Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"I walk the streets of Japan til I get lost cause it doesn't remind me of anything"

Ah, I woke up this morning, walked outside and it felt slightly like I was back in Japan with the misty mountains and everything looking all green (or at least as green as Utah can get) and it was wet and overcast. It made me happy. It gave me an itch for adventure. I want to be climbing mountains and riding the dirty Metro to random places and getting lost in back alleys. I have this crazy urge to just pack up and go somewhere. Even somewhere relatively close would do--San Francisco, Seattle, Mexico...wherever. This urge happens to me every so often, but right now I can't do that. I think it's slightly absurd considering I'm 21 and what better time to be reckless and carefree than right now before things really start getting crazy, right? But for once in my life I'm actually trying to be responsible by staying at a job for more than two weeks and by helping my poor Pops out after 20 years of supporting me. Growing up stinks, but I guess we have to do it sometime.

In my preoccupation for adventure I think a lot about what makes a life truly exciting and fulfilling. What's going to make it worth remembering? What will make it abundant? In searching out answers to these questions I came across a gem of a talk by President Monson called "In Quest of the Abundant Life." In it he lays out the four things that he says is what makes life truly worth living: Obedience to law, respect for others, mastery of self and joy in service. Not quite as glamorous as one would hope? Maybe not, but I'm almost certain that they're more enduring and sure to get results than just thrill-seeking. I'm not saying skydiving or some other form of entertainment shouldn't be done, because I plan on doing it at least once before I die, but it's all about balance I think. An abundant life takes balance between what we want and what others need. There's only so much satisfying of self we can do before life becomes pretty meaningless. From this talk has come one of my favorite quotes of all time. It says:

"None of us lives alone-in our city, our nation, or our world. There is no dividing line between our prosperity and our neighbor's poverty...You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give."

How profound is that!

Cole and I go visit an elderly lady every week named Fran. She has Alzheimer's and so she never remembers us. She asks us the same questions over and over again, and I'm almost positive that Cole and I get more out of those visits than she does. But she's taught me some of the things that are most important in life. She can't remember most things, even the things that we would think are the most fundamental memories in the world. But she remembers one time when she rode the waves in the ocean with her sisters, and she remembers the names of her husband, her children and her sisters. I think those things are very telling of what's truly important. It's such a simple instance of joy and such a small thing to remember, but they're lasting even in her mind. I think that's kind of powerful.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

So it's pretty late and I have work in the morning, but I can't help but write this now. It' s been a long time since I've written in this and I'll make it quick because of the time, but recently Cole's cousin, Cory, passed away from cancer, and although he wasn't really close to Cole, and I had never met him, it really touched me. I think a lot of it had to do with Cory's wife, who has her own blog and who told their story and how he was fighting it for the second time. They're really young, late 20s/ early 30s and they have a 3-year-old son. It breaks my heart to think about. I was thinking about all that he must have gone through, the pain and the complete control this disease had gained over him, the grief his wife must feel, and the irreplaceable loss that his son will someday understand. It is incomprehensible to me. The only thing that brought me comfort were these words:

"The tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Rev. 21:3-4)

I find it comforting to know that a loving Father in heaven will be their comforter at this time and in the times to come. He has sent a Savior with a mercy that is even more incomprehensible than the sorrow and tragedy that may come. Because of his atonement and resurrection there is no true death, and our bodies do not remain in the state we leave them here. Because of him, we are able to be with the ones we love in a state of joy forever. I know the Savior has great power to perform miracles, command nature and to do all things, but he is also the very same man who will so tenderly reach to wipe away our tears. I know he can and will do that for them and for us.