Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Book Thief...and other endings

It has been an emotional week for me. As I've pondered the passing of a friend and as I've finished reading a book written with such weighty brilliance that it's been credited by many as "changing their lives", I find myself quick to cry and slow to...well, anything else. In other words, everything else has slowed down to a speed more prone to contemplation and appreciation.

That, by the way, is not the speed that our world is spinning at right now. Our RPM is currently set at FRANTIC. Cunningly so by the author of all unhappiness, Mr. Devil. Our sobriety is dependant on being 'present in the moment', so in order for him to maintain our dis-ease, we must not be allowed enough time to even know the moment existed in the first place, until that is, the consequences of the moment are seated insistantly at our feet.

Breathe in. Wait. Breathe out. Listen for the lilt in someone's laugh, look for the playful in someone's eye.
Take the time to say no. Take the time to let someone else adjust..learn..merge.

When I speak of sobriety, it's almost impossible to do so without thinking strong drink as well. But in The Book of Mormon, sobriety is admonished with no referral at all to wine. According to Elder James J. Hamula "Being sober means being earnest and serious in assessing your circumstances, and careful and circumspect in weighing the consequences of your actions. Soberness therefore yields good judgment, as well as measured conduct."

But enough about that.

So, as I put down the 560 pages of Markus Zusak's "The Book Thief" I have to ask myself; how can Mr. Zusak live with himself? Knowing a creation of such magnitude came out of himself? Wow. Good job Markus. Stay with us.

Other endings in my life have happened or are about to happen in the form of serving in God's kingdom. Church callings are changing hands. This happens almost every week so why do the most recent ones seem to have affected my heart strings this week in particular? Probably because I have witnessed Andy and Jim and Randy all give their hearts in their service. Their families as well have sacrificed. How do you put it down then, and move on? How do you redirect dedication? By definition you shouldn't be able to. By experience, it's known to be hard, as Christopher and Evan will discover in two years when they return home from their missions abroad.

I know that I too, will soon be released. Dismissed. I'm lost trying to figure out how that's going to work. They (the sisters) are in my heart, so it can't, can it? But somehow it will have to and it will be, in it's own way, glorious. Because for me, I can't help thinking that I have let the cancer and the calling become entangled in one. I hope to find out that upon my release, I can finally let go and put the disease behind me and be done with it. (well...the moving plan didn't work...I've got to try something!)

Now on to Howard and death. Same problem but bigger question mark. How is that going to work? He's in our hearts, but our opportunity to serve him and learn from him, at least here on earth, have now passed.

We may be uncertain as we wonder in callings as in relationships "could I have done more?" but today in church, I was overcome with such an overwhelming feeling of "well done, though good and faithful servant" that I think it's safe to just smile and let that one go. I know that I loved all the sisters in my ward and that I loved Howard as well, so what more could I have done?

Friday, May 20, 2011

From My Journal - 1988

"I feel so alone for the first time in my life; like a has-been Nike swoosh, like a new kid at school, like a cream soda in the fridge, like a word stuck in a pen."

That was from my journal in 1988. If you're from the 80's, you will remember that for a while, Nike was huge and you had to have that swoosh on your shoes. But by '88, the craze was pretty well over, no one had thought of "just do it" yet and other tennies like Adidas and K Swiss had stolen the market, at least as far as a journal writer in St. Louis at the time was concerned. And I apparently wasn't too fond of cream soda.

I guess I was feeling alone at the time. I wrote my best poetry as a lonely teenager and as an in love teenager and as a hyper teenager and as a trying to win free stuff teenager and as a contemplative get the point. My career as a poet hit it's peak right about the same time as my hormones did. Juvenescence makes a riotous muse if captured properly.

One of my favorites is called "Why Do Lovers Walk So Slow?"

Why do lovers walk so slow
Don't they know I've got to go
They walk so slow that I can't stand
To be behind those hand in hand.
The bells gonna ring
And I'll be late
Just because two people date.
I try not to be tardy to class,
But lovers walk slow...
And are hard to pass.

