Thursday, June 30
Someone mentioned to me that I haven't blogged about my shop in a while... and that made them concerned that something was wrong. Part of the reason I don't blog about work much is it feels almost commercial... and I promised myself years ago when I began blogging that (Gay) Mormon Guy wouldn't have ads or commercials or whatever.
That said, this is a post about work.
Yesterday work was tough.
So. Many. People.
Wednesday has traditionally been an under-the-radar kind of day for The Soap Factory. It's not as slow as Monday, which sometimes is so quiet that I think about closing. It's nowhere near as busy as Saturday. It's just Wednesday.
Except for the last few weeks.
For whatever reason, with the beginning of Summer tourist season, Wednesday in the early afternoon has risen to the busiest time of the week. Last week I thought we were going to drown in customers... and this week had even more people.
I don't run The Soap Factory to make money. If my goal were to make money, I'd be in a different business. I run it because I love it, and because I love being able to interact with people and teach them about life. I love teaching the Gospel to people, testifying about Jesus Christ, and talking about how much He means to me. I love being able to meet people from all over the world, hear their stories, and find ways to help them find happiness and peace.
So, above the requisite number to break even, more customers doesn't mean that business is better. It just means that business is busier.
To be honest, when there are more than 15 people in the store I feel like I lose my ability to really make deep connections with people. Like early yesterday afternoon. People still have a great time, and they write great reviews, but they check out and I feel like I don't even know them. I almost feel like giving them a discount because it feels like they missed out on the personal interaction part of The Soap Factory experience, and indubitably I apologize for being so busy. Contrast that with the times when the shop is quiet and I can talk with people about anything.
Financially, The Soap Factory is in the black. I don't pay myself much... I usually just take home the cash tips from the tip jar... but it makes enough money to pay employees, rent, and all the rest of the costs. Cool new development though: I think that my new budget shows that I might even be able to pay myself minimum wage.
That'll be a first. :) I've never been able to pay myself hourly in my own business before.
All in all, I find that I love my work. I love the view of the temple outside my window, I love working with my best friend and little sister, I love being downtown Provo, I love meeting new people each day.
I think I love everything.
Well... almost everything. I could do without the summer heat.
Posted by Mormon Guy at 9:43 AM
Sunday, June 19
Sometimes God asks me to believe in what seems impossible.
I'm physically attracted to men.
And physically repulsed by women.
That's a rough thing to write. Repulsion usually carries a deep, painful connotation - I'm repulsed by the smell of rotting garbage, or the offer of drugs or alcohol, or maggots. To say I'm physically repulsed by women, and to put all those in the same category... doesn't seem a very nice thing to do.
But the times I kissed a girl, albeit on stage, I felt almost the same way. The times I tried to imagine myself falling in love with a girl, the feeling came back. It's strong enough to almost want to say, "If you're interested in me, please don't touch me. Please don't kiss me. And please, please, please don't wear revealing clothes in my presence."
All that taken into account, it's hard for me to see myself falling in love with a woman.
But I could fall in love emotionally, or in other ways. It's much harder to see myself being physically attracted to a woman.
And yet God promises that, if I'm faithful, patient, and live my life according to His commandments, someday that'll happen to me. I'll fall in love with a woman, get married, and have a family.
Do I believe it will happen? Yeah.
Do I understand how it will happen? Not at all.
Do I know when? Absolutely no idea.
All that, combined with my current repulsion, sometimes makes it a little hard to find peace in the fact that God has my back.
Part of hope and trust in God is realizing that He has my best interests at heart... and hence He cares about my feelings the same way I do. Earlier this week I was trying to phrase my feelings the right way so that God's promises are most compelling. Wording is pretty important... because choosing the wrong words can make the most beautiful, awesome promise into garbage.
The promise that "Someday I'll be forever in love with someone I currently find repulsive, showing love in ways that would make my stomach curdle"...
That's not really a promise I want.
And while the words may technically be accurate, they aren't wholly true to the promise that God has made me.
"Someday I'll fall in love with a woman God has chosen for me, get married, and raise a family. And while I don't know who she is or how it will happen, the promise is that it will happen, and and be awesome, and pursuing that path will make me far happier now, then, and after than any other road I could follow."
It's the same promise, but it definitely sounds a whole lot better.
The world around me would tell me I don't need to wait - that I should find a guy to fall in love with and chart my own path. But they don't see the reality. God exists. He is real. He knows me personally. He also knows EVERYTHING. And loves me and wants me to be as happy as possible. That's why He has outlined the Plan - His Plan - and why He wants me to follow it. While I probably could find a guy to love, God knows, and I know deep inside because He has confirmed it to me, that finding and falling for a guy wouldn't be worth selling my soul. God will take care of me, in His time and His way, if I follow Him.
