Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sitting, watching, waiting

As I go on my spiritual journey, I'm looking for things that speak true to me in my heart and soul. I don't want to try and impose my feelings of what is wrong or right and what is true or not. 

I belive we can't have faith without doubt. Faith does not remove doubt. Doubt is a negative way of expressing faith. You can doubt hell. You can doubt doctrines. You can doubt science. You can doubt the supernatural. You can even doubt doubt. 

All of these are expressions of faith. If faith becomes so strong, so powerful, so certain that we impose it on others and punish them for not agreeing, then our faith has taken us down the wrong path. If our doubts are so strong, so powerful, so certain that we mock and scorn those for their beliefs, then our doubt has taken us down the wrong path. 

We are defined by what we choose to belive and by what we choose not to belive. Faith and doubt are inseparable. They are like pleasure and pain, you can't really have one without the other. It's about how we manage our doubt. 

If faith gives us hope and allows us to rise and carry on in the face of our trials, faith is good. Doubt softens our certainty or arrogance, and becomes the thing that keeps our faith from being used as an authoritative force. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Journal entry exert

The past several months have been such life changing experience. I feel like I'm a new man. I have made, in my opinion and from what Connie has observed, huge changes in who I am. I feel like I am a more loving and supportive husband and father, an all around better person. Like I am really making progress with who I am and what I want to be, which is happy. 

Going to therapy with Connie I have learned many things about how I have slacked in the husband department. Over the past 16 years I have not shown Connie the love and affection she, or any woman, deserves to have. I'm not claiming to be perfect, but that I have made tremendous progress...that only took me 16 years of marriage to evev start to understand. What I've learned is a small sliver I'm sure. As we both learn and grow, I hope to be a good example to the boys and others around us, and that we can inspire them to find love and happiness in their relationships. 

I also feel like I've been on a self/soul searching journey. I feel like I've almost always struggled with spiritualness and religion. I was born into the LDS church and raised with those  beliefs as my primary spirituality. I recall as a young child that I liked going to church and it was something we did every Sunday. 

The only thing I really can say that I truly remember of my baptism are a few material things. Being nervous about the bishop interview and then being in the interview and not being able to answer the questions. The day of, I remember a few of my friends from school were there also getting baptized, standing in the hall with my dad getting my picture taken, sitting in the chapel waiting for my turn, thinking it was taking forever. I don't remember any of the talks that were given, or feeling anything spiritually special about the baptism or confirmation. I was nervous about having to do it more that once, because I had recently been to a cousins and she had to redo it several times. 

I had several times that I thought to myself after, that I had the Holy Ghost with me now, and that it would help and guide me. There were several times in my life, based on the church teachings, that I felt the "spirit" guide me. Today, I would lean towards intuition not a spirit that is supposed to be everywhere all at once. 

By the time I was getting 11-12 years old I was starting to not want to go to church. I didn't really have my own testimony, I was just borrowing or living off my parents. Another factor was that I didn't really have any friends in the church. I got along with all the boys, there were no girls, in my age group, but we were not friends. I protected Ben Gibson from the others because they picked on him and his family because they were labeled as the "weird family" in the ward. I wasn't a goody-goody either so I got along with the rebels too. I played sports so I had a few of the others boys not in either of those groups on my team, so therfore we had commonality. 

I remember having a serious talk about how I was feeling with my mom. I think it scared her and who could blame her? What parent wants to here that their child doesn't belive what they have been trying to teach them their whole life? I don't remember what was said, but I was told that I still had to go and participate. I felt like my feelings were ignored. I went and tried to do the the things I was supposed to do, kind of in an automaton state of mind. I served as the deacons quorum president for a while. 

I just pretended to be a "good church boy" for fear of punishment from then on. I probably wasn't "worthy" by church standards to advance to any of the priesthood offices. Some time around 12 years old I got into smoking, shoplifting and many other unwise endeavors that got worse as I got older. I continued to live this way until Connie got pregnant and we decided to get married. Because I was still going to church regularly I was still being instructed as to the gospel principles. Having matured, just a little, and going off the faith and testimony of others, Connie and I decided that we would repent and start living the gospel standards so that we could be married in the temple. 

Connie and I started to make an honest effort to live the and follow the gospel teachings and commandments. We attended church regularly, met with the bishop as part of the repentance/getting ready to attend the temple, read the scriptures and prayed. The next 6 years I actively and honestly lived the gospel. I did what I was supposed to do. Attend the temple, went to church, lived by the standard of the gospel and did the things that good church members do. 

As I grew in the church and started to gain my own testimony I was having questions about different issues, especially as a teacher preparing lessons. Sometimes things wouldn't feel right or make since to me from a gospel stand point. I just blew  it off as "I just don't have that level of understand yet," or some excuse to that extent. I never went to the bishop or brought it up with Connie out of fear. I don't deny that I had feelings that touched me and made me feel good as I studied or heard testimony from someone that touched on a higher level. I have also had those same feelings and experiences with things that had nothing to do with church.

I started to feel very lost. Why was I feeling this way when I was living to the best of my ability the gospel? Finally, after a few years of living this way I couldn't take it any more and admitted to Connie about how I was feeling. It was one of the hardest things I have done in my life. I was sharing something with her that could/would cause a huge amount of pain and suffering in our lives. It would bring her life crashing down, based on the churches teaching. I was scared that she'd decide that she couldn't stay with me any longer because of how I felt. 

