Thursday, October 23, 2008


"Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." That the works of God should be made manifest in him. Typically, I have interpreted this scripture in what I still maintain to be a correct, but now consider an incomplete manner. I have always looked to the end result - the healing of this man from his blindness. It was facile for me to see how God's works were manifest in healing this man. His healing was a miracle easily attributed to God and His great works. In my subconscious, I suppose I had envisioned this blind man waiting all his life for the works of God to be manifest in him through his healing. The other day, the depth of this scripture hit me. The works of God were to be manifest in this blind man through his blindness, not just in the healing of his blindness. This caused me to think about how my trials allow God to unveil His face through and in me. Perhaps there are things that I desire and have not yet received; perhaps there are issues that I'm grappling with; or perhaps there are unanticipated losses. These very losses, struggles, or withholdings can actually be the means by which God reveals His works to me and others. It could be that because I am lacking in one area, I pursue another path that allows God to use my talents and bless lives. It could be that my attitude through trials manifests God's love and understanding. Whatever the mechanics, the trials we are given are divinely tailored to us not only so that we can endure them, but also so that our capacities and abilities are enhanced. In doing so, God's works are manifest in us.

Trials don't necessarily come as a punishment, or because we have sinned. More often they are there to refine us so that we receive God's image in our countenances. We quite literally glorify God as we pass through trials with faith because God is manifest in us through the trials. "If any man suffer as a Christian... let him glorify God on this behalf."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bad advertising

I walk by this deli every day on my way to work. And every day I chuckle to myself, because I really just don't see how this advertisement helps to bring in customers. I can think of a whole slew of things they could advertise to entice customers and get them salivating... but corned beef? First of all, corned beef isn't something that most people dream about. Secondly, ANY type of meat that would melt in my mouth makes me extremely suspicious. I don't want anything that is supposed to be chewed to dissolve in my mouth, just like that. Lastly, (and this is for Claire) I have absolutely no idea why it is necessary to put "corned beef that melts in your mouth!" in quotation marks. Any editor or English major for that matter would refuse to eat there simply based on principle.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Continuations on a theme - the theme of simplicity. It has been said that life is a zero sum game. We cannot give or take from life. It is what it is. No matter how much we may desire it, we cannot add minutes to the day. What is spent on one activity - mindless, fulfilling, or otherwise - is forever spent. We cannot regain used time. Nor can we, in our futile efforts, cause time to stand still. In D&C William McClellin was admonished, "Seek not to be cumbered." The same was Martha's subtle offense, as she was "cumbered about much serving." Often when we are rushing around, busy being cumbered, we miss the whole point. We miss the beauty that is to be had in even the most mundane actions. We bustle along, forgetting that joy is to exist in the process and journey.

Barbara Kingsolver said: "Every minute I save will get used on something else... On the other hand, attending to the task in front of me - even a quotidian chore - might make it into part of a good day, rather than just a rock in the road to someplace else." She tells a story of a farmer who decides to use draft animals instead of tractors to turn his fields. When countered with the idea that turning a field with horses takes an eternity, he replies that it indeed does. "Eternal is the right frame of mind. When I'm out there cultivating the corn with a good team in the quiet of the afternoon, watching the birds in the hedgerows, oh my goodness. I could just keep going all day. Kids from the city come out here and ask, 'What do you do for fun around here?' I tell them, 'I cultivate.'"

Running around, trying to "use our time efficiently" often times burns us out, so that we are more inclined to spend those extra minutes saved on vapid activities. If we could learn how to capture that eternal mindset, no matter what we were doing, we would feel more joyful, more fulfilled, and more connected as cognitive beings. I'm not necessarily referring to finding happiness in every moment. I think that joy has to do with acute self-awareness and connection on a spiritual level. As we focus on the moment, we begin to feel alive and aware of our own presence. Then we can glory in that life that we feel - we, as living, deliberate actors - choosing to live and act.