All 5 of my nieces are above average in intelligence and vocabulary, and I’m not just saying that as a proud aunt, its true. My oldest niece reads a book a day and can converse on a variety of topics. Sometimes I think it is hard for her to be the oldest and spend so much time with younger, less mature minds.
I think I have a pretty good relationship with my nieces despite the fact that none of them live near me. That said, I know there is a lot of my life that seems like a mystery to them. I live in Utah. I’m not married. I don’t have kids. How can that be? In fact, the last couple of years every time I see my oldest niece she says ‘Rachel, why aren’t you married?’. Yesterday it was ‘If you can take care of all of us little kids, why don’t you get your own little kids to take care of?
Ah the simplicity of youth. I wish marriage was the result of readiness or abilities. Unfortunately there’s this annoying thing called choice and chemistry…Sigh.
Sometimes I wish I could just have 4 or 5 options and just pick one and make it work. This randomly meeting the love of my life thing isn’t working out very well. Set ups and online dating provide few dates so I am left just trying my best to answer my nieces question. What do you say? Here’s how the conversation goes?
“Well, I can’t have kids until I get married and I can’t get married until I fall in love”
Her response “Well why don’t you fall in love?”
My response “I’m ready but sometimes it just doesn’t happen”
She looks at me skeptically and adds
“If you don’t get married and have children how can you be happy?”
Sigh…I’m sure many young moms are thinking this kid has no idea how hard it is and that is true! However, there is also great happiness.
I finally have to say
“I don’t know why I haven’t fallen in love, but I hope I will someday”
Still with worry another niece says:
“You should just adopt your own babies”
“That would be fun but hard to do all alone” I reply
Then the conversation wanes. If only there were better answers to all these questions. And yes, I’ve tried online dating and its not for me.
That’s what I hate the most about dating is how impotent it makes me feel. There is this big life goal that I know will add to my happiness (even eternal happiness) and there is almost nothing I can do about it. How do you force love? Force someone to love you? You can’t. You just have to hold out hope and be happy.
It’s just frustrating to have such a big thing in the human experience that is so outside our control. I sometimes feel like I’m missing out on the most human experience.
To have lived and never fallen in love? Is that a life at all? Art, music, movies, books would say no.
I know that it is, but it still makes me sad every now and then that I don’t have a better answer to “Why haven’t you fallen in love?”
So yesterday I got a little stomach bug so I decided to stay home today and rest. My stomach is still feeling pretty tender but I’ve had some improvement. Since I missed church I gave myself a mini-sermon.
Jesus famously told his disciples “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” (Matt 6:14). On first glance it can seem like we have it harder than the Lord. We have to forgive everyone.
President Kimball said “Since forgiveness is an absolute requirement in attaining eternal life, man naturally ponders: How can I best secure that forgiveness? One of many basic factors stands out as indispensable immediately: One must forgive to be forgiven”
One must forgive to be forgiven…Powerful words. But it can feel so hard.
President Kimball admits it is hard “Hard to do? Of course. The Lord never promised an easy road, nor a simple gospel, nor low standards, nor a low norm. The price is high, but the goods attained are worth all they cost. The Lord himself turned the other cheek; he suffered himself to be buffeted and beaten without remonstrance; he suffered every indignity and yet spoke no word of condemnation. And his question to all of us is: “Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be?” And his answer to us is: “Even as I am.”
So if our goal is to be like Christ and make it back to our Heavenly Father than we must forgive.
But what about forgiving and forgetting? I have long puzzled with the concept of forgetting and I’ve sat through a lot of Relief Society meetings where the topic was hotly debated. Some swear forgetting is possible and required for exaltation. Others say that forgiving and moving on is all we can do.
I’m inclined to agree with the latter. I’ve always felt it was impossible to truly forget one’s life experiences. In fact, the act of trying to forget can bring it all the more to our remembrance. Its like when someone says ‘don’t think of a purple elephant’. What do you think of? A purple elephant of course.
Well I was reading an interesting web md article about the physical effects of forgiveness on the human body. They address this idea of forgetting in a way I could relate to:
“Despite the familiar cliche, ‘forgive and forget,’ most of us find forgetting nearly impossible,” says Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet, PhD…”Forgiveness does not involve a literal forgetting. Forgiveness involves remembering graciously. The forgiver remembers the true though painful parts, but without the embellishment of angry adjectives and adverbs that stir up contempt.”
Isn’t that a beautiful thought? Forgiveness involves remembering graciously and without the angry adjectives of contempt. That seems doable to me. You remember the event but let go of the anger and hurt.
