Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sensing a Disturbance

To date, I haven't met any Moho bloggers face-to-face (not knowingly, anyway) but I sense that we're not just connected in the blogosphere but in other more subtle ways as well. For example, I don't know this guy, but he flashed through my mind the other day. I didn't know why at the time, but perhaps it is because we can sometimes sense a disturbance when someone with whom we share a bond is in pain. I wrote this reply to his entry:

"...I'm so sorry that you and your loved ones are in anguish...thank you for your admonition, 'Brothers, don't take your families and children for granted. Don't lose sight of your blessings.' It's a timely message for me. I say that I love them, but do I show it in all my thoughts and actions? Not always, not as much as I should.

So I thank you for sharing your hard-won perspective here and I selfishly hope you will continue to do so. I will pray for you and I hope that our little online community here can be one of your sources of support.

Something that helped me when I was depressed, despondent and suicidal a few years ago was this great truth: We can not change the past, but we can change how we look at it. And because of the atonement we don't have to do it alone. The words of Isaiah and transcendent music of Handel's Messiah bear witness to me that:

'Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him. And with His stripes we are healed.' May you and your loved ones find the hope and healing He offers to us all."

After I wrote that, I continued to hear Messiah in my mind, particularly the chorus "And he shall purify" and when I looked up the scriptural basis of it, I found this reference to gold and silver:

"But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap; And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver; and there shall be they that shall offer unto the Lord offerings in righteousness." Malachi 3:1-3

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Handshakes, Hugs and Other Connections

Today at church I sought to reach out to people. I smiled more, said more hi-how-are-ya's, spoke up during a silence in our quorum discussion, and I physically touched more people, mostly men, than I usually would.

This wasn't so much a conscious decision at the time, but now I think I understand my motives. I wanted to feel a greater sense of connection. I wanted to treat others as I want to be treated. I'd read an old blog of Beck's this week about a young blond fellow who caught his eye while vacationing with his wife. Today as I sat in church with my wife, a 20-something similar to the guy in Beck's blog (below) walked in and sat about six rows in front of us. Later he introduced himself as a newly-wed member of our ward during Priesthood opening exercises. As he left to attend Elder's Quorum I made eye contact, said hello, reached out to shake his hand, welcomed him and introduced myself. In HP group I sat by a man we home teach and in back of two older fellows who have always been kind to me. After the lesson, I just lingered. I put my hand on the shoulder of the man in front of me and he turned around, we shook hands, smiled and warmly talked. I'd put my left hand on the top of the bench and he placed his right hand on mine just a few seconds.

After church there were more handshakes and back slapping, some I originated, some that sought me out. No hugs today, but it was a good warmup. If I want to the world and myself to be less homophobic about male-to-male touch, maybe I can make a small difference even if it is just one Sunday at a time.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Night Thoughts

A beautiful weekend ends with peace of the Sabbath and the hope of a warm week ahead. I can handle winter. Snow photos and Christmas warmth are among the positives, but it's the promise of spring that helps me through the darkest days. It's knowing that the days will grow longer once again. The snow will melt. We've now had three days of great mid-March weather here along the Wasatch Front and it's left me feeling much more positive about myself and the planet. I'm not unaware of problems and challenge close to home and throughout the world, but I'm grateful for many blessings:

health, home, healing
St. Patrick's day, St. George and St. Paul
meals, memories, music, Mohos
infants, information, initiative
family, friends, foundations
change, courage, commitment
light, love and learning

There's also this. One of the guys I always look forward to seeing at Church wasn't just friendly today, he actually clapped me on the back and put his hand on my shoulder. Not once but several times. Just remembering that fills me with an inner warmth to match today's sunny weather.

I'm also encouraged by the words of Joseph Smith that Sarah highlighed in her blog entry a few hours ago:

"If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do...We will ... cultivate peace and friendship with all, mind our own business, and come off with flying colors, respected, because, in respecting others, we respect ourselves."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thoughts can kill, but can words heal?

I found myself writing a reply to Beck tonight and thought I'd share it here as well:

I have also felt dead ended at times. Once it was so bad I didn't think I had any option but taking my own life. Fortunately I got help and was eventually able to envision more constructive ways to cope and move forward.

Ezra says you can be in the right spot but not have the results you seek. So true in my experience. I didn't take this photo, but I've shot ones like it. Usually the light is right only for a few moments. You can be in the right spot, but if you're not aware of the moments, you might miss it. However if you capture it vividly in your memory, it's yours forever and nothing can take it away from you. Maybe, Beck, you're in the right spot right now, or you soon will be. I love Sinatra's "love is either in your heart or on its way..." from Young at Heart.

Jay remembers not feeling a sense of belonging for a long time, me too on that one. MoHoHawaii endorses therapy. I can tell you I wouldn't be alive today without it. So on top of these ideas I'll throw in one more: bibliotherapy. It's inexpensive and sometimes quite effective.

Beck I will pray for you. I will ask our Father in Heaven to bless you now and in the hours and days ahead that you might feel His divine love, and our love, your wife's love, your children's love, the love of those you have mentored, and the love you have cast upon the waters these many years. I want to believe that we are also in your prayers, and I do believe our collective and individual prayers are more powerful than we sometimes think.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Love That Will Never Grow Old?

I saw TMIL (the man I love) today. We spent a few minutes walking and talking just hours ago. I sometimes let myself forget just how good it is to be with him. I had work and worries on my mind when lunch time arrived early on this first Monday of daylight jumbled time. I was thinking so much about other stuff that it surprised me how grateful I was to see him, to look in his eyes, to hear his voice. I've felt this affinity for him hundreds of times during the short decade of our friendship, but it never grows old. It's wonderful and it still surprises me sometimes.

Maybe this is how his wife feels when she sees him after he's been gone. Maybe this is how he feels when they're together. What a blessing will be ours if my wife and I ever again feel even a portion of this magic. Meanwhile, TMIL is here in my life, a one-sided bromance, a good friend, a great blessing, a love I doubt will ever grow old.

Worth a listen:
The Man I Love
A Love That Will Never Grow Old