Sunday, January 31, 2010

Flying under influence of regulation

Today I feel to write based on a quote I heard in Sunday School. It was something to the effect that when we look at the light the shadows fall behind us. I take permission to compare that with our patterns of behavior. I often hear, "it isn't that bad" or "it could be worse" or even "such and such a thing is worse than this". True, whatever "it" is may be better than the worst available, but I don't care about the worst. The worst is of little interest to me. I want the best. I seek out the light. I want to see the light. I know that the source is the Lord. I don't care about the shadows behind me. I wish to walk and bask in the light. So I tend to look for the better, the best.
This is admittedly discrimination. My attitude places "limitations" on much entertainment. But do not tell me that creativity is not possible. Do not claim that I am anti-progressive. Quite the contrary. A kite can fly and it can fly high, but only if secured to a solid point on the ground. Only if secured by the line can a kite actually fly. It is then quite capable of doing wonderful stunts and surprising heights. If not restrained, the kite will lazy and haphazardly fall to the ground or meet an unsightly end with a tree or other tall object. Creativity under restraint brings inspiration.
Rules, regulations, standards of conduct, and laws all act in the same way. When used and followed the results are marvelous. When broken, we find ourselves, in the same manner as the kite, very broken.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Favorite Movies

Easily one of my all time favorites is The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd

Another is Wall E, one of the first movies I watched after returning from Brazil. Just a sweet, touching story told with more sound than dialog.

Another is Meet the Robinsons. The central message being to "keep moving forward" was desperately needed, and sadly ignored, for those first months after one of my greatest experiences.

Be forever strong, give yourself a second chance, you can change. Stand strong with those close to you.

Definitely my favorite comedy. I'd had a rough day at school, felt tons of pressure and didn't feel that I'd have time to do homework that day. Then I had loads of laughs at this movie.

So this isn't the quite the movie label, but it is the correct name. I still remember watching this movie in primary and just bawling. Touching.

Kinda corny, definitely a low-budget movie, but still a good love story.

The underlying message is a good one, fellowship non-members. We don't want the world to think of us as an exclusive, holier-than-thou club. Welcome them in.

Very touching story of conversion and change. Powerful testimony. Beautiful. And yes, this one also made me cry.

This one made me consider my values and how I want to live. Thought provoking and faith-inducing.

Just love this arrangement. Beautiful. Love story happens to be one of my favorite songs, just an fyi

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Coming soon...



I would find it interesting if I thought the Lord asks us to learn to let go of things only to someday make an eternal commitment to a spouse. However, I don't think it is an inconsistancy in logic. He doesn't ask us to let go of this person and that person only to tell us to cleave to another. There is a question of timing. There is the question of serving another. There are many intricate and delicate parts that we all play in each others' lives.
We may come across someone whom we feel love for, on whom we have empathetic compassion, and we befriend them. We may be on the other side, needing companionship. We may only need that person in our lives for a short time. We may only be needed for a short time. Despite all our best efforts, the Lord may eventually remove their company from us or remove us from their immediate surroundings. Keep in contact, as you can. Whether you touched someone's life or yours was touched by someone, keep in some contact. Friendships as such are valuable.
As I ponder on what may lie in store for me, I wonder when I'll find an eternal companion. I've thought that I had found someone a couple of times already. The Lord only showed me that the time was not yet. It has become normal and natural for me to come and go among social circles and to enter and leave lives quietly. When I become separated from a friend I feel that we have served our purposes one to another. Yet there is a deep longing for a constant. A yearning that pushes me to look deeply at people and discern what is contained within. Based on what is inside, I may extend my reach a little further that a friendship may develop into a little more. Certainly a relatioship of any kind requires that both parties work in conjunction. If my efforts seem unreciprocated I let go and move on. Like a good missionary, I try to have several plans and options in mind. The presence of back-up ideas does not ever rise above them being friends while in persuit of a primary possibility. However, once that relationship seems to fall, the next will begin to rise up. I haven't been completely and entirely smitten by one solitary person for a while. Once I experience that again, the secondaries will fall completely away that I may actively persue this one interest.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lot's wife and the future

Two weeks has been plenty of time without a new post. More than enough time. What I lacked last week was a reliable internet connection and a computer (kinda hard to connect to the internet without a computer). Tuesday I was able to adjust that situation and bought a display from Best Buy. This new computer is awesome. But there are better things than a computer or the internet or TV.
While surfing through the KBYU schedule I noticed that one of my favorite BYU addresses would be on, but that it would air at a much later than desired hour. So I searched for it on the BYU broadcasting page. This talk came at a pivotol moment and has since helped me to continue looking forward. Perhaps I may even attribute some of my unique character to this talk by Elder Jeffery R. Holland. Link is as follows . I personally recommend this talk.
I like it so much that I'm going to insert some of it here:
One of my favorite books of the New Testament is Paul’s too-seldom-read letter to the Philippians. After reviewing the very privileged and rewarding life of his early years—his birthright, his education, his standing in the Jewish community—Paul says that all of that was nothing (“dung” he calls it) compared to his conversion to Christianity. He says, and I paraphrase: “I have stopped rhapsodizing about ‘the good old days’ and now eagerly look toward the future ‘that I may apprehend that for which Christ apprehended me.’” Then comes this verse:

This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 3:13–14]

No Lot’s wife here. No looking back at Sodom and Gomorrah here. Paul knows it is out there in the future, up ahead wherever heaven is taking us where we will win “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

At this point, let me pause and add a lesson that applies both in your own life and also in the lives of others. There is something in us, at least in too many of us, that particularly fails to forgive and forget earlier mistakes in life—either mistakes we ourselves have made or the mistakes of others. That is not good. It is not Christian. It stands in terrible opposition to the grandeur and majesty of the Atonement of Christ. To be tied to earlier mistakes—our own or other people’s—is the worst kind of wallowing in the past from which we are called to cease and desist.

