Wednesday, December 29, 2010

To A God Unknown

I'm currently reading Moby Dick and Steinbeck's To A God Unknown. I am favoring the second more and dividing my time between them quite unevenly. I just finished the chapter in which Joseph and Elizabeth get married and travel back to their valley home--and I'd like to share some of the quotes that stirred me. Enjoy.

At the wedding ceremony:
And suddenly Elizabeth was sorry for Joseph. She thought with a little more frantic sadness, "If my mother were here, she could say to him, Here is Elizabeth and she is a good girl because I love her, Joseph. And she will be a good wife once she learns how to be. I hope you will get outside the hard husk you are wearing, Joseph, so you may feel tenderly for Elizabeth. That's all she wants and it's not an impossible thing.
Elizabeth's eyes glittered suddenly with bright tears. "I will," she said aloud, and, silently, "I must pray a little. Lord Jesus, make things easy for me because I am afraid. In all the time I've had to learn about myself, I have learned nothing. Be kind to me, Lord Jesus, at least until I learn what kind of thing I am."

Crossing the precarious pass over the river into the valley on their wedding day:
"Joseph," she said. "It's a bitter thing to be a woman. I'm afraid to be. Everything I've been or thought of will stay outside the pass. I'll be a grown woman on the other side. I thought it might come gradually. This is too quick." And she remembered how her mother said, "When you're big Elizabeth, you'll know hurt, but it wont be the kind of hurt you think. It'll be hurt that can't be reached with a curing kiss."

They walked slowly through the pass, in the blue shade of it. Joseph laughed softly. "There may be pains more sharp than delight, Elizabeth, like sucking a hot peppermint that burns your tongue. The bitterness of being a woman may be an ecstasy."

As Joseph ran back across the pass to get the horse team:
But when he was gone, Elizabeth cried sadly, for she had a vision of a child in short starched skirts with pigtails down her back, who stood outside the pass and looked anxiously in, stood on one foot and then on the other, hopped nervously and kicked a stone into the stream. For a moment the vision waited as Elizabeth remembered waiting on a street corner for her father, and then the child turned miserably away and walked slowly toward Monterey. Elizabeth was sorry for her, "For it's a bitter thing to be a child," she thought. "There are so many clean new surfaces to scratch."

I love the way words can grip you and leave you feeling a certain way. Stories and words don't always have to be the same thing. Steinbeck has a way of saying things that leaves you contemplative and sympathetic. Or maybe that's just for me, as I sometimes feel like a character is some troubled Steinbeck novel.

Friday, December 24, 2010

'Tis the Season

Merry Christmas all! In case you missed it, here is the ending of one of my favorite Christmas classics.

video

"Strange isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?"

-Clarence

It's a great season for contemplating the holes we fill in each other's lives, for giving and being given to, and for remembering the Savior. So, thank you for the little holes you fill in my life--life is awfully full of holes-- and thank you for letting me fill some holes in yours. Merry Christmas!

"Christ was born in the first century, yet He belongs to all centuries. He was born a jew, yet He belongs to all races. He was born in Bethlehem, yet he belongs to all countries."

"And she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins." -Matt. 1:21

Monday, December 13, 2010

Skills

Sometimes I feel like Napoleon Dynamite was right in so many ways. Most recently I have been thinking about this quote:

"Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills!"

Sometimes I don't get what brings two people together and causes them to start dating. Let's go through the progression:

Middle School:
-The reasons we like others may go as deep as their hair color, their hair style, their lack of braces, how fast they can run the Park mile, their dodgeball/capture the flag/PE abilities. I once had a crush on a girl because she used crutches. Deep and abiding are not the words I'd use for middle school romance.

High School:
-The reasons we like people in this season is even less connected with reality. We like people because they have cool cars, are on a school sports team or cheer squad, they sit next to us in class, they listen to the same music we do, they wear pink and say "like" a hundred times a day, they make us feel cool or give us a status symbol, and probably, they like to kiss A LOT. Just a few of the reasons high school loves are formed, I feel.

Freshman Year of College:
This is a tricky stage to find love in. The reasons here for two people liking each other vary greatly, but I can still think of a few generals. The reasons might be they simply HAVE a car (regardless of how cool), once again, they probably like to kiss a lot, or an admiration for the pursuits and immature goals one has as a freshman, the "funness" of another person, or a yearning to find someone to care for you whilst one is far from home.

