Sunday, June 30, 2013

What I Look For

A heard a friend of mine mention a quote recently that is attributed to Max Lucado saying, "A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her." I think that makes a lot of sense. Every person I meet is different so it is hard to saying what I look for in a woman. Still there are certain things that I know are important and foundational to me, of which the foremost is my faith. I have always said that my future wife had to respect that my relationships have an order of priority to them: God comes first. Then her. Then myself. Then my family. Then everyone else.

I am not looking for someone that needs fixing. I know none of us are perfect nor would I expect someone who was would want me, but I want someone stable. Someone who has goals, perspective, dreams, works hard, and does something meaningful with their life. Life should be fun and it should be enjoyed but to expect that to be the extent of what we will experience and that we will be protected from everything else is simply ignorance. I am not looking for someone that I will be anywhere but beside them, as an equal and as a help meet. I am not looking to marry a "sick puppy." A sick puppy is someone who needs coddling, a home to stay in, babying, fed, etc. I want someone who can stand on their own two feet if they have to, who knows who they are, what they want, and is continually trying to improve.

In a marriage relationship, we are both the sheep and the shepherd but never the hireling. We are willing to sacrifice our selves for our relationship. We are willing to uplift and strengthen as well as look to be uplifted and strengthened. As an equal partnership, we are a whole.  We never look for alternatives when things get hard. We are completely committed and invested in what we have.  When there are issues in the relationship the only parties in which we turn for counsel are those involved, your partner and the Lord. Communication, trust, loyalty, desire, and effort are key to a strong, happy, lasting relationship.

My generation at times seems lost in the appearance, the fun, excitement, and physical aspects of a relationship that they forget the foundation. They are so caught up in these ever changing characteristics and then they wonder why it doesn't seem like things will ever last. There are only two options that are available to us as we get old... We either balloon or prune. And the sad part is that we don't see the beauty that does come with age. There is nothing so beautiful as a few wrinkles around the eyes or on the face because for the most part, they are evidence of a life full of smiles and happiness no matter the circumstance. Our outlook and perspective on life is a personal choice, nothing more and nothing less.

I am looking for someone to grow old with. Someone to grow together with. I want someone who can see the beauty in life and find adventure and happiness in even the little things. I want someone who can laugh when times are hard, dance in the rain, and see the rose petals among the thorns. I want someone who respects and loves me as much as I love them and the Lord even more than that. I am not looking for perfection but am looking to see the perfection amidst all imperfection and a desire to be better than we were yesterday.

Study of The Sacrament

I have often times wondered why Bishops would not pass the sacrament or communion to the patrons in the foyer. I thought it was a tad insensitive and unmerciful that the people who were willing to come to church would not be given the opportunity to participate in that ordinance. Today however we had a lesson on the sacrament by our local bishop and he said something that really made sense and resonated with me.

The sacrament is one of only two ordinances that we can participate in outside of the temple. It is a weekly ordinance where we recommit ourselves to Christ and renew the covenants that we have made. There is spiritual and mental preparation that we need to make in order to make it any different than eating bread and drinking water. We have to come with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. There is a reason why I typically show up a half hour early to church and it is to prepare myself for the sacrament, to help prepare it physically at times, and to take the time to remember Christ and those covenants that I am renewing.

In our ward, we have priesthood holders who stand at the doors of the chapel once the sacramental hymns begin. They do not let any come in or go out during the hymn as well as the blessing and passing of the sacrament itself. Our bishop made this comparison: How are the temple ordinances performed, such as the endowment? Do we allow patrons to enter and leave as they wish or do we allow those who have prepared themselves and arrived on time to participate? How distracting it would be if people carried on private conversations or answered texts from their cell phones? The only difference between regular family wards and single adult wards is that the sacrament is passed in the foyer to parents and mothers who take their children out to limit distractions. These patrons can still participate from the foyer because they can hear the sacramental prayers (prayer and hymn both). Where we hold our sacrament, this privilege is not available.

Preparation precedes participation. I need to focus on my scripture study more. I need to make my prayers more meaningful. They can't become things where when I finish them I wonder if I even did them. They need to make a difference in my life instead of being blind obedience. There is power in the sacrament that is hard to describe but I know that God and the Atonement are real. I know that there is a cleansing and redemptive power in the ordinance of the sacrament. I need to respect that and respect others as well and not distract them.  I need to be better.