At that point I was probably borderline atheist. I went and talked to the bishop at the time bishop Moss. I expressed my feelings and he couldn't really give me guidance other than sometimes you have to "fake it till you make it." So that's what I started doing. At first I was just going thru the motions, not really getting anything out of it. I tried again several times over the next 9 years to get that comforting feeling, never fully obtaining it. 

As Connie and I started realizing that if we didn't fix something in our marriage, we were not going to stay together. In the thick of it, I interpreted my feelings to be that we were missing something spiritual (I've realized now that the lack spiritualness I thought was there was, to me, was just a lack of connection).  So I really started to make an effort to earnestly go on my spiritual journey and make my testimony concrete. 

While working on this and working thru therapy, we were challenged to "fill our boxes." One of those boxes is a spiritual box. My resolve and comment to figure mine out was intensified greatly. I started to really soul search and decided to start by finding out about topics that, 1 I have questions about and 2 that I have people ask me about when they find out in Mormon. A few examples include: general belief, polygamy, word of Wisdom and the priesthood. 

As I dove into the work head first. I really started soul searching as I studied and learned. I came to realize that I'm tired of trying to "fake it, til I make it." I wanted to be honest with myself and my feelings. That meant that I had to let go of what I'd been taught all my life as truth and right. It was now the hardest decision I've made. I didn't take it lightly. It kept me awake at night and consumed my thoughts during the day. It was something that would have an lasting effect on everyone around me, especially my family, who are the most important thing to me in this life. 

It has been like a huge weight has been lifted off me. I know my journey is not done, but now, I'm doing it happily being true to myself. I can't even describe the elation I feel because of it. 

Doctors & Donuts

Last week Tobyn and Tanner were sick with some kind of stomach bug. In Tobyns case it only lasted 36 hours. Tanner's on the other hand lasted longer and was off and on over several days. Being the first week of school, we decided that we needed to take him to the doctor. It was a day that Connie had to work so it was just Tanner and I.

While we were siting in exam room, I noticed that Tanner had a picture of Link on his shirt. In the Zelda game series, the look of the characters changes with the different games, not a huge change, but enough that even an "old man" like myself could distinguish between the avatars. It triggered in my memory one of the many songs that come from that game franchise, so I started whistling it.

Tanner looked at me like I had lost my mind and said, "that's not the right song."  I looked at him like a loving father that needs to nicely correct his young, Nintendo playing son. I played the Zelda games growing up, in fact they were some of my favorite games, I know what I'm talking about. I said, "yeah, it's the one that has the little fairy that says 'listen' when she has something to tell you." He looked at me with the most serious face a 7 year old boy can produce, grabbed the edge of his shirt and stretched it so I could see the writing on it, The Ledgen of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

He sat there, holding his shirt, staring at me like that solved everything. "I know what game it is, I played it before you were born." Still looking at me like I escaped from the mental ward, he asked to see my phone so he could "show me" that it wasn't part of that game. Being the good dad that I am, I took the opportunity to place a wager on this misunderstanding. I bet him a donut that the song was in fact, a part of the series Wind Waker.

I had him! I could see the doubt creep into his eyes, maybe dad is right. I told him if he was right, I'd buy him a donut on the way home, and if I was right he had to buy me a donut. He looked at me a little concerned, and didn't want to. Now I was getting a little excited, he was growing uncertain, bwahaha! "I can't dad, I don't have any money to buy a donut if I lose." "Okay" I said, "I'll give you a dollar so that you can buy me a donut if you lose." The look of doubt changed into something more confident. I was taken aback he wasn't worried about losing, he just didn't have a dollar in case, by a small sliver, dad was actually right.

I dug my phone out of my pocket, the wager was set, who was going to be right and get a delicious donut... After several frustrating minutes he asked for the phone so he could find it. A couple of quick swipes of his tinny fingers and he had a YouTube video pulled up. The little stinker knew what he was looking for, a video that had all the different themed songs in a 2 hour reel. As it played he sat there at told me each part of the game that each song represents. I was wrong. I lost a bet to 7 year old and now I owed him a donut... And it was worth it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My Luv

I just wanted to write this post for My Luv and express my love for her. Connie is my best friend. We have been to hell and back more than once. Most of the hell was my own making and she still has stuck with me, for which I'm so grateful.
She is so beautiful. She works so hard to be a good wife and mother. She does a great taking care of our needs while balancing all the responsibility she has as a mother, wife, companion, lover, teacher, maid, referee, cook and many of the others hats she has to put on. She is my rock and foundation. She knows how I think and work, and keeps me grounded in many instances. I love you with every fiber of my being. I love growing old with you by my side.

Good form, bad form

This week I had an overnight in Roswell, NM (ROW). While there, the captain informed me that it was hatch green chile season. In my ignorance, I had no idea what this revelation meant. Apparently, the season starts in August and goes thru September. People roast the peppers first, then peel it and do with them what they will, dice them, eat them, make sauces or whatever dish you can come up with.

We walked a mile down the the market place to find these peppers. We got there and found the roaster not roasting. After inquiring the time table to start roasting, we had about a half hour to kill, so we went to Jimmy Johns for lunch. While there I found these "pictures of wisdom" that I found to be hilarious and informative.