Monday, July 26, 2010

More Deep Thoughts

-Anna Karenina is not happening. Everyone who admired me for taking it up can just stop now because the truth is that I actually find it very, very dull and have finished 2.3 other books since the last time I picked it up, just to procrastinate reading it again.

-That granola with the flax seed that Ma bought at Costco, the one I initially snubbed my nose at because it looked healthy and claimed to relieve depression through the all-natural power of flax? Yeah, I love it. Prozac is still my gospel, but Organic Pumpkin Flax-Plus Granola with Omega-3 sure is tasty.

-I can't get enough of No Doubt's cover of It's my Life. Why is that song so good? When I listen to it, which is very often, I feel like I could be Gwen Stefani and be ok with that. Disturbing, I know, but thankfully the duration of the song is just under four minutes so the madness is over quickly enough.

-I've been crafting up a storm lately. Pictures to come soon in the Renaissance Mish post I'm planning.

-K. and I have renewed our beloved summertime pastime of watching tragic foreign films in between mail routes. Today it was To Live in an empty JKB classroom. I love my job.

-Only two weeks left of classes, and then on to Portland! I wish I could express just how mind-numbingly excited I am to conclude my summer in Carol's bedroom, surrounded by empty Propel bottles and Gilmore Girls reruns. Also just to visit my old haunts again for the first time in what's been three years but feels like much longer. And, most especially, to darken the doorway of Chang's Mongolian Grill. Scratch that, I plan on doing much more than darkening its doorway. My spirit feels instantly invigorated everytime I think about it. I am so excited I could eat my hair.

-Yoga on Mondays and Wednesdays was a good idea. My spine is so stabilized you would not believe.

-Yesterday I came home and there was a beautiful cake with silky white frosting and patriotic sprinkles sitting on the counter, and it was so beautiful in all its vibrant ethereal confection that I wanted to grab a piece and inhale, grab a piece and inhale, so I grabbed a piece and inhaled. I still don't know whose it was but I sure do love store-bought frosting. Worth it. (Side note: Which of you guys used to put a little masking-tape skull and crossbones on the frosting container to deter me from eating it straight up, finger as a utensil? Come on, 'fess up. For the record, it didn't stop me, so ha ha on you.)

Cactus Chef playing We Didn't Start the Fire on the flute.

...all right, peace.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"What shall we do, that this cloud of darkness may be removed from overshadowing us?"

The subject of healing in the scriptures has always sort of baffled me. We always hear about how Christ went around healing the sick, healing pretty much anyone who asked, just handing out healings like candy. I understand that the point of it was to reward the faith of these people, but I've still often wondered why He made it that easy. We talk so much of the benefit of trials, of their role in refining us and testing us, of building our faith and patience and all those good things that will mold us into the type of beings who will one day be exalted. Why, then, did Christ so easily remove these afflictions from people back in the day? Had they already proven themselves? Was this final act of faith - that is, asking to be healed - the last obstacle in the way of redemption? I can believe that for some, but for ALL those people? I just can't swallow that. It seems, at least, very different today.

These days it seems most people are allowed plenty of time for refinement and testing. And you know what, that's great. The present paradigm makes a lot more sense to me. Of course we should be allowed to muddle through our trials for a while, for months, even years, if that's what it takes for us to learn what we're supposed to be learning. And yet, we still read in the scriptures that if we simply cry unto the Lord and demonstrate faith, He will heal us. He will remove our afflictions. If it is indeed that simple, then I am sore confused. Does instant- gratification-healing seem counterproductive to anyone else? Why would the Lord, who loves us, cave in that easily and thus stymie our growth? Isn't that sort of akin to a parent who enforces some sort of punishment in order to teach a lesson, only to go soft at the first pleading and withdraw it? Isn't this how spoiled brats are developed? Maybe there are times when the test of faith is more important than the test of patience or long-suffering. If this is the case then it makes sense for a believing person to be healed. But what about when someone has the faith thing down and needs instead a lesson on enduring to the end? How is it that this person is given the same promise of healing?

Don't worry, I've taken the liberty of anticipating your counterarguments, so here are my concessions:

1. Timing - that is, healing might be promised, but maybe not right away

2. Will of the Lord - we know that this pretty much trumps everything. So, if a person is indeed healed as soon as he exercises faith and asks for it, we know that for whatever reason, the Lord saw fit to heal that person. Who knows, maybe that person had already proven himself in faith as well as in patience and long-suffering. Only the Lord knows his heart, after all. What looks like instant gratification to us may not actually be.

3. I thought I had anticipated more, but honestly this is all so confusing and mushy in my brain that it probably got lost somewhere by the wayside. Probably by my amygdala, everything gets caught there.

Refer back to my title quote. I find it interesting that people in the scriptures tend to ask questions like that - essentially, "Lord, what can I do to fix this?" They want a specific action that they can perform, an equation to run so that they might receive a desired outcome. And in our defense, the scriptures do seem to be rife with equations: seek-->find, ask-->receive, knock-->it shall be opened. But is it really that simple? When the Lamanites asked this question, they were told that if they repented, cried unto the Lord, and had faith, the cloud of darkness would be removed. And I can't help but wonder if maybe the point of that answer was not so much to show them how to remove the cloud, but rather, a way to get them to start doing those things for their own general benefit. Things they wouldn't have done if they hadn't thought there was a reward on the other side. It's really quite clever of the Lord, when you think about it.

Maybe the Lamanites were confronting a literal cloud of darkness, and maybe some of us have to confront a cloud of darkness not quite so literal. The procedure is the same. Maybe it'll be removed just as soon as we ask, or maybe it never will. Maybe it doesn't even matter what happens, so long as we're doing what we're supposed to be doing on our end.

But what do I know.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

You said it, sister

"What are men to rocks and mountains?"

--Mary Bennet, Pride and Prejudice

I need to go hike this soon.