Dr Witvliet goes on
“That type of angry “embellishment,” as Witvliet calls it, seems to carry serious consequences. In a 2001 study, she monitored the physiological responses of 71 college students as they either dwelled on injustices done to them, or imagined themselves forgiving the offenders.
“When focused on unforgiving responses, their blood pressure surged, their heart rates increased, brow muscles tensed, and negative feelings escalated,” she says. “By contrast, forgiving responses induced calmer feelings and physical responses. It appears that harboring unforgiveness comes at an emotional and a physiological cost. Cultivating forgiveness may cut these costs.”
Isn’t it interesting how connected the human body is to mental anguish? Like the ad says ‘depression hurts’. It can be painful to be angry, frustrated, anxious etc.
So how do we ‘remember graciously’? President Kimball says, “It must be a purging of feelings and thoughts and bitternesses. Mere words avail nothing.” That seems like a good place to start- when the angry thoughts come send them away. The more you do it the less they will taunt you.
President Kimball also tell us that when we fail to forgive we are assuming God’s role as judge and jury on the other person. “To be in the right we must forgive, and we must do so without regard to whether or not our antagonist repents, or how sincere is his transformation, or whether or not he asks our forgiveness. We must follow the example and the teaching of the Master, who said: “… Ye ought to say in your hearts—let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds.” (D&C 64:11.) But men often are unwilling to leave it to the Lord, fearing perhaps that the Lord might be too merciful, less severe than is proper in the case”
I like that last line. I have felt that way from time-to-time. That Heavenly Father would be too nice to the person who hurt me. You want revenge and for the other person to feel the same degree of pain you experienced. But the truth is that bitterness and anger only hurt the person holding the thoughts, not the perpetrator of the offense. That is why God commands us to forgive ALL men and women. He wants us to be happy.
It seems to me we all expect to be easily forgiven by others but than struggle to extend them the same courtesy. And perhaps the notion of ‘forgetting’ makes forgiveness seem too daunting a task. I know I’ve felt that way on occasion. In some cases truly forgetting the behavior would be the opposite of what the Lord wants us to do. For instance, a woman being abused should not hold bitterness and anger towards her abuser but she should also seek to remove herself from the situation. Forgetting and going back to the abuser would not be a wise thing to do.
Plus, some hurts we have in life are not sealed events. Some have potential for continual hurt. I’ve felt that at times. I think I’ve forgiven and then a fresh wound would occur. Trying to forget seems to overwhelming to do on a day-after-day basis. ‘Remembering graciously’ doesn’t seem so bad.
So don’t worry about forgetting. Leave that on the Lord’s shoulders. If we can do it the atonement will work with us and make us better, more sanctified people.
President Kimball again:
“In the midst of discordant sounds of hate, bitterness and revenge expressed so often today, the soft note of forgiveness comes as a healing balm. Not least is its effect on the forgiver.
I’m going to work on forgiveness and trying to turn my burdens over to the Lord for His “yoke is easy, and [His] burden is light.”
What do you all think about forgiving and forgetting? (Sorry for the somewhat rambling post. Was just working things out while I wrote)
So yesterday I posted my dating resume to the blog and it got a ton of hits. Originally it was more of a joke than a serious dating idea but maybe I’m on to something? My friend suggested I simply the post the resume and that seemed like a good idea.
So forgive the repetition but here goes.
Here’s some things about me to recommend me to your single friends out there:
I’m in my early 30s and look like this
I’m a great athlete and love beautiful lakes, rivers and oceans. Swam 5 open water swims with 2 more to come this year.
I also can kick most anybody’s butt. I’m tough as nails. MMA is my specialty.
I’m also a great reader, philosopher and deep thinker. Love good conversation and debate.
I also love the arts, movies, music and theater and the symphony. Here I am after performing at Hale Center Theater
I take great joy in writing both this blog and my recently completed nanowrimo book
Looking for a great cook? I’m that too. I love to entertain and form groups. I’ve had a book club for over 3 years and I give cooking lessons to my friends.
I’m also a great friend and aunt. Loyalty, honesty and friendship are everything to me. Always have been.
My friend Emily and I at a book signing
Stephanie, Angie, Camille and I in Hawaii. Dear friends
Emilee and Rachel in Hawaii (I love Hawaii and love to travel)
I work from home for Poler LLC and love being my own boss and having freedom
Lastly my faith is everything. Without it I would just be an anxiety ridden, unhappy mess. I would sooner give up breathing than give up my faith.
