She would send me Diet Coke and cheese, like Door Dash it just at random times. But I would always be like it's always like my worst days when I can't get it together when I've just been like crying all day. That's when she's like I heard the bad signal. I heard your heart.

Kathryn Davis 14:52

Diet Coke and cheese.

Unknown Speaker 14:53

Well because she's just like, I don't want you to worry about dinner and I'm just going to give you some crusty bread to dip and cheese. Drink a Diet Coke and take a moment, you know? Especially like when I was taking care of Christopher, and then he passed away, and I'm taking care of grieving children. She's like, take a moment and just know that I love you. And I wish it were more. So, you know, again, being weird and specific, always helps, I think because yeah, out the thing, even if I never eat the cheese, like, it's not about that it's about, I know you. I know, these are your favorite things. But I want to give you your favorite things as a way of seeing you and acknowledging you. And that's a form of like, comfort, we all feel so alone. I mean, I think grief is... I mean, I know it is. It's the loneliest feeling. And having somebody say, I know you or I know something about you is so great. And I had another friend who lives in Portland, who would just send me funny videos of her like talking about kids or talking about her life. And she's like getting ready or go into the gym or whatever. And just have like, let me give you a distraction. Let me take a break that kind of stuff. You know, my childhood best friends, Wendy and Cindy, who live in Kansas and Nebraska, you know, a month and a half after he died they were like, we're just flying out, show us where he's buried. Tell us about it. Don't entertain us. Don't clean your house. Just let us just like sit with you. And I'll tell you, it's those kinds of things of, you know, sitting with your friends in silence, with no expectation there was no like, tell what happened? Oh my gosh, it was so sorry. Like, we're just here. We'll listen, like whatever you want.

Kathryn Davis 16:33

I think that's so important to remember. Because I think sometimes when we hear that commandment to mourn with those that mourn, we automatically think, oh, that means we have to problem solve it. And, and I don't think that commandment means problem solve.

Lisa Valentine Clark 16:49

I know it doesn't, because there's no solving grief. I will mourn what I've lost for my whole life. So I have to learn to live with it. And I am learning to live with it. And it's amazing to me, too, how many people they can't handle it. They don't want to these are uncomfortable feelings to have a friend come and sit and cry with you and uncomfortable feelings. Not everybody is willing to do that. And, you know, I've lost friends. I've lost family members who don't want to feel that or do that for a variety of reasons. I'm sure. So the ones do become more precious? Because you cannot do it alone. You can't.

Kathryn Davis 17:34

I love that your friends just came to sit with you. Because sometimes, can we just sit in silence? Yeah, and mourn with those that mourn. A lot of people cannot. Here's what I've learned. And that's why we automatically go to let's problem solve. Let's fix it.

Lisa Valentine Clark 17:52

Let me know if there's anything that you need. Yeah, I mean, here's the thing. It's so easy to drop off cookies or food. And I don't want to diminish that. Like, there were some nights where I was like, Oh, I don't know if I've fed my kids. Oh, yeah, it is helpful. But sitting and just saying, How are you feeling today? Or I had this great memory of Chris, I wanted to share with you like those kinds of things. It makes everybody sad for a minute, you know, like, it is a gift to show up for people and show your true authentic self and be able to be very vulnerable and honest. And I think some people are starving for that right? To be seen.

Kathryn Davis 18:30

Yeah. And I think we have a tendency, I don't know about you, but sometimes silence, I have a tendency to feel the silence. I think that's helping. That's more my personality. And I definitely have learned, especially as a mom of teenagers, that sitting in silence is the best thing that I can sometimes offer. And when I have a child who is struggling, that it's just my physical presence sometimes like sitting next to them till three in the morning on the couch. I don't have to say anything. I don't have to fill the silence.

Lisa Valentine Clark 19:06

And isn't it funny, because I've learned this, I know this, but with my own kids, I still want to solve their grief. And to be honest, I haven't lost a parent yet. So I don't know what it's like to lose your dad. My dad's still alive. So when I'm sitting with my kids, they're going through an experience that I don't understand firsthand. I'm going through an experience that they don't understand, but they're not here to help me. I'm pouring into them. And I still want to fill that silence. I still want to solve it for them. And I have to shut my mouth, which is the hardest. Like I was laughing with my friend the other day because I'm like, so you know, I'm a spiritual woman. And I said, Isn't it funny that the spirit is always like telling me don't talk. Stop it. Just shut your mouth. Listen, listen. It's the hardest lesson for me to learn. But especially as a mom, it's been so important.

