Tuesday, October 21, 2008

An interesting conversation I had.

I am amazed at the knowledge & habits that I have, that I apparently was subconsciously practicing, but waiting for an experience for it to manifest itself so I could realize it had been applied to my life. Have you ever given advice or suggestions and had a light bulb turn on in your head, and realize that you are needing to tell this out loud to someone so that you yourself can hear the advice? Or felt that you were prompted to tell somebody something because you needed to tell it to yourself as well? I often wonder how many conversations are crafted in such a way that we are inspired to think into deeper meanings & learn things about ourselves. 

With that said, this is an im conversation that I had with a friend of mine. 
"The names have been changed to protect the innocent." ;)

Isaac: How are you doing?
Me: Good. How about you?
Isaac: I'm not sure. It's a long story. We have almost a years worth of history to catch up on.
Me: Uh-oh. That doesn't sound good. Cliff's Notes version in the meantime?
Isaac: My Mom, who I haven't seen in 20 years by my choice, was relocated to Utah after her husband died, and let's just say it has been an adventure.
Me: Is she in Manti, or is she here in the valley?
Isaac: She lived with James in Ogden until about a month ago, then lived with us until she got her own place in Moab on Monday.
Me: Is Erin's mom still living with you too?
Isaac: She only stays for a couple of days every other week or so, so that's not a source of stress. Actually, she has become much easier to be around.
Me: It's good to hear that!
Isaac: She still talks all the time, but she is becoming a better listener and will let you go if you need to leave. A definite improvement.
Me: Good. She's learning your boundaries.
Isaac: True. We have come a long way. I used to be the devil incarnate and now I am a saint in her eyes.
Me: Wow. So things are good. It's all in which perception you look at it, yeah?
Isaac: Our perception is our reality, no denying that.
Me: Now the trick is remembering that when you're faced with challenges. They can either build you up or tear you down.
Isaac: Isn't that the truth. But why does it seem challenges come when you're the weakest or already going down for the count?
Me: Because Satan is an asshole, and kicking you when you're down is the only way he knows how to play his game. Come to think about it, he really isn't that brilliant.
Isaac: No, you're right. He isn't that brilliant. He just knows us too well.
Me: That's what he wants us to believe.
Isaac: Is that what lead our downfall? So you think we might be helping him destroy us by deceiving ourselves into believing that he knows us when in fact it is ourselves that give him the tools?
Me: Could be. Once we allow ourselves to admit defeat, we let our guards down, and that is when he gets us. At least that's my opinion, not doctrine, obviously. But that is what's keeping me strong. He doesn't know the whole of me. Just my weaknesses. Only the Lord knows the whole of me.
Isaac: That is very true. You would think that with almost forty years experience I would be doing better than I am right now. Aaaaaagggghhh!!!
Me: He (satan) has no idea what potential my strengths have.
Me: You know, it took me looking him in the eye to realize that. He had me so low that I felt like all was lost. Then I realized that I allowed myself to fall with his coaching.
Isaac: Which he exploits at any sign of weakness.
Me: I know, I know. He doesn't play fair. We just need a smarter strategy than he.
Isaac: Very astute. I've never seen it in that light before. What's worked for you?
Me: I try to look at all things from different perspectives to be able to see clearly. It's as simple as that, but is very difficult all the same.
Isaac: Can you give me an example?
Me: Okay, say someone deeply offends you. Our first reaction is defense and anger. But if we try to put ourselves in their shoes, we may see that they meant well, but we misunderstood what they said or meant. Or perhaps they were acting on misinformation, if that makes any sense. Or even perhaps we ourselves didn't understand the whole situation and allowed ourselves to be offended without finding out what the whole situation was. There is always an explanation.
Isaac: That makes perfect sense. Too bad the emotional reaction gets in the way.
Me: I've actually had a situation in my office recently that almost tore me apart, until I realized why they acted the way they did, and I realized I'd have done the same if it were me. And it was all because of misinformation, or a lack of communication. I am so thankful I allowed a moment in their shoes.
Isaac: I seem to find myself misunderstanding people more and more lately.
Me: I understand misunderstanding. Wow, that was an oxymoron!
Isaac: Or something brilliant. So what has allowed you to take that step in someone else's shoes?
Me: I got sick of depression and anger. It was eating a hole in me, and was oozing negativity on everyone I loved. I had a breakdown.
Isaac: I could see that. I'm very happy for you that you have been able to see it for yourself.
Me: Then I saw how my depression was not affecting only me. It was killing my whole family, and hurting my good friends. 
Me: Then I started thinking about what the kids must be feeling, having to pick up the pieces I left all over the place, and how unfair that is to them. It's not their responsibility, it's mine. 
Me: And I was wondering how I would react if Nolan hated himself as much as I hated me, and wondered if I could bear seeing that pain in his eyes, the same loathing pain he saw in mine. I know it killed him.
Isaac: Ouch... as in gut wrenching. Our children can make us look at ourselves when we would just rather die.
Me: So that's what got me thinking about perceptions.
Isaac: So a paradigm shift in your thinking? Looking through others eyes or walking in their shoes instead of focusing on your own loathing. Wow!
Me: Like I said, it's as simple as that, but incredibly difficult at the same time. But all I can say is that the clarity is invigorating!
Isaac: Maybe some of this new found enlightenment can rub off on me? I am very serious. No sarcasm intended.
Me: I sure hope so. I am eternally thankful that the fog has lifted. I can't even begin to tell you how invigorating it is. Like hiking one hellatious mountain just to be rewarded with a breathtaking view of where you just were, and all the places you could possibly go.
Isaac: So you feel that your new view is heaven sent?
Me: Absolutely. Because the Lord knows me better than Satan.
Isaac: That makes sense. We have got to talk some more about this.
Me: I'd love to. But now it's late, and we both need cuddles from our spouses. :)
Isaac: Thanks for chatting with me, and giving me some things to think about. I'll talk to you soon.
Me: Sounds good. Have a good night.
Isaac: I will. You too.

