Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Secret to Happiness

Okay, obviously the secret to happiness is not a secret.  You live the gospel of Jesus Christ, rely on the Savior, and keep moving forward and you will be happy.  Sometimes it's hard to keep a positive attitude during trying times, but it's not impossible.

That, however, is not the point of this post.  I've had some really good days of late.  And I had some really bad days last week and the week before.  I've been thinking about what I've been doing differently.  Is it my attitude?  Sadly I can't say yes.  I was trying to have a good attitude before, but it just wasn't working.  Is it my sugar intake?  I don't think so.  I did run out of my coconut almonds, which did lessen my sugar intake considerably, but I still find sugar around.

No my friends, the secret to happiness is garlic.

Now you know.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dreams Bring out Your Priorities

I had a dream that I needed to get my hair trimmed.  I went to this dark and creepy place that was run by a creepy man.  I asked him how much he charged.  $2.  It cost $2 for a hair cut.  I accepted.  He proceeded to prep me for cutting my hair.  Okay, I should probably describe him better than just creepy.  He was bald and pale.  He was tall.  He had a good figure, more slender than thick, but not overly so.  I say he was pale, but his skin had a greenish tint, but that might have been just the lighting from the dark room.  The room reminded me of something that could come out of the Castle of Chaos.  It didn't look clean at all.  The man didn't talk much, but he stared at me.  Every time he touched me, I felt uncomfortable.  He's cutting my hair, though, so he's touching me a lot.  I knew, however, as he was cutting my hair that he was one of the best hair stylists that there are.

Moral of the story: Money is more important to me than avoiding creepy men.  I think I've turned into a monster.

Or maybe not.  I mean, even though he was creepy, I never felt like I was in danger.  And technically he was one of the best hair stylist.  So maybe the moral of the story is that often real talent is overlooked because of prejudices.  The man didn't have many customers - well - at least he didn't have many customers who weren't also creepy like himself.

It was an interesting dream.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Men Are That They Might Have Joy

It’s been an interesting week.  I’ve kind of put myself on an emotional roller coaster – not on purpose – but it is still kind of my fault. This morning I started to break into tears.  That’s when I know something is wrong, even if I can’t pinpoint exactly what’s bothering me.  So I turned to my Heavenly Father.  How can I get rid of this sadness, I asked Him. 

I was reminded of the book Eddie Fantastic by Chris Heimerdinger.  Basically one of the characters in the story points out that sadness is of God.  When Christ was crucified, “the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;” Matthew 27:51.  Also, you can reference Moses 7:28 “And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?”  Heavenly Father was saddened at the death of His Beloved Son, and he weeps over his children in iniquity. 

When I think of Eternal Life, I often think of a Happily Ever After concept.  I often thought that this life was the time to experience the bitter and hardness so that we could understand joy and appreciate it in the Eternities.   While that’s true, I realized today that Heavenly Father still has sadness.  Opposition isn’t something that just exists in this world.  It continues onward. 

In a marriage prep class I took at BYU, our professor pointed out that as we experience more sorrow, we are able to experience more joy.  The opposite also applies.  As we experience more joy, we are able to experience more sorrow.  There are some levels of joy that I can’t experience now, because I’m not married.  I am also free from experiencing certain levels of sorrow that also come with marriage.  The same will be true when I am married, but without children.  Life is a progression.  The whole point of Eternal Life is Eternal Progression.  Now I’m not saying that this means never-ending suffering.  I don’t know what Eternity has to bring, but I know that it will be worth it.  And just because we experience sorrow, doesn’t mean we have to dwell there. 

What if you’re tired of suffering?  You’re done.  You just want to sit back and experience joy for the rest of eternity and not worry about any more sadness.  You’re willing to give up any additional joy because it is not worth the accompanying sorrow.  Well, my friends, that’s when you opt out of Eternal Life.  That’s when you refuse to accept the Atonement.  That’s when you declare that you are satisfied with the glory of the Terrestial Kingdom or the Telestial Kingdom.  And that’s also when you say goodbye to our Father in Heaven forever.  It would be a sad day.

What I am saying here is not doctrine.  It was just something I was thinking about today.  It's hard being sad.  It's hard feeling your insides twist around, knowing that there is little you can do... but there is something you can do.  You can think about the Savior.  You can focus on Him and what He's done.  As you do that, you will become grateful.  Being grateful will spark happiness.  It seems to me that this would be a useful skill to have in the Eternities – to be able to experience the misery, but dwell in the joy. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Trapped in a Box

It's funny how fuzzy our perception can be sometimes.  I look at myself.  I graduated from college, but my major was very specific.  Since I haven't passed subsequent tests, I haven't even tried to get a job in that field.  My computer skills aren't the greatest, so I automatically withdraw myself from applying for most jobs in related fields.  I've trapped myself in a box and I don't know what to do.

I was talking to a friend the other week.  She reminded me that I am not bound to anything.  I have graduated from college.  I don't have debt.  I am free to be whatever I want to be.  She, on the other hand, is still in college and doesn't know what she wants to major in.  She feels trapped.

