Monday, April 26, 2010

April 25, 2010

I want to share a little bit about myself tonight.

It's 23:11 at night, after a very busy but wonderful day. Today was my birthday and Melissa and I hosted a shindig at our apartment. We wanted to go to church this morning, and last night Graham was up throughout the night due to a combination of teething, a low-grade fever, and the flu (poor kid!). Needless to say both Melissa and I slept poorly, and the one person who saved us was my Dad (who is in town for a month-long visit, staying at each of his children's homes for 3-4 days). Dad and his impressive Uno skills kept the kids preoccupied for nearly two hours while Melissa Graham and I slept in.

Church was filling. It felt like the speaker was delivering a message tailored directly for me. The speaker was a recently returned missionary who spoke about God's will and how we should pray for that instead of asking for something which could potentially hurt another (for example asking for a day without rain when in reality the desert needs any rain possible). This struck a chord within me; I often feel I can compel God. Thankfully He is patient in my learning. :)

We prepared the house yesterday and continued to prep things after church, clearing out little clutter zones which have accumulated over the past 5-6 months. For me, cleaning is a panacea--not only does it have the obvious benefit of getting the house in order but I feel a mental weight lift as the little "get to it laters" are finally done.

I got to assemble a trampoline in the back yard (inherited from Melissa's folks), marinade chicken, clean the grill and set up chairs on the lawn. I felt ready for the family to visit.

Finally everyone arrived and I began the bratwurst, hot dogs and chicken. The food was a hit, the conversation great, and I got to be surrounded by a bunch of folks I think the world of. By the time the birthday song was sung I realized how real was all their love. It struck me like a hammer blow as they sung and I was humbled. How fortunate a man! What a great family I belong to! What a legacy I have come from!

My eldest sister, Anna had put together a few photo albums about our ancestors; my father as a youth, my great great great grandmother as a child, a newspaper clipping of my great grandfather's last day in court, right before he passed, arguing a case. How near that veil separating me from the afterlife today--It seemed a spiderweb across my face, and if I merely reached for it, pushing it away like a nussiance that I could lift it and see them all, My ancestors who care about their progeny. Forbears who lived, gathered at sibling birthday parties of their own, laughed, loved and died. I know they still ive on in the next world.

To them I write; I've not heard your voice nor known the inflections of it, but I feel as if I should, as if the time and space between us is naught and we have sat and eaten together, visiting in animated fashion about this or that. Your face is mine, and mine yours; my passions and interests most likely none too different. May hap my hand and yours, palms pressed together (as often a child will do) would show the same size and shape, handprints swirling is symphony, mirrors of one another.

This is a time for me to reflect; 32 years of life, years of moments, years of family around me, seen and unseen, my life moving from landmark to milestone as if in a dream. It occurs to me that those first dates in high school were half a life ago. Further that my childhood, such a foil compared to my sons, was twenty five years ago. My future, an easy to read map in the topography of my father's face; each crease and wrinkle spelling out a worry for his seven children, each furrow in his brow a contour line closer and closer in elevation.

One can learn a lot about self when surrounded by family, when surrounded by photos of their past, when surrounded by thoughts of how dear each heart is.

Absent tonight were Becky, Mom and Ma'am. I thought about you three and hope may hap you'll read this--knowing you were thought of, realizing you are loved, feeling you were missed. If I could hug you all I would, happy to see ach of you, glad to be near each of you.

It is late--the dog is snoring, his belly overfilled with a half dozen child-spilled hot dog and buns. All in the house are abed and I should be too, yet I write. I write to thank God for the life He gave me, for the great blessing of my family, and for the atonement of Christ. I thank Him for 32 years, and for the prospect of however many more He sees fit to send my way.

And for that, today was a wonderful birthday.

-Jay

Thursday, April 22, 2010

If you live in the Rockies and don't like the weather, just wait a few hours.

It was snowing this morning and now it's 60. Oh the joys of spring!

-Jay

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Altruism and the Boy

I was surprised tonight by someone. Someone I suppose I shouldn't have been startled by, yet it still happened. I was about my business and this person commented something cutting, on the fly, while they passed.

I wondered at it, wondered at the action this person took by venting such spleen, marveled at the fact that a change, any change, had elicited such a reaction. Why?

Is it the economy? I realize folks want more for less in today's market; it is that way straight across the board. That housing, retail, service industry, shareholder profits and cost cutting all add up to a great strain on people working in them. These all are great places to catch the pulse of a nation under financial duress.

These financial woes trickle down to the lowest man; do they justify foul language and callous attitude? Do the daily pressures the bottom breadwinners feel justify such action? Could the incident I had today be justified in any rational way?

I realize the path of the human heart is a maze. Through self-talk we justify anything. Through auto rationalization we embrace our actions. These combine over time and the experience builds our reality.

But how do these realities and our pseudo-empiricism mesh when brushed up against another very different cognizance on how life works? And where does the responsibility lie in the teaching?

As I age I see how patterns of selfishness in my past led me to believe in a certain reality. I realize I could simply justify my own actions or even insert substitute actions to suit my need. I rested at night on a pillow of my own naive invention.

I am by no means altruistic; reader please realize this fact. But I wonder at what point does the teacher painfully lead the learner along a path that will only result in odium on one of their parts? Does the teacher owe the student the pain that will bring them along the path to self-enlightenment?

Prometheus knew the price of fire, yet he gave it to man. What if Narcissus had been warned by that same sage? If in fact Prometheus had explained that pains of the liver were worth the realization that self was not the ultimate and only creature? Brought the child to the realization that the results were worth the possibility of eternal daily agony?

Narcissus, dear boy, hearken to my sage-like words. Your pains to come from today will teach you something if you will see it.

I hope you can open your eyes and behold it, despite the very possible pending anguish.

-Jay

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Is Jay Inactive? Does He Still Believe?

I am writing this on Easter Weekend, while some thoughts about a recent conversation my wife had concerning our church attendance are still fresh.

Pardon my rough-hewn planks of thought; if you know me, I am the atavistic sort, not quick witted, but have to think and edit, pounding out my thoughts instead of speaking them freely.

I want to allay some fears about me.

I may not be a super active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but I believe. I believe in the divinity of the Book of Mormon. I believe that God the Father and Jesus Christ the Savior appeared to the boy Joseph Smith as he knelt and prayed. I believe in the power of the Priesthood. I believe God, my Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers.

I feel my savior Jesus Christ's love. I know he atoned for me, died and was resurrected for me.

I love my family, I love my wife, I love my kids. I want to be with them forever.

I am not by any means a saint, I cuss, I sin, I fail at times. But I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and I look forward to the resurrection when all knees will bow and all tongues will confess that He is the Christ. I look forward to His Millennial reign.

To my family out there who may wonder about me, please don't. I believe. I acknowledge Thomas S Monson as the prophet, I love the Book of Mormon.

I love you all and want you to not worry about me. Pray for me, absolutely! I will continue to pray for all of you. If we are all praying for each other, what time is there for worry? Melissa and I keep you all in our prayers.

I am thankful to my loving Father in Heaven for so very much and am hopeful that He will always lead me to Him.

Thanks for listening and Happy Easter

-Jay