Sunday, October 25, 2009

I have been instructed that adversity is one of the greatest signs of God's love for me. It is a blessing in disguise. It is harsh, but the experience is ever-lasting. The last week has brought on some interesting tests for me.
I've worked yet another 60+ hour week. These weeks leave me tired and even irritable. I often begin to feel the stress of not having much time to fulfill my academic responsibilities. I even expressed this concern to an engineer at work. He simply state that he understood that I'm frustrated but that I'm also needed on the job. I've been frustrated as I've received several instructions to complete the same project. I've wanted to quit my job. I've felt the strain as I hear some of the profanities and obscenities flow from the mouths of my co-workers. All this surmounts to the mental, spiritual, and emotional strain of holding back anger and frustration. I feel as though I was standing in a stout position holding a dumb-bell and the Lord added weight to that which I already was holding. Imagine those Olympic weight lifters straining under great pressure. Red-faced, sweating, but still strong men and women lift enormous amounts of mass into the air. I feel some days as though I'm a spiritual Olympic weight lifter. I know that occasionally I drop the weight. Other days I hold it.
Yesterday, as the work day was drawing to a close, I and a co-worker became excited. We worked side-by-side with our foreman. The sky had been dark all day and finally the clouds began to let forth some rain. We kept working. In fact we didn't let up. I worked there, head down (to keep the rain out of my face) and remembered a song by Jenny Jordan Frogley. Some lyrics follow:

I'm standing in the rain, holding up a light
Shining like a diamond against the darkened sky
And though the winds may blow, it will come to an end
and I know that I will see the sun again.

The sun will break through the storm. The emotional storm I was feeling used to be related primarily to my interpersonal relationships. Now it is literally, emotions. Learning to control, direct, and bridle feelings is a battle. Especially when these feelings are in relation to situations involving other people. Luckily for me this battle has moved into the work field and out of my social life.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Good things are happening . . .

This week I began to work more closely with my foreman. He doesn't have a particular religion, though he attended christian schools until the eighth grade. He's a good man who works hard and does his best to care for his family. He hasn't ever been a big church-goer, but he's a good man all the same. Thursday he, another co-worker, and I were shoveling dirt and dragging filter bags around when the discussion turned to religion. He asked several questions and wanted me to clarify some rumors about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I answered to the best of my abilities and clarified the rumors. We've discussed religion of couple of times now. Yesterday work was painfully slow giving us plenty of down time. While he and I were alone he mentioned that he has some new goals. He wants to get to know the church better and he wants to get married to his wife in the temple. I pondered on the conversation after work and marveled at the simple beauty of the situation. I don't brag that I did anything or that I was a huge influence on my boss. But I now see so very clearly the opportunity to do some missionary work. It's an exciting prospect. Who knows how long it will take for he and his family to get ready, but they will get ready. And I want to help.
Work has been light this week. Light in the sense that I haven't had to physically exert myself too much. Carrying the concrete baskets and laying them out or picking up the bad baskets and throwing them away requires some strength but overall it's been an easy week. Even better is that I put in well over 60 hours this week. That puts a good check in my account. That' all I'll say with regard to my pay.
Throughout the early part of the week I began feeling down and out. I think its fairly easy to see, if you know me well enough. I have a strange, stoic resolution that keeps me moving forward through some of the toughest times, but I do break down. Just as I was reaching the breaking point, I decided to put in a CD called "Beautiful Life" sung by Jenny Jordan Frogley. I had forgotten just how much I enjoy this CD. The positive qualities of her melodies and lyrics have given me such a boost the last couple of days. I love positive music. It keeps me going. It reminds me that there is much worth fighting for. There exists in music a strength and a spirit that could only come from the Lord himself. This CD exhibits such qualities that listening becomes infectious. I love listening to it, and probably will do so for several days now (an odd character quality I have yet to discern the origin of: able to eat, listen to, or do the same thing repetitively without complaint).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Great Weekend

So yesterday was a good day. I had Friday off from work. I spent my lazy time Friday. That night I spent in the company of my great friends that served their missions with me in Brazil. So having spent Friday lazily I spent Saturday running errands and such.
I went to Taylorsville looking for a Brazilian market (which I happily found and to whom I gave some money...;)). This business place is called Central do Brasil and they have a restaurant in addition to a store. I ate lunch. I loved it. It was salty, as feijoada usually is which left me slightly dehydrated I fear. But I'm still alive. Afterward I journeyed back to Saratoga Springs on the recently-widened Redwood Road. I and a friend went to Springville. I had hoped to meet and get the autograph of comic book author Greg Farschety, but he had left for Layton hours before my own arrival (the autograph was for Clint, my kid brother by they way).
After all this, I went to the temple. I timed myself to arrive for the Portuguese session. For approximately two hours I was immersed in my beloved foreign language. I was reminded of how much I love hearing and speaking it. I even met a sister that knew President Milder, my mission president, from when he was a missionary (early '70s). Then I bumped into a sister that I met while I was in the Centro de Treinamento Missionario in Sao Paulo. I also had some questions answered. For this I love going to the temple. Above all else, in the quiet celestial room I can find time to commune with the Lord. It's a marvelous experience.
It was a weekend of laughter and love for Brasil. I've honestly not laughed so hard in a long time.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Over the course of some time I've been fascinated by the idea that everything about us really is the result of some choice we have made. I say it once more, everything. The way we think, the way we feel, personal habits, social habits, study habits, likes and dislikes and attitudes. The friends we have, the people we avoid, what we read, the list is potentially infinite. But all things considered, how often do we realize this truth? How often do we honestly try to blame someone else for our feeling a certain way? How often do we think that we just do certain things because that's who we are?
I've tried to remember that feelings of anger, frustration, sadness, or calm are all mine. The truth is that by a certain age we have defined how we will react to certain situations and henceforth others become our scapegoats because "they don't understand that doing [] makes me feel {}". Rather than do so, especially at work (that's where I often feel the most frustrated or irritated) I've re-assumed the helm to say "That no longer makes me angry" or "I'll do it without being frustrated". There's something incredible happening. I find myself going home and being less tense about the situation at work. I find my life becoming more peaceful. True the battle is not yet won. I must continue the practice until it becomes habit. I AM THE SHAPER OF MY DESTINY!
After this rambling I wish to insert a poem that I wrote in 2005 for a college-level literature class. What is described still holds true today.

How often I have contemplated on my own definition
escapes the count and numbering belonging to man.
I sit at a desk and type this poem, a privilege enjoyed only by this generation.
The school is mall and my class is even smaller.
I love to write, but this one hurts.
To put me into words cannot be fully done. Yet here
is the best I can do, just for you to enjoy.

I am a good person. Everybody tells me so.
I am a failute, can't even keep a high grade, whispers the dark voice.
I am an athlete that gives all I can.
I quit football and let my team down responds the darkness within.
I always do well in my religion classes.
I am the epitome of hypocrites screams my conscience.
I try my hardest. I give my best.
My best isn't enough and my stature doesn't measure up.
I have pure intents of serving others.
My intents are self-serving motives of glory.
I am humble before the world.
My school pride destroys my humility.
School is easy.
School is too hum-drum.
I can make it. I can be good.
Temptation wears me down. I'm not strong enough.
Be still.
Stop. Stop. NO MORE!
Back to center. Back to focus.
Remember who I am and move forward with faith.
These many conflicts define me, shape me, mold me.
I have no idea why God wants me to resist the anger, but I do.
Pressure builds. Musical and prayerful release soothe.
God is near. God will uplift. Jeremiah, my roots,
means "God Will Uplift."