Sunday, October 29


I was crazy sick for weeks, and in the time since I've felt... like my life is sort of stuck in the doldrums. I enjoy my ward, but I find that I feel disconnected (likely because I need to make a bigger effort on my own part). I enjoy my work at Soap Factory, but I don't really have any long-term, or even short-term goals professionally. My friendships are stable. My family is following a sort-of-vegan diet. My health is good.

So which way do I go from here?

I guess that depends on where I want to get.

Ultimately, I want to get to Heaven. And I want to take as many people with me as I can.

There's an infinite number of ways to make that happen. But what is something *I* can do? Something I can enjoy? Something where I can actually feel like I am making a difference? 

Enter the issue that likely I am facing, and that I feel like I've been facing for months now: I look at people with new jobs, people who leave on missions, people who go to school and begin new careers - people who all seem to have at least some direction in their lives - while I feel I lack that same direction in my own.

In my own defense, I feel like I've tried to find my own direction.

Or at least thought about it.

I've thought about getting a PhD or finding another Masters program. Moving someplace far away that would force me into something new. Going to a different ward. Finding a random 9-5 job. Finding, doing something, anything to pull me from the rut that feels my current existence.

But I can't transfer my records to a different ward because the moment I actually begin to make the choice, God tells me He wants me here. He wants me to make a difference in my ward, now. So maybe I'll just attend another ward in the morning.

I can't move far away because there are people in my life who need me here. I'm not sure that God would even let me move a couple miles.

There is one idea that is compelling to me...

One that is both scary and compelling.

I'm pretty sure I've written about it before. I love to design new ideas, new processes, new things. Finding a place, or creating a place, where I can design and create would be a dream come true. That's the compelling part.

The scary part? All of those ideas, in order to actually be worth anything more than a conversation, will require skill sets far beyond my own personal ability. And while working with an awesome team is a dream come true, putting a team together sounds only a little less painful than a literal trip to the infernal depths.


Perhaps *that* is why I feel so deeply discontent with the status quo, and why I also feel that God has been far too quiet in the matter. Because He has already given me a direction. One that I want to go, but one that distresses and scares me.


That does answer the question I came to this post with. It gives me direction anew, even if it seems honestly overwhelming.

Sometimes I dislike when blog posts go around in different directions than I expect them to. This post, for example, started with a decent feel to it, but the end feels far too... boring.

But does that mean it's less meaningful? Maybe. But I know there are plenty of times I've wished that Mormon had included more about the perfect society after the coming of Christ, rather than simply telling us that hundreds of years passed without controversy. Maybe, in the same way, the points of life that seem less meaningful and even boring to me, might be meaningful to someone else.

Sunday, October 22

I Would Be My Brother's Keeper

Tl;dr: My dad had a heart attack and my family is supporting him in his new diet. Each of us can support the people around us in the good they do.

I'm not really all that good of a guy. Sometimes I have aspirations of awesomeness, but most of the time I have literally no idea what I want to do, or even what I'm going to do tomorrow.

That said, I still have aspirations.

I still want to make a difference in the world.

I still want to do the right thing.

I still want to be a good guy.

Even in the moments where life seems overwhelming, I still want to be a good guy.

I don't know. I wanted to write a blog post today about learning to serve people - hence the brother's keeper title - and how identifying the skills and talents I have enables me to be a better servant. But suddenly I don't even know what I want to write about. I can't even keep a goal while writing a blog post. Ugh.

My dad was hospitalized for heart attack 10 days ago. He had experienced over a dozen mini heart attacks over the weeks prior, but since each time they went away (and since we in my family think we are superhuman/immortal), he hadn't gone to get anything checked. My younger sister is doing her clinical rotations in a cardiac ICU right now; she made an appointment for him and gave him the ultimatum that she would take him to the ER unless he went to see his doctor.

The doctor sent him to the ER. The ER sent him to ICU. When the cardiologist on call arrived, he went immediately in for surgery. In an angiogram, a catheter is threaded into an artery in the wrist, then slowly winds its way up to the heart. Dye is injected, which allows the surgeon to see blockages in arteries. There was enough plaque in his right arm/shoulder that the angiogram catheter had to be redone through his left wrist.

The surgeon found a 98% blockage in the main artery supplying blood to the heart, along with 3 other spots nearby along the same artery with 60-70% blocks. He placed two overlapping stents, which addressed the acute issue of a potential fatal heart attack.

But placing stents in a blocked heart is like putting bandaids on bleeding cancer. Yes. It fixes a problem. But it does nothing to address the real problem. The presence of what the surgeon called a "surprising" amount of plaque throughout his arteries was sign of massive progression of the whole-body illness that has affected almost all of my forebears. Heart problems - from low blood pressure to high blood pressure, from high cholesterol to arrhythmia to heart attack to stroke - have hit every side of my family.

I asked my dad last Sunday what his plans were. Diet? Nutrition? Health? He mentioned that the hospital was holding a course on post-heart-attack nutrition a few days later and he was planning to attend.

I scoffed. I honestly doubted a sponsored hospital lecture, at least one in Orem, would have the teeth to make a dent in heart disease.

