Saturday, February 18, 2012

a house of glory

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a new apartment.

Pictures are forthcoming, but let me just say, I AM SO EXCITED.

I really hope to make this a home...I think Natalie (my sweet, fun new roommate) and I are going to have a long talk after we unpack and get settled. House rules, goals, expectations, that kind of thing. I told her today that we were going to have the kind of apartment where as soon as you walk in, you feel the Spirit. She's totally on board with me there, for which I feel particularly blessed.

A passage in the Doctrine and Covenants keeps coming to mind as I ponder all of dedicating the Kirtland temple, the prophet Joseph Smith prays that it will be a house of prayer and faith and learning and order. He prays that the comings and goings of the people there will be blessed, that it will be obvious to whoever enters it that it is a house of God.

I want that for my new apartment. And I think we can do it.

Have I mentioned that I'm excited?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

praise in the storm

(Today's title brought to you by this song.)

Today I am grateful for...
  1. The fact that forgiveness is always the right choice.
  2. New, cute apartments and roommates.
  3. The temple.
  4. Good hair.
  5. Prayer.
  6. The way God comes to find me if I go too far away from Him.
  7. Chris's help in teaching me to value what I have to offer.
  8. The hope that while I may not understand some things now, I will understand them later.
  9. The way that a night of weeping makes you numb enough to function the next day.
  10. The Atonement.
"Be not deceived, Wormwood; our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys." This quote is from C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, and I aspire to it. But I'm not there yet.

Or rather, I don't live there yet; I visit it, like a spa, and find brief times of clarity and peace. I want to live there, but I don't think the heart is meant to live in a spiritual spa anyway.

It's all part of grief, I guess. The fierce disappointment and the circuitous questions that march through my brain like a colony of fire ants. The way that pain shows me who I am -- the paradox of the subordinately divine.

I just miss him. The way he made me laugh, the funny faces he made when he was thinking, or confused. The way he'd go on and on about chemical engineering, and then be kind of baffled that I had let him. Mostly though, I miss the way that I felt really treasured in the first weeks we started dating. I don't understand what changed.

But I'm trying to be like my Savior anyway.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


"And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them...but Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."

I haven't blogged in a while, because my heart has been so full of questions, and yet, strangely full of purpose. I haven't figured out how to reconcile that into words.

I will say though, that I believe in miracles.

I believe in a God who loves perfectly. I believe in my ability to change, and I believe in His ability to soften hearts and appeal to agency. I believe in being okay, even when things don't make sense. I believe in hope through Christ and His transcendent power. I believe in progress, in eternity, in friendship.

I believe in impossible things, because as we see in the scriptures, Heavenly Father is in the business of the impossible.

I've also seen that over and over in recent weeks, here and now. With a new medication, one friend's life expectancy may have just doubled or tripled to the "normal" range, something that in 10 years of friendship, we've never really dared to seriously consider. Another friend is getting married, soon, driven by a level of faith and happiness and integrity that would have been unthinkable a few months ago. A new friend realized she's met the love of her life and is determined to keep him forever. An old friend will finish grad school in June with a shiny new MBA and another store of incredible friends and memories. Someone very dear to me just got into grad school, something he's worked toward since high school but never quite believed he'd achieve.

If these aren't miracles, I don't know what is. So I keep them, and ponder them in my heart.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I finally figured out the real reason I haven't been making bread.

It got kinda boring.

Bread has always been this mysterious concoction of deliciousness to me, so once I figured out I could actually do it, I think I sorta lost interest.

So instead I made tortillas (which were delicious) and today, I made bagels.

And they were the bomb.

Monday, February 6, 2012

a different kind of prodigal

I can tell I'm slowly pulling myself together.

Having discussed it with Heavenly Father, we decided that I'm allowed to take it slow...that I could inspect and address my heartache a little bit at a time, so that when I am not handling my hurt I can function as normally as possible.

In exchange, I have to keep becoming better.

For example, I have been studying a wonderful talk by Elder Holland on the parable of the prodigal son. And not actually on the younger son, either -- the older one. The one who stayed home to work on the farm like he was supposed to, and feels angry and taken-for-granted when his ridiculous brother gets a party just for showing up.

One thing I've learned from this talk is that it isn't possible to have more than everything, and everything is precisely what Heavenly Father offers us, prodigal and faithful sons alike. It's the story in Matthew 19, where the part-day laborers get paid the same as the all-day laborers who worked for a greater amount of time and in less favorable circumstances. Christ shared this parable after His disciples asked what they were going to receive for forsaking everything and following Him.

It's almost like He said, "exactly what I promised -- and no, not a thing more."

We shouldn't labor in the kingdom our whole lives expecting some greater reward than our neighbors who struggle to figure out what we are blessed to intuitively understand. We should labor in the kingdom for the joy of the work, and out of an understanding that we are blessed with the opportunity to labor in Heavenly Father's kingdom -- that this opportunity is our reward.

I'm not very good at remembering that. It's easier for me to understand that the gospel makes us different, and if people can't tell that we're different, we're doing something wrong. It's easier for me to understand that I am meant to be a teacher, and as such it's part of who I am to persuade people to be better and use my words to remind them of truth. The downside of this is that I look down on people sometimes. Plus, I try to teach them things that they can only learn on their own, and then I get frustrated and forget who they really are.

I'm trying to realize that so long as each of us become who we need to become, we're all going to be fine -- whether that's after a course of riotous living, or when it's finally time to inherit the farm and "all the robes in the closet and every ring in the drawer." We're not rivals. No one is perfect, and that puts us all on the same team. We are brothers and sisters, and we should (and can learn to be) excited that everyone gets an equal pay, regardless of the length of their workday. We should and CAN LEARN TO BE excited that the rewards of our current righteousness can be opportunities, now, to build the kingdom in our own particular way.

It's really hard for me to see people missing those opportunities though. It's like I think, "hellooooo, Dad has work for you to do, would you please get with the program?" or "I am just too busy helping Dad to hang out with you -- why don't you come help too, and then we can be together!" Or, I think what it really boils down to... "Is spending all of your inheritance money really more important to you"

But I have learned a lesson over and over in the last year or so, and that lesson is this: it is never the wrong thing to forgive someone. Someone misled you? Someone hurt someone you love? Someone assumed the worst of you? Someone didn't collaborate in your happy future plans?

Forgive them. Love them anyway.

I am still a credit to the kingdom even if someone I love -- anyone, really -- chooses to be somewhere else instead of at home, helping me do Father's work. I bet the brother who stayed home missed his brother every day, and there were some days he wanted to take a break from working the farm, just to go spend time with him. I certainly feel that way sometimes. Regardless, the older brother still deserved his Father's gentle rebuke for his anger and fear.

When it comes down to it, I wander from home too, outwardly or inwardly, and that wandering doesn't change the personal responsibility that I have to obey anyway. Each hardship, each painful result of my wandering, has shown me my weaknesses. Working through each weakness reveals to me the unfailing love of Jesus Christ. I can't fault anyone else for going through that process, too, and the fact that I do sometimes is just one more way I need to come to Christ.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

blip on the radar

Good news: I'm not dead!

I just haven't felt much like writing. It would have been much the same as what I've already written lately. I'm still just...doing my best, one day at a time.

In happy news, Sariah came to visit me today! We went to Temple Square and talked about boys and climbed inside the dryer. (Yes, you read that right. Pictures forthcoming.)

All in all, it was a huge blessing that she came. When 90% of your friends have known you for about a month, it's so nice to just relax with someone you grew up with, knowing already that she loves you just the way you are.