Tuesday, January 9, 2018

On that President Monson obit. . .

There's been a petition going around to attempt to pressure the NYT to present a different obituary for President Monson than the one they published last week.  I didn't sign it.

The NYT knows that many (if not most) LDS individuals don't see the world the way they do, and they made it pretty clear that they find that irritating.  Is it surprising to any one that the staff at the NYT finds LDS doctrinal positions on marriage and Priesthood problematic?  Protesting that they tried to reduce a man of tremendous charity and personal integrity to someone of no more significance or virtue than Fidel Castro will not change the way anyone at the NYT sees President Monson, or our doctrine.  Let that rest with them.

Is anything they said untrue?  In the face of public criticism, loud protest, and clear disdain from people of the mindset prevalent at places like the NYT, President Monson continued to declare and defend the Lord's doctrine, with kindness and respect, but without apology.

He is the one who told us
Dare to be a Mormon
Dare to stand alone
Dare to have a purpose firm
Dare to make it known.

Whatever their intentions, the NYT has paid our dear prophet the profound compliment of declaring to the world that he lived up to those words.  President Monson exemplified the standard of moral leadership revealed to another prophet, who was weathering persecution far more intense than a petulant literary swipe: "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned."  That's the spirit we ought to respond in--that's the only spirit that can really change anything and move forward the work of Him who President Monson so boldly and humbly served.  Be bold, defend the Lord's doctrine in spite of those who would see it swept away.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Really This Time

Less than a dozen blog posts last year. Less than 3 dozen the two year previous to that. And probably a third of those have something to do with how I don't write enough or resolving that I'm going to write more.

A lot of that has to do with the pace I was maintaining much of that time.  I was in school for four years, and while nursing school isn't exactly med school, for an undergraduate degree it is intensive and time-consuming.  Add illnesses, injuries, adjustments to medications, juggling all the kids, and the hubs trying to get a business going, and there just aren't a lot of hours left anywhere in the week.

But the reality is, we make time for the things that we really want to do, don't we?  All the things listed above do in fact take a lot of time.  But I found time for other things. I haven't found time for writing, at least publicly.

If I'm being honest, a lot of that has to do with a severely reduced desire to share, which itself has myriad causes.  Being both shy and introverted by nature, it is not a natural thing for me to be an "open book", and while I worked really hard at coming across as open for other people's sake, I often failed at actually being open anywhere other than in my blog and at the pulpit.  But I did try very hard to be genuinely open with the most important people in my life.

Part of the reticence is just born out of shifting in how my hours are spent. I spend 36-48 hours a week at a job where I am "on" nearly the whole time, and then I still have to be "on" for my kids when I'm home and they're awake.  After all that time giving energy to other people, I don't feel like I have anything left over.  I very seldom socialize anymore, which I need to be better at making time and energy for, because I have a lot of really wonderful people in my life that I would like to get to know better or simply spend more time with.

I've also been disappointed, frustrated, and increasingly cynical, which has reinforced my natural inclination to withhold.  I've seen trusts broken, I've been surprised by people (which I almost never am) in negative ways;  there are relationships where I've given up making much effort, after feeling like massive amounts of effort I put in over years was not only unappreciated and unhelpful, but has felt counterproductive or dismissed.  I've had moments where I felt like, after years of putting myself out there--far more than I am naturally or easily inclined to do--the other person never actually saw me.  I figured out by the time I was a teenager that it is incredibly difficult to see someone as they see themselves, so much more to see them as they really are.  Most of the time we see a version of them filtered through a shadow our own presence and prejudices cast over them; but I have had enough experiences where I have had the blessing of seeing someone through the Lord's eyes, at least to some degree, or, with His help, could see them as they saw themselves, and I came to expect that the people I invested the most trust and time and effort in could see me that way.  In some cases, I felt like they had very little desire to even try.

I don't have any anger, or really even feel hurt by anyone.  I just want to retreat, I feel uninterested in giving more of myself, of exposing my thoughts or feelings, any more than is absolutely necessary.  I've seen the reduced rate of growth in myself, of which the retreat is a partial cause.  Generally, the Lord has had to nudge me out of my comfort zone a little bit in life in order to help me stretch and rise to the occasion.  I don't think he has in many areas the last few years, and I think its because He knows I haven't been up for the challenge (which is no one's fault but my own, and the fact that I haven't been pushed in a way that would make me feel like just quitting altogether is, as far as I'm concerned, simply further evidence of the Lord's tremendous mercy and love, however undeserving of it I may be).

But the fact is that 2017 was quite good to us.  Finishing school, changing the business plan again, getting to see Brad sealed to his sweet bride and become a father and a husband all at once, buying a house, and hundreds of little blessings in between.  There is more learning to obtain, more blessings to enjoy, and more blessings to give if I am willing to be more open and make time for the things the Lord expects me to do.  So I hope to see you here more often in 2018.