Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Warped Plastic #34

Hooray for fall! May your celebrations be spooky, safe, and fun this Halloween season!

More Warped Plastic

Monday, September 17, 2018

Peculiar People #14

I'm always waiting for the bishopric to say something like this after I've contributed to a sacrament meeting.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Warped Plastic #33

When you think about it, the shopkeeper is probably the most hardcore, mysterious person in the game.

More Warped Plastic

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Consider the Cat: Remembering My Other Lives

People are basically cats, when you think about it.

Have you ever remembered an experience you had and thought, That feels like a lifetime ago?

That's probably because it was.

Looking back on my life so far, I can identify at least five solid stages that were so different from one another it was like I'd started a new life:

Nineteen years of living at home, which despite its many changes roughly stayed consistent and which I call my childhood; two years as a missionary; two-ish years of bachelorhood; one year as a newlywed; and four-and-a-half years, and counting, as a dad.

I'm up to five lives.

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But although it's been said a leopard can't change its spots, people are different. People can change. And with each of these cat-like lives I've lived, I've learned and experienced things that have changed me at the very foundation.

I've been thinking a lot how ten years ago this morning, I woke up in a dorm room shared with three other nineteen-year-old guys. I showered, shaved, and brushed my teeth in a communal bathroom, stood in line for breakfast in a crowded cafeteria, and reported to my lessons in the Spanish language and how to preach the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

My first morning in the Missionary Training Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It was like Hogwarts, I thought back then. We had our "houses" (zones and districts), ate in the expansive "great hall" (the cafeteria), and learned how to use incredible powers. Naturally I equated our Gospel instruction with Defense Against the Dark Arts. 

I also thought I was pretty great.

I spent nine weeks there, then flew out to San Antonio, Texas, where for the bulk of two years I served, learned, loved, and grew.

I don't have enough space in a blog post to describe what my life as a missionary was like or what it has meant to me. But that time certainly changed me. 

I relied on God through the whole thing. I gained the confidence to talk to strangers--and to initiate conversations about deep, important things, beyond empty small talk. I bought my own groceries, maintained my own apartment, learned to live without my parents always there to help me.

I even fell in love with spicy food.

As my mission president used to say, it may or may not have been the best two years of my life. But it was certainly the best two years for my life.

It feels like a lifetime ago. But if you were paying attention earlier in this post, you'd know it was actually three lifetimes ago.

As much as my mission changed me, I've changed with each life since.

In some ways I've improved. In others, I feel like I've lost something.

I think that happens to all of us as we go through life (or lives). As we learn some things, we forget others. New habits replace old ones. And sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not.

None of us can go back to where we were before. Nor should obsess with doing so. But what a loss if we don't take the best traits and lessons of past lifetimes with us!

In my current life, I need the creativity of my childhood, the boldness of my bachelorhood, and the attentiveness I showed as a newlywed. I need the spiritual strength I had as a missionary. And I'm not there yet, in any category.

But as I recall the lives I've lived, I can rediscover the dusty treasures I find and polish them again. 
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