Friday, January 04, 2008

The Law of Opposition

I have no idea where this post is going to go. No idea.

That being said, I think I'll start here. Are you ever like me and have really hard days or weeks or months, but don't really talk about it to other people? Even when it might help if you did? Most of the time, you might feel like you look like you have it "all together" to other folks, but really, you don't? Does it ever seem like everyone else's life is more sunny, or easier, or happier?
And then, in the throes of feeling like that, do you have those moments where you feel like life can't get any better?

Confusing, I know.

Sometimes I am so struck by the beauty all around me. By the insignificance of my small life, and yet the glorious gifts I am afforded by a loving God. The magnificence of mountains and canyons, open to my view, open for my feet to climb, open for my fingers to let the dust run through, slipping, back to the earth. A beautiful, star strewn sky, open for my mind to wander. An open invitation to think about my life and where I'm going, to question what is really significant, for me. To think about my interactions with others. The beauty and wonder of being a mother, of loving two people (for now) more than I could ever have imagined, more than I can ever hope to describe to anyone else. The loveliness of a good book, or reading something thought provoking, witnessing someone's profound gift of words and language. Feeling free to be really dramatic and funny while playing a game with my 10 year old niece. Beautiful and lovely people who love me. Can I really believe that? Having people love you is perhaps one of the greatest gifts. But then I always wonder what they really know of me, if they could possibly love me in spite of my shortcomings. I am grateful for them just the same. For beautiful music, and especially for the chance to sing it. For running. There is something so wonderful about pushing yourself, hard. Working out and pushing, pushing, pushing. It is lovely. Makes you feel like you can do anything.

Sometimes I want to be more, to do more, to have everything right now. And I am not referring to the materialistic having everything right now, but the wisdom of years, the maturity and beauty of a time-tested marriage instead of growing pains, just want to see where we'll be. Sometimes I feel like I'll never be enough, never make it to where I want to be, never be the kind of person I want to become.

That is a disheartening thought.

I guess this is where I get to experience the opposition in all things -- good and bad -- in my own life. It's nice to read about, to understand a concept that we learn and grow through good and bad. But this is how it gets to apply in my life. Right now. Here.

I found out yesterday that one of my girlfriends is contemplating divorce, after a very long and difficult relationship of 13 years, and after finding out, just a short time ago, that her husband has been having an affair for over a year now. She said something inspiring to me when she said, "I'm glad I go through these things. It will only make me wiser and stronger in the end. God is with me through all of this." Wow. She was an inspiration to me from the time I met her. I knew she wasn't happy in her personal life, but she put so much energy into making others happy around her. I don't know how she did it. Her desire to befriend and be loving to those around her often left me feeling amazed and undeserving. But reading that comment last night made me think, "This is the opposition in all things. Being glad and being in so much pain." I think she is a remarkable person.

Just the other night, as Scott and I were singing a closing hymn after some gospel conversation, I was looking at the photograph on the wall of my sisters and I with our spouses and children, taken this past March for my Dad's 60th birthday present. I don't know if it was the black and white photo, or just the whole bit about a moment frozen in time, but suddenly I found myself wondering if someone was going to look at that photo someday, down the line, when we are the ancestors. Will someone wonder about us? The crazy part is that I will probably seem a far-off, disconnected person, someone who lived and has gone on. But this little speck of time, my life, is important to me. It has breath and color, sights, places, people, conversations, burning, bright and beautiful relationships, feeling.

It made me think about what I'm passing on.

I have been thinking a lot, off and on, about history lately. I'm fascinated with the concept of what has gone before, the story of humanity. So many, many people have lived, have had their own experiences and emotion, can maybe relate to something that I know -- even if that is just in loving someone or loving a place or bearing a child. It is thrilling to think about.

I want to know their stories. I want to hear about their lives. I am sure we can find mutual resonance. It is wonderful to think about what a tiny and insignificant person I am amidst billions, and the billions that have already gone on, and yet feel blessed to know so much, so personally.

By comparison, my circle is very small and I wonder a lot about self-change, self improvement, if that circle needs to be wider (it does), how I can be a "wider" person, allowing more in and letting myself give and love more fully to more people. I really liked this talk by Elder Wirthlin from the last conference where he said, "The greater the measure of our love, the greater is our joy. In the end, the development of such love is the true measure of success in life." I often feel like I am living beneath a pocket of pure joy that I could be enjoying fully if I chose to live with more love and less pettiness.

I need to let go of the little things, stop criticizing and celebrate what I love.

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