Kathryn Davis 19:57

Yeah. It's so hard. I teach seminary. So I work with teenagers all day every day. And they are always coming into my office or classroom to talk. And most of the time, they say, I don't want somebody to fix this. I just want to be heard.

Lisa Valentine Clark 20:15

Like, this is how my marriage was, it was like, Okay, are you venting? And you just want to get it out? And I'm on your side? Or do you want me to help you come up with solutions? And I think sometimes I'll show up to my teenagers and say okay, are we just complaining? And you want me to validate you? Or do you want me to try to help and offer some suggestions? And they'll be like, Oh, no, I already know what I want to do or don't want to do. I just need to get it out. Okay, good. I think it's okay to ask when you show up to conversations. And one thing that has helped me, especially in helping my kids mourn and others is when I show up to a conversation, I think to myself, this isn't about you. This is about you showing up for them. You know, to kind of to have a focus of the conversation. Because if I'm feeling like, oh, I need to share, then I'm thinking, okay, then you need to take care of your own needs at a different time. Then that means you need to talk to somebody. But like, for right now have that focus, like you are pouring into them, not them pouring into you.

Kathryn Davis 21:12

I think that's just such an important thing to remind ourselves. And a skill really is if we want to mourn with those that mourn and follow that commandment and live that commandment, that sometimes that requires us to maybe be uncomfortable in the silence, and to show up when we don't know what to do. And just show up. I was really touched by how you and your husband were champions for each other in your mourning process. Would you mind sharing how you showed up for each other in those moments of pain?

Lisa Valentine Clark 21:48

Yeah. Sorry. He really did this well. He was he was my cheerleader. He just he was, you know, for the last couple of years. He really couldn't do anything for himself. Especially physically, you know? He couldn't scratch his nose or go to the bathroom by himself. I mean anything. And it's really humiliating to live like that, especially because he was such a vivacious, energetic, positive, helpful person. And he found other ways to channel that instead of giving into his own despair. And he was really happy and encouraging. And always concerned about me, because I'm a lot--I don't want to say darker--but I'm a lot less... I'm very Midwestern. And like, it is what it is, you know, there's no sugarcoating it. And he would encourage me. He would do what he could. And it was a lot. He would say, You did such a great job getting me ready. You're so strong. Because I would work out so that I could pick him up. Because you know, he's a grown man. And it was really hard. And I'd be like, I tried to make that transition really smooth. So we would just joke and laugh with each other. Because he couldn't talk, I would tease him. And I'd say, Well, now, this is why I am so talk-y. I'm just gonna talk all the time now. And you have to sit there and listen to me. It's like, your dream come true. And I would laugh, and I would tell him about my stories. I'll have my TV shows that I say I'm like, Well, let me tell you to kind of like, cut through that uncomfortable silence of the reality of you're bathing and showering and dressing your husband who is literally wasting away, and it is so sad. And so we tried to be like, yes, that is true. This is sad. But let's not cry every day. We do this... let's try to find the joy in it. And he was so good at that. And I think like, Yes, this is horrible, because sometimes I would just cry. You know? Like, this is like, stupid. And he'd be like, Why are you crying? And I'm like, Are you kidding me? Why am I crying? Why aren't you crying? Oh, I would say, oh, it's really sad. My husband, the best guy in the world, like super nice and funny and smart. And just like the best, but he has ALS. It's the worst thing. Have you heard? And he be like, Oh, that old news? Like, I'm still here. He would say. And so the biggest thing that he did for me is he gave me that life perspective. And that focus of acknowledging, yes, this is hard, but we don't have to live in this despair and drudgery all the time where you want to go. Like I'm here. Let's joke. Let's talk about the kids. Let's make fun of the kids. Let's make fun of how I'm a crippled boy. You know, he would make jokes about being in a wheelchair and how people are going to really learn how to serve him. And that's his gift was letting people do nice things for him. Or, you know... our friends would come over and he'd say, now your "Make A Wish" is I'd like to go on a helicopter ride over Timpview. And I want to see that, like, he said that to our friend, Kevin. And I said to Chris, okay, so make a wish you get like one wish. And he's like, no, no, that's not the way it goes. All my friends want to give me wishes. He would just like capitalize, but he's like, but it's gonna be fun. But you want to go on a helicopter ride, don't you? And so he would just make it fun. You know, when we did this one hit all of his theater friends, you know, he's a theater director wanted to do Xanadu and put up this ridiculous production. People came back from like, their stint on Broadway to perform it, people would come from out of town just to come to the performance. And he insisted on dressing up. So he would dress up and like the characters, just to make it fun, just to give people permission to laugh about it. That kind of joy... I cannot understate it because I'm living without it now. That focus, and I'm trying to honor him. But like that is the gift he gave to not just me and the kids, but to his friends who are also mourning. And again, it's not glossing over it, you know the pain of it, but it's not living in it. It is such a different life perspective, that he would able to give uniquely that not everybody... Most people are like, Oh, I'm living with this. And it's the worst. And I'm thinking yeah, it is the worst. But what else? Like you know, you're still here. What else can you offer? And do what else do you think is funny or interesting to talk about? You know, and so I know that's like a very long winded, roundabout way to answer your question, but it's the most meaningful way that he taught me how to mourn, that I'm really trying now to replicate. But it's a lot harder than I thought it was gonna be. He showed me how to mourn in our authentic way that made me feel seen and heard, but didn't leave me in the depths of despair that also let it be both instead of just the one.

