Feeling Like Jello

I once ate Jello with chopsticks at the MTC. It’s not the hardest thing to do if you slightly break up the blocks so that there is something there for the chopstick to hold to.

My life feels like Jello. I think that I am falling behind in my classes although they seem to be all that I ever do. And even as I write that, I know that I spent more time watching TV this semester than I ever have before, and also a lot of time looking through job ads. God said that I needed to keep up with school, but He never mentioned how I would get through my  bills and that’s caused me to be a nervous wreck for a few months.

Although actually less stressful somehow, I just moved this weekend to another location in the city, pretty far away from the things that most people act like are important but closer to companies, businesses, and actually closer to one school. The amenities are resoundingly better than my last apartment, and although the commute to one school is much longer than it used to be, I get to deal with that next semester.

Today I am supposed to register for classes at the closer school and I have no idea what to attempt to get into. I want to do markup language coding and learn more languages so that I can mark up the way that I want to mark up and do things that help my projects progress and be happy. Personal happiness is a luxury now, not a right. It’s that elusive thing that living commandments is supposed to get you, and sometimes it just takes an attitude adjustment to get toward.

Nothing in my life is simple. I wish that it was, but instead, I feel like I am walking on Jello. God walked on squishier stuff, but I am starting to wonder if my current state of being is simply an attribute like a mark up language. I have some stability, but at the same time everything else flows around me and ignores me. Goes right past me and maybe that is a good thing.

All that I can see is that I have to hold on and do what God’s already told me to do. To live the commandments, I’ve turned down some really hard temptations, and when others would not listen to Deity, have been pushed aside akin to Miyagi’s wax on-wax off method. Whatever the method or reasons, I’m here now and am trying to figure out what to do with this lifetime.

Afterlife is easy: help with the gospel, do the right thing, keep on going. Done. Just work hard, and do as well as possible. Seems simple enough. All that I see for this life now is finishing school, making family history apps, working on the genealogy business, and otherwise paying bills. I wish that I could have a family, but that is dependent on other’s agency of which I do not have control and would not ask for that control to be had by me. Without someone else’s choices, my progression is limited in this life. It seems harsh, but it isn’t. Not everyone has the chance to marry. I think/thought that I will have that chance, especially as I am still fairly young. I’m young, but I have the weight of kingdoms on my shoulders and they hurt a little. I’d give my life for a good, honest, temple-worthy guy to help share the load and for me to share his load.

No matter what, I must keep going. There is no vice without a price, and in this case, I have avoided much and hope to be able to endure a lot more. God has said often that He expects a lot of me, and I don’t really know exactly what that is or how to get it done. How long did it take the Brother of Jared to figure out that God touching small stones could make light for the barges when crossing oceans? I mean, that’s REALLY creative stuff. I’m not honestly that good. I have an app. One app, and it could easily change the world. I feel like I am behind in everything that I do, but maybe I’m stuck in the DNA-style loop that seems to befit the fullness of times.

I don’t know what God wants me to do now outside of unpacking. Do homework, look for and apply to everything under the sun including scholarships, and become exhausted on a regular basis. Trying  not to drown.

Best from the GenealogyDr

Observations on Faith

I am definitely Christian, and I go to two Catholic schools. I like studying in a very quiet and picturesque reading room that was the old library at one of my schools. The reading room adjoins a chapel.

Considering my undergrad institution: while it may look more utilitarian in the rooms, all of them are used as chapels and Sunday School rooms and similar on Sundays and for other Church activities and meetings during the week in addition to regular classes during the week, without regular classes held on Sundays. Growing up, I was used to my religion and I learned history enough to see divisions and splits in other religions and just to watch what happened in the developments of other churches over time. Call it the “change over time” principle espoused by traditional historians.

I know that there are some people who are active in their beliefs, and others who don’t care at all. Since I am open to hearing anyone’s beliefs, I seem to know a lot of people who are atheists talking to me on a regular basis. I am respectful, but it is wearing as they try to convert me to their viewpoint without exception. My generation is not known for their religious conviction, but for turning away from religion in many cases. Sitting in my study room, there is an open mass happening nearby. The inter-faith room is also close by, inhabited regularly by students of Muslim background. My guess is that some of the other people studying in my reading room have that background, from looking around.

I was caught off-guard yet pleased when I found out last week that a friend was not attending class due to a Jewish high holy day. Honestly, that’s cool. My current colleagues in my department at my other school are also really open when it comes to being cool with religion, and although no one else has said anything, my religion became known and they’re nice and accommodating.

Today, I wonder about Catholicism. Doesn’t hurt that an attractive male walked into the mass. Although dressed in normal campus clothes, he tapped into the basin of holy water and knelt down to cross himself before entering the chapel. He’s the youngest person I saw walk in there and he seems to know all of the outward actions of the mass. Appears to be a “good Catholic” which is what I’m guessing they call people who are orthodox. I’m not sure, though.

