Friday, June 29, 2012

Can't Touch This!

Allow me to introduce you to a couple of ladies who are my allies today in proving that a woman can dress modestly and look amazing.  We live in a society that often expects us to dress without any semblance of self respect and proclaim that if we do dress decently we are either being prudish, ignorant or oppressed.  I think we are exerting our feminine dignity in telling the world that we are so precious that they simply don't have money enough to buy us.

First is my dear sister, Crystal, who many of my readers know from her blog www.crystalsapistol.blogspot.com.  She is the epitome of fun and creates joy in everyone she meets except those women who become sickeningly envious of her, which as you can imagine happens quite a bit among the less self assured crowd.  But we love them anyway.  No one's perfect.

I am girl! Hear me roar!  I don't know too many boys that would be able to resist this lovely face!  Posh and ever interested in dresses, make up and other indispensable items of life, little Julia is the model child of modesty.  She sings about it, encourages it in others and dons sleek, beautiful genuine artificial fur coats with pride!
 And for those who like me are more of the tortured poet literary variety, feel free to express yourself in classy innocence whilst pondering the blacks, whites, and greys of social thinking.  Under this pensive exterior resides a fully chiseled physique that faithfully hits the gym and watches what food makes its entrance.  And to all the boys out there, you haven't earned the right to view this sexy temple of a body, thank you!  This kind of heaven doesn't come to any except he who earns it! 

Native Beauty

My body was born in Tucson, Arizona.  As a child I often considered that my spirit must have had very different roots altogether.  I am naturally rather of a profoundly loving nature and the idea of living in a dry, heartless desert filled with cacti and enveloped by the sweltering and often fatal summer sun held precious little charm for me.  People form their personalities to some extent by their surroundings and the idea of having a barren, unyielding soul horrified me.

But God granted me the miraculous blessing of being able to travel.  I have crossed the continental United States countless times, visited both Canada and Mexico, toured Western Europe and Israel at the age of 16 and have spent much cherished time in Meso America.  I have felt the passion of the jungle and basked on Mediteranean shores.  I have crossed the Swiss Alps and the North Sea.  And God granted me much association with those who have moved into my native Arizona, praising the exotic nature of sky reaching saguaro cacti. 

I may never be a desert rat at heart.  But viewing the entire earth as a whole I can better understand the beauties and enjoyable nature in this, the Land of the Rough and Tumble Cowboys.  Whatever our stations, our situations, or our particular gifts, we have a place in this wide and expansive world.  Remember that you are part of the beauty of this world and beauty has many faces.  There is no one right answer in terms of worth or divine nature. 

Child Labor

I often read biographies and the like to my children and teach them about history.  It benefits me in the sense that I get to read something other than The Cat in the Hat (no offense to Dr. Seuss but I do enjoy the change) and the children honestly become excited about learning new things.

One of our favorites is the story of Margaret Mead and her studies pertaining to various cultures in an attempt to better understand other people that she might better understand her own society.  It's a noble goal and she worked toward it admirably.  She found that in societies where children learned to help work and care for themselves and younger siblings they easily grew into happy adults.  Adulthood came naturally.  In those societies where children did not learn responsibility and were not taught the value of work they grew into angry, resentful adults. 

I think this is something we all instinctively know but sometimes fail to put into action in our own lives.  If we love the children around us we will teach them to work.  Suppose we have no children of our own?  Perhaps we can better society by inviting the neighborhood kids to help grow a neighborhood garden in your backyard.  Perhaps we can extend this to teaching children help do yard work or housework for invalids in our areas.  Kids are often more willing to learn than we are to teach.

I know it is sometimes easier to clean house ourselves than teach a five year old to do it and then have to live with the somewhat messy results.  But take a deep breath and remember that even though the floor isn't mopped perfectly you are making a significant contribution to a greater end than clean floors.  You are building a lifetime of happiness and joy in your house and your child. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Faith in the Face of Trial

As some of my readers know, I will have to undergo at least one surgical procedure for some health issues.   Time will tell the severity - I do not know the extent yet.  But as stressful as that might seem, and though it seems strange to hear, I am not in the least afraid.  Trial is not a time for weakness but a time for strength.  Trials give us the opportunity to try our metals and prove to ourselves how much we really can achieve.