Yes, I will have a good night. And a good day tomorrow too.
As Anne (of Green Gables) so often says "Isn't it nice to know that tomorrow is fresh, with no mistakes in it?"
And also from Anne of Green Gables comes this profound thought (which has actually been brought up on occasion in Relief Society):
Anne: "Can't you even imagine being in the depths of despair?"
Marilla: "No, I can not. To despair is to turn your back on God."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I had a wonderful day!

Our little man was baptized on Saturday. He seemed so sure of his decision, and his elation at making a good choice was emanating from him all day. He was beaming. My only regret is that he changed out of his little suit before I was able to catch him on camera. I'll get one though. It was precious. My little man.

Look at how happy he is. Yes, the spirit was definitely rejoicing with him! What's funny, is that Forrest got to be baptized twice because his knee came up out of the water the first time. What's even funnier is that Emma had to be baptized twice as well, because her toe popped up out of the water. Not many people can say they got baptized twice in one day!

Nolan is a recent convert to the church. He was baptized in 2002. Nolan was saying that when he baptized Forrest, feelings and memories from his own baptism flooded over him, and the spirit touched him. It was obvious that he was overwhelmed with the spirit because he was choking up while performing the ordinance. I wish I knew what that felt like. I don't remember my baptism at all. Only that I waited a few months for my sister to return home from her mission in Finland so that she could be there.

After our get together at our house, I had the opportunity to attend another baptism. Now I'm not saying that Forrest's baptism wasn't special, not at all. But THIS particular baptism was really special, and was a huge huge blessing. I experienced a re-baptism of somebody who had been ex-communicated almost 2 decades ago, (unfortunately because of inappropriate and uncalled for doings of some of her church leaders at that time) and was very bitter, as anyone would be after experiencing what she did. Yes, this baptism was a big deal. Not only for her paradigm shift, and allowing the gospel to enrich her life again, but also because for this kind of baptism, the First Presidency has to approve it. How amazing is that, that President Monson, President Eyring & President Uchtdorf know about her, what she went through, what she's going through now, and gave her their blessings. Wow. Not many people have that privilege. The spirit was so strong in there. Her son who performed the ordinance was in tears, her son-in-law, who confirmed her, also chocked up during the blessing. There were very few dry eyes in that room. There were many many prayers that were answered that day. 

That experience reminded me that the gospel is true, but sometimes the members are not. They can either make or break the religion. When in doubt, get on your knees and pray. The Lord will comfort your heart.