Thursday, September 8, 2011

Life saving dustpan

Some years ago, while living at my parents house, our cat discovered a mouse. Archimedes, the cat, had a stakeout going outside the laundry closet. For three days he sat on alert right by the doors and would not move except for food and the litter box.

At the end of the stake out, I was watching TV—Archimedes was behind me. Suddenly I heard a quiet high pitched, “Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee—weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” I shot up from my chair to see a small grey mouse squealing his head off while running for his life from the pursuing grey cat.

By the time I caught up with them in the living room the mouse was lying dead near the fireplace—the cat staring down unsure what to do next. I got a dustpan from the kitchen and went to scoop up the dead mouse when I noticed something. The mouse had no sign of injury. Not only that, his chest was rapidly moving in and out. He was alive and was faking death in order to avoid it.

I scooped him up in the dustpan and almost immediately he sprung to life and began running around. The cat was following me anxious to know where I was taking his prize. The mouse, unaware I was trying to save his life, looked terrified of me and the fact that I had him captive. He ran to the edge of the pan and looked like he was going to jump.

“As you hope to live,” I said to the mouse, “do not jump.” What is scaring in the moment is what is keeping you from a worse fate.

He didn’t jump. I was able to take him outside fling him deep into the woods. An uncomfortable landing, no doubt, but a landing survived.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

O Prince of Peace, the world has changed.

This Christmas Eve my thoughts are simple.
I am aware that many people who I know this very night are struggling. I am aware there are many that I don’t know are also having a difficult time in life.
There are times when I wish life could be as innocent as it was when I was a kid. The saying ‘ignorance is bliss’ sometimes feels pretty accurate. And yet I believe there is joy in knowledge. While there may be added darkness sometimes I still feel there is hope.

I have been in times of great darkness in my life. I have felt alone and cut off. I have felt unwanted and unloved. None of these feelings were truly the case but it’s certainly how I felt. Even this Christmas I am struggling with many things in my life. Some are things that are here because of my own doing, some are simply parts of life.
But, for what its worth I want share with everyone who reads this and to everyone else in spirit, that I believe things will turn out okay. I really do. I believe in God’s love though there are times when I forget that belief. To all who need it please know you are not alone. God does care about you and so do I.
May God be with you tonight, if you are feeling low or not; if you struggle with feelings of confidence.
I would be happy to share more with you if need to talk. I am here.

“Oh Prince of Peace, the world has changed but still your truth and love remain.”


Monday, December 21, 2009

Shifting Gears

Not too long ago I was running some time sensitive errands for work. It was the middle of the day but things were busy. The production office I was working out of at the time was right on the periphery of a large industrial area. The extremely narrow under kept two-lane road lead to a main street and was full of cars.
I was a few vehicles from the light where a large semi truck with a full trailer was trying to turn left at a yield. The light went green, the truck didn’t move.
Over the next few minutes there were many gaps the truck could have taken to turn left but it didn’t turn. It would start to grumble forward, barely getting in gear, and then it would brake.
“Come on!” I thought and probably said out loud, “Where did this guy learn to drive!?”
But despite my frustration I sat waiting. A few horns blared and a hand full of cars were starting to pull into the other lane and go straight to find an alternate route, honking as they passed the truck.
I was about to do the same when I leaned my head back on my headrest and looked up at the big frustrating truck, really for the first time: ‘Allied Truck Driving School’
Suddenly my mind shifted gears. I pictured the new truck driver sweating bullets behind the wheel of this huge truck, under the scrutiny of his instructor, amid the horns of angry people and the insanely crowded intersection, all while trying to get this monster in gear in enough time to shoot a gap on a left hand yield.
Instantly my frustration went away and I said a small prayer for the person who just minutes before I was cursing.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