I know for a fact that God is at the helm.  Each and every trial we have in our lives carries a purpose and is for our good.  Each trial we have that affects those around us are also for their progression and learning.  I have learned from profound experiences that there is not one single tear, heartache, trouble, or instant of pain that is not calculated for our learning.  And often those trials that seem the hardest to bear open doors of light, truth, and happiness we could never have had before.  I often think that the level of pain we are able to bear directly corresponds to the level of happiness our souls can handle feeling.

So when trials that seem insurmountable beset you, lift up your head and rejoice, for it is only God opening your soul and expanding it to allow a greater quantity of joy into your life. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

You Do More Good Than You Think

Have you ever had a hard time and gazed at an old friend's picture to raise your spirits?  Have you ever had a tremendous fight with one you loved and then, though not on speaking terms, found yourself thereafter faithfully reading their facebook statuses and wishing you could make things better?  Have you ever felt that you made such a blunder in a friendship that you dared not speak to the person again but found that the friend's influence wouldn't leave your thoughts, even after many years?  My friends, I have.  I think to some extent we all have found ourselves there whether we feel comfortable admitting it or not. 

Sometimes though we don't have the opportunity to demonstrate our love for people it remains vibrant in our hearts and we need them just as much as we ever did if not more.  Even the bare thought of them seems to make the day brighter.  And all too often life's frustrating boundries and politics get in the way. 

Let's turn the situation around.  Perhaps you feel that you work to help others, love others, and aid them.  Perhaps you feel that your friendships have been so often ruined that you lose hope in trying any further.  But perhaps there are those in your past who secretly think of you with the powerful, soul moving affection they dare not express in word or in deed.  Those who strive to love others and find themselves temporarily the worse for it are never ultimately lost.  Whether in this life or afterward the goodness you sow will eventually come round to you again and sometimes those who beget our deepest regrets become our dearest and choicest associations. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Drop Your Agenda

I have seen many people and at times have been guilty of this myself until I learned better who have a set course and refuse to change from it.  While I applaud determination, I must draw a distinction between healthy decisions to meet goals and sacrificing those around us in a pursuit of those goals.

Have you ever thought "well if So and so does such and such then I will be happy and have what I want?"  No matter how laudable our aims, let us remember that we don't have the right to exercise control over others in order to obtain those goals.  Perhaps our goals is for the good of others.  Stop and think.  Is the goal really in their interest or could there perhaps be a better plan?   People are not pawns in our agendas for the "greater good."  They are people.  They have their individual personalities and goals independent of yours or mine.

But there is one agenda that we ought always consider and trust.  It is the Lord's agenda.   Every morning I pray and ask what the Lord would have me do for that day.  What ought my agenda to be?  Each morning I have received an answer.  And God repeatedly reminds me that though I have an object in mind it is not for me to trample over others in order to get it at any cost.  Just do your best and leave the rest to Him. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Art and Beauty

*I began randomly scrawling one night, as I sometimes do, and this is what spilled out of my pen.  It reminds me greatly of Raphael's painitng intitled St. Michael vanquishing Satan.  Why do we love art so much?  Because it is a reminder of the beauty that exists within ourselves. 

The jagged mountain peaks twisted and writhed beneath an illbegotten sky.  Ominous clouds swirled madly above as an iron wall separating ethereal aurora from the devil's playground, Earth.  Warm and kindly as her nature proved, Sun wafted gentle rays toward her aggressor and soung a weak point in this guarded fortress of doom.  Delicately she entreated, claiming benevolence to the wretched inhabitants of our world, and earnestly sought a moment's compassion in this most implacable of all demons but to no avail.  All the earth was hidden in shroud.

The foothills of these threatening mountains seemed molded by tempters from hell.  Their hypocritical glory cast aside, they illustrated their metals at last in these distempered monuments.  Mocking Mother Earth's matronly mature they seemed molded severly with gnarled fingers turning first this way and now that, inviting any that might defy its menacing authority to come and dash himself to pieces on their rocky, vengeful slopes.