Trying to Find My Way

I don't know how to explain it but I feel like sometimes I am meant to be in this world to help people. I find myself in the most interesting situations. I feel like I walk through a mist of people carrying a light only to come upon individuals sitting down scared and alone in life or maybe others that are walking aimlessly lost. I may not have answers to everything and I may not be the strongest or best looking or anything of the sort but I can listen and help in any way that I can. I don't play games and I am super loyal and if I had to say what my dream or biggest goals are they would have to be something like this:

I want to marry my best friend. I want to be a father. I want to travel with my wife and have adventures. I want to be worthy of my priesthood and be not just in good standing with God but I want to be able to be called His friend. I hope that He will continue to use me to help the people around me. I want to be His mouthpiece. I want to be a friend that people can count on. I want to be trustworthy. I want to be someone that people can confide in. I think the reason I try so hard to be that kind of person is because I want that kind of person. I want intimacy, trust, love, and the feeling that I have my other half. I don't necessarily want someone to complete me, but more I want someone that I can grow together with.

I am trying to find my way. I have had a lot of interaction with some amazing individuals at work. I will listen and give some basic counsel. These are people like me who are facing obstacles in life, who have needs like me, and who want to be their best selves but at times feel like they are tied down. The gospel allows freedom in our life, provides us with choice, and creates true confidence which can only come by knowing that your standing before the Lord is good. The world is always changing and it is such a relief to have something that is steadfast in my life. I am still looking for someone to share that life with but that isn't anything new... Patience and persistence and faith are what gets me through. I continue to date and try to find someone that is interested and if I do find someone, I will just have to see what happens. We will make something out of nothing.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Stepping Back for a Moment

Most of the time we all see ourselves under a microscope. We know every little thought, action, desire, and every dirty little secret in our lives. Most of us do not try to fool ourselves in thinking we are perfect. Most of us do the very opposite in fact. All we can see is our imperfections. I try to land conveniently somewhere in the middle. I know I am not the spawn of Satan and I am certainly no saint, as much as I try to be. So I totally understand the saying that we are our own biggest critic but still I am trying to learn to see the growth and perfection in my own imperfections. All we need is an outside perspective to help us step back for a moment to see ourselves in that better light. This brings me to a handwritten letter I found in a homemade envelope on my front steps this morning:

June 25, 2013


It's past 2:00 AM and as I've been going over the blessing you gave me, I felt impressed to share with you a few things.

First of all, thank you for being the type of friend/young man I can depend on to call at 12:20 AM for a blessing. Thank you for being worthy to hold the priesthood and use it righteously. I do have home teachers but I don't feel like I can depend on them and I don't feel comfortable enough to ask for their help in such a personal matter; thank you for filling that gap.

I wish you could see the blessing you have been in my life. I wish you could understand (and I could convey) the gratitude I have to you for being such a dear friend/example this entire year. It has been a constant and to you I say thank you.

Jordan, there are so many people who look up to you in the ward (people you don't even know). Your genuine love and care for others is a light that does not go unnoticed.

You are good: you are a good person and you deserve good things. This along with the help of the Lord will get you places. I know you know this but sometimes it's good to her it, we humans tend to forget a lot. :) Heavenly Father is so mindful of you! (And yes, people say this a lot but really, He is. I know it.)

Continue to be that light and that goodness. Also, thank you for your genuine hugs and affection no matter what the situation; it's a feeling of love, concern and protection I've never known. You have a gift, Jordan.

I hope that you can feel the sincerity in my words and know that you are loved by so many.

Your Friend

Maybe I need to lighten up sometimes and give myself a break. I'm not all bad. She will probably never know, hear, or see this but sometimes it is the people like her that I need in my life. I need people to serve and I need people to love so I can stop focusing on myself and get out of my own head. I need her as much if not more than she feels like she would need me.

