I’ve learned one really important lesson in my life. I mean, I’ve learned thousands of little lessons, so I’m not saying it’s the only lesson I have ever learned. For example, I will always remember that kahlua and vodka do NOT taste the same way coming up as they do going down.
But this lesson is one that stands out above all: Everybody has a story.
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.–Plato
I found this quote on Jenny Howe’s blog, Deak’s Run for Hope. That Plato was one smart dude.
If I were still to “bear my testimony” about the truthfulness of ANYTHING, it would be this. Everyone is fighting a battle. That person over there that you are looking at? The one with the nice clothes, driving the Mercedes, drinking the Starbucks? Her mother just died of cancer. The grocery clerk who just checked you out: his father was just arrested for drug possession. Those people standing behind you in line–the young pregnant woman and her husband? They just found out their baby will probably die before it is born. None of these people are going to tell you this. You won’t know this when you rush to get ahead of that young couple, because you are late for work and need donuts to make sure your boss isn’t cranky.
But it’s true.
I was raised a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormon. And many people I know and deal with daily ARE STILL Mormon, including members of my own family. And they don’t like that I am vocal about my disbelief in something they hold sacred. As I have always said, if you can talk about it being the only true thing, or lecture me about my behavior, be prepared to hear the reasons why I have a very differing perspective.
And I have. I have blogged on many silly and often humorous things about Mormonism, because it is a rich and humorous culture, filled with stories. Stories about people.
People like Dylan Shaw’s mom, who is a friend of mine. She clings to her beliefs, because she is dealing with something NO MOTHER should have to deal with. Who am I to tell her otherwise? I say cling away. You do whatever you have to do to get you through that dark night, because that is what LIFE IS. We have to figure out which life rafts and buoys are going to save us when we are floating through the oceans of disaster.
Since November, I have seen two friends die of cancer, leaving children behind; my own mother was diagnosed with a fatal condition, and is now living on “bonus time;” a childhood friend (his father and my father were, literally, playmates as young boys) decided suicide was his only option; another friend turned to his old friend, alcohol, to deal with the pain; and my own health took a very decided turn for the worse, as I struggled just to hold a job, and be normal.
I get accused of being angry a LOT, and having an axe to grind A LOT. I patiently explain I have no axe. And I would probably cut my arms and legs off if I did have an axe, and tried to grind it. Ask anyone who knows me. It’s true. Clutz, extraordinaire.
I do get passionate, but the things I am passionate about are no longer the things I used to be passionate about. My feelings have not changed. I just feel more of a kinship with the world, and wanting everyone, of all religions, to be allowed to have their BELIEFS and be left alone. I will still blog on stories that are relevant to the Mormon world, and other things. But I have added several sections to my blog.
One is the Getting Published section. I get asked about this all the time, and so I am choosing to share some of my experiences in getting published, in the hopes that they will help someone else.
I also added a page called Just Cause, a page for stories about people like Dylan, and Jenny Howe, and other causes that deserve to be recognized JUST because they are awesome people being awesome.
And I will still be writing my books. The one I am working on now has an amazing story, and some people will like it, and some people will NOT, but I hope that everyone can find something in it to touch them. I write books from my perspective, and so please don’t expect it to be yours.
As you can see, my perspective has changed a LOT over the past ten years. Please allow me that, and I will allow you YOUR perspective.
Karma. Put out there what you want to get back. Open your heart and see why people are doing the things they are doing. Feel their emotions. It hurts to feel with them, but it will make you stronger. You will grow because of it.
And so, here we have The Blog FKA as Trapped by the Mormons. Long and unwieldly, and a little hard to swallow, kind of like life.
If I see you in the store, I will try to let you get ahead of me in the line, and I won’t steal your parking spot. I will let you in on the freeway, and I will stop to help if you are in need. Everything in this world is not bad. Bad things happen to everyone.
But so do good things. And good people are out there. I hope I run into you along the journey.