So there you go. That’s my online resume for any guys out there to read. I think I’m pretty great. Not perfect but got a lot going for me. I’m fun and try really hard to be a good friend. I work hard, am honest and I know what my many flaws are and am working to do better.
So if you know someone who is single show him this page and then let him decided for himself if he wants to be set up with me. That should make your life easier. Who knows right!
This will be an intentionally cryptic post. Sometimes I wish I could be more forward than I am on my blog. I know I’m pretty forward but I honestly wish I could be even more so. However, I try to only talk about myself and allow others to publicize their life if they chose to (which I highly recommend as it is thoroughly therapeutic.) As the song says:
I am what I am
I am my own special creation
So come take a look
Give me the hook or the ovation
It’s my world that I want to have a little pride in
My world, and it’s not a place I have to hide in
Life’s not worth a darn ’til you can say
“Hey world, I am what I am!”
I am what I am
I don’t want praise
I don’t want pity
I bang my own drum Some think it’s noise I think it’s pretty
And so what if I love each sparkle and each bangle?
Why not try to see things from a different angle?
Your life is a sham ’til you can shout out loud: “I am what I am!”
(Btw, is there a better description of me than that song?)
As I was saying. I was sitting alone at night lost in my thoughts, and I started thinking about a question asked to me by a friend when discussing a problem in my life. She said ‘What do you hope for?’. It’s such a simple question but so hard to answer. What do any of us hope for?
The answer is simple and complicated at the same time.
I hope for an eternal family with a companion who loves me forever.
I hope to always have good friends. Friendship is hope. Almost all the love I’ve had in my life has been from friends. I love that in the Greek language the word love is actually 4 different words, agape, philos, eros and storge. Agape is especially moving as it means a love so great we would sacrifice all for it. Fits with the scripture- greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
I hope for a healthy body that can really be used to inspire other people. I am healthy now but I know if I looked healthier to the average Joe I could do more good. This motivates me to keep trying.
I dream of writing a book based on my life and my struggles. My sister is the writer in the family but I have lots of ideas, both fiction and non-fiction that I think would be terrific books. Its starting and having the time to keep at it that keeps that dream deferred.
I dream of the ocean on a daily basis and can hear the wish, wish of the tide accompanying my life and keeping me calm. I feel sad that this year will go buy without a glimpse of the ocean. Someday I want to own a house near a beach. Any beach.
I hope to contribute to the world in a meaningful way. I think I do but I want to do more. I want the world to know Rachel existed. I still haven’t figured out what my big contribution is going to be. Maybe it’s this blog and if it is I better be sure to make it authentic and the true Me. Hmmmm
There are many more things I hope for. I could spend all day.
But at the moment many of my dreams are deferred. I think a lot of us have to defer our dreams. I love the Langston Hughes poem and had it on my mind today:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
I don’t know what it does? Probably some of everything? That’s all I will say, but I have moments where it dries up, festers, stinks, sweetens, sags, weighs me down and even explodes. I’m a bit of a control freak and a dream deferred is the ultimate loss of control.
It’s a dream deferred and I don’t want to wait!
So those are my thoughts and as almost nobody reads my pondering posts, I will say goodnight to myself, and try to do some actual dreaming. Sigh…
Anyone who knows me knows that friendship is everything. As someone who has never really been in love aside from family, my friends have been my main source of support in life. It is hard to think of a great moment in my life that wasn’t accompanied by or inspired by my friends.
I’ve had lots of different types of friends over the years and some of them have fallen out of touch but many have been by my side through the years. I have my flaws but I think one of my strengths is being a good friend. My friends know me and if they want it, I know them.
This week a long time friend of mine came and visited. Over the years we have shared many highs and lows, tears and fears and a fair share of anxiety and laughs. Now she is dating a nice man and things are looking great. I was so happy I wanted to jump up and down. It was a great moment brought about by the years of deep and abiding friendship. I will treasure that moment.
“Joseph Smith taught that “friendship is one of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism.’”That thought ought to inspire and motivate all of us because I feel that friendship is a fundamental need of our world. I think in all of us there is a profound longing for friendship, a deep yearning for the satisfaction and security that close and lasting relationships can give… if the consummate Christian attribute of charity has a first cousin, it is friendship. To paraphrase the Apostle Paul slightly, friendship “suffereth long, and is kind; [friendship] envieth not; … seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; … [friendship] never faileth.”
I love the idea that friendship is the grand fundamental principle of my faith, and I would say all faiths. To be a loyal, kind, true friend is the greatest gift we can give anyone. I am lucky to have had many such friends in my life.
