Making Peace

Just when I thought that life was a revolving gutterball, it got better.  Stolen from Monty Python’s “Bring out your dead” sketch from the Holy Grail movie (pardon the last two seconds)

, this was a week where life went from dark and dreary mist to a sea full of stars.

Pixar-La Luna

Pixar’s La Luna

The hardest part for me is keeping from instantly wanting to row oars and charging ahead. Star light is fun, however, and a great boon to the night fisherman. A friend asked me if I was ready for the next phase of life after the stars. I honestly answered, no, and used a quote from a friend’s talk on Sunday about preparing for things my whole life. For once, I wasn’t worried about it all. I had broken ties with two friends and felt horrible for nearly a week. The intent was a good purpose, but unfortunately I misconstrued it. The “greater good” purpose was greater, but incorrect in application. So now they’re back, and I feel calm again. Calm is always good.

Something that I have also learned is that I need people I can talk with/to, and that patience is a great mollifier. Being anxious gets a person no where. There are times to move quickly, like emergency medical procedures and the like, but I am a slow mover until I know what I want. Unfortunately, when I know what I want, then I tend to go for it. While being assertive can be good, it can also get people into trouble sometimes. Making an effort is usually a good thing, however. Just not being pushy or rushing. I’ve always had problems with balance, and this isn’t an exception.

boxing gloves

Imagine me in the middle. This is a temporary condition based upon the day.

Two Masters degrees is a lot. I’m not going to graduate at the same time as everyone else, but then again, I’m not everyone else. My sins are different, my life is different, my repentence, weaknesses, and joys are utterly different than some, similar to others. How many other people consider it one of the largest boons of their career to discover that 5K records they scanned two years ago became OCR-searchable on their computer once they upgraded their searching program? For a family history undergrad and sole proprietorship owner, this may as well be candy wrapped in cheesecake dipped in nutella and then coated with chocolate powder. I don’t actually like candy that much, but object happiness becomes candy. People happiness becomes fruit and basic food groups. (I did mention that I was odd. That, and many of my analogies revolve around food because people understand them better and it’s what comes to mind.)Everything requires effort, and this is no exception. I need to work on homework like nothing else, and it’s time to simply WORK! Removing distractions, figuring out how to get a wifi hotspot on my netbook, and just chunk it out. An easy fix (which just came to mind and so I will likely do it tonight) is purchasing a simple spiral-bound book. I use everything notebooks wherever I go, and some day when I scan them all in, maybe they’ll make an incredible story. My writing continues, but I will leave it at that. And I’m not talking about blogging there.

I’m learning happiness bit by bit, and learning how to work without burn out. Also learning that patience, kindness, and gentle persuasion not only work for the blessings that are hoped for to come to a person, but also for the blessings that are already there and simply need the dirt brushed off them. That refers to people who made bad choices and are hopefully doing better now. People who I care about, whether or not they hurt me to an extent that it took years to forgive. I have the power to make my own destiny, and to become completely clear with the Lord’s help. This may sound silly, but my greatest wish in life is to be invisible. To burn so brightly and so hot that I cannot be seen unless a being is near enough to feel it. While I need to get through the baby steps of allowing myself to shine at all, there is a time and place for everything. In this case, I have to wait and be good and to allow good things to come to me. Makes me think of Moses from Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. “The Lord will do battle for us. Behold His mighty hand.” I’m not good at waiting, but have lasted this long. I shall continue writing, continue working, and keep on keeping on. “Be still and know that I am God.”(quoted from the Bible.)

The Second Depression and Marks of Discipleship

History repeats itself. It only does if no one learns from the past. Ignoring it does not help anyone, but living as if time were frozen helps no one, either. About every 70 years or so, cycles repeat. In thinking of the Great Depression of the 1930’s, we are going through a similar crisis. As of 2008, the American economy had its initial collapse. Although at the time it didn’t fully hit everyone, it has had enough repercussions to affect the entire country, and now to affect the world markets as the American economy in total shrank this past quarter. And this was Christmastime, the typical savior of the GDP on a yearly basis.

2012 and 1934 are not that far apart. Instead of going into a war to relieve the burdens of economic disparity, we are removing from two wars. There is almost no evidence that says that America will be out of foreign entanglements any time soon, though. Since the American Civil War, there has been a war somewhere on the earth at any given time. The wars continue to increase. The economy limps as if a crawling wounded beast whose body is trying to repair itself even as the crawling further scars and hurts. Not pretty imagery, it’s not a pretty time.

