Friday, September 30, 2011
I see the beauty of humility more and more as I get older. It is hard to suppress that knee-jerk reaction to defend yourself, to paint yourself in the right. But at what cost? I've seen relationships ended, opportunities lost, and bitterness clung to, all for the sake of feeling justified. I want to be the kind of person that is secure in myself and my goodness, but still open to ways to add more goodness to my life.
I want to exemplify this with general conference this weekend. Don't get me wrong. I love general conference. I always come away from it with messages that move me, concrete goals to improve myself, and an affirmation that God is still speaking to us today. But I'm an analytical person. When someone tries to present an argument, my first instinct is to poke holes in that argument. Therefore, I also always leave conference with at least one address that leaves me a little rankled, and I therefore discount everything that speaker had to say. And while I'm ashamed to admit it, I often discount what they have to say the next several times they speak. Were my criticisms valid? Frequently yes. But as I've gone back and approached these talks with a humble heart, I've realized what I've missed. Where I initially said, “if women really are getting equal treatment, you wouldn't have to tell us so all the time,” I saw the varied and many footnotes references (from mommy web forums to scholarly studies) and found a man who had dedicated a considerable amount of time and prayer gaining understanding about what women are experiencing and the good they are doing. Where I saw poorly worded comments about same sex attraction, I missed beautiful passages about the power of the atonement.
I firmly believe God wants us to ask the difficult questions. He doesn't want or need blind followers. But I'm realizing that he wants us to ask the difficult questions while listening for His answers. So I'll continue to see holes – that's what my brain does. But I won't let myself focus on the absences – I will see the good that surrounds them. After all, I hope that's what God does when he judges my spiritual merit.
Monday, September 19, 2011
My freshman year of high school, I played on my school's predominately male water polo team. I'd love to claim I wowed everybody with my athletic prowess, but …. um, let's just say I'm not sure why I thought catching balls while treading water would be a more successful enterprise for me than catching them while standing was. I quickly realized that I had no talent for the sport. However, I stuck it out for the whole season, attending every practice and match. I did so, clearly providing no benefit to the team, for one reason: because I wasn't a quitter.
In retrospect, I'm not sure this was the right choice. Sure, I benefited. I learned I could sludge through difficult things without the praise or satisfaction that comes with excelling. I made friends. And let me tell you, that was the most in shape I've been my entire life. But could I also have learned valuable lessons if I'd used that time towards activities I possessed actual talent in? Yes.
I have a mental block about quitting. Once I've committed to do something, I struggle to move on. I've been awed by friends' ease in switching from a job they feel satisfied with to one that has the potential to be better, dropping a graduate program they were halfway through because they weren't sure it was the right fit, or asking to be released from a community responsibility or church calling before their term was up. They were all smart things to do, both for the individual and the organization they were involved with. And I'm sure they had to think and pray very hard to make their decisions, but I always find myself thinking how difficult it would have been for me to do what they did because it is quitting.
There's value in loyalty and dependability. But I'm learning there is also value in using our limited time wisely and recognizing when life has prevented us from giving what we should to an organization. So here's to quitters who quit in the appropriate circumstances.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
What do you think, should I get a new look? Does the aesthetic part of your brain cringe every time you open my page, or do you access me through an rss feed? At least it isn't as bad as the average myspace page was, right?
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Some photogenic highlights from our trip:
I spent lots of time with my brother. He willingly accompanied me to get all the Provo foods I'd been missing (even going to Jamba twice with me), showed me around the new broadcasting building where he works, and spent lots of time hanging out in the great outdoors with me.
Emily loved helping her grandpa feed the horses and dog, and was a fearless and obedient horse rider.
My fabulous in laws watched the kids so Rob and I could take a tandem bike ride up Provo canyon. This was a common date before we were married, and we even got engaged on one of those bike dates, so it was heavenly to relive those moments.