There are too many people in the world to walk by a sea of nameless, faceless, crowds of people and never stop to realize that you are one of them. And if you are, then everyone is. So just like you are an individual, a child, a parent or future parent, a person, a name, an identity, a soul... So is every other face in that crowd. They all have needs, dreams, wants, desires, lives, and a destiny. They don't have to be walked by and ignored or lost and forgotten. Reach out and love that person who does not deserve it by any other reason than that they are alive and that they are a child of God. Don't let anyone be lost in the crowd. I know. I used to feel like just another number, just another face, just another person... But now, I know who I am and all it took for me to realize that was a little love. Don't be afraid to reach out and love another person. It may make all the difference.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Clearing My Head

Honestly, I can think of very few things that help me clear my head than writing down my emotions or going for a walk. Tonight I am planning on doing both. First off, I have a lot to be grateful for. I have my health, a home, a job, and plenty of good friends to rely on. I have the gospel in my life and I try to make it more a part of my life every day. I have the opportunity to continue my education which I am highly grateful for. I have a lifetime of experiences that have helped me be who I am today.

The last week has been physically exhausting but a lot of fun and eye-opening at times. I have been able to keep myself busy outside of work and it has been a real blessing. Went on a few really fun dates, hung out with a lot of cool people, and just tried to keep out of trouble the best that I could. However, it is amazing how certain things never go away. And by that I mean mostly thoughts and ideas. One of which kind of started with a song I kept hearing on the radio for some reason.

The message I have been hearing all the time is that I am looking for someone that reflects me, who is like me, who completes me as my other half. I look at myself a lot to figure out how I fall short, who I am becoming, and how I can improve.  I know that I am not perfect but there is truth in this. I always seem to notice people who I can relate to. I want to be with someone that could understand the things I have gone through or who can empathize.

The problem is the longer I have spent looking at myself the more I realize that I am not what I wanted or intended to be. I hope though that it is for the best. Socially, dating is different in Utah. I feel like we commit dating infidelity a lot because we won't commit to one person and try to date them but we date a lot of different people at a time. Sadly enough, this is a habit I have gotten into as I am trying to find a relationship. I want it to stop because without having faith in that other person and really giving them everything how could you or they ever know if it was going to work out? I don't want to do that any more. Really I want to go back to being in a relationship again. Having someone to care for, listen to, spend my time with, laugh with, goof around with, be myself, be serious and have deep conversations. I miss that.

Still, I am glad that I won't go for the first thing that comes along. I am becoming more patient but even that takes time. I am following the Spirit and heading inspiration I get and I am able to help people and discern things that without the full picture that He has, don't always make sense to me unless I follow it in faith. I am cleaning up my act, changing my desires, and becoming who I need to be. I just hope that things will make sense and I will stop finding things I can't have.

I heard an interesting phrase yesterday, "Movement is life." It is true though, movement creates heat and heat is energy and energy creates life. Standing still will cause us to stop living, decay, and die. We have to change. We have to move. We have to keep going because life is a journey and even though we may want to wait for things, we cannot wait forever. It may be important at times to watch and learn but trying to live in the past or even in fear of the future can make us lose out on the present which is a gift. Learning and having a perspective built on those are good but we cannot let that distract us from what is here and what is now.

Sometimes we wish to compare ourselves and the light that we have to other people. Our gifts and skills won't be the same as theirs. Their attributes are not always our attributes. But if we learn and mimic and follow the same steps that they took, in time we can become more like them. But we can not forget that what makes us special is us. You are what makes you awesome, the special ingredient.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dating Me Requires Time

