Okay, I know that two posts in a row make me a blog hog, (a term I just came up with myself, and I'm pretty proud of it.) but I just wrote an email to Sis. Morgan, and I wrote something that surprised me. I guess this is like a small, strange thank-you note for being who you are. Anyway, this is what I sent to her:
Then I started working at the WC, and life started to be better, but not just better: great. I finally felt like someone cared about me in Idaho. Not just a wimpy, "oh-hey-how-are-you" type of caring; it was the full on "why?" type of caring. "Why is your day good?" "Why is you day bad?" "Why didn't get enough sleep?" Everyone at the Writing Center--all my brothers and sisters there--truly cared about me. It was such a strange feeling to me, and, quite honestly, an answer to some prayers I hadn't said yet.
I needed a job, and the Center gave me that. I needed a safe haven, and I got that. But, most importantly, I needed to see someone care about me, and what I got was a family.
Since I started working overnight shifts, I’ve become part of a different world. Everything is inverted and foreign. Sunsets have turned into sunrises and sunrises into sunsets. Sleep comes solely in fits and spurts of two or three hours, and lunch time is at two in the morning. The workers from both Taco Bell and Aiberto’s 24 Hour Mexican know my name and that I’ll only get mild sauce if I’ve gotten more than five hours of sleep the day before. I spend more time talking to myself or to books than I spend talking to real people.
I work on the inventory team stocking shelves, setting up displays, making sure the store is clean—making sure everything is in good shape. There are four others who work with me, but we hardly ever see each other—I shelve my cart; they shelve theirs. The only time we meet is for breaks: twice for ten minutes and once for an hour every eight-hour shift. On our breaks, we talk about paper cuts, chapped lips and dried-out hands, and sleep—always sleep.
To us, sleep is an obsession—sleep is an addiction. Going to bed at 7am, waking up at 10am, back to sleep at 3pm, and then up again at 8pm is considered a normal sleep pattern. Playlists on my iPod are named “for when I’m sleepy,” “for when I’m really sleepy,” and one called “I just drank a Rockstar.” Each hour I’m awake is another hour wish I was sleeping. My body craves sleeps; each bone, each muscle, each joint screams sleep. I must have it; I want it; I need it.
After finishing our shift one morning, the other co-workers and I walked out of the store and into the parking lot. Everything was cold, pallid, and grey-tinted. Fog hugged the ground, hiding our cars. The moon had fallen to the horizon and was now just a fat, orange ball, which seemed to be hung over from the night before. In one hand, I held my keys; in the other was half a sandwich that I had decided would make a good breakfast.
We all said our obligatory have-a-nice-weekends and see-you-Mondays, then each turned and walked to our cars. I started my car and turned on the heater, trying to melt the frost of my windshield. I pumped my hands open and closed and clapped them together to try to warm them. Cupped over my mouth, I blew hot air into them. It was a kind of cold that makes your bones ache.
A few minutes later a gloved hand knocked on my window. I rolled down my window to see Derek standing there with a balaclava over most of his face.
“I thought you might want to see this,” he said. He took a few steps back and let me open my door. I stepped out and felt the air fill my lungs. The cold made it feel like I was inhaling daggers.
“See what?” I said, taking a bite of my sandwich. He motioned behind me, a gloved finger pointing just over my shoulder.
Puzzled, I turned and looked behind me.
“Just watch,” he said.
The sky, which was lifeless and dismal a few minutes before, was now more of an early grey—like something was awaking within it. The grey slowly turned the color of a robin’s egg and then to a pale, but still vibrant orange. Soon, the sun breached the horizon and climbed up the sky, cascading light across everything around me. It was beautiful.
I leaned against my car, folding my arms across my chest. I let out a small laugh as if to say, oh right—that. I could feel the sun’s warmth as it burned through the fog.
“You know,” I said. “I miss this. I really do.”
With our cars still running, Derek and I leaned back and watched the world around us come to life. The birds started to fly from one light post to another, searching the parking lot for discarded fast food. Car lights on Lancaster drive were blurry as people drove to their jobs. The sun rose higher and higher in the sky, becoming bright enough I had to squint to look at it.
“Until Monday,” Derek said, turning to his car and shutting the door. He drove off leaving me alone in the parking lot.
