Thursday, February 24, 2005

Ketchup

Or is it Catsup? Oh yeah, it's Catch Up.

Eleka Nahmen came in to eat at my restaurant with a friend from work. They were delightful. I hope I get that efy job again this summer so I can work with them. Even if that doesn't work out, I think we should still hang out some time. That same night I served a couple from South Carolina who had questions about the church, so I had a little micro-missionary experience. Good to remember that there are people out there who haven't already heard the gospel, and that there's still work to do.

Friday night my brother got into town with his friends. We had a blast. We went to D.I., ate at the hospital, played battleship in Helaman Halls, ate at my restaurant, played Battle of the Sexes (my brother's knowledge of feminine beauty products left us all agog, even BamaBeau, who answered the final question about some sort of fabric with metallic threads interwoven), and that's about all.

Sunday I played Diplomacy with Asmond and some of his friends from his Japanese class. I think I did pretty well considering it was my first time playing. One of the girls had told Asmond that she was a writer for the Hundred Hour Board. It was funny when I met her because she kept trying to pretend she was. Who does that? Anyway, I was able to tell him for sure that she was not actually a writer. I can't believe the irony of it. We left with her pretense intact.

Before all of that on Sunday, I had an interview with my new bishop for efy, and had a very interesting talk with him. He challenged me to get married before I'm 25. Well, easier said than done, right? I mean, I'm 24. He said not to rush it like my brother, Ouija, who got engaged after two months and is getting married two months after that. He said 4-10 months is appropriate before the engagement. He gave me the blessing I've been needing for a long time. He gave me all sorts of counsel about how to find a wife, a lot of it speaking to the speacial circumstances he didn't know I had. That made me very happy. I left there feeling pumped about it. I'd never had anyone be so candid with me about the marriage issue. Most bishops have always seemed to feel uncomfortable talking about it. I even had one bishop who called me into the office just to tell me that if I didn't ever get the chance to get married in this life, that the Lord would provide for me in the next. Yeah, thanks, Bish. Is a bishop of a Single's Ward supposed to say things like that to his flock? Anyway, my new bishop was much better, and I really believed what he was saying.

Monday I went with BamaBeau, Wiggle, D, and Esther to SLC. BamaBeau had discovered a restaurant called the One World Cafe. Instead of a menu they have a mission statement. The food varies from day to day, and includes a lot of Vegan, organic, and unprocessed stuff. We tried some strange grain called quineu or something from South America. And tofu and all that weird hippie junk. We ate in a kinda dirty room that just had small squatty chairs and a table and carpet and stuff. It was like an old hippie's living room, and there we were on the floor. The food was palatable, I thought. Now the really weird part about the restaurant was that there was a box for the money. Everyone just puts in what he thinks his meal was worth. I left 8 bucks, though I probably ate a little more than that. D left three dollars. D and Wiggle hated it so much. It was really great to watch their faces as they systematically tried and hated all the weird things on their plates. When we were done with that, we went straight to the mall and had real food. Then we went to the D.I. and then we came home. I spent the rest of the evening watching past Oscar-nominated movies on AMC all by myself, in spite of several invitations from other people to hang out with them. Crazy Republican KT was making macaroni and cheese on honor of President's day. Alecia (my boss) and my secretary were doing movie night. Toasteroven and Laulau were chilling. Bamabeau and Wiggle were watching Moulin Rouge and eating brownies. Rachel from work wanted to go ice blocking. I just sat there alone, though, feeling guilty for passing up all those invitations, and scarfing down the whole free pizza that I got from Heather Angela Hawks.

Now here's where the problems started.

Toasteroven taught a lesson about how every sin we commit stems from a lack of faith. I have plenty of faith in the Lord. But not much in other people. Particularly female ones.

There I was avoiding the company of several girls who'd invited me to do things. There were plenty more girls I could have called, too. So why didn't I? I feel like it will be very hard for me to find a girl who can love me in spite of my weaknesses. Anyway, I'm explaining before telling what I did. Let's have that the other way around.

I almost met up with a gay guy who found me and had been talking to me online. In fact, I probably would have last night, if not for Toasteroven's inspired intervention. This really scares me. There have been a few other times in my life when I've been on the cusp of falling or at the nadir of temptation and been saved not by my own strength of character but by the sagacity of those around me. I am so grateful for my safety net of friends, but why am I not strong enough to just stay balanced on the wire by myself? It's disturbing. I made some other mistakes, too, over the last few days, and that's not a good thing. Toasteroven made me consider why, and I think it comes back down to what I mentioned earlier.

