A Long Enough Quote

Sometimes God moves loudly, as if spinning to another place like ball lightning. God is, oddly, personal; this God knows. Sometimes en route, dazzlingly or dimly, he shows an edge of himself to souls who seek him, and the people who bears those souls, marveling, know it, and see the skies carousing around them, and watch cells stream and multiply in green leaves. He does not give as the world gives; he leads invisibly over many years, or he wallops for thirty seconds at a time. He may touch a mind, too, making a loud sound, or a mind may feel the rim of his mind as he nears.

“To entreat and to intercede is to transform situations powerfully. God participates in bad conditions here by including them in his being and ultimately overcoming them. True prayer surrenders to God; that willing surrender itself changes the situation a jot or two by adding power which God can use. Since God works in and through existing conditions, I take this to mean that when the situation is close, when your friend might die or might live, then your prayer’s surrender can add enough power – mechanism unknown – to tilt the balance. . . . God’s activity is by no means interference, but instead divine creativity – the ongoing creation of life with all its greatness and danger. I don’t know. I don’t know beans about God.”

– Annie Dillard, For the Time Being

Really interesting and compelling commentary on prayer and the power of God. Church leaders from many denominations can agree generally on the transforming powers of prayer.

Ms. Dillard says she doesn’t know beans about God. And this comes close to the end of her book, almost 200 pages of philosophizing and observing and sincere searching. She doesn’t know beans.

I don’t know beans.

But, we probably know more than we think we know. And God always gives us credit for what we know.

At a regional conference in the Marriott Center on Sunday, one of the speakers, Julie B. Beck, suggested that we’re doing better than we think we are, but we could also be doing better than we really are.

I bet the “mechanism unknown” involves faith, if it’s not faith itself.

We pray when we want perspective. We pray when we want God’s help.

I needed both last night after talking on the phone with someone.

Paradoxically, surrendering myself isn’t the same as giving up. It’s anti-quitting.

I know I could be doing better.

I just don’t know how I’m doing.

Noticing

I have a friend here who, if I asked, would drop everything and do anything for me. He’s always asking if I need anything, and I’m always telling him I’m fine. We get along pretty well for not knowing each other for very long.

I’m pulling an all-nighter, and I felt myself fading earlier today, so I asked this friend if he’d mind bringing me a little caffeine. He asked what kind, and I said, either this or this, fully expecting just one 20-oz bottle of either of my preferred poisons.

He brought over one bottle of each kind. But they were 2-liter bottles.

He wouldn’t even let me pay him. Little punk. What a good person.

***

I know this is coming completely out of the blue (ha), but it feels as if I’m going through a rough patch. Surprise, right? It’s not debilitating, the days go on and on, but it does make me a little sad, and I can’t help but think I’ve kind of messed things up.  I know I’ve done nothing but whine since I’ve returned to Provo, but I guess I just didn’t expect the transition to be this rocky. And for some reason that entitles me to take out my frustrations on the rest of the world – specific pockets of the world that have subsequently closed off and may take a while to open up again. How can I learn if I try to ignore the consequences of my actions?And, haven’t I learned this lesson before? Not well enough, apparently.

I’m really trying not to be the victim here. Or the martyr.

I guess I’m just trying to say I’m sorry.

Almost Done

Down to 41. Looks like it’s gonna be a pretty exciting semifinal. The kids look pretty cool, and I recognize quite a few returning contestants.

I can’t really sleep. It’s almost 2am. I’m in the living room with my laptop. Maybe I could sleep, but I don’t know how much rest I would get, if that makes any sense.

If any of you can’t tell, I’m in pure escapist mode right now. Yes, I know I need to follow up on resume submissions. Yes, I know I could go out and look for temporary work. Yes, I know I should also probably apply to schools. Yes, I know I need to be praying more specifically about what’s happening next in my life. Yes, I know I could use a priesthood blessing. I know I need to be sensible. I know these things.

I feel like I’m fading. Emotionally, psychologically. I know it’s high time to be gone from New York City, and I’m doing my best to accept it, but I haven’t said anything about accepting it, and I pretty much won’t talk about it because I’m too busy escaping, not from New York, but from myself. Acceptance doesn’t mean painlessness. And I feel like I’ve blended into the background, like everybody else knows but they won’t say, but it doesn’t matter because they’ve already acknowledged it some other way and it’s like I’m already gone.

So it should be easier to leave then, right? Just slip out the back door.

I’m giving another talk this Sunday. It’s supposed to last 10 to 15 minutes.

Bedtime.