Kathryn Davis 27:12

It seems like he was definitely blessed with an increased measure of joy.

Lisa Valentine Clark 27:18

Absolutely. And life perspective and a peace about it. He would say, you know, I'm not afraid to die. I mean, if this is my life, I didn't do anything to get ALS that I know, like, you know, it's live in a fallen world and this is God's plan for me, then I will accept it. I just don't want to suffer. You know, there's a million ways that we can make horrible things that we have been even worse, right. Yeah. And, you know, he was talking like, medically, you know, suffering. But I think also, I think he was speaking like, I can hurt my own feelings better than anybody else with my thoughts, right? Especially in grief, I'm really good at that I can spin out of control. I think. I think we can all do that. Yeah. Where's our mind? Where's our focus? You know, who do we surround ourselves with? What is it that we're trying to do every day? Like, all of those things, the overwhelming part about grief and mourning is is that it affects every little little part of your life. It's not just, Oh, this one, it seeps through everything, like glitter, it's everywhere. You'll never get rid of it. You know, you're doing a glitter project, you're gonna find that it's everywhere. It's everywhere. There's no getting rid of it. And so learning how to live with it seems overwhelming.

Kathryn Davis 28:30

Well, I heard that a therapist once told you that you could cry for 10 to 15 minutes a day. And then move on. Yeah. And live in the moment. Yeah.

Lisa Valentine Clark 28:42

So Christopher was really good at that. And he did that. And I really honest, I mean, the last nine months were ridiculous. It was an excruciating way to live. And he did it so well. And I just, I wish there were a better way for me to say I'm so proud of him, because he really did endure to the end. But it was so hard physically, for him. And it was real suffering. But before that, the first year was hard for us both to wrap our heads around it, but after that, he really didn't need that much time. You know, for me, I've said that a lot. You know, give yourself 10-15 minutes to feel sorry for yourself, and then get on with the day and I certainly still live like that, you know, to later like when I mourn him, but you know, grief doesn't care about your plans, or your what your therapist says. And I've noticed that, you know, sometimes I'll have a tough couple of weeks where there's just a little bit more than 10 or 15 minutes a day. And then it feels like there's a few weeks where you don't need it every day. And I have learned to have a little bit more grace and compassion for myself in just living life and being real and authentic about it, just like I would with a friend, right? Like you'd be so generous with your friend to saying hey, take as much time as you need and it's okay. And certain things trip that up. And I think that self compassion is something that I've learned that I certainly wouldn't be too hard on a friend who was going through a hard time, you know, I would just sit in those moments. But I am proud of myself that I haven't allowed that to stop me living life and trying, like I wake up every morning and I get out of bed. And I go, that was a great day!