I was laughing about this subject this morning but I am like a toy with batteries not included. Except it isn't batteries but time that is required. I am not perfect by a long shot and I continue to look for someone like me, but what I realized is that I take getting used to. I am genuine and honest and to the point, sometimes overly blunt. I am super loyal and I have most of life in order. I am older than I am physically because of the experiences I have been through and at times that makes me not attracted to individuals who can't grasp or don't understand how the world works. I have had life-and-death experiences. I have seen the hand of God in my life. I am firm in my beliefs although at times I struggle to live them every day, I never stop continuing to strive to be better. I am very self-aware and with that aware of the people around me. It is both a blessing and a curse but that topic is for another time. I am educated, cultured, well traveled, and overall a pretty decent guy and not too hard on the eyes. I prefer not to talk about myself this way because I feel that it builds an unnecessary ego and half the time I don't believe that it is all true. My parents have always told me that I am a great guy and that any woman would be lucky to have me. Well, I can't seem to find "any woman" and it can become hard. Recently though, my parents aren't the only ones that have told me this. I was spending time with a woman that I was trying to date and she said the same thing... "Why are you not married yet?" And one guy that used to hate my guts said the same thing. If all of these people can see it, am I just barking up the wrong tree? Why am I attracted to all these women that can't see me as anything more than a friend? Why do I want what I can't have? Is it wrong to not want to have to convince someone that you are worth their time but that they would want to spend time with you because they want to and as much as you want to spend time with them? I think one of the problems that I have is that I am attracted to people who are too much like myself. There strengths are my strengths and their weaknesses are my weaknesses. When you date someone like that you struggle because when one of you are in trouble, you typically both are. So I guess what I am trying to say in this post is that sometimes I feel that I am not what people are looking for. If I am, they certainly can't figure it out right away. I take too much effort. Or probably more likely, I am attracted to the wrong kind of people. Well, here's for hoping that things will become more clear in the future and that my prayers are being heard for my friends and family that are going through hard things right now... Prayers and patience. It always feels like things cost more and more time.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Weird Weekend of Mixed Emotions

Hardest part for me is trying to figure out what emotions I am supposed to feel. I guess I should worry less about what is expected of me and learn to embrace who I am. I am the type of person who is very empathetic and I can get wrapped up in other people's situations and in the end I don't know why I get involved. Sometimes, I take a little time to contemplate what my own future would look like but really I have resolved to be surprised. I have no idea how a MBA will play into my professional future. I don't know what my focus will be even though there are some more obvious frontrunners. I have no idea what is happening socially. Honestly, the only anchors I have in my life are the gospel and my family which in the eternal perspective are one and the same.

Outside of that, things seem to be hectic at times. I have realized that I feel like I am really done chasing women. I feel like instead I want them to choose me and love me because I love them. I want to have that mutuality and respect there. I'm not looking for someone perfect because first and foremost, they wouldn't want anything to do with me because I am not perfect either. When it comes to our pasts though, the only person who keeps count of what we do wrong is ourselves and Satan. This isn't a game where whoever has the most or least will determine if we make it into heaven or hell. Every mistake and every failure and every sin have been paid for by the Savior and all we have to do is both forgive and forget in order to relieve ourselves of our guilt through repentance.
I had one of my friends after a long late-night discussion tell me, "Don't ever change." In response I replied, "Always am. Just trying to be better."  Life is a continuous climb and we are always changing. This is the very nature of repentance.  There is no payment plan, no tally taken, everything has been paid. It is done. It is complete. So the lesson to be learned is to accept the offer that has been paid and allow Christ to help us become more than we ever could be by ourselves. The pain we feel is not permanent but the blessings and lessons to be learned can be.

The gospel is not meant to be a list of do or do nots. It is a pathway to become what we are and were always meant to be - sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, perfected through Christ by His Atonement and the grace of God. Life is not easy and some trials will be so heavy that when we are called to bear them we think we won't be able to survive the weight of them. Our trials will be different than anyone else but that is because they are tailor-made for us and for our growth. If we look more closely at our lives with spiritual eyes we will see that we have never been asked to bear them alone. Christ has held us up and sustained even before we were born. We were never intended to fail and we never have to. It is a choice to drown or take the hand of the One that never failed. The One whose strength has held the whole world and overcame it.

I have some friends who have recently been through hell and some that are trying to regain their faith. Life is not easy and it doesn't slow down for anyone. It will take time for us all to heal, to grow, to have faith and to learn to endure and overcome. But through that process we are refined and perfected. I have learned in my life that most of the time we should learn from our trials instead of asking that they be taken from us. When we ask why me, we will get that answer. But it only comes after the trial and it only comes when we are willing to push through it and never give up. I hate to think of the things that my loved ones have to go through but I love them and I love God. In trusting Him, I know that everything will be alright in the end. But while we wait for our answers, I want to be there for them in a way that they know that I love them and I will be a strength for them if they are again willing to lean on me. Time is not a healer but it is a necessity for love to take its course and fill all the gaps in our lives and widen our perspective and understanding. We are never alone. Never. We just need to open our hearts and our eyes to see the love and let it in.