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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial

I thought there would be more happening during this springtime that many of you would be interested in reading. Instead, I dedicate this post as a memory.



To Sugar Ray.

I am not jiving you. We all remember the upbeat guitars. The frosted tips. And the sexy goatee stuck on the bottom of Mark McGrath's face. We all remember the highly saturated music videos. The frequent confusion of "Who did sing "How Bizarre" if it wasn't Sugar Ray?" (Perhaps it was the trumpets). And then the wondering if anyone else saw a distinct resemblance to Brad Pitt.

Let's take it back, circa 1999.

I was ten years old. It was during the phase our parents let us have cable (we often vacillated between basic and not-so-basic television depending on how fed up my parents were with MTV). Summer smells stick to my bare and calloused feet while I sit cross-legged on the floor in our upstairs family room. Ashleigh and I have just finished "Rocko's Modern Life" and are watching music videos to pass the time.

I look out the window, down at our street, and I see something larger than a suburban street scene in the middle of July. I see potential, capability, and freedom. I see the option of running through a field of high grass and looking for birds' nests. I see the orchards out a ways and the blackberry bush that Ainsley and I hollowed out into a fort. I see slip n' slides and capture the flag, hide and seek, sardines, and kickball. All resting on the bottoms of my feet while "Every Morning" courses through my ears, echoing that same feeling of light optimism.

Now, when I hear Sugar Ray, I smell wet grass. I feel hot pavement. I remember the careless way I played through sunny days and then, for the smallest moment, I feel the future brush against my fingertips, waiting for me to reach out and take hold of it.

This is why I bought three of their songs last week $.99 a piece.

You may call it nostalgia. I call it inspired recollection. And in the dim and grim world we live in today, we could all use a little inspiration.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Our own Tree of Knowledge and we're focusing on the leaves




For the last hour I was involved in a simply wonderful conversation with a friend who I respect very much. It seems like she's got everything figured out. Whenever we talk, there are no frivolities involved. Just the meat and potatoes. Hopefully I'll gain enough insight in life to never busy myself with pointless talk.

Anywho, this conversation covered a broad spectrum of topics. This friend paused in our talk and thought to herself. Then, with a face of genuine remorse she said, "We are such spoiled children."

And we are, aren't we? No other time on earth is akin to ours today. We have communication technology, education, we have revelation, the Priesthood, thousands of pages of scripture packed with the mysteries of God. We have prophets, apostles, we have direct communication with our Heavenly Father. We have current messages of truth delivered right to our doorsteps. Do we utilize these luxuries to the fullest of our capacities?

Laying out a few things on the table, my daily concerns include grades, dating, friends, weight, DC, money, and at the end of the day when I am finally laying down to rest, I think a little bit about how much closer I've come to God in the last 16 hours.

Now these are all things that can be important in their own rights, but heavens, is the ratio of time and energy really in the right places in my life? Where do we get lost? What tasks loom in front of us with such heavy consequences that we must put our eternal progression on hold to fix them?

And in our interactions with others, oh how I need to rearrange my way of dealing with this. Each of us considers ourselves the protagonist in our own story. We carry this mindset positively as well as negatively. For sometimes we worry what others think of us. What reactions will our choices emit that may make us feel stupid or inferior? This line of reasoning is preposterous when we recognize that only ourselves and God are looking at us under so powerful a microscope. And in that sense, shouldn't we be even more concerned with Eternal things as only God concerns Himself so intimately in our lives?

I pause to consider these interpersonal interactions because I think that second to our own spiritual progression, they are the most important choices we make in this life and are inherently connected to our spiritual progression. Do we recognize in others the layers of doubts, fears, histories, testimonies, concern, passion and love that connect us all in the human experience? I would find it such a wonderful and eye-opening opportunity to conduct an experiment on this: What if we were to find one person whom we interact with on a daily basis but do not know very well at all, then work every day to peel these layers back so that we could understand the inner workings of that one person? We would be floored by all of the hurt, love, fear and faith stored in that one person and recognize that we are all rich with personal experiences that have made us who we are. This friend of mine remembered a quote to the effect of if we were to understand the reasonings behind another person's actions and all of their history that makes up who they are today, it would be impossible to feel any hatred for them; we would only feel love and compassion.

I suppose these are two separate ideas, but they correspond in the big picture: Are we taking advantage of the plethora of information that the Lord is waiting to give to us?

Our Father has in His keeping limitless promptings, guidance, love and direction that we have access to! We can tap into these resources if our minds are open, our ears are listening and our hearts are waiting to receive them.

Perhaps this was a personal "Aha!" moment for me that might not resonate so loudly within the rest of you, but I felt like I should put it here so that we can be reminded of what is really important.

We have a Heavenly Father who is perfect. He loves us and wishes for nothing except our happiness. If we were to focus on perfecting our relationship with Him, the most intense core of who we are as individuals would be enhanced, allowing us to be our best qualities all of the time! Does that make sense? Your personal attributes would heighten, making you the most potent, pure and perfect version of yourself if you set your focus of this life on the One we're all striving to live with in the next life.

Sadly, I'm sure I'll forget this soon. I'm sure the cares of grades, dating, friends, weight, DC, and money will again encroach on my senses. But for now, I'd like to document a moment and hopefully set my course a little straighter so that my journey from here on out will be closer to the right direction.