Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Great Friends, Great Thoughts

I like having great friends. I like being surrounded by people that lift me up and make me better. I would venture to say that is one of the reasons I love BYU so much; it is just easier to find great people like that when you are at a great place like this.

On one such occasion with just such friends we were some pretty great thoughts. One friend asked us "What are we going to do to return to virtue/invite others to return to virtue this week?" She was basing her question on the talk by Sister Elaine Dalton. The entire talk "Return to Virtue" is a powerful invitation to return to virtue and lead the world in doing the same. It is beautiful. My friend's invitation was beautiful because she was inviting me to return to virtue with love and meekness and as my friend. Then we all took turns giving ideas of how we could do that this week.

In short, I am striving to be the type of person that lifts others and invites people through example and words to be something better. I would like to thank my friends. If you are my friend it is because I enjoy being around you and your presence in some way lifts me and encourages me. If you are my family, on the other hand, it is because Heavenly Father knows that, in the long run, your presence will make me better (patience, humility etc.). If you fall into either group, thanks for being there to help me.

So, what are we (you+me) going to do this week to lead the world in a return to virtue?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Me vs. Mt. Timpanogos

I have fears. These fears include, but are not limited to, an intense fear of heights and an intense fear of enclosed spaces. I was once stuck in the elevator of a parking garage for half an hour with 15 other people. Let's just say it didn't help any.

A few days ago I took a date and went with my brothers to hike up to the Timpanogos caves. It did not occur to me that such an activity would involve both heights and pretty enclosed spaces. I would just like you all to imagine the look on my face when I looked at the door to the mountain and realized, for the first time, what I had gotten myself into. It was one of those "oh crap!" ones.

My first thought was that I could tell my group to go without me and that I'd just meet them down at the cars. I then realized that I had brought a date along. If I left her to go through the cave alone then I would be one of those guys that girls tell their roommates about during pity parties. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place (the hard place was actually a huge precipice...if you want to be picky). I asked around to figure out just how enclosed the spaces were and I was told that there were places where I would have to get down and crawl. Again, oh crap.

As a last resort I told my date of my fears and said her that if I started freaking out, she should slap me across the face as hard as she could. She smiled and said "really?" I said yes, but not without being nervous that she'd smiled while saying that. With a few deep breaths, and maybe a prayer or two, I walked into that cave.

One of my big irrational fears was that an earthquake would occur. Luckily, the guide calmed my fears by assuring us that our deaths would be quick. Though she smiled creepily while she said it, I didn't feel reassured. In fact, I couldn't help but notice that she didn't say it would be painless.

However, I made it through without being slapped once. I vanquished my claustrophobia and conquered the mountain. Now I just have to conquer my fear that Janet Reno will strangle me in my sleep, and heights.

I have questions

Question #1: Is it allowed for somebody who has never even been to California to join a group called "Californians against Utah weather"? I really hope the answer is yes and I have reasons. First, I spent all summer in Chile which was in winter season the entire time. So, I'm sick of winter. Second, the other day it was warm and cozy to the point where the huge guy that is my roommate left the air conditioning on all night. When I woke up the next morning it was suddenly freezing and they were forecasting possible snow. What?! I don't know about the rest of you, but if the weather has to change I'd prefer that it be gradual.

I guess I wouldn't be offended if the group denied me entrance, but I want people to know I agree with their ideals.

Question #2: What is the best "getting to know you" question you have ever heard? I will leave the definition of "best" up to the reader. And by getting to know you questions I mean the crazy questions people always ask you on those first dates, or when you are forced to sit for a while with a chatty person.

I was volunteering at parent teacher conferences today as a translator and there was just such a chatty person who was asking me the sort of questions that are just a little too personal for our 45 minute acquaintance. Then I overheard two girls talking and one of them definitely asked the other what her favorite animal was. I laughed out loud as I instantly imagined somebody asking their date that. Now, please fast-forward to my blind date tonight...

I was talking to my friend at one end of the table when Sally (name changed) emphatically states to her date Jim (name changed), "Oh! the giraffe is by far my favorite animal; they are my passion!" She then named off all of the things that she owned that were associated with giraffes (it was a long-ish list). By the end I was obviously crying with laughter.

The End