The truth is neither one of us is trapped.  It's just a matter of perception.  Right now I'm working on how to break free from my box.  It's not very comfortable after all.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Sometimes I Wonder What is Really Going On

The president took in a deep breath.  Please, he thought to himself please don’t be blind.  He looked at himself in the mirror.  He hated doing that these days.  He hated the person that he saw.  He hated the person that he represented.  How did it come to this? 

He thought of his little girl.  He thought of the conversation he had overheard just the other day.  “Mommy, why is daddy acting the way he is?”  His wife’s soft voice filled the air.  “I don’t know.  He’s under a lot of pressure lately.  We just need to be here to support him.”

No, he didn’t want their support.  His wife didn’t know what was going on.  She knew him better than anyone on earth, but she wasn’t allowed to know what was going on.  She could tell that it was eating at him though.  She could tell that he was losing himself completely.  She could tell that he wasn’t the person he thought he should be.

He thought back to the days when he was running to become president.  Even then, he hadn’t realized quite what he had gotten into.  He saw corruption and he wanted to fix it.  He had high ideals of turning the country around.  But he hadn’t realized…

He thought about the press conference he had just done.  “Please,” he said out loud, hoping that by some miracle the people would hear him.  They would hear beyond the words he had just spoken.  They would see beyond the politics.  Their consciences would get pricked.  They would rise in rebellion.  There were enough people who hated him.  Why wouldn’t they rise in rebellion?  Why did they just sit there and complain, without doing anything?

He thought of the shadow.  He called himself John Doe.  It was just one more representation of his power that he could have such an obviously fake name, and yet the president was powerless to do anything against him.  Few people knew about the shadow.  Unfortunately, the only people who knew about him were completely under his control.  They had all witnessed what happens to people who disagree with the shadow.  No, there was no way out.  He had to do exactly what he was told.  His family was in danger.  His friends were in danger.  And yet, by doing what the shadow said, the entire country was in danger.

“We believe these attacks originated from the Mirny People.”    That is what the shadow had told the president to say at this press conference.  Obviously the attacks weren’t from the Mirny people.  They probably happened under the direction of the shadow.  The president didn’t know.  When he tried to ask, he was shut down with more threats.  The Mirny people were a peaceful group that lived in in the northeastern edge of the country.  They were intensely religious, but harmless.  The people themselves were very pleasant.  However, you wouldn’t know that unless you met one of them.  Unfortunately for them, the shadow had decided to exploit them. 

“How did Hitler take over Germany?” the shadow had once asked the president.  The president just looked at him in dismay.  “He created a scapegoat!” the shadow shouted.  “Sometimes people need someone to hate.  Create a scapegoat and then flatter them.  Blind them.  Then they will follow you no matter what you do.” 

The president didn’t want this to be true.  He wanted to believe that people were stronger than this.  They wouldn’t let hate blind them.  They wouldn’t.  They still have morals, an internal compass.  They wouldn’t let Fascism overcome them, would they?

But the president had no choice but to comply with what the shadow said.  Not today though.  Oh, he said what the shadow wanted him to, but he took it a step beyond.  “As such, our military has gone to the northeastern corner and rounded up all of the Mirny People.  They will be held in camps.  Their leaders will be exterminated.  The rest of them will be detained indefinitely.  We will not allow them to hurt anyone else ever again.”  The beginnings of a genocide of an entire religion – surely the people would recognize that this is wrong.  Surely they would take a stand.  They would fight against the government.  They would destroy the power that the shadow had.  It was up to the people.  No one in the government could do it.  All their hands were tied. The people had to do it.  Surely the president had just given them all a motivation to do just that.  Surely he had pricked their consciences.  Surely they knew right from wrong.

The door opened.  Mr. John Doe entered with a smile on his face.

“My my, Mr. President.  That was some speech!  I had goose bumps.” His eyes flickered.  “I know what you’re doing.  You’re trying to call for war.  I don’t think I told you to say what we were going to do to the Mirny People.  Today was just about blaming them.”

The president stared intently at the shadow.  “My mistake,” he said expressionless.

The shadow maintained his smile.  “Yes it was, but it was a good mistake.  You see –  you overestimated your people.  We have been dulling their sense of morality for decades now.  Sure, there will be some people who will be furious at what you just said.  They’ll talk loudly, but they will be silenced.  Some people will be a bit confused.  But no one is going to step up.  This country is in my power.  Your effort simply pushed my agenda a little closer.”  His smiled widened.  “I like you Mr. President.  I’ve never had so much fun ruining a man.  I want you to serve another term so that I can destroy this country even more.”

The President’s eyes widened.  “I won’t run again.”

There was pure evil in the shadow’s eyes.  “Oh yes you will.  I know all the right buttons to push with you and with your people.  You will run.  And you will win.  And I will win.”  With that he turned and left.

The president stared down at his hands.  They were free, but that was an illusion.  His hands were tied.  They had been tied since he had met the shadow.  What could he do?  How could he send a message to his people?