Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's been a long road, getting from there to here

 Well, first I will catch up a bit since I've been out of the blogging realm for the past month and a half or so... haha

I am home in my lovely state of Nevada now!

The Mormon Mesa with the Bunker Mountain in the Background
Tractors are common in Overton!
The Muddy River. See? Not all deserts are dry!

Lovely Overton Nevada.
Forrest in the middle of a desert huh?
I have lived here for a large portion of my life, probably around 13 years... And all I can truly say is that it has been dusty. And I love it.

Since I've been home I've mostly been making plans for my LDS mission. For those of you who do not know what that is, it's a time when a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, commonly known as Mormons, (a nick name given to us for an additional book of scripture that we use accompanying the Bible, The Book of Mormon) goes out and proclaims the gospel. For males it is usually 2 years, for females it is usually 18 months. We fill out a bunch of paperwork and based off of that paperwork, we are called to a location to preach. I myself, was called to the Brazil, Belo Horizonte mission. When you open your calling, it is an extremely exciting time for a prospective missionary. If you want to see me open my call, it's actually posted to YouTube by my good friend John. Here is the link:

Me opening my mission call

Unfortunately, Brazil has a large amount of paperwork to fill out for my Visa... and it's taking a long time. haha, but that's good. I'll get to spend time with my family for the last time for 2 years.

To continue, I finished my Spring Semester at BYU-I, receiving nearly all A's, with one A- in my cello lessons. I'm disappointing to myself, I know. It is my goal to get an A in that class so bad... But I'll have to wait til my next semester in a long time to try again. I guess that's what I get for taking 19 credits. oh well. haha

I'm sad that I won't get to see my roommates again though. I've had some good times with them... Alex and Taylor, you two and I have been great friends since we've roomed together. I'm also glad to have had 3 other roommates that were better than most: Jeremy, Nate, and Blaine. I had a lot of good times with all of you guys. It was a bit of a pain rooming with you Alex, you taking up the room with your monster computer, but I love you still. :) haha

Alex's computer... beast I know.
Alex (left) and Taylor (right)

Me and Taylor!
Alex is tired from Church...
 I'm so glad to have had a great time for my first year of college. I learned a lot, and I'm better for it truly.

Well honestly, there has been something that I feel I should write on. I've been getting this feeling for a while, and I'm finally doing it! (At 1 AM no-less!)

Today, I would like to talk to you about a virtue I believe everyone could work on. Patience. We all know something about patience right? Well let me tell you what I know about patience. It can be summed up in one word. SO, the word I choose to describe patience is...


Odd word to use, huh? "Why is it focal?" you might ask. Well let me tell you why, because there are two reasons.

The first reason is: The focal point of a circle is the middle. We can understand why patience can be considered the center, based on what patience affects. Patience leads to humility. Patience's close neighbor of the word suffer. When we suffer, we bear burdens, when we bear burdens we become strong as well as humble. I believe that if everyone was patient, we would have less fighting, mistakes, distrust. When you have someone that just annoys you, you hardly ever take the time to listen to what they have to say. I had a roommate like this, however I had to control myself with patience in order to be able to listen to him. He really needed my help, and I could have just brushed him off like everyone else. Or I could be a better person that I know I could be and wait through what he has to say.

I believe that the other definition of Focal, Of or relating to the focus of a lens, is just as important. I see that when we have different degrees of patience, we see things differently, such as through a different lens. Things get clearer and more focused when we have more patience.

I have stated why I used the word focal... but I haven't stated how you can become more patient. In truth, I can't. I don't know what pushes you to your edge... for me it's often flowery-talk or over-compliments. But what is important to me is to not follow your impulses. For some reason, we have this ability to be prompted to do something immediately, and that something never seems like a good idea after you think about it. building patience is building a resistance to this impulse in my opinion. So that's a place to start. I'm sure you can figure it out on your own after that.

Well, that's my small rant. To close it up real fast, I'd like to use some Mormon doctrine. This is something that I have thought on a lot, and it has been told to me how patience is the core of religion itself. In Moroni 7:43-45 which state how without charity, we cannot have hope, and without hope, we cannot have faith. But in verse 45 it describes what charity actually is, and the very first words to describe it are "suffereth long". After reading the verse, you could see that at even the root of charity IS patience. Charity is often described as the "Pure love of Christ". I don't see why Patience doesn't fit into that description. In D&C 4:5-6 we read the Christ-like attributes. Two of which are: temperance and patience. I believe that we cannot have charity until we have patience. So it is important to find it for yourself in these stressful and tough days.

"Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind."
-Leonardo da Vinci

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What Makes You Different

What is beauty? Do you believe that what is beautiful to one person is beautiful to another? Is beauty universal?

My belief is that it is not. Beauty is complicated and simple at the same time.

First off, I believe that beauty is not just the measure of a single attribute of a particular person or object, but is instead cumulative of several attributes. Realizing what you would qualify as beautiful is probably the hardest thing, because everyone and everything has more under the surface.

A common misconception is that for an object or person to be beautiful is that it must be pretty. I don't believe this is the case. Beauty is comprised of several different attributes, but what those attributes are are different for each individual. Think of your grandmother for instance, they may not be the prettiest person you know, but chances are they are one of the most beautiful people you know.