The house always seemed warmer to me on Saturday mornings as a kid. Which is perhaps why it was never a problem to get up early. Usually I would hear a slight sound that would bring me out of my deep sleep to a half awake state; aware, simply, that I was enveloped in warm blankets. As my consciousness slowly grew, I would play with the little strings that so frequently came loose on my quilt, thinking about the upcoming day. Soon I would hear the muffled sounds of the floorboards creak in the tiny 3-bedroom house that all seven members of my family lived in, and the soft, muffled voices of my parents from the room across the hall.
Then a long creak of the floor and the steady sound of heavy footsteps that only my dad made, could be heard going down the hall. It wasn’t long before sounds of the cupboards opening and pots and pans being clamored around were heard through the walls. Dad was making breakfast! I remember lying there listening to the comforting sounds of my dad in the kitchen. They seemed to tell me that I didn’t have to worry, that everything was alright.
Soon came the most welcome sound of sizzling bacon. It wouldn’t be long before the smells of all these foods would fill the entire house, telling me it was time to get up.
After a brief visit to the bathroom, I would wander down the hall and through the saloon-style doors of our kitchen. The plastic feet bottoms of my uni-pajamas scraping across the linoleum floor as I walked. My dad hearing the sound of me walking would turn around, “Hey there Natty-bumpo!” he would say. “Hey,” I would say still partially asleep.
Exiting the kitchen to the living room, I would catch my mom walking down the hall. “Good morning!” she would say, almost surprised to see me up that early. I was the first up, which also meant the first crack at the TV for Saturday morning cartoons!
With a brief, low “Thum” followed by a short and almost inaudible high squeak, the TV would come on. Slowly, the picture would fade into the weekly parade of adventures; Thundercats, He-Man, Transformers, Ghostbusters! Each one an epic journey of suspense and laughter, occasionally mixed with clever advertising that made so many toys look like playing with them was so much cooler than it probably was. There I would sit on the carpet, captivated and content, in a spot the sun had warmed just for me.
Soon my brother and sisters were up, each of us in our PJ’s wandering around the house waiting for breakfast. It wasn’t long before the deep, powerful voice of my dad would fill the house, “Alright everyone, time to eat!”
Gathered around the table, my dad would ask one of us kids to say the blessing on the food, the smells of the food during the prayer making my mouth water in anticipation. Cracking my eyes open just a touch, I would survey the food and make sure none of my brothers or sisters had their eyes open during the prayer.
Now the time to eat was at hand! Bacon came first and then a tall stack of pancakes. I would try and wait patiently as the pot of home made syrup was being passed around with a big silver ladle in it for dipping and pouring. Meanwhile, my mom was busy walking around the table filling each of our glasses with the orange juice she had just finished making after the prayer. Soon, everything on my plate would be covered in syrup and that was just the way I liked it.
The rest of the morning my parents went about the usual activities of taking care of things that we kids knew little about – house, laundry, cars, lawn – and yet felt a part of. I followed right behind, the sticky taste of syrup still around my mouth and the smell of pancakes still on my hands. The house always seemed warmer on Saturdays, and now, as I look back, I know why.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

On a random weekday.