But hark! What voice is here?  Beyond the gates of anguish from a light as bright as heaven we hear the sure and certain tones of warrior in action.  Fast approaches mighty Michael, slicing open and casting asunder the smothering blankets of cloud.  The light of his great piercing eyes floods the terrain with ever healing light and goodness unleashed courses in torrents across the barren, hungering land.

The World Within

I spend much of my life in service to others.  I tend to be a very careful and involved mother and seek to truly understand my children and teach them according to their needs and not my desires.  I try to view and accept people for who they are and not as I would make them.

It's exhausting sometimes. 

I have from my infancy always been more comfortable looking inward and enjoying solitude than being surrounded by people.  It is just how God made me.  I find that when I let go of responsibilities, exterior pressures and the like and simply focus inward I find a passionate and intesely powerful world inside the confines of my mind.  There exists in my mind and spirit a much deeper level of understanding, intelligence, and profound thought than any living soul on this earth has ever seen.  Solitude is where I find freedom.

Now I know we are all different and some people really thrive in social intercourse more than I do.  Nevertheless, with the constant barrage of facebook updates, tweeting, and general technological bruhaha, I cannot help but openly suggest we all look a bit more inside and discover the power and passion that exists within ourselves.  We are after all children of a living God and each carry a spark of divine fire.  Search for it, learn to accept and love it, and forget for a while the garish light of glittering society.

Accepting Freedom

There is a kind of slavery that pervades the liberated world.  Those of us that reside in countries that have received emancipation and consider ourselves enlightened often create an atmosphere of social and emotional slavery amongst ourselves.  We create rules thoroughly unnecessary that lead us to think and act in manners that enslave us. 

These come in all different shapes and sizes.  Some are enslaved to their passions.  Some are enslaved by competition with their neighbors.  Often we are enslaved by our own empty and unrealistic expectations of ourselves or the expectations family or friends place upon us.  Sometimes we are enslaved by feeling we must adhere to fashions or prominent opinions of the day.

Let us each take a deep look into the man or woman in the mirror and discover at least one thing that enslaves us.  Let us decide to accept the freedom for which our American forefathers fought, bled and died.  Let us accept the freedom that beckons to us.  Never mind what the world may say about us.  Take hold of your own life, overcome your personal obstacles and dare to live completely free.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How Can You Miss Me if I Don't Go Away?

Many of us make the very natural mistake of holding with all our might to a relationship we love.  This may be romantic, filial, platonic or what have you.  Often the relationship goes awry and we find ourselves with a gaping hole in our souls wondering what happened.  Then we often think "perhaps they just didn't know how much I loved them" or "if they would just come back everything would be fine."  But human beings have a tendency and indeed a need to recover from intense love and affection. 

So how do we come to grips with the idea of letting go when we fear we may be losing someone?  We do so by recognizing that if we do not give people freedom we are much more likely to lose them permanently.  If love is real then the person will chose to return of their own volition and not by our strangling grips.  Allowing freedom strengthens mutual respect and thus allows a stronger, happier relationship. 

Now that being said, I would like to bid you all a very fond au revoir.  I will be on vacation for about a week and will leave you to your own devices in the interim.  I respect your choice to read other blogs and shall endeavor not to feel slighted that you not sit weeping in front of the screen wondering why I have abandoned you.  Fear not.  The California beaches await me and we will be back together soon. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Short Reads for Summer

I love to read!  I love to share my favorite books as well, especially when summer hits and we generally become rather more inclined to literature than other seasons.  Here are a few short and thoroughly enjoyable works you might consider if you like the kind of blog posts I write.  Short reads but insightful and amusing.

1.  Almost anything by Bernard Shaw.  My personal favorite is Arms and the Man which humorously deals with the truth behind of noble natures and romance.  A group of overly dramatized, easily shocked friends learn that those who are down to earth and real not only prove smartest but also are the most gifted at true and honest romance.  Another great one is The Devil's Disciple which is a rather powerful argument that when we look to take care of people we come closer to God than if we sit around judging each other.  Both are masterful plays and are not terribly long.  (The BBC does great renditions of each.)

