Mormonish

You should have seen me as a youth: reading my scriptures every day, going to seminary, being the stake scripture mastery champion, going to church when my parents were inactive. I was a fine little example of commitment to religion.

Of course, as life went on I wasn’t perfect, but I knew the church was always there in case I wanted to go back.

I’m not perfect. I don’t read my scriptures every day now. Church is a struggle to attend sometimes. At times I find myself rolling my eyes at talks or silently criticizing lessons, though it’s a nice surprise when I enjoy church because of an especially sensitive talk or balanced discussion.

I was very recently Primary president in two different wards, and I still struggled. I wasn’t perfect, but I worked hard at being the best Primary president I could be.

I don’t know. These feelings creep up, and I don’t know what to do.

As of now, we’re not super devout Mormons. We believe all the fundamental Christlike things. I love people, and I want to serve and help them. I want to be an awesome friend, mother, and wife. An awesome May.

It’s a combination of things, really: personal trials, policies, politics, raising our daughter to be able to make good decisions and be a kind person. Asking “What if?” all the time.

Yet we’re sticking around. Why, if there’s so much grief, so much struggle between the spirit and mind? Part of me needs to wait it out. Something’s going to change, and it possibly could be me, and it could be another bunch of things. Part of me needs to have faith for my loved ones.

I’ll push myself. But when it gets hard and I don’t feel like pushing anymore, I might pause until I feel like pushing again. Maybe one of these days the church I thought I believed in so much as a youth can be a church I can fully commit myself to again.

Aron Ralston Was Here

I never have my camera with me for these opportunities. My little flip phone does okay. The lower end of okay, but still okay.

Aron Ralston’s talk was part of the Nuskin convention at UVU this weekend. A friend of mine who works with that company had some extra tickets, so Reilly and I jumped at the chance to hear him speak last night.

Company formalities took up the first hour of the evening: votes for Nuskin’s Got Talent, a Lifetime Achievement Award, recognition of the Gold and Lapis executives. Those familiar with the company know how this business works, their whole culture. Easily, at least 2,000 people filled the seats of the UCCU Center, and one could conclude that nearly all these people matched the network marketing archetype. A giant family all with this personality came to this reunion with loud music and a bright stage almost as bright as the smiles of the crowd, almost as clear as their product-enhanced skin. I felt out of place. I didn’t get the jokes. The whole setting was surreal.

It was worth the wait, though, because Aron Ralston told an incredible story. He cut his hair and wore a suit and tie. We watched the trailer to 127 Hours, we watched a few scenes from the movie during his talk. He shouted and whispered and reenacted scenes of videotaping himself and fidgeted with his prosthetic arm that he helped design. Effective pauses and homage to his mom. Out of body experience where he met his future son. Picture of the 4-year-old son nearly 10 years later. Pictures of him with his friends climbing various mountains around the world. Pictures of him climbing solo, appearing impudent, challenging fate, seeking the same solitude he pursued when that boulder pinned him.  Pictures of him giving back to the community, participating in search and rescue parties and other non-profit organizations.

He recounted that a truly bad day is when you’ll have to drink your own urine. He spoke of turning boulders into opportunities, being grateful to leave the arm behind that held him back. He prayed in the middle of nowhere. He thanked the boulder that he used to break his arm off and ultimately set him free. He described everything well, as if he’s had to tell this story thousands of times. He talked about what matters when death is imminent. He dismissed prestige and achievement and lauded his family.

His appearance at the Nuskin convention seemed fitting. He inspires.

I’ll never go hiking alone.

I haven’t seen the movie or read his book. But hearing him tell his own story live, in person, seems a sufficient primary source.

I Took A 5-hour Nap Yesterday

friend: how is my friend May?
me
: i’m sleeping a lot
friend
: hmmm
why is that?
me
: i guess i’d rather sleep sometimes than be awake
life is easier
friend
: ugh
I’ve been there
but I hate that that’s where you are right now
me
: i get up for work and class
just not much more than that
friend
: oh no
I really hate to hear that
anything in particular weighing on you, or is it just life in general feeling like a slog?
me
: just general
friend
: yeah, I hate to hear that
I mean, I understand
I wish I could help….but you know things will turn around and look brighter soon
me
: yeah
thanks
friend
: I know that’s not encouraging
me
: i don’t really expect it. you’re fine, really

I think I’m still okay. I can have fun chats with friends, and I can be social sometimes.

My dreams are crazy, though.  I told someone I dreamt that Prince died, and I spent much of last week consciously believing he was dead. And I have bizarre French dreams.

I wonder if this semester ending will help at all. There are still a few weeks left.

The sunshine should help. I hope it does.

But for now, it’s bedtime.

Proof I’m Learning Stuff

Well, at least about writing.

I got a paper back tonight. My first of the semester that wasn’t French. It earned an A. Nice surprise, considering I’d written it in a big hurry, pretty much until just before it was due.

A year ago, I don’t think I would have written a first paper – in that manner – that would have done as well.

I’m becoming way too comfortable with procrastination.

Also, I’ve learned just not to write about Jane Austen.

So far, I’ve gotten A’s and A-‘s on French papers.

My first French grammar midterm earned a B+ (89% – so close!), which relieved me. I remember leaving the testing center thinking I’d be perfectly content with a B. The exam ended with writing a short composition about the novel we’re reading. I remember feeling pretty good about the essay. The professor gave me a bonus point for style, with a little comment at the end: “Vous êtes poète!” Also, thank goodness for bonus points, for I  might have dipped down into B- or C range without them.

So, that balances the ridiculous crying I did today. If those good things hadn’t happened, I would have chalked today up as an epic loss. Of course there are worse things.

Thanks for the comforting texts, you. I wish I had a gold star to give.

On The Crest

Today is a big anniversary
Instead of planning a cute nursery
I look at my life
In shadowy strife

Today marks a fair number of years
Since the day I could have spared myself tears
And look what I’ve done
And not what I’ve won

Today tries to shun most fleeting pleasures
And reconsiders inherent treasures
Be gone now, regret
I have paid my debt

Today passes seasons in such bold hurry
Minutiae flecks my weary eyes blurry
The end of each June
Comes often too soon

Today I break through adversary.