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Friday, April 22, 2011

You chose to leave

To quote the old man of Princess Bride, "Muewidge is what bwings us togeva, today."

Okay, so I'm not getting married for a week...but I'm still going to say some things related to it that are on my mind.

I have been trying to wrap my mind around something...I am not a professional in any field, nor am I perfect in everything I do, and everything I say, but I try to find ways to be better.

Why do we allow ourselves to "leave [our] father and mother...and cleave unto your [spouse]"... and then financial, communicative, or relationship strains occur...and we see people all around us who start to cleave to anyone but--be that friends, coworkers, church friends, pets, anything but that person they chose to cleave to. Interesting, we find anyone (or anything) to bring us those exact feelings that our spouse originally brought.

I understand people change. If I was still the same person I was when I was 15 years me, I would not be marrying the woman I am marrying in 8 days...but there are three fundamental principles that-if upheld, will keep you cleaving to whom your covenant or vow commits you to...your spouse.

One principle is loyalty. Elder Scott stated, "If you are married, are you faithful to your spouse mentally as well as physically?"1 I always think of KacyAnn's dogs when I think of loyalty. You can see how much they love that family. No matter how many times they're teased (like bottle rockets being shot at them and watching them bark at them when they pop). No matter how many times they do something they shouldn't do, and then they walk toward you with their tail between their legs... and you just know they're sorry. They find ways to enjoy their time with you, even when you know they'd prefer doing something else (usually eating). Loyalty is demonstrated through actions taken, not through words spoke.

Next, is the principle of humility. British nun, Monica Baldwin said, "What makes humility so desirable is the marvelous thing it does to us; it creates in us a capacity for the closest possible intimacy with God"2. If we're not willing to admit that we are wrong, how can we hold that against another? Finding how to improve and admitting you don't know everything, there lies untold power and strength. There sits ability to become more tomorrow than you are today.

Lastly, the principle pure love. You cannot be everything to everyone, but you can be someone to somebody. When you're married, that somebody is your spouse. I hope throughout my married life, my wife can question everything in the world...but never question how much I love her. My theory is--love does not conquer all in a relationship, but it certainly gives you a leg up on those competing for your place.

Do I know everything? Nope.

All I know is...I see a difference between Ryan now...and Ryan 10 years ago.

And it's not just because I got older.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Comprising a compromise

I love basketball.

I went to the basketball hall of fame....6 times, (It helped that I was living in Springfield, MA for 6 months).

I remember when I was 15 years old. My little brother, Chad and I, were tired of the swing set.

"Dad, I'm too old to swing on those flexible pieces of plastic connect to chains and whenever I go down the slide the little hornets nest gets disturbed and I run away screaming. Can't we get rid of the swing set and get a basketball court?"

(Okay-so maybe that is the worst run on sentence ever; and maybe it wasn't phrased quite the way I'm describing....except for the run away screaming part...but I was only 15 okay?....and the screaming part was mostly Chad...)

"Ryan, we can't throw out the swing set. Each post is cemented three feet into the sand pit with about four feet worth of cement on the post itself."

Now, my compromising skills weren't quite like they are now. So, they probably sounded as follows:

"But Dad!"
"No Ryan, we can't"
"But Dad!"
"Ryan, this conversation is over."

Being my teenage self, and trying to find a way to show my dad that I do know everything. I came up with a plan.

"Hey Dad, what if Chad and I dug up the posts and chipped off the cement?"

"You really want to do that?"

".....yes.....and we can give the swing set to Mrs. Jensen's kids. They're little."

"Okay. If you do that, we'll get a basketball court."

I spent that entire summer sweating away, breaking my dad's pick-ax, and chizzling off that cement. But I got the court.

Sometimes compromising takes time.

Sometimes you have to step back, think a little different, and be willing to work.

...Even if it takes all summer.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"The look"

In high school I was a student body officer. I loved every second of it. I made new friends (some of whom I still go to dinner with every now and again) and I learned a lot more about myself and my potential to handle stressful situations.

I was in charge of the videos for the school. Video announcements mostly.

I began staying at school for 12-14 hours a day.

I was editing videos for teacher's classes, for student's projects, for the announcement of the ballroom dance team, for the basketball team's game on Friday. I was always doing something for someone. (Living on Wendy's combo meals and Mt. Dew...ah, the glorious life of a high metabolism).

One day, my adviser Mrs. Sheen walked into the room I was working in.

Sheen was one of those super tough teachers. She was very intimidating until you began to know her. Then you saw how much she really cares about students becoming and not just doing.

"Why are you still here?" she asked.
"I have to get this video done for the french teacher." I replied.

"Why do you have to do it?"
"Because, (looking at her with the classic teen "I know what I'm doing" look) it's my job."

"It is not your job to be walked on, it is your job to serve."

I've thought a lot about that through years since.

I serve until I feel I'm being used, that I'm being walked on, then I discuss it with the person to help them understand that although I look like Superman---I in fact am not. None of us are.

We serve others because in service to others, we find ourselves. "Whosoever shall lose himself for my sake shall find it."

Whether that is in your job, in your family, or in your daily life.

You serve without want. You serve to become who you know you should be.

To reach your potential...

Avoid being walked on though, trust me--if there is one thing you want to avoid in life, that one thing is what I learned from Mrs. Sheen on that day....

"The look"

Friday, April 8, 2011

I do what I am

I knew a woman once. A widow in fact.

She was kind, easy to talk to, and a great church going woman.

Her local church leader would come visit her at least once a week. He would talk to her for while and share spiritual thought or two with her.

"Is there anything I can do for you, Karen?" He asks.
"No, I'm fine thanks." She would respond.

This church leader noticed that things seemed to be consistently taken care of: garbage taken out every week, lawn mowed, pets fed (yes, even the 3 stray cats that would come by daily), dishes washed, clothes hung to was all done.

"Can I help vacuum or dust?"
"No, it's fine. Sally did it."

On his walk home one day this church leader thought, "Who is this Sally person? She's doing everything, and she's putting me to a little bit of shame as Karen's leader."

He found out some time later that Sally had moved Karen into her house.

"That's IT! I have to meet this Sally woman."

As he walked into to Sally's home, he noticed pictures on the walls. Grand kids, late husband, marriage photos, they were all there. Sally was not a part of this man's faith, and as he began speaking to her, he couldn't help himself-he had to ask,

"Why did you move Karen into your home? Why do you shovel her walk, take out her trash, and feed those 3 stray cats for her?"

Sally looked at him a bit puzzled.

"Well...she needs it. It's what you do-isn't it?"

Isn't that interesting--for some we have to be given a position or an assignment to be a friend and a neighbor, and then we don't do it.

Sally did those things because that's who she is. She just does that.

I think that is the heart of conversion.

It is not just to is to be.