Despite trying to function of limited sleep, I felt strangely awake. Each and every joint ached and throbbed, but I felt awake—I felt alive. Everything about the world around me was something new, something I’ve never met before.
I felt the fog with my fingertips and realized that it was slippery. Birds chirped and sang, and I knew it sounded beautiful because it gave me goosebumps the same way that good poems gave me goosebumps. Colors were almost too saturated: the only thing I think about the grass was that it was “really green. I mean, really really green,” and the sky was “blue, but a really nice blue.” And, for some reason, this all made sense.
I took another deep breath, holding it in and letting the cold air burn in my lungs. Another deep breath, letting it burn again. I smiled, knowing that this was the way life was supposed to be—knowing that life wasn’t meant to simply be lived, it was meant to be experienced.
I drove home that morning feeling a little closer to Thoreau and Emerson and appreciating the new world I was a part of.
Teaching has been hard because I'm a people person. I like people to like me, so having some flagrantly hate me has been shocking. Horrible. Discouraging. Someday I will care only for how God sees me. Until then, every day provides ample opportunity for me to practice.
"I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do. The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it."
--William S. Borroughs (American Writer)
Now, back to the six words--only let's move it up a notch into imagistic Haiku. (5,7,5) Working with Haiku makes new brain waves. (Or, stick to six words, if you're brain is tired but still needs contact with us.)
The last yellow leaf--
I'm not ready for winter.
River chunks with ice.
Six words? Ivor is getting old. Happy Birthday!
I've met jerks, but this person goes way beyond the "jerk" category. The only word that adequately portrays her is inappropriate, but said perfectly by my mentor teacher. "She's just a B*&%$. Don't think another thing of it." Wish it were that easy.
I'm getting good at dealing with groaning, moaning, negativity, and discipline issues from students. It's completely different, though, when my teaching--thing I spend more time on than cooking real food or getting enough sleep or seeing my husband--is scrutinized and attacked by someone who has no idea and no desire to learn the accurate picture. It's harder to slurp that out of my head and move on. Here's my attempt to do so.
Writing is effective at slurping it out usually, though sometimes it just makes the hurt and anger more concrete. Julie, EmPo, Sister Morgan, Meghan, and any other members of the WC family who are/were teachers--is it sincerely worth it? S.M., I see now why you went back to school to teach college. I'm thinking of doing the same thing. Not because of the teenagers, though. They're surprisingly sweet. I hate the lack of initiative, the lack of responsibility, and the parents who can see no wrong in their sweet "babies."
It was 5:30 in the morning, I remember. I think I must have rolled over when I heard the heater clanking to life. It let out a soft sigh of feeble hot air into my icy room. My sister slept in the bed next to me. Her steady breathing told me that she was still wrapped up in deep dreams.
I stretched my legs to the edges of my bed and quickly retracted into a ball when my feet reached the cold corners of my sheets. I pushed my back up against my warm pillows and listened to the early morning sounds of my house.
The bathroom sink down the hall was running, and someone in my parents’ room was pulling and closing the wardrobe doors—the wood grating on hinges. After a few minutes, their door creaked open, and I heard my mom’s hand slide on the banister and her feet softly treading down the stairs to the kitchen.
The bathroom sink continued to run.
Distantly I heard the sounds of a simple breakfast being made. I rolled over to face the wall and my pillows. I ran my hand against my flannel sheets and listened to the blender whining and the chink of dishes. Down the hall, the sink turned off, and the door to my parents’ room thudded open again, but this time I heard the heavy fall of my dad’s feet on the stairs.
I wasn’t tired anymore, but I didn’t want to get out of bed. I just listened to my parents’ nonverbal morning routine.
A chair grated against the tile, and I heard a plate clank on the table. Faintly, I could hear utensils scraping and then the chair grate again.
I sat up and twisted my back this way and that, feeling my backbone realign itself with a quiet series of pops. Below me, the garage door yawned open and swished close behind my dad. His truck growled to life and made my floor and bed vibrate. It groaned out of the garage, and my room blazed as his headlights glared on my ceiling. He backed out of the driveway; weird shadows whirled across my walls. Then it grew dim again. I listened to his truck rumble out of the neighborhood.