The other day I was feeling a little blue and my friends Jill and Melissa sent me flowers with the sweetest note of encouragement.
One time when I was in college after my grandfather and cousin had passed away my friend Casi insisted I go to dinner with her and get out of my apartment. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. I’m proud to say we are still friends to this day (thanks to facebook 🙂 ).
Last year I visited Maryland for the first time in 10 years and it was so great to see that all the girls I visited that once were my friends still have that special bond.
I’ve mentioned on this blog my special friendship with my friend Emily and how I feel God directed us to each other. I could the say the same for my dear friends Camille or Julia who I don’t get to see near as much as I would like (in my dream world I’d see all my friends everyday!). The great thing is when I do see them the connection is still there, the bond still solid.
Sometimes the friendship is immediate like with my friend Adrienne where I met her and almost instantly knew we needed to be friends. Sometimes it builds gradually like with my friend Jill until it is deeply important to me.
I think of my friend Miriam or Suzanna who have maintained a presence in my life all these years and are somehow always there for me when I need them and hopefully vice versa.
There are new friends like Etsuko who I’ve only known for 2 months but I feel like we have been friends for years. Or there is my friend Kate who I felt a bond with almost immediately when we met last year at the clinic. Life is about that bond for me.
I think of my friend Stephanie who has never failed to inspire me no matter her size. I will always treasure the first time we really became friends at a Michael Buble concert no less 🙂
I think of all the great traveling I’ve done with dear friends such as Rachel, Sarah, Emilee and Megan. Those memories are some of the best of my life.
There is my friends Polly and Tennile who proved that visiting teaching really can create lasting friendships.
My friend Aimee who was cool enough to accept a girl who came up to her and said ‘My name is Rachel. I need a friend. Let’s get together’. (For real). She is the bravest person I know.
Special shout out to all of my swim friends and trainers who have become so dear to me. I would not be the tremendous athlete 😉 I am today without all of your love and support.
I think of book club and the great discussions we’ve had over the years. Images come through my mind full of smiles, heart to hearts, and laughs with dear friends.
For every single person who has been there for me on facebook and twitter. I live alone but I rarely feel lonely because of you.
The list could go on and on and there are so many I didn’t name. I love you all! (haven’t had many friends who are guys. Not sure why. Ready to make some 🙂 )
When I think back on my life many of the happiest times are laughing with my friends; and I can reminisce fondly over hours of conversation pondering philosophy, religion, life, boys, crushes, politics, books, and whatever else is going on. Whenever I drive by my old house in American Fork I wax nostalgic of all of the great friendships I had there during one of the roughest personal periods of my life. They saw me through it and I came out alive 🙂 . It’s no accident that at the end of that tough period of my life where did I go, on a hotel holiday mini-vacation with my friends. It was a victory for all of us.
I honestly think of my Grandma as one of my best friends, and I love nothing more than chatting with her about my life and learning about her life.
Perhaps I have an unrealistic or overly-nostalgic view of friendship, and yet the vision has been met time and time again and for that I’m very grateful. I’ve learned a lot from all of my friends, a lot about kindness, courage, compassion, charity, strength, nurturing and even how to be a better friend.
I recognize that people have different ways of expressing love and friendship, and I am trying to be more open to those expressions. I certainly can use all of the love I can get however its expressed. I’m grateful to anyone who touches my life for good and after watching the horror of yesterday’s shooting am grateful for what I do have in my life.
Thank you to all of my friends. I hope I have been half the friend to you as you’ve all been to me. God bless you!
Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above
Thru words and deeds of those who love.
What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.
When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee
Not to be morbid but if I died tomorrow I would want this blog page printed out and given to people. It is the story of my life.
What greater thing is there for two human souls
than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen
each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow,
to share with each other in all gladness,
to be one with each other in the
silent unspoken memories?
Lately I must admit that I’ve felt a little discouraged, ok maybe a lot discouraged. I’m 31 years old and have never been in love. At this point I am beginning to wonder if it will happen. I never date and when I do go out it doesn’t feel close to a match. Recently I’ve had my faith shaken that I can even read a person. My trust that human beings are who they say they are has been shattered.
Now I have many people in my life who love me but aside from my parents I’ve never really experienced GREAT LOVE. I’m not talking about the love of fairy tales but the kind where a person wants my happiness more than their own. The kind of love where we start a life together and boldly face challenges. I know it is not perfect but at least it should begin with excitement and sparkle. It’s someone who is loyal and honest, who isn’t afraid to go through the muddy patches of life by my side. Someone who will be my friend and will KNOW me, and I will KNOW them.
