Thursday, October 30, 2014

This Is Mortality

"Don't you ever feel that way?," my roommate asked me the other day, "Like, you're tired and stressed and sweaty and something goes wrong, and it's just like, this is mortality."

My roommate Elizabeth says all sorts of pithy, interesting things like that, all the time.  It's so instructive and fun to live with her.

Anyway.  She's right.  This Is Mortality.

We are made from the dust of the earth.  Our bodies tire, our minds become weary, our hearts hurt sometimes.  We get sick and we get better and we mess things up and we say stupid things to people we love and we cry and we feel lost and we get excited about small things and big things and we love each other and we try to improve and we laugh and we get bored and we forget things and we smell bad sometimes and we have to eat and sleep like all the time.  We are mortal.

And there are great things about being mortal.  Like how this week it finally got pretty cold.  It's amazing to me how it gets colder and you feel it -- your body all the way through can tell it's cold  and reacts and tenses up and you think, "It's cold!!"  Isn't it cool to feel that?

Or how sleeping actually rejuvenates you.  Isn't it incredible that you can "power down" for like 8 hours and emerge with greater clarity and energy and renewed motivation?  (Usually.)

Or wind.  You know how when it's really windy and you can feel it literally pushing against you?  Mortality is bizarre but it's also really awesome.

Having other mortals around is such a comfort, too.  I'm constantly struck with the quiet greatness of the people who surround me.  I mean, they are just themselves, but they are so exquisite.  Humans are just amazing creations.

Because, I mean, where I'm really going with this is the fact that, yes, we are mortal, but there is that within us which is ETERNAL.

"We are made of the stuff of eternity.  We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God." (Uchtdorf)  It is no wonder that we feel like "strangers and pilgrims on earth" (See Hebrews 11) sometimes.  Mortality is awesome but it's not the final destination.  Remembering that makes it all the better for its fleeting, poignant glory.

Anyway.  These thoughts are not eloquent, organized, or even really finished, but I need to go read my Physical Science textbook.  This is mortality, after all.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Keeping These Things

 A friend asked me today what I like to do extracurricularly (is that a kosher adverb?) and I told him I enjoy writing.  "When I haven't been writing anything," I said, "there is a part of me that is sad."

Sometimes you can learn a fair bit from what comes out of your own crazy mouth.

So I decided to write something today, and cheer up the little corner of my heart that has been missing writing.

Let me acknowledge that I am not a good writer.  I write like I run -- not because I'm an all-star, destined for greatness, but because when I do it my soul feels good.


I have been thinking about one of my favorite sentences in the New Testament.  Jesus had just been born, and the shepherds were talking about it and everyone was rejoicing and prophesying and saying, "come and see!".  In the midst of all this prophecy -- both fulfilled prophecy and that which was to come -- Mary and Joseph must have been overwhelmed.  They can't have understood what was really going on.  They must have felt excited and honored but also terrified and uncertain.

Luke 2:19: "And Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."

Mary is so wise.  I mean, of course she is -- God would choose a wise woman to be the mother of His Only Begotten Son.  But I'm sure she felt young and inexperienced and overwhelmed and confused and exhausted and anxious and insufficient.  At least sometimes.

However.  Her wisdom lies in her patience.  She doesn't freak out or fall apart or demand all the answers.  She accepts the pieces of the puzzle she is given, places them carefully inside her heart, and ponders.

I think about this quite often.

I have never and will never be asked to do something as overwhelming as raising Jesus.  But that doesn't mean I can't learn from Mary.

When you're a 23-year-old recently returned missionary about to graduate from college, there are about five gazillion important decisions to make.  There's managing your finances and deciding what you're most passionate about and figuring out where to work and where to further your education and when to and in which field.  There's discovering what really matters and what kind of person you want to be and what kind of person you want to marry and trying to figure out who in the world that person is.

After spending 1.5 years with the happy blessing of just thinking about other people, you get sick of yourself and your own decisions realllllllly fast.  I mean, thinking about yourself all the time simply never made anybody happy.

These decisions are all just blessings, I know!!  How ridiculously, abundantly blessed is a person in my circumstances!  I cannot let even a whisper of complaining infuse itself into this post.  I am truly, truly grateful for the exciting, wonderful decisions I have the privilege to be making.  But I would not be honest if I didn't admit that every now and then it is a tiny bit intimidating, if not disorienting.

I am trying to, like Mary, keep all these things and ponder them in my heart.  I've seen again and again that God graciously gives us what we need to move forward and learn and choose our paths.  He gives us ownership of our own decisions, always, and lets us take risks and walk under clouds and scrape our knees a few times, but He always, always illuminates as much as needs to be illuminated.  I've seen that so many times that I trust it absolutely.  I trust Him.  I really do.

So I'm pondering.  And in the meantime there are a thousand thousand little daily recompenses: runs and bike rides and crunchy leaves and autumny things and cardigans and the laughter of friends and meaningful conversations and books and breakfasts and naps and cries and hugs and, of course, writing.