You know how when you make a lot of progress in your life the temptations seem to kick into overdrive? Like Satan senses a lot of spritual activity on his radar so he tries to swat you back down? Well, I think that's what was happening here. Stupidly, I forgot what the main point of my talk with the bishop had been: that I could ask the Lord to bless me with a good wife, and that he'd give it to me. Ask, and ye shall receive. Instead I was left with his admonitions about what I needed to do fulminating in my ears, and that seemed great for a while, and then it seemed burdensome. Is that a word? Sometimes I feel very alone. I feel that the struggles I face are for me to face by myself. But I want someone there to hold me while I do. Anyway, that's all the more reason for me to want to find a wife. But this is where that fundamental lack of faith comes in. I have to realize that my lack of faith in womankind is really a lack of faith in the savior's ability to provide me with a woman who will fulfill my needs. I feel I have many great friends, but they all seem to feel further from me than I do from them. This might be because I have so many friends, and try to spend time with so many people.

Anyway. The bottom line is that I didn't make the big egregious error. I still was willing to in my heart, though. So it's that time again. Time to fortify where I've seen yet another weakness. I'm going to be all right. It's important for me to write about this here. Part of my problem is that I feel that it's important for me to be an example, and I don't know how to reconcile the dichotomy that arises when I do mess up. I forget where I read it (maybe Harry Potter?), but somebody said that bravery is not a lack of fear; it's facing your fears. So maybe righteousness is not a lack of temptation; it's facing temptation. Maybe I can still have weakness and be a force for good just by my willingness to turn around and do better.

Definitely it's more important that I make good decisions than that I let others see them, at any rate. And for now I can work on having faith that the Lord will provide me with a great woman who will be willing to be my safety net when I fall, and let me be hers.

Anyway, I ended up playing Argue with Uffish Thought, Novel Concept, and bunches of other friends last night. I was so grateful for that. I needed it. I'll be working a lot this weekend. Then Sunday is a potluck at Wiggle's, and then I want to have an Oscar party. All are invited.

Thanks for your friendship, all. Here's another quiz, but this time it's about ME. Two pounds of Jelly Belly Belly Flops for the winner when I get back from California!

18 comments:

Asmond said...

Smurfer, You're awesome. If you ever need some help you can give me a call. I have some stuff I need to tell ya about, I'll do it in person or in a more private setting.

eleka nahmen said...

It was so awesome to see you! Even more so because I hadn't even thought about it when I told Hy that we should get dinner there. We definitely should hang out sometime - you had me completely under your spell.. well, that could have been the salsa. *wink* Yummm. "Interesting" conversation would be an understatement.

Regardless of what your eventual regard for womankind may be.. I don't think you give yourself enough credit. Smile :)

The Ring Bearer said...

I have always found it considerably closed minded when bishops give me a deadline for marriage. While I'm certain it was the right thing for you at the time, I am always appreciative of a bishop who knows me on a more intimate level and has he insight and inspiration to recognize that perhaps my marrying a girl would do more damage to her and to myself in the long run than the imitation of good that 'fulfilling the commandment to be married' accomplishes in the shortrun.

I realize that you long to do that which God has commanded, but I also encourage you to reflect on the 'weakness' you have been blessed with, and consider the impact that may have on any woman you should choose to bind yourself to, and be absolutely sure about things. There is no girl out there so absolutely perfect as to permanently dissolve your temptations. As Elder Packer has said - this is a lifelong challenge. It may or may not go away. You may have to face it, and deal with it your whole life.

I guess ultimately what I am saying is that, it's great for your bishop to counsel you in what his narrow vision of ideal world is, but ultimately, you know what it is that you face, and you should place more weight on that than the chidings of a bishop who clearly is unaware of circumstances.

Christmas Smurf said...

This is a good point you bring up, ring bearer. I should say that I don't take the bishop's counsel as gospel truth. But I have prayed about this issue and I know that I'm in a good place to get married. Maybe I do have my flaws, but most of my problems seem to stem from a lack of intimacy. And most of the people I know have problems that might impede a happy marriage if they allowed them to. Meanwhile, i should also state that I don't expect my situation to change. I realize that it would be unfair to expect a wife to fix me, just as it would be unfair to try to fix her. But i also believe that there is a good reason that people pair off; it's for mutual support and love. I do expect a wife to help me in my endeavors to become more like Heavenly Father.

Have you seen Spiderman 2? You know how he keeps trying to shield Mary Jane from himself? How he lies and walks away? That's what many "tolerant" people would have me do. But during the movie, the whole audience is yearning for him to just tell her the truth and let her make her own decision. I think that would be a fair thing to do to a young lady. Bring everything to the table and let her make up her own mind. What does everyone else think? p.s. I think there's a good chance I discovered your blog at the same exact moment you discovered mine. Can you confirm or deny this?

The Ring Bearer said...

I can't confirm, but you could try posting a comment and see if you're right... ;-)

Asmond said...