People being orthodox in their religious faiths is something that I admire. Usually, they’re nicer and more open than people who are trying to get me to think otherwise, despite mass media interpretations of everyone of faith being dogmatic disciplinarians without senses of humor who are more likely to kill you than consider you as a person.

It’s not cool to be religious, but I find it useful and helpful for my life. Not as a crutch, ever, but as something that helps me be myself. I do believe in God. I believe in Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father, and the Holy Ghost. My beliefs are not the same as the kid sitting in that chapel on some of the finer points of practice, but I admire and respect a kid who at least attempts showing up to church. Few people do so. It’s not entertainment, but it is cause for celebration. I may never know his name or anything about him other than that he exists and that he went to mass on a Wednesday, but I am glad that he showed up today.

Best to all from

GenealogyDr

Loyalty

I write this post with a little of a heavy heart. Recounting what happened this summer to a former friend, I realized that this summer there has been my car accident, two friend’s parents died, two friends went through surgery (one brain surgery), I found out that my Mom’s best friend is dying, and that my family has bigger issues than I realized.

Last year, both schools acted like I was a traitor for not being “only at one school” when THEY were the ones that set up the joint program in the first place. It was like siblings fighting over toys. Now, I am no longer part of a joint program, but still doing two Master’s degrees at the same time. My present degrees dovetail better than my previous degrees did, and where scheduling may not fit with one, I then get material in the other. I feel like I am pulling up a zipper and whatever this clothing item is fits nicely.

I am no longer being split apart. It is harder in some aspects because neither school naturally communicates with the other, but I finally got over that at the end of last year and decided that if I was going to do this, I had to keep up and do it on my own. I work as hard as I can with my advisors, but in the end these degrees depend upon my coursework and not on anyone else’s work, ambition, or similar things.

Along with this is the need for a job. I had one job, and then another opportunity presented itself. That opportunity evaporated, and although I may be able to get the old job back, the commuting costs versus the pay and hours did not come together well. I need something else.

School feels steady. I am only starting the semester, but along with that I feel like there is a genuinely secure feel even though nothing is truly set up. Why am I so calm? Why have I been pretty calm through all of the employment shifts and changes? The only thing that really shook me up was the family trouble, and somehow that has to work out. I think that I am extremely lucky that it is the beginning of the semester, and I need and am able to get something together instead of feeling like I am only ending up somewhere.

Despite or because of all of the insanity of the summertime, I feel surprisingly calm. Not exactly happy, but somehow dealing. Not neutral, exactly, just… to quote from the Bible, “I know in whom I have trusted.” (gentle paraphrasing), so I’m not freaking out quite so badly as is customary in a dead economy when nothing really makes that much sense. Pressing forward even when there isn’t time to process life. I guess it’s called growing up.

Best to all,

GenealogyDr

The Things That Matter

I found out today that one of my Mom’s best friends has Stage 4 terminal cancer. It’s not the sort of cancer where she will be dead tomorrow, but now… cause of death is known for when it happens. I wish not to be blase about this, but seeing as this is knowledge in advance of the death versus a sudden death, it’s strangely “easier” to deal with.

No, I’m not glad about it. No, she’s not in extreme pain or such. There are plenty of medications that she is on, and she just had brain surgery to relieve one of the tumors, but she’s still alive. She does have a great attitude about it, all things considering. I don’t think that it is less usual anymore for people to know in advance that they only have so long to live. I’m also a little surprised that I’m dealing with it as well as I am. Over the last seven years, there have been eight deaths. Some sudden, some not-as sudden. Call it preparation for part of what may lay ahead.

I’m also not scared about where she is going. It’s not trust in a dead religion. It’s that I know what needs to happen to “go to heaven.” It’s rather plainly spelled out in the doctrine of my Church and it’s not the effect of a frenzied mind that I believe it. It’s being true and knowing that there is more than life here. Life is more than simply the efforts of the natural creature eking out a living from point A to B. There’s a lot more to it than that. Lifting my head above that mess, there is a light and it is real.

It’s hard to think that there are people who refuse to believe in anything. Not sure whether that is selfishness in that they don’t want to follow anything outside of themselves and basic ethics of the land, or if it is a fear of responsibility once they figure out that there is a God. It’s not just some step in AA. Belief in a higher power is a fundamental principle of society- family is part of it, and without God (whatever religion, so long as it’s not Satanic) I don’t know how people make it from day-to-day.

Better said, denying God, I don’t know people survive. So much of my thinking, so much of my decision-making processes… you come to know who God is, and how He acts over time and experience, and see that He honestly leads you in better paths than you may choose for yourself. Good things or bad things… events change, but God does not.