2.   The Artist of the Beautiful by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Frankly, I am in love with Hawthorne.  It's true.  This short story describes how the artist is more powerful than all the so called "real" and "important" laborers in life.  It compares an artist no one quite understands to a self satisfied blacksmith who boasts his brute strength is greater than the pointless creations of art.  Though to the end his associates don't understand him, the artist knows for himself with a surety that his is the greatest and most powerful trade of all.

3.  The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is an absolute must read if you have never picked it up.  It is a collection of letters from one demon in hell to another, explaining how tempters must carefully bewilder the pathetic humans and lead them carefully down to spiritual prison.  Screwtape, the writer of these letters refers to God as the enemy and Satan as "our father below."  You will find yourself saying "Oops.  He got me." as he describes how human think and are led into various transgressions.  It is not quite as short as a Narnia book but you will be turning pages with extreme rapidity.

Have a wonderful summer and happy reading to you!

You Too Can Rule the World

I used to frequently watch the movie With Honors and one of my favorite lines from that particular flick was "Arise!  You too can rule the world! You just have to crush everyone else first!"   This was followed by some "crushing" music on the Harvard University radio show. 

But the first part of the injunction really is true.  You too can rule the world, and not like President Obama, the British Parliment, or any other leader in the history of mankind on this tiny little planet.  You can rule better and more securely than they.  A person may rule a country for a short time because their friends placed them in power, because they were born into the right circles or have a gift in speech or politics.  But you can rule your own world by mastering yourself.

When we have self respect, when we overcome our challenges, when we find peace within ourselves without the need of having others reaffirm our worths for us we do indeed rule the world.  It is harder to master oneself than it is to lead a country.  How many political leaders have we had throughout the story of humanity?  How many of them were enslaved by their own passions?  Find peace and self love and no matter what happens to you, you can always rule your own inner world.  You can always come home to yourself to find peace and all the naysayers in the world cannot make it otherwise. 

Because I Said So

Since my infancy I have had something of a passion for extending the conventional religious commandments and explaining them in layman's terms.  We have all heard that adultery, fornication, envy, immodesty, alcoholism and the like are wrong and bad but generally the only explanation as to why they are bad and we should avoid them is because God said so.  And while that worked for me and may for many, there are countless people in this world, starting with teenagers, who just don't buy that answer.  It particularly proves a weak answer when given by parents.

When we level standards, rules, and the like toward kids or frankly anyone else, we must consider first that they are human beings capable of feelings and thought, and when they use their intelligence and emotion they ought to be applauded rather than stifled and rebuked.  When they use their intelligences against our demands and conditions, they need an actual reason that pertains to them and recognizes their own concerns.  "Because I said so" is a good way to create a lifetime of animosity and also have a person do exactly what you don't want them doing. 

So consider why you give a child a rule.  If a daughter wants to walk out the door in a mini skirt with bright red lip stick and you call her back, consider why you don't want her to enter a public place in that attire.  Is it because you are embarrassed or because she will be treated like a harlot?  If it merely to hide your embarrassment, perhaps you might want to rethink your acceptance of your daughter as a human being and not merely as a pawn in your social agenda.  If it is because she would be disrespected, lovingly explain that and then lovingly give her a higher option with the explanation that she is a beautiful, exquisite, special lady already and everyone else ought to treat her accordingly.  Hellfire and damnation never need enter the conversation.  God only gives us rules that are for our own logical happiness, if we can discover the higher logic behind them.   Ultimate happiness and religious commands generally go hand in hand.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sadness is a Reason for Happiness

I recently overcame a bout of frustration, anger, and generally offended emotions.  Life has been more irritating of late than I would like to recount.  But one concept I learned years ago kept beckoning to me and is part of the reason I was able to keep life somewhat in perspective when my inward fury knew no bounds. 