So I grabbed three books from my personal library - three books I picked up a year ago when my younger brother had chest pain of his own - and handed them to my dad. And within an hour he had found a direction he felt passionate about following.

So my dad has changed his lifestyle: he is now vegan, and eats a no added sugar, no added oil, no nuts, low salt diet.


In a whirlwind of love and support, my family held a family council last Sunday, and each family member committed to doing their part to supporting dad in his new life. We'd fill the fridge and pantry with safe food (and keep anything else in a separate fridge), and every night one of us would make food that matched the diet.

It's been a week now, and our fridge and pantry are full of uber-healthy food. Pasta is still a simple family favorite, my little sister has decided that rice & beans will be her go-to for the near future, and morning oatmeal has become a regular thing.

My dad could probably find the willpower to do his diet alone. He wants to be alive. He wants to see his grandchildren and be a part of our lives, and he knows that choosing a healthy lifestyle will make a huge impact on his future. But having the support of his family will make all the difference in the world. All of us benefit from support and love from the people around us, and it makes me want to find ways to support the people I love in the good they do. 

This post is all over the place.

Sunday, October 15

Warriors of Light

The night is far spent
The day is at hand
The darkness is spreading throughout every land
But a voice in the stillness still calls me to fight
To throw off the darkness and put on the armor of light

We are warriors
We're an army
And we stand for truth and right
And we know what it is we're fighting for
We will not fall
We will not fail
With God on our side we will always prevail
We will follow Him and make our armor bright
We are warriors of light

When I'm surrounded by friends
Who pull me astray
Or I falter and loosen my hold on the rod
I can look in the mirror
And see a light shining
Deep within, there's a fire
For I am a child of God

We are warriors
We're an army
And we stand for truth and right
And we know what it is we're fighting for
We will not fall
We will not fail
With God on our side we will always prevail
We will follow Him and make our armor bright
We are warriors of light

The darkness is raging
But that's no surprise
We'll banish the night
With the light in our eyes

We are warriors
We're an army
And we stand for truth and right
And we know what it is we're fighting for
We will not fall
We will not fail
With God on our side we will always prevail
We will follow Him and make our armor bright
We are warriors of light

Though darkness is raging
We'll stand and we'll fight
For we are
Warriors of light


I wrote that song years ago. It came to my mind today, as I looked at my life. Some days I wish life could be simpler. Easier. Perhaps something like the lives I see in people who don't have all the problems I do.

But then I come back to reality. My reality is a mess. Yes, I had a beautiful, almost idyllic childhood. It prepared me with a vision of God and helped me connect with Him. But every moment since has been on the battlefield - a battlefield for my own soul and the souls of everyone around me.

And even though I often wish I had been called to serve somewhere else, the warrior heart within me is who I am. I'm a missionary. And I *always* will be.

What it means is that my life will likely always swirl with clouds and darkness. The water will always be deep. And, at least for this life, God will likely be my only lasting source of peace, hope, and simplicity in life. Yes, I'll find moments of peace and happiness... but I'm on a battlefield. Let's be real here. I'm fighting for souls, and that means warring with devils, demons, and the natural man. Life is going to be rough.

But that's ok, right?

Ok because one person is worth it. My own soul is worth it. And even if my soul doesn't make it, lifting someone else is still worth it too.

There are people who work as forest and fire rangers in places hundreds of miles from civilization. They work to protect the safety of wildlife and surrounding communities... and give up contact with the world around them.

In the world before this, perhaps I signed up to be a ranger for souls. Maybe that's why God has left me single for so long... or why He has been so deeply involved in my life. Why He puts people in my path. Why I constantly run into walls and learn to be humble.

God has a work for everyone who comes to this world. A calling and a purpose and a meaning and a place in the Plan of Happiness.

May I continue to seek and find meaning, purpose, happiness, and peace in mine.

Sunday, October 8

He Will Hear Me

Last night I found myself emotionally exhausted. The source isn't important. Whether from the stress of figuring out life/work/relationships or a mind still recovering from being sick, I felt awful. Anxious. Tired. Lonely.

So much so that I couldn't bring myself to do anything that would usually calm, or at least numb, my soul. Music sounded hollow. Video games blasé. Books an endless series of words without getting to meaning.

And then, in a clear tone that cut through the mud of my mind, came a thought:

"You could read the scriptures."

My room was still just as silent. My world hadn't changed from one moment to the next. My feelings were tumultuous as ever. But as I pulled up Alma 55, turned on the recording, and laid there listening to words written thousands of years ago, everything else disappeared.

And life was ok.

The war chapters moved on, and the angst inside me slowly subsided.

God is there. He is real. And while life is hard, complicated, and messy, following Him will always be worth it. He never forgets me, even if I am slow to remember Him.

And as added proof, as I finished writing the last paragraph, a knock echoes on my front door. It was a couple leaders from my Elder's Quorum... just stopping by because they felt like they should. My ward has enormous boundaries, with hundreds of people. God works through people, as well calming my soul. And I'm grateful for both.

Again, God is there. He's real. He will always remember me. He hears my prayers even when I don't speak them aloud. He cares about me and is always there to listen and guide my path.

And following Him will always be worth it.