Well, I dunno how capable we are of deciding when we are 'ready' to be married, and I don't think anyone is ready to be married when they get into it. At least not ready for a perfect marriage. I've always kind of wondered how people manage to pull of a marriage. It seems to be the hardest thing in the world. But either way I think that a partner should know what's going the other is bringing to the table, at least in part. Both the good and the bad. If you don't see any bad then I'm more than worried.

You'll do fine whatever the case may be Smurfs, just be yourself, don't try to be someone else, just do what you know is right and all will be well.

The Ring Bearer said...

Beautifully said asmond! I was discussing this very idea with my better half earlier this evening. It is so important that when you find your special someone that you are honest with them. It needs to be their decision to accept you the way you are. And it is up to you to accept them the way they are. Ultimately though, everything does need to be on the table.

You really will do fine smurf. You are an amazingly sweet guy. Any girl will be lucky to share her future with you. Go get a great one! You don't have much time before your deadline... less than 10 months to go. hehe!

bawb said...

Fascinating, TO's assertion that sin stems from lack of faith. In particular, I wonder how it meshes with President Benson's assertion that pride is the carnal root, as I've always pictured fear the complement of faith, humility pride's antidote. I suppose, though, that when we recognize both our capability and our reliance on God, fear will flee.

Christmas Smurf said...

Yes! Thanks, everyone, but especially BAWb for this latest nugget of wisdom. It seems that most people tell me to just rely on God more. But in reality I do that all the time, and I don't hold myself accountable. I need to recognize my capability and that it's my own duty to live up to it. I don't realize my potential, just like all my teachers have been telling me since the fifth grade. Anyway, I'm enjoying the discussion that's going on here. I hope if others have insights that they will share them. And Ring Bearer, I had already added the comment, so I guess it wasn't you....

The Ring Bearer said...

Perhaps it wasn't me, but your experience with cadavers made me laugh. Don't belittle yourself by considering yourself vain for not wanting to play with them. Life is about learning who we are. It's about learning what we can, can't, will, or wont do.

I thought love was not meant for someone like me. Then I thought I couldn't love. Then I thought I wouldn't love. Eventually I wanted to love, and realized I could. Now I do.

Self-discovery is painful at times, but ultimately, it preserves us from more pain in the future... such as being a doctor for you.

VenerableRyo said...

Just a couple of thoughts :) As people have said, not wanting to work on cadavers is not a bad thing. There are several people that I have known who made that realization only AFTER starting medical school. Which is unfortunate, but that doesn't mean anything is wrong with them. And I think it's very important to figure out what you would LIKE to do with your career, not just what you think will make you money.
Also, I just wanted to mention... that however you decide to live your life in respect to romance and love. I think that you will be happy. What you've said about allowing a woman to choose for herself whether she can deal with something, is a VERY wise thing to realize and something that most people in our situation never realize.
The only thing that I might add is that make sure that as you continue along your own road that you don't forget who you are, and that you don't leave pieces of yourself behind because you grow ashamed of them or feel that they are no longer convenient for you. I have seen people try to do that both ways with their romantic feelings OR with their religious affiliations. And I don't think that it's healthy either way. If both are important to you and have contributed to who you are... then let it continue to be so. They have made you who you are today.
You can and should be happy. And I believe that it is possible whatever you decide to do. There is always joy to be had. The problems you deal with as you go along. But the friends stick around and you learn from one another. Good luck in everything!

Toasteroven said...

Romans 14:23, BAWB.

Pride means a lack of faith that Christ is really the one in charge and that we are like the dust of the earth and worthless and unprofitable servants. Pride means no faith that Christ does. "I'll do it myself."

Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Bing.

emily sonntag said...

There's nothing wrong with sometimes choosing the company of yourself over that of others. I do that all the time. Anyway, I'm here for you if you need me. BTW, I know I lost the quiz, but what are JB Belly Flops?

bawb said...

Thanks, TO. I meant "fascinating" as in "thought-provoking," not "questionable," by the way; while I appreciate the explanation, I didn't doubt the validity of your assertion. Great explanation.

Serendipity said...

Dang it. Osama tore everyone down on that quiz. At least I was number one for a few hours or so. I thought that was pretty cool considering I don't know who you are. I just tried to think about what matched up with you, based on your blog.

SkyBluePink said...

October Sky is my favorite movie, too!

BamaBeau said...

'...why am I not strong enough to just stay balanced on the wire by myself?" Sometimes Satan shakes that wire. Your friends are there to help steady you again. Should you fall, they are there to help you get back on the wire. Remember that even the strongest need a net.

Anonymous said...

I know you hate the concept of potential, so I won't go there...however, I have read your personal scripture and know that you have been blessed with a celestial marriage and wonderful posterity. I believe Christ when he says you will have those. I know you can do it. And you know our mutual friend who is married, and has made it work despite his sharing the same weakness. I love you! It is possible. Keep up the faith, and BE GOOD! Love, Mustard