Just over five years ago I found myself with classic symptoms of post traumatic stress.  One such symptom is the loss of emotion.  I recall many times sitting in my bathroom late at night staring blankly at the wall thinking "I can't feel anything.  I can't feel anything." for hours on end.  I could not feel happiness, sadness, pain, joy, or anything else at all.  Nearly everything was wiped cleanly off the board of my palate of emotions.  The only emotion I never lost in this terrible state was that of compassion.  I thank God I retained that, for I needed it terribly to make it through the situation as well as I did. 

But it taught me a powerful lesson that I have never forgotten.  Our feelings, even our negative feelings, are blessings.  Through post traumatic stress I also found myself with partial amnesia and I learned that everything we have, literally everything, can be taken from us.  Our minds, memories, emotions, abilities, and health can be swept from beneath us.  Am I happy about the frustrating week I have had?  No.  But I am grateful to God for allowing me such an experience, for it reminds me that I am indeed alive with the capacity to feel something strongly. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

How to Make Boys Crazy Over You

Dedicated to my nieces and all the other young ladies out there!

Every day you make a decision that will hugely affect the quality of your love life.  It is the decision that we all know well.  It is the decision of "What am I going to WEAR?" 

When you stand in front of the closet, imagine an hourglass.  You are at the tiny point in the middle and there is a funnel one way and another the other way.  You want to dress to impress, right?  To get what you want in life, right?  To catch the guys' attentions, right?  Good.  Glad to know we're on the same page. 

I want you to know that I have dressed all over the board.  I have worn mini skirts, long ruffled dresses, and there was a time I wore nothing but black - lipstick, nail polish, everything.  So I know what I'm saying and at the end will refer you to a smart man who will tell you the same thing.

So we're back in front of the closet, right?  Let's say you pick a cute little outfit that is a little low cut and a little shorter than mommy would like.  Who cares?  You can stash it in your backpack and change at school.  She'll never know.  Let me tell you what your parents probably won't explain too well.  Let's say you wear it.  The boys like it.  They love to see skin.  They like you and they flirt with you.  Then someone else comes wearing something a little lower cut and with a higher skirt.  The boys leave you for her.  You have just set yourself up, in essence, to have to compete with every other girl out there.  You, in essence, will have to be cheaper than the next girl to keep the attention you want.  And while they are peeking down your dress, flattering as that might be to you, they are also looking down their noses at you, because you have just told them point blank to do it. 

Hmmm....that doesn't sound like fun.

Let's get back in front of the closet.  Let's pick something else.  Let's say a pair of jeans and an uber cute T shirt, yes?  Okay, now you can't trade on skin. You have to trade on something else.  So do the things you like to do.  Art, reading, dancing, music, or whatever.  All of a sudden you get caught up in what you love and forget for a second the world around you.  Know what the guys are seeing?  Believe me, they are watching, and this is what is going through their heads "Wow!  There is a girl who is amazing at art, dancing, music, or whatever.  She's funny and smart and...man, if I could just get her to look up at me and smile I'd float off to cloud nine!"  See the difference? 

So fall in love with yourself.  You deserve it.  And when you do they see it too and all of a sudden, before you know it, guys will drooling all over you with no hope of winning fair lady and then you can just pick the one  you want whenever you aren't busy pampering number one (that's you).   But don't take my word on this.  Google "Catch him and keep him" and you will find an absolutely awesome guy who has studied the way men think for years.  He'll tell you the exact same thing.   

Friday, June 8, 2012

Superheroes are People Too

Superman has always been my favorite of the classic superhero crowd.  I think it is because the man of steel turns to man of mush when Lois Lane walks into the room.  He can turn the world upside down but he can't handle seeing Lois hurt or upset.  There are many we see as the superhero type whether it be physically, academically, or just as a seemingly perfectly rounded individual. 

In college I met two such individuals.  One was a professor who at first glance seemingly had no flaws about his person at all in any form.  Many young male students would sigh and tell me that they feared they had no chance with any girl in this professor's class because next to him they simply couldn't compete.  Most of the female students, old and young, were entirely infatuated with the man.  But I knew him somewhat better than the most of his students and I knew his frustrations, both of trying to get through to this rowdy crew of undergraduates and also somewhat in his personal endeavors.  Though he appeared nearly superhuman to all who saw only the exterior he felt quite deeply. 