We started this hour with a little verse remembered from one of my BYU English classes. May I move toward a close with a few lines from another favorite poet whom I probably met in that same class or one similar to it. For the benefit of all BYU students in the new year of 2009, Robert Browning wrote:

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith, “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”
[Rabbi Ben Ezra (1864), stanza 1]

Sister Holland and I were married about the time both of us were reading poems like that in BYU classrooms. We were as starstruck—and as fearful—as most of you are at these ages and stages of life. We had absolutely no money. Zero. For a variety of reasons, neither of our families was able to help finance our education. We had a small apartment just south of campus—the smallest we could find: two rooms and a half bath. We were both working too many hours trying to stay afloat financially, but we had no other choice.

I remember one fall day—I think it was in the first semester after our marriage in 1963—we were walking together up the hill past the Maeser Building on the sidewalk that led between the President’s Home and the Brimhall Building. Somewhere on that path we stopped and wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. Life that day seemed so overwhelming, and the undergraduate plus graduate years that we still anticipated before us seemed monumental, nearly insurmountable. Our love for each other and our commitment to the gospel were strong, but most of all the other temporal things around us seemed particularly ominous.

On a spot that I could probably still mark for you today, I turned to Pat and said something like this: “Honey, should we give up? I can get a good job and carve out a good living for us. I can do some things. I’ll be okay without a degree. Should we stop trying to tackle what right now seems so difficult to face?”

In my best reenactment of Lot’s wife, I said, in effect, “Let’s go back. Let’s go home. The future holds nothing for us.”

Then my beloved little bride did what she has done for 45 years since then. She grabbed me by the lapels and said, “We are not going back. We are not going home. The future holds everything for us.”

She stood there in the sunlight that day and gave me a real talk. I don’t recall that she quoted Paul, but there was certainly plenty in her voice that said she was committed to setting aside all that was past in order to “press toward the mark” and seize the prize of God that lay yet ahead. It was a living demonstration of faith. It was “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). So we laughed, kept walking, and finished up sharing a root beer—one glass, two straws—at the then newly constructed Wilkinson Center

To all such of every generation, I call out, “Remember Lot’s wife.” Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us and that Christ truly is the “high priest of good things to come.”

Perhaps the greatest line in there is "Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there." Moving on is perhaps one of the hardest things the Lord will ask of us, but it is also the most rewarding. The past is dead and holds nothing for us. The future is yet to be, and if we plan for it, it holds everything. Today is the time for us to make our lives our own.

To borrow a few lines from the All American Rejects band "The future is alive, alive as can be/ just open your eyes, it's as plain to see/Just don't be afraid, just keep going on/ one step at a time and ya can't go wrong/ It's time to create, time to grow/ if you're feeling right/ the world, yeah she's changing/ don't it make you feel alive?"

Move on, have faith that what the Lord has in store for you is more than what He asks you to leave behind.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A whim on affection

Today I feel to write about sweet affections. If there is a big reason to miss having a girlfriend it would be having a sweet gesture of affection come my way. I like cuddling on the couch and watching a movie together. I enjoy holding hands. Giving hugs is a joy. Even a sweet, soft kiss is good once in a while. Oh how I miss these demonstrations of affection.
Of those listed, I would say only kissing is truly to be reserved for a serious relationship. The others can be the precursors to a relationship and most certainly have their place in said situation. A kiss is a sign of affection and love, a silent, "I care" or, "I love you and I mean it" and hence should be reserved for special relationships.
A hug is the blessed universal gift that fits all and requires of us no commitment to the other person beyond that of being a friend. Hugs are awesome, but are sadly not exchanged often enough. A hug can be given for comfort, in gratitude, or friendship. Their wide application makes them ideal for any occasion.
Now cuddling and holding hands should, from my perspective, fall into some category between friends and steady dating. These could easily be forerunners to a more serious relationship, but should be used outside of a relationship with care. For certainly holding hands or cuddling show a measure of affection more than a hug. There is a degree of physical and emotional closeness that comes with either activity that a hug does not necessarily have. Use with cation and care. Have a real desire to date, and possibly marry, that person.
Having said that, I may have misused all four occasionally. But having never used any beforehand I hope that I have a small license to learn the proper place and use of each. One new year resolution, for me, could easily be to use correctly these signs of affection. Give more hugs. Use the other three (cuddle, hold hands, kiss) more discreetly and whole-heartedly.
I shall add to that resolution a determination to establish a new, more meaningful and lasting relationship. If possible, I'd like to get engaged this year. But a relationship that strong is going to be up to my efforts to be worthy of such, my diligence in looking, and the Lord's timing.