Perhaps that's one reason why I live the life I do - to learn patience. I must have had a lot of patience to learn. :)
I know that following the path God has revealed, no matter what He asks, will always bring the greatest happiness. I have tough days where I wish that my life were simpler. I have moments where I wonder what life would be like if I answered the call of the world. I realize how easy it really would be to turn away from God and leave it all behind. He will never leave me... and, thankfully, I haven't left Him. Hopefully I never will.
Posted by Mormon Guy at 9:59 AM
Sunday, June 5
I'll be honest.
I'm not perfect.
I'm actually nowhere near perfect.
I know that may come as a shock since (G)MG often only shows resolution of the more complex pieces of my life... and doesn't really highlight the times I'm frustrated for reasons too stupid to write about or some of the "lesser" things I wish I could change.
Probably because I know that, by writing about it, it will push me into doing the right thing. And sometimes I don't want to. Or I don't want to try and fail and disappoint myself again.
One of those things is scripture study.
The face-saving part of me - the part that wants David to look and sound perfect for some unknown and probably irrational reason - wants to interject here and say for the record that I read and study the scriptures. It wants to convince you that, while I'm about to tell you something beautiful about myself, you should gloss over the harsh reality that the story actually uncovers. He doesn't want you to read this post at all. The reason actually isn't irrational. The face-saving part of me wants you to like me, and it believes that by pretending to be perfect, or at least softening the imperfections, I'll be more likable and less likely to get hurt.
Don't listen to the face-saving part.
The reality is that even though I think about the scriptures, quote them to people, teach people about the gospel, and even have them on the lock screen of my phone, my personal scripture study has been sorely lacking.
That means nonexistent.
I've started and stopped new ideas and projects and commitments, from "ponderizing" to reading early in the morning to reading late at night to listening while I exercise, but each time something would break the habit and it would die. Early mornings I fall back asleep. Late nights are too late. Exercise buddies move away or learn they shouldn't be exercising.
And the scripture study linked in the mix gets lost.
I don't want to gloss over that reality, because I think it's a vital part of understanding me. As good as my intentions may have been, they weren't actually doing anything for me when it came to scripture study. I wasn't reading daily, and because I wasn't reading daily, God couldn't give me the guidance and blessings He really wanted to.
That's why what has happened in the last few weeks has been so different.
First I started attending Institute.
I usually work every night of the week. But something happened one day - I think someone new in my ward told me they wanted to go - and I felt the desire to go to Institute. That meant making sure that I don't need to work that night.
So I made plans, told my best friend so he could work that night, and gave my little sister a ride.
And while the actual class I'm attending in Institute is, as it always seems to be, anticlimactic, just being there allows me to think, quietly focus, and receive revelation for my life. (Face-saving David wants to tell you that the Institute teacher is incredibly well-versed, prepares for each lesson, has lots of background information, and is obviously effective at motivating people to come to Institute as the class is packed)
Since then I've made sure to be at Institute each week... even currently riding my bike from work. And it's worth it.
The second thing I've done I also learned about at Church. Someone mentioned that they had heard about someone who, every day after arriving at work a bit early, would take time to study the scriptures.
My work is just across the street from the temple grounds... so each morning after I arrive, I walk across the street, find a shady spot, and read.
In Institute the class I'm currently in is studying the Old Testament. So I started at the beginning of the Bible and began to read.
And it's amazing how enjoyable it's been.
The first week my mind would wander as I sat down to read. I'd get thoughts about work, or life, and after fighting with them I decided to simply take time to write them down.
But since then, as I've taken time to find a place away from worldly distractions (though only a hundred yards away), the stories of the scriptures have come alive again... in a way I remember but hadn't been able to reawaken.
I find myself laughing at Leah & Rachel's bitter struggle for their husband's affection, mourning the Flood, and feeling intense love for a changed, forgiving Esau when Jacob returned home after being gone for 20 years. And Abraham's lifelong desire to be a father and the blessing of Isaac after 100 years of patiently, faithfully waiting helps me realize that God really does keep His promises - in His own time.
Reading the scriptures each day has made a powerful, positive difference in my life. It's a little bit easier to choose the right when temptations come, and a lot easier to see the hand of God around me.
I think the key for me was scheduling a daily and weekly habit that took me outside of my normal schedule, and took me away from distraction.
I'm glad it happened.
Now hopefully I can keep it up.
Posted by Mormon Guy at 8:20 AM