The other fella was a man at church in the singles congregation I briefly attended.  He was exceedingly intelligent, spoke Chinese, had traveled the world and the like.  I remember that I and surely many others considered that such a man would never bestow a glance in our directions.  Many of them I am sure gave up before they started.  I certainly did.  Recently he and his beautiful family moved into my congregation and I got to know him better.  Yes, his resume was certainly impressive but I found him to be simply a nice, non judgmental guy who never dreamed that people held such an opinion of him and certainly didn't hold such an untouchable opinion of himself. 

My point is this.  Don't give up on impressive people so easily.  They are people.  They have emotions and appreciate the same kind of human kindness we all hope to attain.  Treat them like people.  Love them like people.  Understand that they have frailties and human flaws and care for them in spite of such imperfections.  You might be surprised at how much like mush the invincible people of steel react.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mormon Politics

I appreciated very much this week the avoidance of a possible breakdown of chaos in my Sunday School class and the kind and gracious behavior demonstrated by the excellent teacher whose actions aided the eventual peace.  Our lesson as scheduled was to discuss the political background of a story in the Book of Mormon and an election held by the people discussed therein.  The teacher began by saying that the concept of an election pertains to us today and as soon as these words left her mouth you could feel tension in the entire congregation as each and every one of us, myself included, stiffened and held our breaths. 

The fact is that Mormons do  not ever discuss politics while in the church.  It is against the laws and regulations set by the international Mormon leaders.  While in the church or at church functions there are no Obama haters, Romney supporters, Obama supporters or anything else of that nature.  Politics do not exist at the pulpit of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Ever. 

It may be the natural conclusion of many that all Mormons support Mitt Romney.  I myself didn't support him in 2008.  I thought he needed to gain a bit more wisdom before he entered the White House and internationally represented not only my country but my faith.  One might assume that bishops and teachers preach the support of a certain candidate.  Never.  I have never heard the political R name from the pulpit or from any teacher in the church.  Mormons are often very wary of discussing politics with each other outside of church functions.  I appreciate being part of a religion that separates church and state and renders its members absolute freedom to vote as they see fit without bullying, insults, or penalties.  If indeed Mitt Romney wins this election in November it will be because the American people as a whole entered the polls and elected him.  We are an international religion, but by the grace of God we rose from free American soil and promote freedom of thought to our members and to all.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Out of Control

I often hear people, particularly parents, becoming infuriated at someone or other because they are "out of control."  Let me share with you the stories of two people who were entirely out of control and the effect it had on those around them. 

First was a young boy named Tom.  He set his barn on fire by accident.  He accidentally caught a moving train on fire in his youth as well while trying to do chemistry experiments.  He attempted to make a cannon in his basement, which short lived invention ended up in an explosion that shook the house.  His father publicly beat him up in the town square to proclaim to the world how bad and disobedient his son was.  Tom refused to conform.  And thanks to dear Tom Edison, we now have the light bulb.   One of my favorite stories of an unruly child takes place in Italy.  A father wanted his son to enter into his profession as a banker to a wealthy family.  He of course recognized that money was what mattered in this world.  The father was infuriated at the son for refusing so to do.  The son wanted instead to pursue the "worthless," according to his father, life of an artist.  The boy's name was Michelangelo.

I don't know about you but I thank God in all seriousness and humility for many of those throughout history who have been out of control.  The fact is that when someone is out of our control they are still in the hands of their Master Parent.  And perhaps when they are most out of control it is because the Lord is using them to create miracles far greater than anything we can conceive.  When we try to control other people, even and perhaps most especially our children, we rob them and the world of the gloriously individual gifts they have to offer.  Let us remember that there is a difference between someone doing something altogether bad and their doing things differently than we do.  Perhaps that difference in perspective is the miracle our lives need to raise us higher than we ever thought possible. 