Kathryn Davis 30:21

Well, well, that's an accomplishment.

Lisa Valentine Clark 30:25

And you know, maybe they'll have smart moments, but just don't stop showing up, you know?

Kathryn Davis 30:30

Well, I even think of the Savior. And that's what he did. When he received news that his cousin had died, he had to move himself away, and he wept. And he took time, and then he came back. And that's after knowing all that he knows.

Lisa Valentine Clark 30:49

Yeah, because there's something a sacred in that. There's something that we need to learn from that that is Christlike, of taking the time to mourn and to cry. It is not wasted it, it changes us. And it changes our focus and our intent. And there's great meaning in it. Yeah, it's not something just to be, of course, like anything, not something to be indulged in, but acknowledged, and treated as sacred, for sure.

Kathryn Davis 31:20

So in those moments, that you've mourned, and maybe mourned with others, have you felt closer to the Savior? or what have you learned about him through these moments?

Lisa Valentine Clark 31:36

I learned this by mourning myself, but I came to know it while I've watched my kids mourn, which is a different kind of pain that I don't wish it on anyone. And I have learned that the Savior's promises are true, the Savior never leaves us. And he is always planning for our good but doesn't diminish the moment now. I kept thinking, help me get through this. Help carry me through this so that it goes by quickly. This is torture. Why am I, you know, what do I need to learn something so hard that I have to pay this big of a price for it? But that love and that compassion has really taught me that the Lord is wise, and that His ways are higher than mine, and that they can really be counted on. And I also know that the Lord can take anything that's ugly, and horrible and unfair, and makes no sense and makes beautiful things out of it. And I've seen it, and I've seen it in dramatic ways. And I've seen it in small ways of that wonderful, beautiful things, not that he causes, but that just happen, can come out of that. And it can be really powerful if you let, it if you choose it. And that's been the key. And that is the key. But I also know in those moments when you don't want to do anything that you can pray and ask for that to want better things for yourself when you're exhausted. I mean, his promises are true. Like, you know, I've banked everything on it. I've also come to have a greater and a deeper appreciation and love for my covenants. Like I've made some really pretty serious covenants in the temple. And I've always been grateful for them. But I felt the power of them in a way that I didn't fully feel before Chris passed away.

Kathryn Davis 33:43

Really? The strength and power of the covenants.

Lisa Valentine Clark 33:47

Yeah actually, for me that's undeniable. And I didn't anticipate that, you know. I was looking for freedom from the pain and I wasn't expecting such a dramatic shift in how I saw my covenants. Yeah. And I'm so grateful, because I've needed it. And I didn't know I needed it. So I guess, you know, that was one thing that I again, really, I just thought not only has the Lord never left me alone, and I felt an increased like strength to do impossible things. But he has been laying a foundation for me and for my life to have a certain power and perspective. And, you know, purpose that I didn't realize, but he never stopped. I thought oh, my life has gotten horribly off of the rails right off. Yeah. My real life is in another Metaverse and I'm not living my real life now. Like that's what grief my grief brain tells me. If Christopher were still alive, if he never got sick, how would I be living? And I can really hurt my feelings a lot going down that line. None of us gets that like I wasn't promised any of that. But if I really am staying true to the promises of Oh no, the Lord is carrying you through this For a wise and glorious purpose, and then you start to see a little bit of evidence of it, and certainly not the whole thing. It's shown me the power of those covenants and of a covenant to life in a way that I didn't anticipate,

Kathryn Davis 35:13

And choosing to see it. I love that you said that, that making that choice to see it. And that probably didn't happen all the time and every day, right? Because, yeah, that's almost impossible.

