Sunday, May 29

Some Thoughts

I felt jealous this week.

It was actually last week, but this blog post has sat on my phone, languishing, along with countless others of its (unfinished) kind.

Or at least a twinge of something somewhat like jealousy. Or longing. Or desire. Or whatever.

It was Friday night, and my shop was packed with people. Earlier in the day had been utterly quiet, with only a handful of people walking in. By 8pm, though, almost ten different groups were scattered throughout the process that is Soap Factory.

Usually watching people is just a cognitive process for me: This group seems to be having a good time, that group probably needs some help because their conversation skills seem lacking. This person may be going through a difficult life experience - they'd probably benefit from some extra attention. I'm a host, and my job is to make sure that people have a great, hopefully transformative experience within the process of making soap... and while my emotions are there, I'm a host first and foremost.

But something inside me broke open on Friday, and a flood of emotions burst out.

It's ironic.

I run one of the coolest date spots in Provo.

We were just recognized as a top location on TripAdvisor with their "Certificate of Excellence" award.

But I can't remember the last time *I* went on a date.

And the last time I had plans other than work on a Friday night sounds just as long ago.

But, I choose to work on Friday nights. I could have someone else work just as easily... and part of the reason I work on Fridays is so that I'm distracted.

The problem is that I don't know what I want.

Maybe that's not completely true. Part of me never gave up on the want for my life to be normal, to fall in love with a nice girl, to have a family of my own, to have my share like Job of intense but perishable life trials, and to do all the things that everyone else seems to take for granted.

But most of me knows that stubbornly wanting something doesn't mean it will just come true... no matter how faithful I am or how much I want it.

And isn't my life already incredibly valuable? I mean, if 100 people came to my shop out of all the other things they could do, doesn't that mean that I'm providing a valuable resource to the community and the world? Yes, they go home with memories, better relationships, and their own creations... but I go home knowing that I was instrumental in helping it happen. I watch people who've been hurt find healing, other open their hearts that have been closed, and many laugh when laughter has been gone for far too long. In my shop, parents raise their children and others find a sense of wonder long since lost.

It sounds beautiful.

And it really is.

Which ironically, makes the feeling of, "Is it worth it?" that much more poignant when it comes.

I really, really, really want a family of my own.

To the point that I read the entire Utah statute on foster parenting in the past few weeks... and everything the Church has ever written on the marginal subject of being a single foster parent.

I believe that someday I'll get married and have a family.

I've been reading the Old Testament over the last few weeks, and the story of Abraham spoke to me. My patriarchal blessing talks about Abraham... and how if I'm patient like he was, I'll receive the same blessings he did. He didn't get married young, or have children young. His son Isaac didn't, either. And yet God helped them find happiness... and He also helped them make an impact in their worlds.

So the thought about fostering is there, but it's not a "I'll never get married, so this is the next best." It's more like, "There are kids out there that need someone they can rely on... and while all of them deserve a family with a mom and a dad, some of them are kids that those parents won't or can't currently take. I don't have a family of my own, so I have the ability now to maybe help in my own way."

I don't know how my family would react to that. Or my best friend. Or the people around me. And I'd need not only emotional but real support from them to make it work.

But if I get caught up in too much introspection, this post will die again... but something brought me back to it today. So I want it to survive.

There it is.

I feel like I just found an answer to a question I've had. Last week in Church God told me I needed to move. Where and when and why and how to make that choice have been stirring in my head and heart... and while fostering may not actually be the end destination God has for me in mind, thinking about that direction offers me plenty of guidance in moving.

It doesn't fix the longing, or even address it. God does that to me often - instead of telling me what I want to hear, He tells me what I need to hear... and eventually I find the answers along the way.

And perhaps there's nothing wrong with feeling a deep and powerful longing. When people come into my shop, my need to help others manifests itself there. If I had a family of my own, it's unlikely that I'd spend so much time away from home. Perhaps God simply needs me where I am... or I need to learn something from the people I meet each day.

Either way, He knows what He is doing. And while the longing is still there, so is a deep and abiding happiness. Life is good. God is in control.

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