Monday, April 27, 2009

Maybe...Maybe Not...

Maybe it was hormonal.
Maybe it was something I ate.
Maybe it was environmental.
Maybe it was a chemical imbalance.
Maybe it was pyschological.
Maybe it was just a fleeting moment.
Maybe it was nuerological.

Maybe not.

It was overwhelmingly coincidental, emotionally touching and shockingly alarming.

The first time I felt it.. what Mormons call the Holy Spirit or Ghost... was all of the above and more. It's an uncontrollable swelling in your chest, a large sigh of *crap, is this really happening and just pure insanity. I actually prefer to call it the Holy Spirit because Holy Ghost just sounds scary...although I suppose that's the best description --scary. It's amazingly, surprinsingly and completely scary and it touched me and changed me.

At first.. I told myself maybe. Maybe I just needed it and was making it up. But that's if it happened once. Maybe twice. And this was definitely more than once or twice.

As I began investigating the Church (Mormons call us "investigators"), I was told of the Holy Spirit's power and how "by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things" (Moroni 10:5) which baffled me. In fact, I think I thought WTF. Yes.. there's a curse word in that acronmyn. What do you mean pray to know and find out for myself? Aren't you supposed to tell me what to believe? Nope. Mormons don't tell you what to believe. They teach you about their Gospel, their doctrines and then... it's up to you to pray about it and find out for yourself.

So I did that.

I prayed.

And I prayed.

And then sometimes I forgot... but then when I remembered, I prayed some more.

And it wasn't immediate.

It wasn't consistent.

But it happened.

I got an answer. Not a literal God's almighty voice appearing in the flesh in front of me.. but I got my answer. Or answers. Because.. if you know me, you know I'm full of questions.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

It Used to Be Just Me...

Nobody likes to admit they rely on anything.

Ask anyone who drinks a cup of a coffee a day whether they could live without it and the immediate confident response is "of course" but often followed with .. "if I wanted to.."

Challenge someone to quit smoking and piece of cake! Bet is on! ...That is, until they cease to quit. "I'm not a quitter!" some say... or "I'll quit until I feel like smoking again..." So in other words, you didn't really quit, you just took a break.

Moreover, nobody likes to admit they rely on anyone.

We are a strong species known as arrogant, pompous, self-righteous and downright cocky. Humble we may aim to be but shortfall we likely encounter. Moral we may claim to reflect but justification we likely retort.

Society teaches us to be self-reliant, independent and strong. Effective habits are derived from within and despite the fact that environment and interactions with others eventually impact us... it all seems to start from within. Our most important relationship is with ourself because that is the only person we have at the end of the day.

But what if yourself is just not enough?

A couple months ago, I went on a short term assignment to Northern California. I was excited for the opportunity to reconnect with all my friends who lived in the bay and start a new project with a new group. The change was going to be refreshing, invigorating and exciting!

It was there that I learned the true art of independence. Because as much as I loved my friends, especially the ones who made me genuinely laugh until my cheeks were sore from over-use and the ones who would listen to me moan and groan about life and offered meaningful advice for change no matter how many times my complaints seem to repeat prior complaints...-- they weren't always around. In fact, most of them were in serious relationships, separated from me by distance, occupied by work or married.

And as much as I loved talking to my family everyday...about how the dog was lying in a weird position and making the cutest sound ever, how happy the new home was making them or how exciting film school was along with the Big Apple...the rents and the bro weren't around when I felt like grabbing a movie last minute, eating dinner with company or going to the gym for a work out.

So alone, I learned how to cook and the art of using tupperware for my leftovers. Alone, I skipped to the gym and didn't feel guilty about working 10 minutes or 90. Alone, I went to the movies and sat by couples, laughing and enjoying the movie (where you can't really talk to anyone anyway) whilst having a blast myself. Alone, I lived my life and loved it.

But something was missing. Something was empty. It was just me .. and it was great, yet it wasn't. What was I missing? A new outfit? A new haircut? A new boyfriend? A new apartment? A new job? And with those thoughts... I started wondering if there was more to life than the happiness I had so far. And somehow, those wandering thoughts, that curiosity for more.. led to me going to Church.

Me? Religious? Never! Having grown up in a family where religion wasn't present but principles, values, culture and tradition were heavily emphasized through actions more than words (no TV on the weekdays, family dinners were a must, filial piety was expected-not encouraged, and consideration for others came before your own needs), I never questioned what was right or wrong and welcomed debates with others to discuss the different outlooks, society's interpretation and the steady decline our morals seemed to have taken lately. I admired those who were religious but did not ever wonder what it was all about. In fact, after having a stint with attending Church every Sunday for a year in high school and subsequently witnessing the hypocritcal nature of religious college students who did not come across as "good" people which thereby lead me to stop going to Church, I could safely say I had tried it.

And then, against everything I knew and believed in... I was introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints. And that... that began my journey of not just me. I would soon get to know someone I had known all my life, but somehow forgotten. I would soon get to know the truth. I was ready and He knew.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Today is the day of miracles

I had to wake up at 6:30 this morning; a Sunday morning mind you. Those who know me well, know that isn't early. I thought I would try and elicit sympathy from those who don't know me well.

There are certain events that regardless of what time I have to rise from bed, I will do so with a smile on my face. Golf is one of those such occasions. Playing with Sophie would be another... unless she's poopy. Then I would wake up at any time after Tammy changes her. Priesthood meetings are another, and that is the reason I arose early this morning.

I left the house with plenty of time to get to the church and relax before the meeting started. However, when I turned my car on, I couldn't shift it out of park. Regardless of what I did, the car would not cooperate. I have had that happen before, and tried all the tricks that worked in the past. Nothing. I said a quick prayer. Nothing immediate. I called my mom. She told me to try the tricks I had already tried. She then said she would help me get in touch with my pops. We hung up and I had the distinct impression to lift upward on the brake pedal and then try again. I followed the impression. I ended up making it to priesthood before the first speaker had started.

No mountains were moved, no angels were seen, no voice was heard. But I know that I saw the hand of the Lord in my life this morning. Such events happen daily in my life. Recognizing them is something that helps me remember that the Lord is on my side, and that He cares enough to be a part of my life. Without a doubt, if you too have sought help from your Maker, if you look with spiritual eyes, you will notice the miracles that have happened in yours.