Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WHAT? Captain Planet isn't real?!

Since coming back from my mission I've repeatedly returned to think about what it means to be a real man. Like it or not, I've been given crappy definitions by a lot of sources throughout my life. My Dad is awesome and my brothers are pretty cool, but I watched a little too much TV. Here are some examples of real men that I've met recently:

Today I went to the park and a few people asked us if we wanted to play soccer with them. My team was down a player and the people on the other team were good, except for a 14 year-old that was playing with his college age brother. I was focused on winning and playing my best because my teammates weren't exactly David Beckham. The older brother, Ben, sacrificed his clearly competitive nature in order to make sure his younger brother had a confidence building experience and a good time. He repeatedly gave the ball to his brother and created opportunities for the awkward kid to score and be successful, even when it meant a lost opportunity. I can still picture that skinny fourteen year old pumping his fists in the air and smiling because he did it. Maybe it doesn't sound like much, but as I played against them I was taught by the powerful example of this outstanding young man. He was a man.

There is a guy I always see working at the grocery store where I shop. The other day I saw him walking across campus carrying a book bag and the scruff that suggested he doesn't get enough sleep. The next time I saw the guy at the grocery store I asked him if he was a student and he said yes. I noticed the wedding ring on his hand and it all came together. This guy was working and going to school full time to support his family and gain an education. he was sacrificing so much for his family and their future. I was and am impressed by his dedication.

I was watching "Human Planet" the other night as they documented an isolated community high in the frozen mountains of Nepal. The people there can only gain an elementary education unless they travel 50 miles to the nearest city. To get there, they have to travel one of the most dangerous routes in the world. The path is a semi-frozen river surrounded on either side by steep cliffs. One particular man makes the 50 mile trip at the beginning of each school year to ensure that his children gain an education. After finally arriving in the city, the father takes each of his children and says "I love you. Study hard. I'll call and send money." He hugs them for a moment then watches as they enter the school that will be there home for the next 6 months. Then he walks the 50 miles back to his home. That, is a man.

I want to understand what my role in Heavenly Father's estimation is and then follow that.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Running in the Rain

Yesterday began at 5:00 AM for me as I got up to prepare for a 7:00 AM final. I finished the final then came back home, ate and collapsed on my bed for a solid three hours. When I got up it was still rainy and cool outside, so I decided to go running.

I put on my beanie and put my super awesome iPod shuffle in my ears and headed up into the hills to go running. I loved every second of it.

The spring rain falls on your face and drips off your nose as you jog through uncharacteristically beautiful hills. On your iPod you listen to Jack Johnson, Amos Lee, Chris Merritt and others. You stop at the top just to see how far up you are and enjoy the great view of the valley and Utah Lake. You breathe the air for just a second and maybe even sing along to the song.

As long as I have those moments, I don't think it will matter how tough life gets.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Me vs. The Phone

For those of you out there who regard their pillow as a close personal friend and their alarm clock as a necesary evil, I encourage you to buckle your seatbelt for a suspense/thriller. I'll begin by saying that my phone/alarm clock has moved from the category of "necesary evil" over into "just evil".

For the past several weeks my alarm clock has been going off at unscheduled times. For instance, I set my alarm for 8:30 and it obediently went off as scheduled...but it also chose to go off at 7:20. It hasn't been a big deal because I'm a Jedi Knight when it comes to getting out of bed, resetting my alarm and getting back into bed before it even gets through the first ring. However, my disgruntled phone raised the stakes.

On one particular night I went to bed early because I was planning on actually being on time to my 8:00 am class. Hey, I was feeling ambitious. So I went to bed at about 11:30 in hopes that 7:00 AM wouldn't hurt so bad. My alarm went off it hurt more than usual, but I went into P90X mode and pushed through the pain. I rolled out of bed (literally), said my prayers, then went about my daily routine. After maybe 20-30 minutes in that semi-conscious state I decided it wasn't worth it and that my dear friend Mr. Sandman had far more important things to say than Dr. O'Neill and Advanced Immunology. It took me a fraction of a second to go back to my room and jump into bed. Cue the music from X-Files.

I went to reset the alarm on my phone and paused briefly as I stared into the cool computer screen. It was 2:17 AM! For those of you drunk enough to wonder why I set my alarm for that early, rest assured that I would NEVER do that. I quickly checked my phone to make sure nobody else had either. My alarm was still set for 7:00!

My phone doesn't simper or snicker because it's just a phone, but if it did, I bet it would've been snickering it's head off right then. My phone is currently under investigation for openly seeking to sabotage my life. The penalties are severe and may involve a hammer. Don't worry, it won't be humane.