Lisa Valentine Clark 35:28

When I saw that with Chris, because I thought, he got to choose how he saw the end of his life. How he thought, This is how he saw this time that he had left. And in my mind, he made all these like great courageous choices, but he didn't have to, and certainly no one, no one would have blamed him or faulted him if he would have lamented his his lot in life the rest of his days, and died angry and bitter. No one would have called him out for it, everyone would be like, yeah, that's pretty bad. But he didn't choose that. And it wasn't easy. And he chose the opposite. And I see, I get to see the benefit of that the benefit to me, to my children, to his friends to the world. And it grows, like the benefit of his influence, and him choosing that and choosing that kind of like, outrageous faith. Yeah, has blessed so many people's lives. It's the only thing that we can offer God or our fellow man is our choices, what we think about how we spend our time how we react to the world, and we're more powerful than we think we are. But it's not easy to say to the Lord, yes. Just show me the kind of life that you want me to live, not just what I want. But you know, I'm banking my whole life on it.

Kathryn Davis 36:40

It's just to me a perfect example of the approach you take an improv. Oh, yeah. And you kind of talked...

Lisa Valentine Clark 36:50

The Lord really wants me to know that. It's in my face all the time, all the time.

Kathryn Davis 36:56

You've talked about that how with improv, somebody gives you an offering? And you have to do a "yes, and"?

Lisa Valentine Clark 37:02

Yeah. And you have to decide if you're gonna take it or not.

Kathryn Davis 37:06

And I just seems like you have lived this time with grief and mourning, and you've lived kind of that "Yes, And" principle that you learned in improv? Can you explain to me a little bit about that "Yes, and" principle and how that has helped you in your grief?

Lisa Valentine Clark 37:24

Sure, it's that idea of, and everyone can relate to this, because I related to this, you know, before Chris got sick of like, I imagined my life doing this, I want this, here's my goal. Here's like, what I want. These are good, righteous things that I want, you know, for me, for my kids. And we all know that person. And maybe we've been that at certain points of our life, where you have a vision of what you want, that that becomes more important than what is actually happening in your real life. And it can be really destructive to relationships, and to families and for faith. Like with your kids, it can mess up your whole life. And so the thing that I like about improv is, is you're making a scene, and if you get caught up in like, Oh, I was going to say this, but then they chose this, like, I was thinking that in this scene, I'm cooking, and they think that I'm doing a medical procedure. If you in your mind, for the rest of that scene are mad that you're not cooking, and you're really doing a scene with a medical procedure, you're going to be mad and miss so much through that whole scene, that scene will not be great. It won't be funny, it won't be interesting, because your mind is somewhere else. And I feel like that's how life is is that you have to accept what comes, we're doing an improv about a medical scene. So get into it that earlier, you get on board and go, Yeah, that's not a whisk. It's a scalpel. Absolutely. Then not only is the scene more interesting, but it's more fun, it's more enjoyable, and it moves things along, you don't get stuck. It's the only way that improv works. If you can't do it, if you're fighting what is actually happening in front of you. And in improv, the thing that I like is that doesn't matter what the offering is, it doesn't matter if it's a whisk or a scalpel, or an egg or a bowl... like it's secondary. And I feel like, you know, that's kind of how I want to live my life that no matter what happens, like think of that freedom, no matter what happens, I'm gonna live a good life, I'm gonna figure it out. It's gonna be great. If I'm living in a van down by the river. And I say that all the time. I don't care if we're living in a van down by the river, as long as I'm with you. And so that was the real kicker. Because what if you're living in a van down by the river, and I'm not living with Chris and that's the reality I'm living. So I have to really like eat my words, right? Like, this is your offering. So now what are you going to do? And you know, the way we show up in the world, just like improv and doing a scene is a gift to other people. You know, it's a performance that will go out and never exist again. Right? And that's why I love improv because it's not like a script that you can go over and over again and edit and stuff. It just happens like a performance, and then it exists. And then it vanishes. It's just this experience that you're sharing with an audience this one time that you can let go of. And I really feel like that's how our lives are, right? We are on this earth for who knows how long. We're having an experience. We're bumping into each other having conversations doing whatever, and then we're gone, and it's done. But if it's done, right, it means something, right? It's an experience. And we've made people laugh, and we've made people feel seen and heard and connected.

Kathryn Davis 40:35

And we've seen God's hand and we've been God's hand.

