Thursday, October 20

"Learning Experiences"

Yeah. Sometimes "learning experiences" is a euphemism for tough days and rougher trials. But sometimes, even though the underlying trials still exist, experiences really are all about learning, and less about pain or anything else. And, in that case, the attribution still holds true.

I had a handful of experiences over the last few days that could have easily been classed as trials. Miscommunication with other people. Frustration with colleagues. Difficulties with friends and family members. Stress from Church and life in general. In each case, I had the conscious thought, "So how am I going to respond to this? How am I going to classify it when I tell others? And how am I going to experience and view it now - in the moment?"

I tried to view them all as "learning experiences" - to see the investment of time and money as an investment in learning (since in most cases the actual investment in material things or experiences proved fruitless). And it was amazing what I actually learned. Focusing on learning good things in life can make an otherwise awful experience actually enjoyable. It can give purpose in doing things that seem useless. And it can help me understand people, even when they seem to be doing things that, from my limited perspective, seem totally irrational.

And so it all eventually made sense. Instead of feeling victimized, I felt curious. Instead of frustrated, more aware. In each case, I learned something that will help me in the future.

I think that's one of the keys to my thriving (not just surviving) in the Church - I look at experiences in life the same way. So I'm not attracted to women. Why? Where does it come from? How transient is it? What impacts or modifies it? How does that impact my relationships? What can I learn from it? How can it make me a better person? What do I need to be careful of? How does it affect who I really am inside? How does it interplay with all the rest of the problems in my head? How does it affect the reality of the Plan of Salvation and its application in my life? How should it affect my goals? How does it affect my relationship with God? How does it affect my testimony and my faith?

Maybe that's a secret in life - realizing that every experience is designed to help me learn to be happy. I think it is. And, from that perspective, as long as I'm doing the right things, my life will always be perfect. Difficult? Yeah. Painful? Probably. But still perfect - full of one learning experience after another.


  1. Seriously, how do you always say exactly what I need to hear? Your posts are always paralleling my experiences and learning! Thank you for bringing me understanding and encouragement. You are truly a blessing to me. I'm learning to be happy!

  2. I stubbled on your blog (after 'stumbling over several other blogs'). I am impressed and so surprised that you don't bash your church and still remain in your faith. How incredible is that??!!! I'm still surprised.

  3. Anonymous:

    Don't be surprised. My church is the most amazing church in the world... and it's through the Church that I've come to know God. Many of the best things in my life have come from it... and for that I will never turn away.

  4. I love your thought provoking posts like this one. They help me stop, think, and analyze my life. And so they help me be a better Me, wife, & mother. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I realized why I relate to you so much. Actually, why I've related to the whole gay thing in general - even though I'm not really gay. I hope this doesn't seem presumptuous since, well, it's not actually the same. But - I just found myself telling my brother the other day, "I think that's why I relate to being gay so much." I'm attracted to the opposite sex, yes - and I really, really, really want a relationship - a marriage - but I have to hold back. See, because of childhood abuses and trauma I actually don't do well with far. It's painful and confusing and basically, I've finally realized I'm kind of a liability in them as well. I get so scared that I clamp shut like a steel trap - and I can be unfeeling. Anyway, the growth, maturity and spiritual enlightenment journey seems to be parallel for deep sufferers applying the Atonement everywhere. We must all be working for sort of the same thing.
    Thought I would share this observation...
    If I can find meaning and heal, you can.

  6. I just started reading your blog. I'm glad you are so strong in the gospel and are optimistic. I'm definitely not as strong or as optimistic. I don't believe my life has a happy ending, but I do believe that yours does. Please stay strong. This life is worse than hell, but you seem to have overcome it. I hope you make it to the Celestial Kingdom and can one day experience all the blessings God has in store for you. I don't know you, but I love you. You are an example to me of one of God's elite. You have tremendous courage.


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