Technically, that is a sonnet, but not intentionally. It just sort of happened that way.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

So this is it. Mothers Day 2011 starts at 4 am. I don't know why, but apparently I'm supposed to be up right now. Breakfast in bed? Nope. Try breakfast in a dark kitchen when the house is so quiet, you think that cracking an egg is going to break the sound barrier and when did the keyboard get so dang loud!?

A bowl of cereal would have been easier, and possibly quieter, but some lousy idiot discovered that carbs aren't as good for you as we once supposed (how could something that makes you so happy be good for you!?) and that eating them will give your body a reaction opposite to what you're going for at 4 am...namely more awake, less asleep. Ignorance really is bliss ya' know. Get your stinkin' lab coat away from my bliss!

And when did my job, which was supposed to be a source of mad money, or fun money, become so darn essential? How come now I cannot imagine how we'd get through the next month without it and how "fun" has nothing to do with it? Did God know that our entire sprinkler system would blow up today and seem so hopelessly expensive to fix? Did he trick-bless me into getting a job so I'd be ready for this, quite possible $1,000 repair. Which came first...the chicken or the egg?

It happened. Sometime within the last 24 hrs, our MLS listing slipped quietly and peacefully away. After a year of "house on the market" angst, it just ended. Almost without our knowledge. If it wouldn't have been for the first, of I'm sure many, phone call from a realtor/vulture, ready to jump in and be the answer to all my real estate problems, I probably wouldn't have even known.

I love my house. I love my neighbors. I just don't love where they all come together.
Goodbye dream of moving. Please go away.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Still with the Yay! Thing

Yay! Yay! Yay! is still on my mind. This may have something to do with the fact that yesterday I forgot to come to ward council with a spiritual thought prepared and had to wing it by trying to use my most recent blog piece. Hm mm. Questionable move on my part. I vaguely recall getting lots of blank stares.

I'd like to think that behind those stares were thoughts of: "Wow... I am moved so much by the deep insights of Sister Jarman that I find myself rendered speechless. If only Heaven would open up right now and take us all home so we could praise the good Lord in person for this bestowal of wisdom and light."

But what they were probably thinking was: "Dude...she totally forgot to bring the spiritual thought."

Nevertheless...I am still led to believe that there is some deeper reason why this little boy's reaction made such an impact on me. Which has led me to reflect on the scripture; "Men are that they might have joy". Ever notice how it comes right after the verse "Adam fell that men might be"? The single most enfeebling, disruptive and bruising event in the history of the world, yes the very Fall of Adam itself, is followed by the declaration's all about our happiness?

Men are that they might have joy. Go figure.

So if all this learning and hurting and growing and nitty-gritty life stuff is really so good for us, and I think that it is, and having these adversity laden days are really what it's all about...then those Mormons really do know what they're talking about. I think members of the LDS church may be getting a bad rap for the whole "Gods and Godesses' in embryo thing" because when you think about's quite spot on. But do we ever think about it? Eternity that is?

Has it ever occured to anyone that sitting around eating grapes or plucking harps for eternity would quite literally be it's own kind of HELL? So why would we get on someones case when they talk about progressing eternally? To dam something is to stop it, correct? Do you want to be who you are right now...forever? Would you be happy if you were still the same person today that you were 10 years ago? I know I wouldn't. Ever heard someone be grateful for a past trial? "If I could do it over again, I wouldn't change a thing."

So, yah. Maybe if you progress and learn and change FOR might just eventually pick up a few attributes here and there that are...dare I say it....Godlike. He is our Father you know, and a perfect one at that. Matthew 7: 9-11

"Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"

Don't worry. The Mormons don't believe they have the potential of being your God. That job is already taken. But do know, that Yay! Yay! Yay! happiness is the object and design of our existence (Who designed our existence and Who is perfectly happy?) and will be the end thereof.

So, you're gonna have to find something else to get upset over the Mormons about...because being upset because they understand that God is their Father and wants them to have everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, that He has is a little on the naive and short sighted side. It would be more appropriate to be upset at them because they actually have that knowledge and so much more, yet they so often do not live up to their potential, or as Brigham Young said it "far beneath our privileges."