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Monday, September 24, 2007

I know I'm a cry baby. I accept that. But why is it that every year when I walk into the stadium to watch the marching band and hear their initial yell and see them looking so sharp in their formed lines and their uniforms do I start to sob? It is so embarrassing. I hope I can control it somewhat this year though because I will be helping take the percussion equipment in before the show. Maybe that distraction will help...
Is there any hope for me?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In perusing the newspaper today I found two items that may interest readers. The first was the running back stats for the high school teams in the state. There in the Deseret News
sports section/running backs was Spencer from Riverton. He has the highest yards per carry at 11. He doesn't have the highest yardage but when you look at the stats he is probably the most efficient runner. He is fun to watch.
The other item was a great obituary about a man who was the ultimate in law enforcement I knew as a child. Check out the link if you want a chuckle and an idea of what the Cedar City good ol' boys are/were like. Thespectrum.com
Look at the obituary for Kent Hoyt.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

This has been an eventful week. I was asked to work three consecutive mornings drawing blood for the BYU faculty/staff wellness center. They draw blood every 6 months to check cholesterol and other things. While it isn't rocket science I found a tremendous anxiety in many people relative to needles. This in turn creates a moderate amount of anxiety in me as the blood drawer. If I miss the vein I feel terrible, probably worse than they do. The second day, first victim comes in and announces that he always faints when he has his blood drawn. He wants to start out lying down. So he lies down on the floor and I kneel down to draw his blood. Everything goes just fine. He lives through it and is able to get up and drink his orange juice. He seemed amazed that he was OK. How much does it really hurt to get your blood drawn? Not that much. But the anxiety level of most people is very high. I did miss a few. But then I had a few that said it was the best blood draw they had ever experienced. You never know. I was able to meet lots of nice people and many that I knew which was fun. I even met some "famous" people which was a bonus.
The other part of the week that was fun was that Em was taken off her work schedule. This couldn't have happened at a better time. She was able to sleep in and clean her room on Thursday. Friday she went to class but Friday evening we went up to our Indian Canyon pleasure palace and camped out. When you first get out of the car up there you notice the piney sweetness of the place. It was very dark when we arrived at 9 p.m. There were millions of stars and some distant lightning. We quickly put out our sleeping bags in the trailer, Matt in his tent, and settled in for a long night. The next day was delightful. We ate a hearty breakfast then started a fire. Not that it was cold, it was very comfortable. We just wanted a place to gather and talk. After a while we commenced gathering firewood, Bus ran the chain saw, Matt on the ax. After 15 minutes we had more than we could carry in the truck. There are so many dead logs up there. If any readers want some free fire wood give us a call. We like excuses to go up there.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I know this is a weak way to blog but I appreciate this message so much that I wanted to share it. Plus I don't have anything earthshaking to say otherwise.
Getting From Childishness to Godliness
By H. Wallace Goddard

It is an unusual baby who arrives on the mortal scene concerned foremost about the well-being of others. Imagine a newborn saying (or acting as if to say): “Wow. I can see that all of you look very worn out. Mom, you look spent! What a struggle for you! Dad, you need a rest. Doctor, thank you for making my arrival so warm and safe. Why don’t I just relax a few hours while all of you get caught up. Let me know when you would like to visit. Maybe we can chat and have a snack in a few hours.”
As much as we are delighted with the arrival of newborns, they come with a rather different attitude. “Man! That was miserable! Do you know what I’ve just been through? And I’m not that crazy about the light and drafts here. Listen. Why don’t I scream and holler until you can figure out how to make me happy. Then maybe I’ll rest for a while. But I’ll let you know when I need something. And when I scream, I expect service.”
A Clod of Complaints
George Bernard Shaw’s words fit the newborn quite well: “A feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” The baby may be demanding and self-centered — but we make allowances for being a brand new human.
Unfortunately our attitude doesn’t change quickly or easily as we age. Many of us in adulthood are still struggling with the same attitude. “If I’m unhappy, I intend that everyone else be miserable as well. So, if you don’t want to be tortured, get busy taking care of my needs.”
Something Better
A few people break the pattern. Something is different for them. They are different from the rest of us. You know them. There is the ward member who seems to take genuine interest in people who struggle. There is the neighbor who cares for an ailing parent or a disabled child without complaint. There are those who set aside their own burdens and disappointments so that they can serve patiently and endlessly. I have been blessed by the ministering and example of many such people.
Van Wyck Brooks describes people who have moved from being narrow and contracted to being expansive: “How delightful is the company of generous people, who overlook trifles and keep their minds instinctively fixed on whatever is good and positive in the world about them. People of small caliber are always carping. They are bent on showing their own superiority, their knowledge or prowess or good breeding. But magnanimous people have no vanity, they have no jealousy, and they feed on the true and the solid wherever they find it. And, what is more, they find it everywhere.” (A Chillmark Miscellany)
I would like to be one of those magnanimous people. How do we get from the clod of complaints to noble goodness?
Ladeling from Life
Life provides each of us an experiential stew filled not only with chunks of vegetables but abundant weeds and rocks. The hodgepodge includes the intriguing, the indigestible, the enriching, and the toxic. We all eat stew from life’s general pot. Yet some are stunted while others flourish. Why is it that some extract nourishment for their goodness while others get only poison for their minds and souls?
People who have been served a bitter bowl of stew and still flourished have become iconic. Elijah turned national disgrace into personal discovery and continuing service. Corrie ten boom transformed Holocaust hate into embracing forgiveness. Frankl found meaning in the concentration camp. C. S. Lewis transformed a lonesome childhood into an embracing faith. Jesus metabolized the sins and pains of creation into the triumph of love.
There are those who have eaten from the same pot and yet are spiritually malnourished. Sigmund Freud showed the nature of his own soul when he wrote that, “I have found little that is good about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash.” A cynic would argue that Freud’s bitter assessment of humans is the result of his extensive experience with them. It seems even more likely that it is the result of his corrosive cynicism and atheism.
Throughout history there have been those who would destroy others to advance their own cause. Cain. Herod. Hitler. McVeigh. bin Laden. It is chilling to discover that we all have a little Timothy McVeigh in us. We may not be willing to destroy a whole community, but we stingily disburse our good will. At times we may even wish harm on this person or that nation.
The Answer
So how do we move away from our churlish childishness and become more like those expansive people we admire? What is the key to this mighty change?
I reflected on the question as I sat in church. I thought of the complex answers about biological dispositions and environmental shaping. I thought about all the things research recommends for moral development. How can all these ideas be summarized?
The answer came quite unexpectedly. The organ began to plan and words ascended from the seekers. “I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, confused at the grace that so fully He proffers me. I tremble to know that for me He was crucified. That for me, a sinner, He suffered, He bled, and died.”
I felt flooded with the simple truth that Jesus is the Way for any who want to move from tired self-absorption to glorious contributing. Even for those who have never heard His name, His persistent invitation to gentleness and goodness is resident in their souls. The Light of Christ.
“Oh! It is wonderful! Wonderful to me.”

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