I flopped back down into my pillows. Aside from the sigh and clank of the heater, the house was silent. Then I heard my mom’s quite gait ascend the stairs again. I waited for her bedroom door to open and for her to disappear behind it, but she paused, her hand probably resting on the doorknob, when she turned around and padded quietly to my bedroom door. The door glided a crack open, and orange light streamed into my room. I closed my eyes and evened my breath out, pretending to be asleep.
Behind my eyelids, I could picture her, silent and dark, standing in my doorway and silhouetted by the hall light.
I breathed deliberately—in—and out—in—and out.
She left the halo of light to tip-toe across my floor. I felt the bed sink from the pressure of her body. Still I breathed—in—and out. Her hand stroked the covers above my curled up form, and then I felt her lean toward me. Her rough fingers picked a strand of hair away from my face and tucked it behind my ear.
I breathed on.
A quiet pause, and then she whispered my name so soft that I could have mistaken it for the sighing heater. She sat still for an eternity there on the edge of my bed while an internal struggle pulled me back and forth.
Wake up . . . Wake up. Stop pretending.
I can’t . . . I couldn’t.
Finally, the bed eased back as she stood up and retreated. She closed the door, cutting the warm light out.
My room grew dark and silent.
I stayed in bed, drifting in and out of sleep for the next few hours. When I awoke, I went about my day as if nothing were different. I left the house to visit a friend, leaving my mom behind in a chair reading a book. I shut the door with her wishing me a good day to my back.
All these years I wonder what she wanted to tell me that morning; what she needed to tell me.
But, I pretended I was asleep.
Hope to see you there.
PS if anyone needs somewhere to go for Thanksgiving, feel free to come on down to Provo. My cousin is hosting this year, and she happens to live right above me. Ladies can stay in my apartment, and I'll find accommodations for any men.
We had Stake Conference this weekend, and for a split second during last night’s meeting, I felt like I was back in the Acequia II ward sitting next to my dad.
I smelled a cherry Halls cough drop. That’s what Dad smells like nearly every Sunday at church. It always happens the same way. First Dad clears his throat—a very distinct throat clearing that always reminds me that I need to clear my throat, too. Then he readjusts his positioning, shifting his weight so he can reach into his suit coat and pull out a cherry Halls cough drop. Sometimes he puts the wrapper in my mom’s hand, and then mom looks up at him and gives him a funny look, one that I interpret as “I love you, you funny man.”
But I haven’t been home for a while. So I haven’t smelled that cherry cough drop, until last night in Stake Conference. I never knew how much I liked the smell until last night.
The sad part about that day is that that was one of the few times I had really taken the time to stop and look at the minute details while in college. I remember that leaf more than I do some people's faces or even the hallways or the buildings around me.
The happy part is that now I have a child. And that child helps me see more than I have seen in a long time. I finally see all of the flourescent lighting hanging above me in Wal-Mart; I see the trail of little black ants across the sidewalk; I see the water dripping out of a drain pipe after a storm; I see the joy in my child's face as she feels the flour between her fingers and hands as she plays in the bowl of it that will be used to make our bread; And finally, I see the leaves in our yard and wonder at the beauty of all the fall colors, and I remember that day in seminar when my little Hazel picks up a leaf and stares at everything that it took me years to see--the spots, the veins, the scars. That is when I feel a little closer to heaven and so thankful for a little child who can help me see.
Today, I made my breakfast into a face. With my fork, I cut both my eggs into eyes. A piece of bacon was broken in half for the eyebrows, and three more strips were lined up into a smile. When I sat back to admire, I realized that my breakfast face needed teeth. I split the three bacon strips in half and then arranged them into top and bottom lips, filling in the teeth with my toast that had been torn into squares.
For almost twenty minutes, I had an internal conversation with my breakfast as I ate him. It was only small talk at first—topics like what his name was, where he was from, if he had any family, and, if he did, how they were doing. Then I moved into matters that were more serious: universal healthcare, North Korea, loss of language due to technology, and the pace of our society.
You know, Breakfast Face, my stepsister texts all the time, and she has awful grammar. Coincidence?
My breakfast said nothing.
I think it’s really dumbing down my generation. I never thought I would see texting lingo in a college paper, but then I started working at the Writing Center.
It really opened my eyes to how bad things have gotten. It’s not just grammar anymore—it’s basic punctuation and even spelling too. I mean, that should be easy, right?