A Creative Satire

I have just finished writing a short story that, I hope I may say, proves entertaining and also teaches a plethora of lessons.  Read it on the surface and it is both amusing and biting.  The setting is on a planet named Darita  in the solar system of a blue hot sun far away outside the known universe and discusses among other things how those who believe what they cannot see understand more about truth than those who believe only established scientific fact.  It being four pages I am not going to post the entire thing here but if you would like me to email you the entire manuscript feel free to leave me your address either in comment or at my email etherealliving@yahoo.com. Here is a short excerpt to get an idea of the style at least.

"Darita boasts three moons.  She considers this wealth her own treasure trove of glory; they are the jewels in her crown of arrogance.  The inhabitants of this planet have termed them, from greatest to least, Orinto, Pavlati, and Jershack.  Orinto and Pavlati undoubtedly know their places, for they circle the planet generally arm in arm, walking the same road together like two sovereigns foremost in a glittering parade of stars.  Jershack, it is feared, proves rather the fairy step child of the lunar family and runs against the current, small, quick and showing himself when least expected."

The rest contains a story of a young country woman who can feel of things she cannot see and in a rather surprising stroke elevates her not in the mind of shallow Daritan man, but in the wiser mind of the reader as being spiritually in tune with things greater than her small planet has to offer.  

Friday, June 1, 2012

We Are All Works in Progress

It is usually fairly easy to agree with this statement when applied to ourselves.  We want people to have mercy on our frailties and protect our reputations rather than heartlessly cast us as subjects of gossip.  And hopefully we also take the concept to heart when dealing with the imperfect actions of others.

I am no stranger to being injured by others.  God knows better than I will ever tell the mass of humanity on this earth the deep and cutting injuries, betrayals and disappointments I have sustained in my lifetime due to the behavior of others.  Indeed, it has seemed to become an alarming trend in my life.  It would be easy to condemn those who have behaved horridly to me.  But for the most part God has granted me the merciful boon of remembering that we are all works in progress.  And through the troubles and trials with which He has blessed me I have learned that even if all things are not mended in this lifetime it will be okay.  Nothing is outside His understanding and power to reconcile.  This knowledge is one of the greatest comforts of my life. 

Sometimes those who behave badly outrank us in the scheme of our lives.  They may be role models, parents, church leaders and the like.  Those disappointments hurt the worst in my estimation, but it affords us a wonderful opportunity to recognize that we also have power within ourselves and frees us from worshiping imperfect human beings.  We learn to see such people more as humans and less as directors of the powers that be.  It brings our focus of adoration closer to God.  And it allows us to cast aside such imperfect opinions and realize that we have a right to voice our thoughts abroad and eventually become the role models and leaders this world truly needs. 

Love Thyself

We often find ourselves tempted to hold grudges, engage in gossip filled conversations, over or under eat, and the like.  I am fully convinced that most of the vice in the world would disappear if people learned to love themselves.  Think of it for a moment.  If we loved our own consciences and honor more, valued our emotions and bodies more adultery would become extinct.  Fornication would disappear as well.  Treating people unkindly would be something fully beneath us.  We would love our own souls enough to reach out to the poor for we would not want the blemish of selfishness to tarnish our inner brilliance. 

I have learned something rather interesting in my years of yoga, tai chi, chi gong and the like.  Meditation is a powerful teacher.  I became more aware of my own mind/spirit/bodily connection and became ultra sensitive, comparatively speaking to what I was before, to the effect of sin, vice or anything that cheapens the soul.  It is repulsive to me.  Am I perfect?  Do I refrain from ever making mistakes?  I am of course very imperfect and make my share of mistakes.  But when I bear in mind the fact that I am a child of a living God and that any kind of vice cheapens me I carry a stronger determination to live with dignity and a clear conscience. 

So I invite you to be a little narcissistic.  Love those around you a bit more and realize that they have some right to a little healthy egoism as well.  Spend some time developing your talents and give others room to develop theirs.  We never need to pressure anyone else to love us more; we can fill our own loneliness, if we are indeed lonely, with our own self appreciation.  We can act as a boon to others by also seeing the worth and value within them.  After all, loving oneself requires we also love and appreciate others.  No self respecting child of God would do any less.