Young Adult Life:
There is this gross misconception that the coming together of two people in this stage is without the fallacies of the previous dating/finding love stages. It is full of them, as well. But this stage, I suppose, is where finding love is the best balance between admiration and infatuation. What is love without some infatuation? I think the best reasons for two people coming together in this season are a deep respect for what the other values, a commitment to care for another person amidst weakness, a similar perspective of life and its dealings, and an enjoyment of one another in any and all (or at lease most) situations.

Still, I cannot help feel that love is this game of picking and choosing, debating and deciding whether his/her skills are cool enough for my attention. If love is a case of skills, then I am lost. I have no skills! (And please hold any flattering comments). I have nothing to put on display in front of the girls I like. No cool car, no cool hair, no cool singing abilities, no cool sports teams, no cool jokes, or cool muscles. If love is bred of coolness and skills, then once again, I am not bred for love.

I guess I just don't understand the concept yet. Either love is skills or it is chance. Either it is coolness or it is timing. Two people have to meet each other and for some reason, aside from coolness and skills, decide that the other person is worth abandoning independence and solitude. And if that's the case--probability and timing--then I can't ever assume the second hand will strike in my direction. So I guess I'd better start developing some sweet skills.

What brings two people together?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cameo Blog

I've never tested the waters of featuring other's blogs on my page, but my thoughts are rather drab lately and I have so many relatives and friends who write some pretty beautiful things. A good friend of mine wrote recently a post that inspired me. She is a young, Christian, recent APU graduate in the greater LA area. If you have a minute check out her post, I'm sure you'll enjoy her thoughts and style:

-Dani Davis

Monday, December 6, 2010

12-7-10

Creatures Without Eyes

At the bottom of ev'rything
There is a place without lights--
Without eyes.
But the creatures there see just fine
Without lights and without eyes--
They see fine.
I can never go there to see
Things without lights and their eyes--
I can't see.
Here, there are lights and there are eyes
We see things with light and our eyes--
We see them.
If we did not have lights and not eyes
We would see the world without lights and eyes--
We would see.
-Anon.


"We shall see but a little way if we require to understand what we see."
-Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Caught Up to Beatrice

We had an interesting discussion today in philosophy about Dante's Paradiso chapters 1-5. Dante exits purgatory, after having toured hell, and meets Beatrice on the moon's celestial surface. They chat for a little while about those who inherit that lesser 'sphere' and then Beatrice begins to talk about why people are in heaven and why others are in hell. Essentially, she says that those in heaven are there because they took delight is doing whatever was God's will. Those in Hell, as portrayed in the Inferno, are endlessly reviling God and cursing His will. Maybe there is no heaven after all! I can imagine an eternity where everyone is banished to a field forever and ever, and the only difference there would be the smiles on the faces of those who, in this imaginary existence as in past existences, loved God for whatever His will brought to them. And the rest of us would still be in our little hell of frowns and froward thoughts! Perhaps this makes heaven even less of a place than we imagined, turning it into a state of being.

"Be more grave, Christians, in your endeavors.
Do no resemble feathers in the wind, nor think
that any sort of water has the power to wash you clean.

"You have the Testaments, both New and Old,
and the shepherd of the Church to guide you.
Let these suffice for your salvation."

On the same vein, I was researching for a paper about philosophy and religion and was reminded of this quote from Brigham Young that I like, and I'm sure will delight my sister and you, too:

“I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self- security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not.”

“God has placed within us a will, and we should be satisfied to have it controlled by the will of the Almighty. Let the human will be indomitable for right. It has been the custom of parents to break the will until it is weakened, and the noble, Godlike powers of the child are reduced to a comparative state of imbecility and cowardice. Let that heaven-born property of human agents be properly tempered and wisely directed, instead of pursuing the opposite course, and it will conquer in the cause of right. Break not the spirit of any person, but guide it to feel that it is its greatest delight and highest ambition to be controlled by the revelations of Jesus Christ; then the will of man becomes Godlike in overcoming the evil that is sown in the flesh, until God shall reign within us to will and do of His good pleasure.”

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 9:150