The only thing that my breakfast face told me was that I was immature.
I sat there staring at my eggs, and the only thing I could think was that Breakfast Face was right—I am immature.
Within the past week, I’ve stayed in my pajamas all day twice, eaten cereal for all three meals once, and watched at least three hours of old Tranformers, Thundercats, and Captain Planet cartoons on Youtube, including one titled “Optimus Prime saves McDonalds.” Four days ago, when I went to my mom’s for Hawaiian Haystacks, and I was the only one who made small screams when I drowned my rice with sauce. Even though I work at a bookstore, I’ve still read more cartoon strips then real literature. Yesterday, I rearrange my dad’s living room, so it would be easier to play video games.
All this mounts up to the fact that I’m immature. But I’ve always known that, and it’s never been a problem. I’ve always been a little more childish than most, and it’s never really bothered me until two days ago. That’s when I realized I’ll be turning twenty-one in two months. And twenty-one doesn’t feel old, but it feels like maybe it’s time for me to start growing up.
I would say that with all the negativity going on, a person needs to be a little childish to get by, but then I remember that last semester, I had a coloring book and crayons in my backpack all the time. I would say it helps me relax and unwind , but then I realize that I’ve done a sock puppet show for a major college presentation. I would say all this and more, but, really, I know I’m just scared of growing up.
Of course I will continue with my yearly exams and monthly self exams, but for now I am in the clear. I also have to start having mammograms when I'm 30 instead of 40 as a precautionary measure.
Thank you for your prayers and kind words on my behalf. I appreciate all of you.
But, Sara is right. Illness is the last betrayal. I always picked up the pieces of a crushed life and walked on. There was no alternative—though this last crash has taken me years to put Humpty Dumpty together again. But being ill was worse than losing people I loved, or the abandonment and rejection, because it left me too vulnerable—-without strength to reach down and grab handfuls of courage that we all have in us but seldom know about until we desperately need it. For a couple of years as I lay in bed and memorized the ceiling—-unable to even read my beloved books—I watched my family fall apart from behind helpless eyes. Not only did I see a good husband collapse under the pressure of caring for a spouse whom he expected to be strong and walk by his side, I also watched children in great pain because they had no mother. I was useless flesh that needed to be fed and taken care of by others, and sometimes they’d forget. I remember one morning—-as the family rushed along without me—-eight-year-old Beau slowly walking into the bedroom, trying to balance a bowl of Cheerios he’d filled too full of milk. “Aren’t you hungry, Mom?” I pushed my tongue way back into my throat and vowed to love him forever. What do we do when we can’t be who and what we want to be? When our futures float away and our present moments are dense with dread? Well . . . Dear Prudence, we are not our illnesses or our losses unless we choose to be. We’re something awfully fine, even related to gods, no matter what happens during the minutes of our days.
This is what faith is all about. Faith is this huge gift; it’s our armor, our safe and golden magic wand, but unlike those fake Halloween props, it really honestly truly WORKS. It brings the eternities back into focus even when our eyes are blurred and hearts are numb. It softens every black cruelty. But I have learned that it goes away when we don’t use it or exercise it, sort of like leg muscles that atrophy when we’ve been laid up in bed too long. I believe in God. I know He’s alive and real. My life has become an often failed, but constant search for him, filled with a longing to get closer to Him and to understand Him better, because He is my true home. I have felt peace and light and love there. AND IT’S freedom all blended in with safety. When my faith is high and active, I walk the earth like a giant woman, taking huge strides, happy to plant sunflower seeds, coloring the sky bright blue even when it’s black with clouds. I feel alive and well and the world is a fine place even when I break and die a little more every hour. But, fear keeps me from faith. It blackens everything it touches and suffocates me. I am more afraid of my own fear than I am of Satan because it drains away light. I don’t want to give it room in my head or attach it to my identity because I am more than my fear, losses, or illnesses. As trite as it sounds, I am the child of a God, walking (sometimes crawling) home, and it’s a whole lot easier to do when I keep my faith fed and operating. “Across the Universe; nothing’s going change my world.”
Illness is very difficult, Sara Lee, but don't identify with it. You're above it, and you'll be OK even if you're ill for a long time.