I don’t even know if I would recognize it at this point if I saw it. The whole love thing honestly feels like Santa Claus in my life. Something adults tell you is so wonderful but never seems to quite happen.
I don’t mean to be over-dramatic or sad but I really wonder- can you live a full, rich, textured life and never fall in love? Even if love ended poorly it seems I would have at least had a full life experience.
People say you should never marry your first love but at this point I will have little choice in the matter :). I know I have lots of flaws but I think if someone gave me a chance I would be a darn good partner. I would be loyal, honest, hard working and a great friend. If there is anything I value in life it is being a great friend.
It does make me ask the question- What’s wrong with me and why does everyone else seem to be able to figure this whole love thing out? And not only do most seem to figure out the love quandary many people do so repeatedly. I have a friend who has been married 4 times. How can you fall in love 4 times! I can’t figure it out once.
I used to think it was just my weight that was keeping me from great love but now I’m an athlete and no difference.
I know that God has His own time table for me but I had never dealt with the possibility that He might not have it in the cards for me to experience great love. While I can never lose faith, I do have to acknowledge that it may not be part of my plan. He knows why but it may not be for me in this life.
And please don’t tell me to try online dating or regale me with stories of how hard marriage is. I get all of that (and done the online dating many times. I still have a profile but it is not for me). I just want to experience great love. Doesn’t everyone? That’s all I’m saying but I don’t know if I ever will. Sigh…
Anyway, back to the original question- can you lead a full and rich life and never fall in love? I’m not just asking this to engender pity or sympathy I really want to know can a life be considered fully lived without such an essential life experience? If you listened to music from any era or read literature or poetry the answer would clearly be no. But what do you think?
I don’t really expect a response on this one but feel free. I’m just sending it out there as a way to process my life. There it is my internet friend. The great question of my life…
Today I have had a lot on my mind. Trying to decide to have surgery, getting immersed in a new ward (which went great btw. More on that to come)etc. Where did I turn?- yes to the scriptures, prayer and friends but also to Mr. Oscar Wilde and his play An Ideal Husband. Who would have thought that a gay man from the late 19th century would have so much to to teach a Mormon girl in 2012.
The play is about a politician who has a past unbeknownst to all of his friends including the silly Lord Goring. Unfortunately this past is used as blackmail and all pandemonium breaks free. Well, here are some quotes that made me laugh and some that made me think:
Lord Arthur Goring: Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear. Other people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself.
Lord Caversham: I don’t know how you stand society. A lot of damned nobodies talking about nothing. Lord Arthur Goring: I love talking about nothing, Father. It’s the only thing I know anything about.
Lord Arthur Goring: I’m sorry, Father, but the truth is, this is not my day for talking seriously. Lord Caversham: Well, what do you mean, sir? Lord Arthur Goring: I mean that I only talk seriously on the first Tuesday of every month. Between noon and three.
Lord Arthur Goring: Rather than risk losing your love, he would do anything. Has he not been punished enough? Gertrude: We’ve both been punished. I set him up too high. Lord Arthur Goring: Do not set him down now too low.
(I like this one when thinking of couples I know after a break up. Someone once too high, suddenly becomes too low.)
Lord Arthur Goring: Gertrude, it is not the perfect, but rather the imperfect who have need of love. Gertrude: You seem to know a great deal about it all of a sudden. Lord Arthur Goring: Oh, I hope not. All I know, Gertrude, is that it takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it. And even more courage to see it in the one you love. Gertrude, you have more courage than any woman I have ever known. Do not be afraid now to use it.
I think that last one is true of yourself. Don’t you have those moments where you see yourself in all its tainted glory? I do. Have had those moments lately (something about turning 31. You must face your own mortality, your own value to the world). I feel closer to God and Jesus Christ than ever before. In fact, I haven’t felt their presence as palpably in my life since my mission.
It is certainly true that ‘it is not the perfect, but rather the imperfect who have need of love.’ I’m proof of that! We all are. (Unless the perfect man really is out there and if so please show yourself to me at once!)
“To guide our own craft, we must be captain, pilot, engineer; with chart and compass to stand at the wheel; to watch the winds and waves, and know when to take in the sail, and to read the signs in the firmament over all. It matters not whether the solitary voyager is man or woman; nature, having endowed them equally, leaves them to their own skill and judgment in the hour of danger, and, if not equal to the occasion, alike they perish.”
There are moments in life when you get to know yourself- Aren’t those tough? but we need them to see our true potential. Working on that right now, the solitude of self…