Several months ago I was standing in line at a Taco Bell at lunchtime. It was extremely busy and for whatever reason there was only one girl at the register. She was very young and it was seemed clear that she was either in training still or just recently completed training. She was clearly nervous and the line was growing longer by the moment.
I was second to the front of the line when she completed ringing up the man in front of me without inputting into the computer the amount of money he gave her. She thought she was done when the customer asked her for his change. She quickly realized what she had done. Not a big deal in reality but what it now required was that she count out his change in her head. Simple arithmetic I know she was capable of but all of the sudden she froze. She turned bright red. She looked down into the open till and I could see that she was trying to remember exactly how much money the customer had given her. She cautiously reached for the quarters and drew a few out, the whole time I could see she was trying to do the math in her head, counting pennies up to nickels and nickels to dimes.
The line was growing longer. The man was looking over the register at what she was doing which I could tell was making her more nervous. Frustrated he commented to her that she did not have the right amount of change in her hand. I could tell he just wanted to reach over the counter and do what seemed to him an easy task. She put all the change back and was trying to count again. “No I gave you a ten!” Said the man. She became redder and was now starting to hold back tears. I am sure she just wanted to go crawl into a hole somewhere, wanted to run away but, like most circumstances in life like that, she could not. I could tell she wanted to give up, to walk away, to leave this job, which was probably her first, and be with a friend or someone who understood.
Standing there watching her, a girl who I did not know, I had a unique experience. I felt for her a deep sense of empathy and love. It caught me off guard and I almost started to cry for her. I wanted to tell her that it was going to be okay and that I had been in an almost identical situation in my very first job.
More customers were getting impatient and there didn’t seem to be a manager in sight. I said a quick prayer in my heart and asked Heavenly Father to help her to calm down and to feel His comfort. With little evidence to back my feelings I believe he did answer my, and perhaps her, prayers. The situation did not go away. The customer was there and needed his change, which he soon got. The pressures of other customers did not go away either; A long line remained. But she got through it. Soon a manager showed up and opened another till.
All in all it was a simple mistake at a Taco Bell, nothing, seemingly significant here. And yet, there was a person, a soul, who was having a rough day. And she needed comfort. It often strikes me, and I fall victim to, the school of thought that the Lord doesn’t or shouldn’t care about such small things. Why should the God of Heaven and Earth be concerned with an incident such as this? If it is important to us, no matter how trivial, I believe it is important to him. He is there for us and cares about all we go through. I believe that and I felt it unexpectedly while getting lunch on a random weekday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Through a glass, darkly.

Here are a few thoughts I feel I have obtained when I have, at times, found myself in darkness looking for what is true in life. If any of them you find valuable that is great. If none of it is, or you simply disagree with me, that is fine too. It is merely my feelings an beliefs based on the experiences that I have so far. Good luck in all you do and seek!

What we feel does not change the truth. What we believe does not change the truth. We cannot put all our trust in men because men fail. We must first put our trust in the idea that there is truth, it is constant and it is discoverable. Once we believe this we can begin to seek out this truth. Seek it honestly and most important seek it humbly.
This method does not presume deity is truth only that humility is key to our learning because we CANNOT learn if we are not humble. If someone thinks they know something they will not seek more knowledge on the subject. Regardless of what you know, what you feel, and what you have experienced you must admit to yourself that you have more to learn on all subjects including the ones you feel you know so well. (This is not to discount any truth or experiences you do have, but it allows an opens us to the reality that we don’t know all things.) THEN you can humbly seek truth with an open heart because you are admitting 1. That you do have knowledge and experience that is valuable, and 2. You have far more to learn. This is the definition of true humility.

Truth is a positive force not a destructive one. If it comes to the reality that you were wrong on a certain matter the honest humble searcher of truth will not discover they are simply wrong. No, they will discover any error by having truth replace it or build upon it. Thus, if you ever find yourself doubting a truth you feel you have obtained, seek within yourself to know if you doubt because something truer has come upon you. If this is the case, you will not usually doubt but will be enlightened by adding to your knowledge. Doubt is a negative force in that it only seeks to destroy as oppose to build ideas. Thus if you find yourself doubting you can be largely certain your feelings are based on fear as opposed to truth being added to you. Truth does not doubt information because you cannot add doubt. Doubt is subtractive.
In doing this I believe it is possible to find great things in this world! Since I believe truth is additive and I believe truth exists, then by default life is a positive force and doubt is simply a un-truth. This is not to assume that all truth is pleasant, but even unpleasantness can add to us. We must consider that people who live lives of doubt, or subtractive forces, do exist. But we need not look at them or their actions and presume that it truth. It is merely the result of an individual subjecting themselves to doubt or fear, subtractive/negative forces, and we need not take that as truth. The truth of doubt is that it is evidence of the destructive nature that can be when we choose base our lives on the absence as opposed to the presence of something.
We may see these people and their actions and judge that as how the world is. It may be real but that does not make it true. But hurting negative forces exist we can, and at some point usually do, experience darkness at the hands of evil. This is difficult and it is real. And because it is we can learn from it. Learn that doubt brings about darkness and that is more motivating to see real truth. Thus good can come from evil but only if we seek learning humbly and do not accept darkness as how life is and get enveloped in doubt. (This I have experienced.)
For me, my search for truth has allowed me to find God. I believe this is the source of ultimate truth. I believe that all who openly seek truth will find it, thus all who humbly and openly seek truth will find God. There are many steps of truth along the way that do not explicitly involve God, yet I feel they are still connected. Though I have found God I do not believe that I have all truth! I must remain humble or I will be damned, even in my belief in God.
Whether you feel you will find God or not, seek truth. Do not be closed to the idea of God because if you are you are not humble. If you already believe in God do not be closed to the idea that there is more truth to be had! Never, of course negating what you have, but being open to the idea that there is much more to be had!
The truth will find those who seek it. Be open to everything; seek positive building blocks of knowledge and accept what you find. Regardless of where you are at you can be happy. It is much easier said than done. But I also know it is possible because I have lived it and I am a witness of this as a truth I have found.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Light one candle