Even for those at the party, I’m not usually such a blubbering, trembling mess, so I’ll give you some of the details I failed to mention there.
We each shared something we fear and something we love. My fear is breast cancer.
To give you some background, my paternal grandmother has breast cancer, and my maternal grandmother died of ovarian cancer, making me a likely candidate for both cancers. I started hormone therapy when I was 15 (my OB/GYN changed my regimen recently, which I don’t appreciate because it messes with my moods, my appetite, and my sleeping patterns). Because I’ve been on artificial hormones for the past seven years, I have what they call fibrocystic breasts.
Most of the cysts are small and harmless. Recently a few of them aren’t so small, which also means they’re not quite so harmless (and they hurt like the dickens). I also have been experiencing some skin changes in that area, which does not bode well for me.
The cysts make me an even more likely candidate for breast cancer, but I’m especially wary of the skin changes, because those symptoms match a less common form of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). Only 25 to 50 percent of those diagnosed with IBC live past the first five years.
I fear death, but that is only a small part of my fear.
I’m even more scared of what it would mean to live through this. The pain, the weakness, the vulnerability. I’m scared to lose the things I have: from my mobility and strength to my friendships and relationships.
Which brings me to what I love: I love real people who are real and honest with each other, which is also why it was important to me to come to Rexburg this weekend. I find myself clinging to the things I’m scared I’ll lose.
I’m also scared of what it means for my future. When my OB/GYN first told me that IBC was a possibility, I asked myself what that would mean for me. What kind of choices would I make? I told myself that I wouldn’t drop out of school, that I would stick to my April graduation deadline. But in the past couple of weeks as a (relatively) healthy person, I almost buckled under the stress. I wonder if I’m as strong as I pretend to be, and I don’t want to find out that I’m not.
I’m scared for my future children. I want to be able to feed my babies (sorry if that grosses any of you out). I don’t want my little girls to have to experience the same problems and fears I’ve had to face. I want to live to have children.
In “Cinderella Man,” Russell Crowe/James Braddock tells his wife why he wants to box during the Great Depression. He says, “at least I can see who’s hitting me.” I don’t think I really understood that until now, because I’m fighting against something that is somewhat intangible to me. If I have IBC, it means that something within my own body has betrayed me, and I don’t even have a battle plan to get rid of it. Because at this point, there’s nothing I can do. My OB/GYN is monitoring any changes, but for now I have to wait, and the waiting intensifies my fear.
PS—would anyone be interested in another Provo WC party? Maybe in November or December? We can eat food, share the depths of our souls, and have a great time. If you’re in like flynn, comment or shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
These are life size statues. That's how much I care about you. If these pictures make them seem smaller, it must be a trick of the light. weird.
Hey there. I just wanted to say hi and check how everything was going. I miss Rexburg. It's a little lonely here, but I'm pretty sure this is where I need to be. I actually listened to some of your advice, and I prayed about about where I should be. Ever since then, I just feel right about coming back in January. I like the fact that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.
How's the WC? Have you had the first party yet? My mom and I might visit at the end of this month. If you haven't had the party yet--and you can wait that long--I'd love to be able to go. If not, I totally understand. How are the new people? No one you want to kill... hopefully? I miss it a lot.
You know, I had a weird thought yesterday. One of my best friends left for his mission today, and, as I was saying goodbye's and all that, I realized I had known him for almost ten years. I realized how many memories he and I had shared, and how close we had grown together. It's like we are family. It was a weird, almost unsettling, realization. And I say unsettling when, really, I mean surprising. The reason why I'm telling you all this is because, for some strange reason, I think of the WC as a part of my family too. I think it's pretty obvious how close we are, but I think we forget that sometimes when we have rough spots--like with Matt last semester. I mean, if we actually looked at it like a family (which we should because that's what it is), then we would have realized that with sixteen kids (sometimes seventeen, for the times you're included) who spend an unnatural amount of time together, there are going to be some problems. That's just logic; we're not the Brady Bunch, or the Partridge Family, or even the Osmond's. We're us--and we make it work.
Take care and all that. Don't spend too much time stressing over little things--that's very unzen-like.
I'll provide hot dogs/buns, marshmallows, paper plates/cups/napkins, and plastic utensils.
It's up to you to bring the rest: condiments, chips, side-dishes, beverages, whatever you want to bring.
