Wednesday, July 23, 2014

testimony + In Which I Write With Capital Letters

As a Mormon, all my life I've felt obligated to know what I believe, and to be able to spout out a complete list of sincere belief on cue. It was as if one could possibly know for sure everything about everything, and to be sure of your convictions meant you were doing something right.

But what about not knowing? What is there to be said for being honest--that plenty of people just do not know FOR SURE? What is there to be said for the vast unknown, the mystery, all that is bigger than me, what is there to be said for that?

As a Mormon, I have in the past professed to believe things that I sincerely did not know. At the time, I did not think I was lying. I thought I was being faithful and that I had a "believing heart". As my faith first began to grow heterodox, I would frequently attempt to make lists of Things That I Knew For Sure. And every time I got frustrated and gave up because I could not create The Right List and The Complete List. My Mormon obligation to Always Know what I believed was still driving me but I simply stopped believing many things I was supposed to believe. I began making lists of questions and doubts and soon those lists grew longer and longer until they were far longer than any list of beliefs I could be honest about.

My daily prayer became, "Lord, I believe. Help Thou mine unbelief." By the minute, that was my prayer. That Mormon obligation to Always Know what I believed was still driving me and I could not stand the thought of being called upon to share my beliefs and responding that I just did not know what I believed. The funny thing is that only in the Mormon church would you ever be called upon to share your beliefs, and on top of that, only in the Mormon church would you ever be ashamed to admit that you just did not know.

Eventually I made peace with my incomplete lists of belief, and very long lists of questions and doubts. And that peace grew into respect. I began recognizing the characteristic of "simply not knowing" in other people, and surprised myself by admiring it. Because it was honest.

And I began to respect that part of me, too. Because I was telling the truth. I did not know.

Today, I don't have a list of Things That I Know For Sure. Today, I can tell you what I'm sure I believe, but it's not much, and too ethereal to even be able to compile into a list. Today, there is no list. Today, I respect myself for not knowing everything for sure.

Today, I believe in God. A God who expects me to be honest, to love, and to do my best.

To be honest about what I believe, and what I don't.
To love broken people and creatures that have no voice.
To love not just my brothers, but my enemies.
To do my best with what I have and be okay with that.

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PS- I wrote an Open Letter To My Orthodox Mormon Friends, Family, and Loved Ones as a guest post on my friend, Stephanie's blog. You should read it here, if you're interested.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

posting for posterity--

let it be known that life is best when simple.

but when it's not, messes have a unique beauty all their own.

wild geese

you do not have to be good.
you do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
you only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
meanwhile the world goes on.
meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

-mary oliver

Friday, July 11, 2014

just one of those dslr selfie attempts that's accidentally zoomed in waaay too close to your face.

oh hello. my lovely little late night outlet.

my heart is hungry for too many things and people and lifestyles and adventures. my heart wants more than twenty four hours in a day can afford.

my heart wants fall, but it is so, so, so in love with summer.
my heart wants to wake up early, start my day with yoga, to get a bunch done, but is too busy each night doing backflips that early mornings do not happen.
my heart wants to live in the big city where it's always sunny, but is too enchanted by cloudy overcast days by the beach.
my heart wants a beautiful home but is so in love with the idea of vanlife.
my heart wants a career with goals and achievements but is too taken by the lifestyle of dreaming my days away relaxing and enjoying the moment....

i haven't wanted or looked forward to fall the last few years and even into november i have found myself lusting for summer and pleading with the inevitable for summer to stay forever. but in recent days i have found my heart wishing for cooler weather and all the magic that comes with it. really, really wishing for it. new television seasons, new school year, coziness, crunchy leaves, no need for air conditioning, no need for heaters, pumpkin everything, leather gloves for early mornings, fresh air, mountain strolls, basically perfection.....

but then tonight, after work, sitting on the balcony with my husband, feet kicked up, silently basking in a perfect--and i mean perfect--breeze, the sound of the leaves rustling in the wind on the trees surrounding the mansion across the street released a tingle of euphoria that rushed through my inner organs and out to my skin and up and down my body from head to toe until it centered in my heart where i tried to contain it, buzzing there, rattling my entire body into a vibration of energy so powerful it felt as though it would turn my total being into a pile of dust on the ground, ready to become one with the earth and wind.

i looked at my sandals, the ones i could never wear in winter, and realized that i loved them. and my breezy sundress. and i loved the warm weather. and outdoors. and god's green earth. and 74 degrees will always and forever have my heart. and does that make me shallow? or weak? that i love easy things? or obvious things? do i get extra points for loving them with my whole soul?

my, the very real relationship we maintain with the weather.

i found myself lying awake in bed last night, in the perfect darkness, staring around the room, wondering about my life. how do late hours bring such clarity?

people move about their lives and get into habits and rhythms that satisfy something, some part of them that needs stability or security, but never really do the internal work necessary to truly know what they want. who decided to live this way? why do we let security trump fulfillment?

i absolutely know what i do and do not want from my life. the trouble is, i'm still figuring out how to achieve it all. sometimes i think my heart is too sizes too big. i lust after too much.

there is much hunger in my life, but all the more opportunity for satisfaction, i suppose.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

we had eric over for sunday brunch a few weeks ago. complete with chocolate sauce and fresh sliced strawberries, french toast and fried eggs, and the most delicious bacon cooked to perfection. i love brunch.

stuff i've realized i've learned at age 26 and something days, at two am a few nights ago

the grass is always and will always continue to be greener until you learn to enjoy your own life, a day at a time, exactly as it is, and know that you are lucky to have what you have.

you will never, ever, ever, ever fully know what you have until it's gone. just live every day of your life knowing that.

if you are putting yourself out there and doing scary shit, chances are you're on the right track.

however, life is all about balance. it's just as important to not overdo it. knowing your limits and abiding them is wise.

relationships are more important than dogma or money or any other thing we think matters. people are more important than anything else in this damn life you live. treasure each person that you've been graced with knowing. divinity can be found no where, if not within the people in your life.

hard work is always worth it. work hard.

life passes before your eyes. value each day.

under promise and over deliver in all your endeavors, especially the promises you make to yourself.

you are just as important as everyone else in your life. treat yourself with as much love and respect and dignity and regard as you would your most highly cherished friend.

in that same breath, trust yourself.

"i never trusted my own eyes"

it's because you were taught not to. that was wrong. you should always trust your own heart and your own eyes.

"i don't read those things anymore"