It is remarkable what a difference a year can make.

Normally this type of introspection might be reserved for New Years Eve instead of Christmas Eve and yet there seems to be a greater significance in Christmas Eve. A new-year, like many marking points in our lives, refers simply to time passing at regular intervals. Yet Christmas is not merely a marker of time but of a singular event, an anchor in time (Both in religious sense and in the fact that the immortalized events for this occasion only occurred once.)
Thus as time moves forward and each new year comes upon us we can use Jan 1st to measure time and December 25th to measure ourselves. Are we were we want to be?

One year ago I was in the middle of the darkest years of my life. It was my own personal hell, in every sense of the word.
People close to me knew about what was going on in my life and, while this helped immensely, I still found myself with problems and concerns that I alone had to face. It seemed daunting. And, after many attempts to overcome and failing, it seemed impossible.
I could not do it alone. I couldn't. Despite how badly I wanted light, I felt like I was drowning in darkness.

The answer came many months later. It took me facing my greatest fear. It had to! Without facing our greatest fear we cannot hope to receive our greatest joy. Fear is only fear when we are not facing it. It is so because we do not know it, or we simply are afraid that by looking at it we have to accept it as truth.
It is a profoundly difficult thing to look at what you know you must do and be willing to accept the consequences of it. To be willing to admit we are perhaps more wrong, than we previously thought, without losing sight of how amazing we truly are.
I had people helping me but I had to jump into my worst fears completely alone -

I did it. A miracle occurred. I was not alone at all! In that moment, in the very act of leaping with full intent of heart, I knew I was not alone. I was lifted. I was strengthened. I was carried to see that the darkness was not dark at all. It was not free of consequence, but it was free of fear! There was hope!

The Savior descended below all things completely alone so that when we need to face our greatest fears we will not be alone. Taking the leap is a decision we must make on our own. It is the giving up of our will. Being completely opened to whatever may come despite what we fear. Once we have done this act that no one can do for us, I promise you will feel the arm of the Lord around you instantly! This does not mean the journey is done, but it does mean you can do it without fear.

I know there are many people suffering in this world. There are many who are lost, alone, afraid, concerned, hurt; feeling cut-off, rejected, unworthy, hopeless. I do not pretend to say that I fully understand your situation, but know that I do understand, to some degree, how you feel. And I do know you are not alone in it.

I believe there is truth out there. I believe that a great deal of this truth is wonderful. I do not say that my life is perfect or without any problems. I am far from perfect. But I do know that I have found hope! I am more grateful for it than I can express.
We ourselves are a source of light, a single candle in this world. Adding that to the light of the many wonderful people in my life the total becomes amplified. Choosing to add this to the greatest light source of all it becomes everlasting! I feel this, and believe this, and much of it I know because I have experienced it! God bless you all, whether you believe in him or not.

Happy Christmas!