21 September 2011

Responsible Is Sometimes A Four-Letter Word

Many years ago, during my sophomore year in college, I was horribly offended by a roommate's boyfriend. Unbeknownst to him, of course. My roommate said they were discussing our apartment and somehow started assigning them familial roles. Her boyfriend said I was like the mother of the apartment. I was not pleased. To my 20 year-old self this was most unfortunate. No one wants to be known as 'motherly' at the age of 20. I assumed it meant I was frumpy, overly responsible, and bossy. None of these are known to attract members of the opposite sex.

Flash forward to today. After a full day of subbing, I came home to find we only had one roll of toilet paper. After eating and taking a moment (or a couple hours) to relax, I cleaned up the kitchen, took out the garbage and recycling, and ran to the store for the aforementioned toilet paper, paper towels, and milk. As I was pulling into my complex's apartment, I noticed that my roommate who had come in as I was leaving had not bothered to close the front door. I was in the middle of grabbing my bags and grumbling about the open door when I realized I had again become the mother of my apartment. Maybe I never stopped.

05 September 2011

The Advantage of Gaining Perspective and Having the Spirit

Re-reading my last post, I realize it is bleaker than I intended. I was in a fairly self-pitying, Eyeore-ish state of mind that is now captured forever in Friday's post. The thing is, I'm not generally like that. I'm generally a happy person, even with as frustrating as my life is at the moment. This is a prime example of how one tiny little straw can break the camel's back and then the camel focuses on all the other straw that came before it and suddenly all the camel can see is a pile of horrible things that have accumulated. With that kind of obsessive focus, it all looks wrong and sad.

Yes, there are quite a few things that I want, that I feel are good things to want, that I do not have. Yes, I have wanted most of them for a while now and it is getting exhausting to keep looking forward and moving forward without seeing them on the horizon. And yes, when I think about it, I feel like a huge loser for being almost 33, underemployed, and unable to support myself. It is easy to compare myself to friends who are building careers, families, houses, futures really, that I am not able to build right now. That comparative mindset is easy to get into and hard to get out of without help.

Thankfully, I have wonderful friends and family who both sympathize and kindly suggest I get outside of my own head. Additionally, I have my faith, my covenants, the scriptures, and the gift of the Holy Ghost to also kindly, but firmly, suggest I stop feeling sorry for myself and get to work. Yesterday morning, as I was preparing for my Primary lesson, I was reading in 3 Nephi 18 and was struck by a scripture that I had never really paid attention to before. Christ is visiting the Nephites and is praying for them. The first prayer He gives, which I do remember, asks that the Holy Ghost be given to His disciples and those who believe on their words. The second prayer He gives asks that His disciples be purified and that those who believe on their words also be purified. That passage made me think about what it means to be purified. It is not an easy process. Purifying water takes intense heat and/or very strong chemicals. Purifying metals takes even more intense heat and requires the melting of the metal. These are not pleasant processes for the water or the metal. Neither is the purification of the soul.

These trials and tribulations I'm being asked to go through are not punishments nor are they meant to make me feel lost or alone. They are meant to purify me. The only reason I feel punished, lost, or alone, is because I lose perspective and forget to ask for help in keeping that perspective. Having perspective does not make the trials disappear, nor does it make them suddenly lighter or easier; it does, however, make the burden bearable. It makes it possible for me to stand up, brush myself off, and move forward knowing that at some point I will a) see the reason behind them and b) see the fruits of my moving forward in faith. It may take decades or it may be next month, but at some point I will know it has all been worth it, rather than just believing it now.

So yes, I will probably still feel like the last person invited to join the members-only country club that is adulthood and I will probably still whine about it at times. But I'll also be moving forward, focused on my faith and (hopefully) less obsessed with the pile of trials I'm sifting through.

02 September 2011

Accumulated Realizations

I will be the first to point out that I am not happy tonight. In fact, I am grumpy and sad and angry about things over which I have no control. I am also being extremely ungrateful by being so after having so many prayers answered with my niece's safe surgery and fast recovery. However, the following are things I have realized or learned that I'm not exactly thrilled about.

  • Months of work in property management have illustrated that there are loads of obnoxious, loud, insufferable, entitled people who can't be bothered to live by the simplest of social norms or act like adults, but seem to have no consequences or repercussions because they are loud and insufferable enough to get their way a majority of the time.
  • At the age of 32, I do not want to be living with three roommates. One roommate, tops. I like my space.
  • It isn't the active rejection that makes these single years so difficult. In those cases it is easy to get angry, indulge in ice cream, angry girl music, and rants to long-suffering friends and then get over it. It is the years of passive rejection in which no one shows a bit of interest that wear me down. It eats at my confidence and my hope like no other.
  • I am apparently not destined to work at a job I enjoy or that pays a living wage.
  • Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet was once removed from a school reading list in Virginia because of its depiction of Mormons as kidnappers and women-enslavers.
  • "No mater what" and "Thy will be done" are some of the hardest phrases in the English language. Especially when those phrases encompass the realization that there is only the steep and difficult path in front of one and that there is no way of knowing if it just stays that way until the end or if there might be some happy days ahead.