However the parallels intersect between the First Depression and the Second Depression, this seems like a time for re-fashioning phrases. When the first World War happened, everyone called it the Great War. There was no thought that anyone could or would ever allow anything that horrible to happen again. Well, given the next generation and history recycled itself even as there was a crippled economy and no relief in sight besides charismatic politicians who offered a restorative structure to a former glorious empire. As it is, radio stations now play ’90’s music, heralding back to when things were a little less care-worn and back when life was much simpler. Call it the re-invention of a glorious empire when America was on top, when prices were lower, and when there was not the loss of innocence that 9/11 engendered in similar fashion to shooting Kennedy.

My grandparents might have known what to do with this sort of situation, but they’re all dead. Part of the 70-year cycle, we repeat what we do not remember. We do not remember it because the memory keepers are either not alive, or modern society dismisses their records in the fragile state of pompous mind that comes when the people forget their heritage. There is no reason to reinvent wheels. A professor of mine talked once about libraries in advertising agencies where bringing back a campaign that was in 1920 seems so novel in 2012. He’s right. We don’t remember the past, and we repeat it. However, this time around, there isn’t World War II to save us.

The Middle East has been a hotbed for years and will likely continue ad infinitum. Everyone wants the same bits of land and it seems like peace there is an impossible dream. Why are there so many angry people? What did they do to each other to start it in the first place, and would or will it ever stop? Instead of killing each other, feed and clothe each other. Learn more, speak less, and write for the sake of humanity. A lot of hot air rarely assists in cultivating an improved attitude.

I seek something better than Great Depression 2.0. Instead of calling it the Great Depression, it’s time to call it the First Depression. There was nothing happy about it. People starved and died, but according to

Hearts Turned to the Fathers: History of the Genealogical Society of Utah Kindle edition

Hearts Turned to the Fathers: History of the Genealogical Society of Utah, that was the time when there was more temple and family history work done than at any time prior (1930’s). It’s scary to think that instead of the Roaring 20’s with the bootlegging and similar, the 1930’s were a time when there was nothing else to do but repent and become a different world. Economies kept people alive with indexing efforts of the WPA. Infrastructure improvements and creating books and lists collating items that otherwise would be lost to history. Instead of simply “being busy” it became being busy with the best things in some areas for a short decade. Today, if ignored, circumstances could continue to change so that people are not quite so “busy” and the things that need to happen will and can happen. Seems to be universal maladies counter-acted by rises in the things that need attention.

Subdued

Tonight’s post deals with finding a balance in life when you want to try hard and you want a positive outlook even though you feel like you are between a hard place and a cliff. Akin to the landscape revolving scenery of Inception, there is the ability of changing mountains to plains or the reversal. It’s a matter of where, when, and timing.

I am a genealogist, and a younger one at that. Although I know what I am doing in some aspects (research, billing, hours, some amount of marketing), in others I feel way too green. I’m learning how to run a business even as I run a business. This is scary stuff and I see my weaknesses with a microscopic lens. That’s not to say that I’m not good, but making ALL the decisions yourself is daunting.

At the same time, I barely started working for a boutique and may help to improve their operations as fast as allowed. Inventory control, building online presence, SEO optimization, other marketing, and improving sales. The librarian in me loves order, and likes making order out of chaos for others even though my life is less orderly. While it’s not anywhere near perfect, I see where my responsibilities are and it is likely that I have taken on way too many tasks than I may handle adequately. Time to sort things out for potential delegation, or just better time management. My taxes next year will be more complicated than I would prefer.

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There are many people I care about who of late may need things that are not mine to give. I’m not sure which Disney movie it was (perhaps Lady Cluck from the animated Robin Hood) but lately the phrase, “[I am so in the mood] to knock heads together!” keeps coming to mind. While I would never imagine myself physically doing that, there are many people who need massive doses of self-promotion mirror smashing. (Their vision appears to be as if seeing only a mirror, and I want to remove the blinder but can’t.)  Or, who need to take a dose of gratitude serum. The least impressive people I know are the ones who are not grateful and concerned about others. That door revolves a lot, and I walk through it on a regular basis- being humble and grateful for life, and then being more self-intoxicated with my problems. Although that is sometimes a personal diagnosis, today it is less so.

I learned on the mission that the first person that needs examining when a complaint arises is self. Whenever pointing fingers, two or three always point back at yourself. That means, Am I the problem or am I the cure? Or am I a middleman who needs to “get the heck outta Dodge?”

