Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Risk Everything

There are few sports that aren't truly appreciated in American culture. We thrive on the competitive spirit. However, soccer ("futbol") is the exception. We don't truly appreciate it here in the U.S. In fact, in the global arena, we are flat-out terrible. Still, we can pull together great advertisements for it at least. So in honor of my Brazilian friends and the World Cup, I can't help but share these amazing videos.

And this last video is to support one of my favorite footballers of all time: Lionel Messi. Best of luck to Argentina in the 2014 World Cup!! Wish I could have been there!

Burning Fire of Desire

I have had thoughts over the last few weeks but it is amazing where the time goes and how you never seem to be able to take hold of it. It is like water moving through your fingers or the wind as you whip down the highway. Either way, I want to share some of my thoughts and things that have either motivated me or pushed me to be better. The first thing is always a small thing. I was home with some of my roommates and I was waiting for my sister to stop by. We started reading the scriptures and praying together. I am still not the best with the habit but I am working on it. The little things are helping though and without my sister's support I don't know if I would have started it on my own.

The night was crisp and warm as most are in the summer. In Utah, it seems like the sun never sets this time of year. It doesn't get dark until 9:00 at night, if not later. But I was wandering around the back yard and I decided there was a lot of brush that we had collected by the fire pit and it was time for it to go. So I tried for a while to get the whole thing started and it wasn't working but finally I decided that a little gasoline might help. As expected, it lit up like a mushroom cloud and went right past my face but the heat was constant and within minutes all the brush was gone. Still, I sat there and waited for the fire to die out and for my sister to come by and so I watched as the embers cooled and turned bone white, dying out as quickly as they came to life. Watching the dancing flames, I thought about life and relationships and the path that we all choose to take for ourselves. As we live every day of our life, literally parts of us, parts of our bodies, die and are reborn. We do our best to grow and become better but we continually make mistakes only needing to be repent yet again and start over. We live in a cycle. But we continue to strive and push and the spark of our desires to improve are what helps us reignite our efforts and move forward. We really don't know how strong we are if we only try to stand against the wind when in reality we need to walk through it.

There was a story I heard recently given in a talk at church. It was about a boy. He had come to a local police station where they were auctioning off bikes. At the first bike, there he was bidding one dollar. Then came two and three and so on. Then the next bike and the next, again bidding a dollar. Bike after bike was sold until the final racer came up for auction. The auctioneer saw the bid rise higher and higher only beyond the boy's reach. With this last bike a call came for eight dollars. "Eight dollars... eight dollars going once... eight dollars going twice... sold for nine dollars to the boy over there." The auctioneer pulled eight dollars from his pocket only to have the young boy walk up to give his single dollar which he paid in nickels, dimes, and pennies that poured from his little bag. As the boy walked away with his bicycle, he got far enough away when he slowly parked his prized possession as carefully as possible and turn round and run back to throw his arms around the auctioneer's neck in gratitude, tearing streaming down out of both of their eyes. They had been part of something greater than themselves because they took the time to notice and the time to care.

We were born with desire and seem to continually want for something. It is hard sometimes for me to see the difference between what will bring me temporary satisfaction and what will bring lasting happiness. Which people are worth the sacrifice and which aren't worth your time? It is can be hard for me to know in the moment. But if, unlike the fire, I give the situation time to simmer and grow, then the answer typically presents itself.

It is easy to say but it sucks to put into practice. I can't even count the number of times that I wanted to pursue the wrong person or waited for someone that didn't care. It is the pain and blessing of not knowing and having no control. There is a beauty to it like the dark colors on a white canvas. The contrast of knowing that in the end when you finally have found the person that was looking for you, that in that moment you realize that they chose you over all the other 7 billion people in the world. There was pain along the way, heartache, betrayal, pushing you to the edge of everything you believe and everything that you are, but it was worth it. You would do it all again for that person because of that feeling which is so hard to describe. I am not speaking of finding a soul mate. I am speaking of finding someone who is not governed by fear. Finding someone who can commit, be loyal, be supportive, respectful, optimistic, and willing to pursue their dreams. Finding someone who has a passion for people as well as life. This goes back to the first idea that things are always moving and changing but people who have this enduring desire to be better will become so. Be patient. Don't quit.
"When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too" (Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist).