Friday, May 23, 2008

Fear

I have been contemplating lately what holds me back in regards to incidents and interactions in my life. The conclusion, which may be a result of my mind tyring to sort and organize and compartmentalize all my daily experiences, is that fear has a place in my psyche that can strangle my motivation.

Let me explain. Scenario: my church calling is to contact people and ask them to go talk with the Bishop so they can renew their temple recommends. The niggling thought in my mind is that most of those people are probably not wanting to go in for an interview and confess that they haven't paid tithing, that they haven't lived the commandments, etc. So I let the opportunity to fulfil my calling slip through the cracks because I fear to offend.

Yes, better to fear God and do his works than to fear man and do nothing.

So I am trying to face the fears, the small worms at the core of the issue, and act responsibly. Not that I am exorbitantly irresponsible by any means, I just feel like I can skate on by on some things--wrapped in a cloak of apathy or non-involvement. Again, please note this is a self-critical evaluation. I am a damn fine housekeeper and I am a major part of my children's lives. I write this lest some greater power believe I sit naked in front of the TV covered in cheetos and stale sweat. Let me re-iterate then that I feel I am an involved husband/father. I merely hope to be more connected.

I have plenty to worry about, between the kids being smartly dressed/fed/educated, spending time with my wife since we both work, and maintaining a good ethic at work. But on top of that all I worry about my book, currently rolling into it's fifth year of composition. I don't like to air out my laundry in public, for fear of folks realizing my underwear has holes in it. My ideas are my own, and not owned by anyone else. I fear the critic, and even fear the potential for shoddy work, but mostly fear the idea of never finishing this. I loathe the idea of living a life of punching the clock instead of being my own boss.

The resolution to this, for me, is to write. Everyday. I write the beautiful, mundane, daily stuff; breading and seasoning and cranberry accompanying the meat of my life. I write it down, force my will onto paper (or e-paper if you will), and face the fear of criticism. I thumb my nose at the face of the sneering critic & I write my words, brave soldiers they are, to fight the hatred of the sprayer on the forum. In the lines of my verse I beget hope to father life in the desolation of the opinion. My words are like a seed to me--full of potential, bursting with life and wanting more. They want to grow and take root and develop.

And these things fight my greatest fear; that what I do and who I am does not matter. Oh the great falsehood of that belief--the destruction these words have on my psyche! What a strange line of BS for a successful hard working father of three to have! The truth is, any of these steps I take to fight the fear in my heart make me a better husband, a better father, a better human. As I grow and fight the fear in me, it bolsters the belief that what I do matters. It fortifies the truth that fear and belief cannot coexist, one yields to the other, for they are diametrically opposed.

Yes, I know, compartmentalized thinking. I told you. My thinking of things as belonging in a box, of holding commonalities between them. But they do. And the trick in life for me is seeing how they are related, no matter how tenuous.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ogden Marathon Relay

I was able to run in the Odgen Marathon Relay on Saturday with Lynn, Karol & Dave Henry. My leg of the relay was the 4th section, from The Oaks restaurant down to the mouth of Ogden canyon. Melissa was to run the last 3 mile section, but she opted (smartly if I do say so myself!) to not run due to a sore back. I ran both of our assignments with my two untrained legs, cramping only in the home stretch.

I am not much of a runner, yet still enjoyed the experience. There is something fulfilling in physical activity that wrings me out, leaving me exhausted. And those 8.2 miles wrung me out pretty well.

The humbling thing for me was feeling hammered and stumbling around the "Welcome Runners" area at the end of the race while many of the solo runners were laughing and having a party. It took me 50 minutes to feel some semblance of normalcy, after a visit to the loo (which had no TP incidentally) and a hot shower at Connie and Earl's house. By the time I threw a leg over my motorcycle and pulled onto the street in front of their house, (nearly running into and scaring the death out the blue haired lady driving, due to my tired legs) I was ready to be home.

I rode back to Orem from Ogden in 50 minutes (no freeway closures, yay!), stopping in at Timpanogos Harley Dealership in Orem to say hello to my younger brother Dan who just got a job there last week & to schedule a 1000 mile maintenance. I got home and hobbled in to be with Melissa and the kids, and have been hobbling around for the past two days. This morning is the first day that stairs haven't about killed me.

The parts of my body which (still) hurt from the run:
thighs
glutes
hamstrings
calves
right heel
left pinky toe (was still numb yesterday)
trapezius muscles.

The moral of this story? Running in an event requires training. But then again, that'd ruin half the fun. I would be rid of that key element of suffering!

-Jay

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Stole This One From a Friends blog...

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of--throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.

- CS Lewis

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Feeling of an Old Age

I found a new definition for old today, found it in my pocket, under my pillow as I tried to snag a nap, written on the backs of my eyelids as I blinked. Old is a mindset brought on by uninvolvement and disconnectedness with what you used to do.

I felt old earlier today. I look at the myself of earlier today through the lens of a bit of fresh enlightenment--I was debtor to my obligations, swimming in my lack of downtime, dressed in the suit of responsibility (which never should be dirtied in the sandbox of enjoyment). I say was, as my enlightenment from a few moments ago shows me a new perspective. 

Oldness is something we allow in the mind. It is a state of thinking, and it strikes us when we are not involved. It is insidious as it creeps in under the guise of car payments, a larger than we need mortgage, the crushing accumulation of household crap (that we just have to have). 

I feel refreshed in breaking from the mould of the routine. Tonight I went out to the back yard in the biting wind dressed in a hoodie, beanine & sandals (I gotta have some yin to the yang, it's March for petes sake!) to cast the empty line of a borrowed 8 foot Browning fly pole. 

The simple act of casting, trying not to snap the line like a whip, and putting the opaque trembling leader where I willed were liberating. The small break in the routine has me refreshed like a thrown open door in a mausoleum. That biting wind chased me indoors after about twenty casts, but the point is I went out. I went out. I did something I really wanted to do despite the fact that I could have done a dozen other responsible things.

The interesting thing is all my commitments were already filled. It was the fugue of fatigue which I needed to reach through to grab at something fun. I have left nada lacking today; I went to work, I fed the kids, I vacuumed. I have just slid into this comfortable womb of justification and denial anytime I feel half motivated to do something. Talk myself out of it. Tonight I talked myself into it.

I've pretty much given up on cycling these past few months. Instead of getting out on the skinny or fat tires to pedal away my frustration (and expanding midsection), I ride the motorbike on my precious downtime. I've neglected the physical motion and the accompanying release for mechanization. True, the motorbike is a blast. But I need balance in my life again. I need to get out and make my body move. 

Age is a relative factor of the mind. These past weeks I've felt old. Tonight's few casts in a new discipline have stirred me, for which I am thankful. Now to stir myself into some sort of momentum!

OK then, I am off for the treadmill. Mental (and physical) love handles be damned!

-Jay