Many of my closest friends have tons of health problems. This is not new to me. Starting at the beginning of my undergraduate career, it seems that I find people with extraordinary talents who also are extraordinarily ill in ways that are less-diagnose-able and need more help and care to treat. This post is not about those people. Those people are rock stars, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

This is about the people who instead of going through hell give themselves self-inflicted hell. There were phases of my life where I gave myself plenty of Hades.  But then, I grew up and learned that things aren’t always my fault, that people make mistakes, and how to move on. Instead of dwelling on sins (got anything there taken care of ), the past (acceptance and forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting and trusting when that is unwise), or things that I could not control, I focused on what was good, what was doable and became a problem solver versus a wallow-er.

When I was a child, sometimes my Mom would get on my case for “pity parties.” And then when I was a teenager, a better friend would either rub his index finger over his thumb imitating the world’s tiniest violin for when I was in the same self-pity mode, or else ask if I’d like some cheese with that whine. He was priceless for my intermediate growth. Now, I’ve been through the Hades. The main point of that sentence being “been through” evoking a past tense action where triumph occurred. That means acting on faith, bucking up, gearing up, and getting over yourself. Losing oneself in good works, faith, and grace instead of growing old in your reflection pool.

There are times when empathy is appropriate. This is again, not dismissing that. There are other times when people have to stop huddling in a corner, stand up, and see their armor and that it works. It is a rallying cry. Something that says that, guess what? Your life IS NOT over because of some trial.

For the people who whine the most, they act as if everything in everyone else’s lives revolves around them, and what they seem to forget is that real life happiness depends upon other people. Real happiness depends upon service, and of learning about and helping others.  Physically serving is only one mode of service. There are plenty of other modes, and it does not take an intensively creative mind to consider them. Instead of asking everyone else to bow to one’s wishes, try seeing what can be done for them for a change. Being considerate and caring is not supposed to be a one-way thing. Those are called dependent relationships, and they frustrate versus helping. Co-dependent relationships may be even worse, but I won’t focus on that here.

I’m learning how to be okay with not being “needed.” Although I definitely care about the people who other people are not easily friends with, and who need other people to be around them and to care, I’m learning about personal preservation recently. Learning boundaries and how to have transparent aluminum up as a shield. (Other people can see you, but they can’t seep away your assets, strength, etc.) Call me one of the virgins in the parable who said, “Sorry, but go to the people who sell and buy your own oil. I just have enough for me and my house.” (Paraphrased.) People who suck the life out of others around them really need a cattle prod (or shaken something) to wake them up. It’s more important to help versus being ornery, or versus being toxic or dangerous.

It’s been a rougher week. Some of my friends who aren’t toxic black holes (black hole translation: are unwilling to make a stand and change the things that they can [see Serenity Prayer]

Serenity Prayer

and which have been kindly pointed out to them, or rudely, either way) are the people who I have to give up. Some of these people are a lot closer than my family, but it seems necessary to follow what otherwise may make less sense but I hope means a positive outcome. I’m learning that everyday courage takes more strength than big acts of valor. It takes consistency, truth to self/God, and fortitude. None of these are easy.

I don’t meant to be some self-righteous little kid (or inexperienced person) who spouts judgmental thoughts for the sake of hearing herself talk. More like, I see changes that need to happen and am not sure how to work on anyone other than myself. No one can successfully force anyone else’s agency, and God has better taste than to do that. Gentle, patient persuasion is one thing. Strident, argumentative attitudes another. I am a Scottish-descended firebrand from both sides, and even though I have no wishes of being argumentative (peace makes me happier than anything else on planet now or ever), there is so much injustice and hypocrisy in the world that it’s hard not to get upset.

My home teacher mentioned that in some circumstances, getting upset is normal. You shouldn’t trust just anyone, and otherwise it’s okay to say, “Hold on. Wait a minute!” I do want the best for people, but I’m not idiot. Perhaps a bit of a push-over, I have my limits. And of late, I’ve been pushed enough. No guts no glory? More like, “People, hold your own weight. Act well thy part, but don’t pretend.” I’m not a wishy-washy lukewarm gospel learner. It’s passionate or bust. Unfortunately, I tend to bust a little more than I’d like. Oh well. That’s part of learning. I’d prefer to be more like a balloon. Gentle inflation works so much better than stabbing air into a random piece of rubber.

Got in a great and glorious nap today. Forget the Super Bowl. Give me a decent bed, enough covers to cover up well, and some time where I don’t have to constantly think about this or that thing, and I was out for four hours. And now I’m up at 1AM about to finally get to bed.