I think it would be fun to roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire in the canyon.
The date I have in mind is September 12 starting around 4 or 5ish so those with children aren't out too late.
All in favor? Leave a comment or email me (email@example.com).
Note: If I have your email address and you live in/around Provo, you should already have this message.
If you don't live in Provo, take a road trip. We'd love to see you.
Less than a week ago, I moved into my own apartment. For the first time, I don’t have roommates. And I like that.
I’m pretty self-sufficient. I take care of my car with little help from others (I don’t mind paying someone to change my oil once in a while). I manage my own finances. I pay my own bills. I have my own tools, and I repair my own stuff (like the bookshelf I put together yesterday). I don’t ask for help, and often reject it when it’s offered (I’m not saying that’s a good thing).
I have a secure future. In one more year, I’ll have my MA, and in another five have my Ph.D.
But this is the part that bothers me. President Ezra Taft Benson once cautioned the single sisters of the church to “not to become so independent and self-reliant that you decide marriage isn’t worth it and you can do just as well on your own.”
I haven’t decided that marriage “isn’t worth it,” but in the same address, Pres. Benson says “Place yourselves in a position to meet worthy men.” I used to love singles’ activities, but now even ward prayer seems tedious. And then I start to wonder if I can do just as well on my own. And that’s where I have a problem.
Because I start thinking about what life on my own would be like. And usually, I like the thought. Because of things like toilet seats. Every time I see a toilet seat up and the contents not flushed, I think Man, it would be nice not to have to deal with this. I don’t want to be a naggy, picky female, but I also don’t want the toilet seat left up. I know it’s not a big deal, but it bothers me every time. And if always lived alone, it wouldn't have to bother me anymore.
But I’m torn, because I also believe in the doctrine of family and of motherhood. I want to be a mother, and that’s more important than toilet seats. I often get so caught up in the trivial, that I forget the rest. I think that’s part of why I have trouble with relationships.
Chan said that when you are in a relationship, you don’t leave people alone. You don’t just walk away. But here’s the thing: I do. I walk away every time, especially when it gets hard. Back when Chan wasn’t sure whether or not he was going to work for the English department, he asked my opinion. And ya know what? I avoided the question. Did it matter? Probably not. Chan can make his own decisions, but I think it shows something about me: that I’m scared, that I still don’t trust people, even when I thought I had leaped over that hurdle. But here’s what I’ve learned: there are more hurdles. Some of them are the same, but I have to jump every time they come around, not just the first time.
Sis. Morgan wrote on the blog that she didn’t know anyone who had too many friends. This is true, but sometimes I wonder if unconsciously I think, I have enough, and I stop investing the time it takes to make new ones. I mean real, lasting, honest ones. Not just the friends you talk to in the hallway waiting for Sunday School to start. Because the real ones take work and vulnerability and trust. But it’s easier to dwell on toilet seats and just walk away.
This is post number 400 of the blog.
I thought I would share that little tidbit with you all.
I've been looking for housing for a while. There are places I liked, places I didn't like, but nothing has really felt right--certainly nothing like the Abode House, Chandler, Dan, Nathan, Eric, Oliver, and Skyler--until today.
I drove to the Rentmaster office late in the afternoon to apply for an apartment. Walking in a large man smiled at me, taking pleasure in noting that he was standing this time instead of sitting like the last time I was in the office. He asked for my name.
"You work at the Writing Center," a lady said from the back.
"Yeah. I did. How did you know?"
"I used to work there too. I'm friends with Sharon Morgan on Facebook, and I see your crazy pictures all the time."
Small world? I guess so.
The paperwork was supposed to take 24-48 hours to process for credit approval and all that business. Five minutes after I walked out of the office,two minutes after I passed the golf course I got a call from the same lady.
"You've been approved."
"Wow, that was fast."
"Yeah, I know. But since you know Sister Morgan, I figured you were probably a good person. We Writing Center people have to watch out for one another."
Insects fly unsuspectingly into their incandescent quilting, only to be held fast. Though they may struggle, fight, and tug against that which they initially thought would be so appealing, it is too late. They are trapped.
It’s not fair for those stupid insects. They didn’t know. They thought it would be safe. No one ever told them it would be like this. No one ever said that the spider web, while looking beautiful on the outside, is really a veritable trap for their inevitable doom.
