Sunday, June 15, 2014

Falling Into Place

"Please I pray you, hear it now, for I would lay rest the grace in my tongue and speak plainly. Days like these are far too rare to cheapen with heavy handed words." - Geoffrey Chaucer from A Knight's Tale

I live at the base of a really huge mountain on the east side of Salt Lake City. The foothills are a beautiful place to live - even in the wintertime when a bobsled is a more useful mode of transportation than a rickety four-door sedan. And when I take the time to get outside and really look at my surroundings, I find that nature and nature's God have a lot to teach me.

For reasons to complex and harrowing to go into now, 2014 has been full of a lot of anxiety and anger for me. Frustrations with my career and family things and bad memories that I thought I'd gotten over a long time ago have blended together to create a volatile reaction of guilt and a sense of failure in my mind. But I have been blessed with tender mercies and wonderful experiences - things that nobody else would look twice at - things that had to have been meant specifically for me and my situation. It further proves to me that God knows my mind better than I know it myself and that He is indeed looking out for me.

Oh my giddy aunt - did I just start talking about God? Well... yeah. I did. I know that my beliefs are unique in the world and not everybody understands them (hell, there are times I don't understand some of my beliefs, even though I could never imagine going against them - so don't even try). But these sacred things have pulled me through so many awful moments and I would be an ungrateful liar if I pretended it was anybody else doing this. I don't expect my experiences to mean squat to other people - you have to have your own experiences with the Divine for it to make sense to you (yeah, I hear the scoffers laughing at me right now. Go ahead and yuk it up. I'm used to it). But I felt the need to share some things here.

Tonight was particularly bad for me. But this time, I just said "Screw it, I'm going for a walk." And I did. I threw my iPod in my ears and started hiking up the hill. And when I say "up," I mean I went entirely uphill. On purpose. I was going as far uphill as I could stand because I was tired of hurting emotionally and mentally - I might as well hurt physically too. And, damn, did that walk hurt (I'm woefully out of shape and my body is going to hate me in the morning). Funny thing is - I got as far as the front doors of the church building in my neighborhood before I finally called it quits. I sat on the steps outside the building for a while and looked out over the valley. The sunset over the Great Salt Lake was amazing - the lights in the cities below looked so calm and peaceful - the woods around me felt like another world entirely (I swear, I could have fallen sideways into Narnia if I wanted to). I finally just broke down and cried right there in front of the doors (nobody was around, thank goodness) - I cried about everything I felt like I was missing, I cried about feeling alone and abandoned, I cried about how I didn't know how to fix any of it. After some time of this, I started to remember all the lines and quotes from the stories that I love - too many to list specifically, but everything about how hope is the most important thing, that bad things don't spoil the good things that have happened to us, that great adventures being with small moments, trusting in things not seen which are true, remembering people who've left and the impact they made whether for good or ill, and a whole slew of things I've been learning since I was a little girl - both in religious texts and in my favorite fictional novels. All of it combined to serve as an answer to prayer.

Maybe I'm over-stepping my bounds in sharing something like this - but there are so many sides of me that seem to contradict each other. Things I believe that, on the surface, shouldn't make sense that one person believes all those same things (at least, that's what all the pundits in the news, on Twitter, and Tumblr tell me when they're trying to choke the life out of each other). But those things are vital parts of me and someday I'll understand why these things are the way they are. I know there's a huge debate going on surrounding my faith about why God sees fit to do things the way He does. I don't have an answer to satisfy the mainstream low-information social justice mobs. I wish I did, so then people would stop saying horrible things about each other and stop fighting about it. I wish I knew for certain why bad things happen. I wish I knew how to stop bad people from doing bad things. But I don't. And if I let myself get swallowed up in wondering how to fix it, I will go crazy. It's going to get so much worse before it starts getting better. All I can hold onto is the knowledge that God does love His children - that I have felt that love personally - that there is a plan and all things are in His hands. Someday, we will know the truth of all things, but it is not this day. And for now... that's enough for me. My job is to follow what God asks of me the very best that I can. I know I'm going to mess it up again and again. But that's how I'm going to learn. That's what I'm here to do. That's how I'm going to get stronger and more resilient. Just like if I kept hiking up the mountain every day, I would be able to run all the way to the top eventually (purely metaphorical - let's not get hasty here).

I'm not here to change or fix anybody else. I'm here to change myself.

"We’re getting stronger now
Find things they never found
They might be bigger
But we’re faster and never scared
You can walk away, say we don’t need this
But there’s something in your eyes
Says we can beat this."
- "Change" by Taylor Swift

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