Lisa Valentine Clark 40:44

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Well, that's how it's like magnified, right? Yeah, if you deny that it's happening. Or if you fight against it, that's fine. But you just gonna have less influence, less impact and less happiness. But if you just sort of like, let go, and say, Okay, I didn't want this, by the way. And I've had those prayers. I didn't ask for this. Didn't want this just to make it clear. But I need to, like, get on board. And "yes, and" has more and more helped me.

Kathryn Davis 41:09

And I see through your journey, one of my favorite quotes from Elder Holland, he stated, "surely the thing that God loves most about being God is the thrill of being merciful."

Lisa Valentine Clark 41:21

Totally. Oh, I believe that so much. I believe that with every... You know, it's never just one thing in your life? Right? That you're like, Oh, I'm disappointed that didn't go the way I wanted. Wait, I want this. And we have these like righteous desires, especially as women of God, like where we're putting our... Yeah, we're trying. We're stating what we want. And I just know that God is anxiously, not even waiting, just to bless us with stuff we don't deserve all the time, and finding ways just to be merciful and full of grace and gets a kick out of it. I 100% believe that that's what God is doing all the time.

Kathryn Davis 42:00

And it seems like you've seen that a lot over the last few years in this process of mourning and grief.

Lisa Valentine Clark 42:06

And I have been super mad like, this isn't fair. And I don't like this... this is horrible. And this is like literally the worst. This is literally the worst. And I feel that like yes, I know. But also this is true to like, this blessing was really great. And also you also have this and you also have the greatest kids. And they're really funny. And you also have an interesting, like, all those things can exist at the same time. And I think that, you know, we want to calculate it at the math, do it to see if it's worth it at the bid and we'll never come out ahead, God will always be blessing us more than we deserve. And I just feel like that, you know, why did Chris have to suffer and die? I my holding that of like, I'm betting on you, all of it. Like someday, I'm gonna go, Oh, of course, that was it. What? And I'm going to feel that I don't feel it now. But I'm going to in the future. And that's faith. That is faith. Because he is merciful. Because he is full of grace, because he is perfect. Because he is obsessed with us, in the best of ways.

Kathryn Davis 43:08

And he's a promise keeper, like you've stated he keeps his promises. I love that. So Lisa, one final question for you. We like to end every episode with a small idea or action from the conversation that we can implement through the week. So before we end today, what is your small and simple suggestion for how we can show up, sit with others be with others in their hurt and their pain?

Lisa Valentine Clark 43:36

Well, I think the simplest thing that will have the most impact would be to think of that friend or family member and you know who they are. Because there's probably more than one who's going through something really rough. Like, really rough. And it can be anything you know, and reach out to that person and go on a walk or go to lunch and sit with them and say, How's it going? But really? But really. But really. How do you feel about that? Tell me, I want to hear it. Sit down. Give them your undivided attention. The phone is away. You're looking them in the eyes. You're not worried about time and just sit and ask somebody who's going through a hard time. How do you feel today, like right now? I want to understand. It's so hard, but it's simple.

Kathryn Davis 44:26

I love that suggestion. Even as you said that there were names that came to mind. So there are people that we know.

Lisa Valentine Clark 44:35

Just choose one, do one a week and you your life will have so much meaning and purpose to it.

Kathryn Davis 44:41

I love that. I'm gonna do that. Lisa, thank you so much for being here.

Lisa Valentine Clark 44:46

Thanks for letting me and letting me talk about like, stuff that really matters.

Kathryn Davis 44:52

Right and it's a hard way to learn more about the Savior?

Lisa Valentine Clark 44:59

Once that happens, just go with it, like all hard things.

Kathryn Davis 45:04

But I'm grateful because I feel like I have learned more about that commandment and the Savior through our conversation. So thank you.

Lisa Valentine Clark 45:12

Thank you. That's very meaningful to me.

Kathryn Davis 45:15

Lisa, it has been wonderful to talk to you today. You can find Lisa on her podcast The Lisa show with BYU Radio. Lisa also works as a freelance writer for commercials, web series, and scripts. And don't forget to join us over on Instagram at magnify community. And of course, subscribe and listen to the Magnify podcast wherever you get your shows. Thanks for being here. And let's do this again next week.

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