And so I wanted to break them all down. Because I wish someone would do that for me. I wish someone would break it all down and save me from things that no one ever warned me about.
I was transferred shortly after. More than a year later I was transferred back to Sedro-Woolley.
Elder Leonard and I knocked on her door the day we arrived from the transfer conference. Every day we had an appointment with Jana we’d try to think of ways to convince her to come to church, to feel the Spirit, to read the scriptures. No matter what we did, she never converted.
Only once she confided in us. On an exchange, she told Elder Hatch and me that although she struggled to understand what the words meant or the meaning of what she read, she knew it was true. When she sat down by herself, and read, and prayed, she knew. Nothing we did convinced her it was true, but she knew because she thought about it by herself with no influence from us.
I think it is the same with love.
I cannot convince a girl to love me. I can plan. I can think it out. I can put thoughts into action. I can say the right things at the right time. I can do everything I think is perfect so that there is no way she can ignore how I feel about her. In the end, I cannot convince her to love me.
I learned over the past year the importance of communication in a relationship. It involves talking and (even more than that) listening. I have just recently become aware of the importance of personal reflection.
Do I think of her when I am alone? When I think of her, do I smile? Does she have her quirks? Do those imperfections make her imperfect or perfect? Do I look up to her? Do I want to help her become better? Do I hope she is thinking of me?
Love is hope. Whether intentional or unintentional, love is not manipulation, in any connotation.
Matt's fine. We're all fine. In fact, Matt is more than fine and probably even eager to hear whatever anyone has to say. Talking is GOOD, healthy, and one of the best things about the Center (see Eric & Jami's comments). Geez, if people around me get any LIGHTER, they'll float away like dust motes--and seem just as insignificant as dust. We don't brush things off here like flies when what has happened affected many people. We deal with what happens--whether it's light stuff or heavy is not even a consideration. It's Nada, zero, absolutely unimportant.
But, I'm curious. Did this make you uncomfortable? Instead of clearing the air like it did for some, did it make you squirm a little? If so, why? And don't fire back defensively. Think about it. Why? In fact, I'm going to ask "why" of everyone who read and fidgeted and wanted to take out the little band-aids and stick them all over the blog. Don't you understand that says more about you than what is going on here?
Are you worried that Matt is taking more flack?
Matt, are YOU worried, hurting, embarrassed that we're talking about you, to you, with you? I'm going on the line here and say for Matt that he's strong enough to actually be interested in this stuff, since it's part of his growth, though I don't know that for sure and would invite him to respond.
Geez, I don't think we're dandelion fuzz here that blows away with every negative breeze. At least I don't think I've hired anyone like that--ever! Fun posts are fun and interesting, but not when they’re meant to distract or take away from a good discussion. What’s the matter with you? We talk and talk and talk until everyone feels heard, and then the changes happen. And people can breathe, and it feels good. I promise.
Man, in fact you really hit a big pet peeve of mine. Can you tell? Consider the swear words (instead of pink, flowered band-aids) that I'm mentally spewing all over this page. After hours of lectures, etc, I thought everyone out there knew that I don't believe there is any such thing as a negative mood that "needs lightened." There are dark moods, or fun moods, or heavy moods, hysterical moods, painful moods, laughing moods, but none of them are negative or positive-- THEY JUST ARE; dang it. Thank heavens. When we're dead, lying in our coffins, devoid of any kind of feeling, filled with numbing embalming liquid, then you can "lighten the mood" for us. Until then, let what happens happen. Crap happens. It just happens. And as long as it's sincere and honest, let it happen. Walk through it; don't delicately step around it, holding your nose in the air like a prima donna as if it doesn't happen. You want to ignore the crap in your own life, fine; there's plenty of it to ignore, but we're not doing that avoidance stuff here. NOTHING between people that we want to blow away like dandelion fuzz actually blows away. It stays in front of us, sometimes choking our guts out, until we look at it, and then, we look AGAIN--until it makes sense or irons out into peace. Geez, way to really push my buttons today. I'm very thankful for Matt, Aly, and Chan because their honesty feels clean and fresh and alive--even if some would say it's a little heavy. WHO CARES ABOUT THAT? Again, it's Nada. Not the point.