Since I am a musician, I compare a lot of what I see as beautiful to music. For a specific answer, I will bring up a composition by one of my favorite composers mentioned in a previous blog: Shostakovich. I had the opportunity two summers ago to Shostakovich's 8th String Quartet in its fullness. Each individual movement in the piece describes a particular emotion. This was written for a movie on WWII, but Shostakovich put his emotions into it for different reasons. This was going to be his suicide note, because he hated communism and was just diagnosed with Polio. (Reference to the wikipedia page (which I know is not usually accepted in professional works, but I am not a pro) can be found here)

Shostakovich 8th String Quartet Movements 1 & 2 (with attacca)
Shostakovich 8th String Quartet Movement 3
Shostakovich 8th String Quartet Movements 4 & 5 (with attacca)

If you find the time to listen to all 20 minutes of this quartet, I promise you won't be disappointed. If you don't listen to it, I can tell you what the emotions that are felt with it.
1st: sadness, from a mourner's point of view
2nd: Anger, from an oppressed person's point of view
3rd: Fear and hopelessness, from a person hiding from the SS
4th: Fear, from the person inside with the SS on the outside "knocking"
5th: Depression.

As a whole quartet, I describe this as beautiful.  You can't get these combined emotions out of a Justin Bieber song, or even a CD.

True beauty is not in the obtaining of an object, but what was done to get the object. Beauty is experience, it takes time to create. But time only makes things more beautiful.

How can you realize what is beautiful? How do you know when someone else is beautiful to you? The answer is: I don't know. I can't make up your mind, only you can. You will know beauty when the time is right. And when you say something or someone is beautiful, you will know it with all your heart. To me, saying something is beautiful is the highest compliment I can give, because in saying it is beautiful, I'm saying it is a part of me.

"Tremendous consequences come from little things."
-Nora Nyland

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Say What You Need to Say

"Have you ever wondered which hurts the most: saying something and wishing you had not, or saying nothing, and wishing you had?"

I ended my last blog with this quote, and I've been thinking a lot about the this question lately. I would like to talk about the importance of saying what you need to say.

Today in Fast and Testimony meeting I felt prompted to go up and bear my testimony, but I felt discouraged because of all the other people so anxious on bearing their testimony. I didn't want to take their chance to bear their testimony away after all. But then my roommate Alex told me about the importance of bearing your testimony, especially when you feel it regardless of the circumstances. Sometimes it's not important if "you" do it, but it is because someone else needs to hear your testimony. Well I attempted to bear my testimony after that, and I was unable to do so because we ran out of time, and so I decided to write this blog to express my feelings on the importance of saying what needs to be said.

In the Book of Mormon, there is a particular section that is named The Book of Alma, which is my favorite section in all of the Book of Mormon. Last night I read my favorite chapter in the whole book, chapter 32. In this chapter Alma the Younger, (Perhaps my favorite Prophet from the Book of Mormon) Amulek and several others came to a place called Antionum (Anti-own-um) in order to preach the gospel. The people that lived here were once of the same nationality as Alma and Amulek, the Nephites (knee-fight-s). However, the people rebelled against the church of God and established their own church, and they despised their brothers, the Nephites. They took upon them the name of their leader, Zoram, and were called the Zoramites. In religion that they formed, they worshiped in a great and beautiful synagogue. However, you would have to be rich and high in class in order to worship here, and so all of the poor were refused the right to worship.

While Alma and Amulek were teaching in the city, only the poor received them. Alma then decided teach them one of the most important lessons ever. In chapter 32, Alma describes what faith is. He compares it to a seed, and how when planted it will begin to grow. And when it grows, you will be able to determine if it is a good seed when it grows because "it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swellings motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves-It must needs be that this is a good seed"

What I love so much about this story is the importance of saying something. In my application of this belief, when you bear your testimony or say something you believe, it becomes that little seed. People that honestly care for what you have to say will often think of what you have said, and they will start to turn it over again and again in their mind. Eventually they start to understand the words you have said. This is what the seed of faith feels like. This is why it is important to say what you need to say. If you say something with love and good intent, then what you say will have impacting meaning. It is more important to say something than nothing at all.

I would like to relate an experience I have with not saying what I needed to say. I had a neighbor once. His name was Tim. Every day I walked home from school, something that would happen when both of my parents were working, my neighbor Tim would be outside working on his yard. He always tried to stop me and talk, tell me about something he was doing in his yard this week. I was very young, only about 13 and I was always more intent on getting home than stopping and talking. Then one day, while walking home from school Tim tried to talk to me as usual. However, something was unusual about this time. Something, told me to stop this time and talk with him. It was obvious enough how troubled he was... his eyes and body movements told me something was wrong. But in my childishness, I cut him off and went home. The next day when I came home, there was no greeting from my neighbor, instead there were police officers informing me of what happened. My neighbor Tim, shot and killed himself while I was at school. 

I... failed. I will never forget my mistake. I can't blame myself for the reason why he decided to end his life, but I might have been able to stop him. When I sit alone, I often remember the face he had the last day. The small talk he tried to initiate and I ignored... I can't erase that memory, I can only change myself. That is the best repentance I can offer.

I want you to understand, you need to act on your instincts and promptings. It is a horrible feeling to not say something, but wish you had for the rest of your life. I just wish I didn't have to loose a friend to learn that lesson. I hope that you can learn the lesson from me so that this doesn't become your mistake.

"You cannot lift another soul until you are standing on higher ground than he/she is. You must be sure if you would rescue the man, that you yourself are setting the example of what you would have him be. You cannot light a fire in another soul unless it is burning in your own soul." -Harold B. Lee