So back to heaven and hell. Yes, both places exist. The fundamental core doctrines of Christianity agree to that. From there, I have an innate confidence born of testimony from God that there are certain things needed for returning to live with God, and I know that my friend is about as okay as you can get in this regard. There is so much confusion in the world which the gospel makes clear.

The rock solid base is that the truth is what it is, and the gospel is true. My friend and I discussed her death a little, but neither of us freaked out about it. You freak out when you don’t know either a) where people may go after mortality is over, or b) when you really don’t know where you stand before God. Is she Polly Perfect? Nope. Is she working hard, has her heart in the right place, and trying her utmost to be the person that God wants her to be? Yep.

For all of the philosophizing away that many people try to do, God exists. He loves us (His children), and there’s nothing that other people try to say or do that changes that. It doesn’t make His children unaccountable, and it doesn’t eliminate need for grace and for personal righteousness. There are more tools in the bag, and a better chance of having the right tool at the right time. That’s what religion does. Things work better when there is functioning religion centered in Jesus Christ. I like people from all the faiths encountered to this point who wish to be good people, and I treasure truth more than life.

So that’s what matters. Friends who are family, and understanding each of our fundamental roles in the various aspects of life.

Hoping for goodness and blessings,

GenealogyDr

Cleaning Up

I have to make this post short. That means that it will probably go longer than intended. Suffice it to say, I was rear-ended in a collision on Saturday. I am alive, didn’t need to go to the hospital, and no one else was injured. My car was stopped, but the force of the crash pushed me into the car in front of it, which pushed into the car in front of it. Turns out that the driver was not on the vehicle’s policy and with adjustors going after the rear-ender’s family. I just want my car fixed.

Before any of this happened, the day before I spent reading scriptures, a Church book written by a deceased apostle, and another Church book. I’ve wanted to make sure that my life was cleaned up before, but this pushed me to the “ready to do something about it” stage. Ready to do anything to become clean. My sins are common, not “lighter” or worse than anyone else. In the big picture, they were “such as is common to man” as quoted from the New Testament. However, God does not “look upon sin with the least degree of allowance” and He’s got every right not to do so. Reading these books, I made notes about things that I wanted to change. For the bigger issues, the list was short although the steps on one of the big things will take time to gain back what is missing. It’s more about paperwork and changes that people may only see once they begin. Thinking changes and character shifts. 

The second one is much shorter, and will involve one week away from something pure and sacred, a perspective shift, as the Bishop called it in a gentle manner, and then the victory lap where I can start back up with it the next week. One week away from the reason I go to Church. No one else may notice, but this isn’t about anyone else. It is about being clean before God. I wish never again to be a hypocrite. Being proper on the outside does not mean being serious, down-faced, or self-rejecting. Being pure is about doing your best, and when you are clean, helping anyone else out.

Repentence on the first matter …I never could see a way out, but I admitted what it was to the Bishop. Apparently there was no Bishop-required punishment-thing for it, but to me it was disregarding prophetic counsel and so now is the time to change it.

Following the accident, my car was towed to an auto body repair place. I went there, and they checked it out. The damages to the car are such that I could literally never pay it myself within any time frame suitable. Alone, I do not currently make enough for anything, and that includes with budgeting and living as frugally as is possible. The car is not my fault, and the other party will need to pay for damages. Even if it takes them a while to pay it all, I need transportation and that is just. I do not want to take them to court over any of this. Just want the car back, drive-able and not going to break down on me quickly.

I went to the shop, and the guys there are extremely amicable. I am hoping, hard, that everything proceeds well.

Once I chose to clean up everything in my life, it got better. I can feel that maybe God is giving me another chance. When I spoke with the Bishop, he mentioned that I am important to God. That got to me. I have not felt important to anyone for ages. God usually feels farther away, but when you look at it, I moved away, not Him. And the closer I am trying to get, the more I see how unbelievably weak I am.

My hardest faults are things that I did not know how to do anything about. I knew they were wrong, and I’ve been taught ways of fixing them, but they were not things that I physically COULD do anything about given my circumstances. There was a gap that I have never been able to overcome on my own, no matter how badly I wished it, or wanted it, or put things off thinking that things would get better. It’s as if there is this little thing above my head where if I mess up in one place of my life, it’s going to bite me, and HARD. God keeps me very straitly-coursed.

This is a course in humility. My body is not broken, but the rest of me is learning that my knees are not always physically bent to be kneeling down. I think that the heart can kneel, especially when learning that God wants a people who are dedicated to Him. And in this process, I see that there are blessings that may come from something that otherwise would utterly ruin me if left solely to my own devices. There is none good but God.

Best to everyone,

GenealogyDr