Sunday, August 30, 2009

Unwrapping

I needed this summer to gather myself in tight
Like I was sitting on a blanket, and I gathered it close to me
pulling in some of my loose corners
tightening some things that had come loose

To rediscover. To learn, mellow, become. to wrap myself up in things that really mattered.
and then to loosen what needed loosening and letting go.

Change.

Now I'm ready to unwrap again, and spread out,

out

out.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Vital Importance of Being Good

The hour is late and my thoughts are not necessarily coherent, but I feel like I should write about this. I’ve been in a huge spiritual slump lately. No, I haven’t stopped going to Church, I haven’t lost my testimony or anything. I’m trying to do my calling as the first counselor in my ward relief society—but the fact is that I’ve been in a slump. I don’t remember what I was doing or when exactly I started thinking about this, but a day or two ago I realized that I had been letting little things slide.

You know, it’s funny…I can say I don’t know why I’ve been in a slump, but I do know. I think we all know deep down the reason WHY we ever get in a slump. For me, it’s partly because I haven’t been reading my scriptures every day. Sure, I read at least three times a week, but even then, it is a cursory reading and not a real study. It’s different for everybody, but for me, this kind of study isn’t enough. Going through the motions isn’t enough, and so I’ve slid. The other thing that I don’t go to the temple often enough. Sometimes only once a month. Sometimes less. And when I go, it seems like it’s out of duty and not out of some purer motivation. Often I’m rushed, almost always…I get bored. I’m being very honest here. And, I’m not excusing myself. But sometimes I don’t want to go because a session can feel like such a long time commitment.

Part of this slump is a result of media inundation. There is so much out there that is purely to entertain, to provide vicarious enjoyment of something. There is so much DISTRACTION! Sometimes, I don’t want to do the little things that are right because they don't initially excite me. Why would I want to read my scriptures for twenty minutes when I could read my novel or watch my movie? It’s easier for me to escape the sometimes-tedium of life on Facebook or in some other form of distraction than to diagnose my boredom with scripture.

Diagnosing boredom with scripture. Hm. That’s something I’ve never thought about until now.

Anyway. Now to the point of this post. I’ve been trying to figure out lately just WHAT is really important. I didn’t mean to spend so much time talking about media distractions. I wanted to talk about what is the most important thing to BE. And I’ve decided that the most important thing to be is…well…good.

“Good” is a loaded word, but I’ll tell you what I think it means. It means doing the right things for the right reasons—which excludes, by it’s very definition, self-righteousness.

I have spent so much energy in the past little while developing somewhat superficial (let’s just called them worthless) traits. In a world where in order to be taken seriously you have to be ironic, a little edgy, a little cynical, and it's not necessarily cool to really FEEL things, it is only natural that I have, however subconsciously, been developing a rather world-weary attitude. To be ironic is to be the opposite of sincere. So here’s something to think about: If fitting in means sacrificing sincerity, is that really worth it? Is it worth it to be a little disingenuous in the way I express my opinions in order to be thought witty? Smart? Informed?

Here’s another one. Is it so important to be pretty? To be hip? To have all the right clothes? The right music? To read the right books and watch the right movies? Am I saying that these things are bad? No. But are they the most important things?

And what about friends? True, I don’t need to be best friends with everybody. (impossible.) But does that mean I am entitled to write people off who don’t initial interest me? Does my attitude say that I a think I am entitled to be unkind, and that I can justify being cold? (And believe me, I can be cold. I despise that version of myself.)

Enough. You get the point, hopefully. I truly think the only thing worth actively trying to be is GOOD. As stupid and obvious as that sounds, I really think it is the only thing ultimately worth it. And by good, I guess I mean sincere even at the expense of...whatever..."coolness". By good, I mean doing things for people in the spirit of disinterest—not thinking about “what’s in it for me.” I mean not letting the little spiritual things like scriptures study slide and not putting too much stock in media distractions. Cultivating something inside that will somehow radiate to other people, draw them to you (not for personal gain). I’m not talking about being nice, or even merely kind—though kindness is part.

Yes, it is cool to be edgy and it is fun to be fascinating. But honestly, to be good is vital. It is so unglamorous and so hard to be good.

I had already been thinking about all of these things a few days ago, and then—as if on cue—I came across this quotation on Jill’s blog, and with(out) her permission, here it is. I think it sums up the way I’m feeling:

“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.” C. S. Lewis Mere Christianity

Friday, August 14, 2009

My Feelings about Being 24

1. I feel…the same. I have felt more or less the same for several years (barring the mission) and I feel like I’m going to feel the same from here on out. Or at least until some things, which are totally out of my control, happen.

2. How do I feel about my social life? Personally, I feel invisible. And a little weary. But not…washed up. I am just barely discovering the truth that it’s okay to give people glimpses of my unadulterated self.

3. I love my job. I feel like I have found something I can do to support myself for the rest of my life, and it happens to be totally enjoyable. What a wonderful feeling of security. I am confident.

4. I feel like I am finally an adult in my family, and I don’t have to do anything to prove it. I just am. And it doesn’t mean being any less silly or uninhibited. It just means being less self-conscious and defensive.

5. People definitely attach way too much baggage to the arbitrary numbers we use to tell age. My being 24 in and of itself means nothing. It doesn’t mean I should be any certain way at any given time. I don’t have to feel too old or too young or too late or too tired. It just means I’ve been alive for 24 years.

hoop-de-do