Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Content with discontentment, life's fun balance...

I am writing this following a most amazing road trip to Salt Lake City via Las Vegas. It was as if the Lord scheduled this trip for me to become reaquainted with family and friends. I was able to have such amazing conversations and experiences as each step of the trip unfolded and my faith and determination to follow the will of the Lord was strengthened.

(My uncle Bruce, his son Sam, and Sam's foster baby)

Throughout my journey I was reminded of a talk I gave in a sacrament meeting a few months ago which I entitled "content with a discontent life." It seems that life is not always exactly what we want it to be, there are disappoints, setbacks, discouragements, heartaches and heartbreaks, yet through all of this if we can learn to be content with whatever the Lord has in store for us, and learn to focus on the blessings we have, instead of the hardships, we can be at complete peace and have a fulness of joy no matter what our circumstance, or no matter what is troubling us.

(President and Sister Cutler, my loving mission president and his wife. No two people have more love and compassion than these two. They have been a tremendous blessing in my life, not only during the mission, but in the loving years since as we have stayed in communication)

I felt I needed to take this trip to clear my mind of certain hardships and difficulties that have been on my heart and soul for several months now, and with each family member and friend that I became reaquainted with I was able to share my experiences to them, and they in turn were able to share experiences with me that helped strengthened my faith, as well as theirs.

Through this trip I was able to have heart felt discussions with my uncle Bruce and my Aunt LIz, and their children, my mission president and his wife, my old mission companion Paul Jones and his wife Laura, my dear mission friend David Stott, as well as another missionary friend of mine James Lawyer and his wife Katie, my good friends Lauren and Rinda Romney who I knew from the San Marcos ward before they went to BYU. I was also able to attend the Saturday morning session of conference and the trip was topped off as I was able to drive back through Las Vegas on the way home and see my uncle
(My dear friend Lauren Romney, we went to conference together Saturday morning and then lunch afterwards, and had a most wonderful time becoming reaquainted with each other)
Bruce once more, who then gave me a most powerful and profound blessing.
Through this experience I became far more contenet and grateful for the life I have been given by the Lord, despite my current discontentments. I have a renewed faith and determination to serve Him and to not fear the future, but to trust that the Lord will supply my need and my want, as long as I am obedient to his commandments. I am so very grateful for loving and supporting friends and family, who on such short notice took me into their homes and into their hearts as I journeyed alone seeking a greater understanding of the Lord and His will for me. It was as if the Lord hand-picked for me the friends to visit, and the experiences I would have.
(James and Katie Lawyer, we were all on the mission at the same time, and began our friendship there. They got married afterwards, and we enjoy a warm friendship)
Although my life is not at all that I want it to be right now, and there is much I strive for and much I pray for and desire, I can say in all truthfulness that I am completely content with what the Lord has given me, and for the wonderful and marvelous life I have to live each day in which I am so blessed to do so. And although it is clear that there is much trial ahead, more blessings to be bestowed, more challenges to over come, more disappoints to experience, and much more joy to be felt, I am perfectly content with my wonderfully and amazingly discontent life! Come what may, come what may not,
I know in whom I have trusted, and I will never know true want, unless the Lord wills it to be so, in which case I will be perfectly content with that as well...As for now my mind is clear of doubt, my heart full of love and charity, and my soul full of faith and hope for the future, and I thank my loving Heavenly Father for making it so.
(Paul and Laura Jones. Paul and I were zone leaders together back in Perrysburg. Laura was also a missionary in our mission and Paul and Laura met there, and then hooked it up at BYU. We had some fun times catching up over the weekend!)

Monday, February 23, 2009

It is time...

For years I have been familiar with this vast spread medium of internet journaling, but have avoided subscribing. I tend to be behind the "times" when it comes to such things. I still have not read a Harry Potter book, if that's any indication as to what I'm saying!

However, I absolutely love expressing ideas and opinions as they relate to experiences in my life, and I have considered starting a blog for quite sometime. Now the consideration has turned to action!

First, by way of an introduction, not of myself so much, because I assume anyone who will actually read this knows who I am more or less. But this is rather an introduction to where I am in life, and some ideas that have been on my mind in the recent months.

The first thought has to do a little bit about something I mentioned in the previous paragraph "...knows who I am..." I have thought a lot about what it means to "know someone..." I'm reminded of someone acting 'ghetto' and snapping their fingers and saying, " you don't know me!" But enough slang, what does it really mean to know someone? John 17:3 reads "And this is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Using that scripture as a springboard, it has occured to me that knowing someone is not so simple as knowing facts or details about them. Such as, where they went to school, how many kids are in their family, what their favorite food, music, clothes, books, movies are etc. Certainly such facts are involved in knowing someone, but at least in relation to this scripture, I think the pathway to "life eternal" at least in regards to the scripture in John 17:3 involves a different kind of "knowledge" or at least a deeper meaning of "knowing." And in my not so humble opinion, I think that someone can "know God," with knowing very little of the "facts and details" that I listed as an example before. To me one who know's God has a desire to be like Him, to serve Him, to love Him and to emulate Him. I think of a brand new convert to the church who in actuality "knows" very little about the church. They probably couldn't tell you any of the historic church dates, or who the 12 apostles are, who the 16 prophets of the church have been etc, yet they are able to bear testimony that they "know the church is true, and that Joseph Smith is a prophet." The truth of the matter is they "know" very little about Joseph Smith. They probably don't know what his favorite food was, what kind of music he liked, when his birthday was, or anything like that. Yet they know they how they feel about him, and they are willing to trust what little facts they have, because of that feeling they have about him. And that feeling is true knowledge, and a knowledge sufficient for converts to change their entire lives to follow that prompting. Ironically enough there are "anti-Mormons" who know plenty of facts about Joseph Smith, and all of the things he has done, yet they have no idea who he really was, because those facts have no lead them to a true knowledge of his character.

I have learned that there are people that we meet in this life that for some reason we know them so much better than our factual knowledge of the details of their lives would warrant. But because of how we feel, we know that they are good, and that they are right. I don't know why this happens with some, and not with others. But I feel I "knew" Jesus Christ long before I knew much about Him, and I knew Joseph Smith was a prophet long before I knew all the details of his life. I knew President Monson was a true prophet the moment President Hinkcley passed, and I knew VERY LITTLE about him when that occured. But that "knowledge" has given me a desire to learn more and more about him, about Christ, about Joseph Smith, all of the friends and family who I meet from day to day. Because there are those who I feel I know SO well even when I just meet them, and that knowledge gives me a desire to do good, to be better, and to progress.

So, that's something I've been thinking a lot about lately, and if you don't agree with me, well then, "you don't know me!!" ;)