Monday, August 17, 2009

I Have Finally Joined the Digital Age

Once upon a time, I'll admit I felt a small sense of superiority when people would send me prompts or quizzes: answer these questions by setting your iPod on random! As I ignored them, I thought to myself how I was not enslaved to technology--and that though I blogged, Facebooked, and checked my e-mail almost neurotically too often--I was not a slave to Apple. I was just fine with my music being played on my stereo. And though I've technically had iTunes on my computer for a while, it was more as a favor to my brother than it was anything else. He, after all, has been enthralled with his iPod since he came home from his mission last July.

And then it happened: I acquired an iPod. But I'll have to admit to a small sense of superiority still, because I didn't pay for it. My dad passed his old iPod to me when he invested in his iPhone. (He's an IT director. He loves his toys. And really, after watching him watch my older brother play with his iPhone...well, we all knew it was only a matter of time.)

When my dad offered his, I accepted it in the spirit it was intended: both my dad and my younger brother, after all, felt that it was high time for me to join the digital age and listen to my music the same way everyone else does. I'll admit it comes in handy when I want to listen to my music but I don't want to disturb the others in my household.

But I'm scared, and this is why. I have a good friend who wears his iPod around campus-any time he's not in class and not at work, and he becomes completely oblivious to the world around him. He gets so absorbed in his music that he doesn't notice anything else going on. Short of a bomb threat (and I'm not so sure about that), I can't think of anything that would divert his attention away from his music once he's put his headphones in.

I'd like to be aware, personally.

And also, to be quite honest, I don't want to become so attached to my iPod that I'm like the guy I walked home behind (for part of the walk, anyway) the other day: jamming out tunelessly (although, to be honest, I can carry a tune) to my music so loudly that other passersby can't help but notice, stare, and a chuckle a little.

In short, I guess we'll see how this goes.

Also, I'll still probably ignore any prompt that tells me to set my iPod to random and then answer the questions based on the songs that crop up. I just might (might, mind you--I'm not making any promises here) feel a little bit guiltier about ignoring them.

Friday, August 7, 2009

In Which Into the Woods Causes Me to Have an Epiphany

So there I sat on Tuesday night, "culturing my friend." That's what I call it, anyway. Because really, everyone should see Into the Woods just once. They'll love it or they won't, in my experience. A good friend from work despises it because it does not end neatly or tidily. I love it for exactly the same reason. And my friend hadn't seen it all, which I considered a travesty worthy of ramification. Therefore: Netflix to the rescue!

As we listened to Cinderella's "On the Steps of the Palace," I said something aloud about how I wished it were true that I could "decide not to decide." Unfortunately, I quickly pointed out, I didn't think that was allowed.

Without going into any specific details, I have found myself in quite a quandary lately. A conundrum, if you will, where I felt that I was being faced with a couple of different choices (between two situations and between two people, and no, you're not getting any more information than that) and where I continually felt as though I were constantly being torn between the two sides of each choice. At various times, all of the choices have seemed right: that, in itself, has made attempting to choose extremely difficult. To say the least.

And then, as I walked home from work yesterday, that phrase popped into my head again as the answer to my current quandary/conundrum: the very instability inherent in the choices themselves clearly demonstrates (to me, anyway) that now is not a good time to decide. Instead, I have a very strong feeling that I should live my life, keep myself busy, and do what I need to do. The choices, one way or another, will sort themselves out to a point where I can make them.

But that can't happen while I obsess about those choices. So I've stopped obsessing about them. I'm throwing myself into other things and keeping myself busy. And so far, I haven't had much time to think about them.

Hopefully, by the time I do, clarity will have entered the equation.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


The theme of today's testimony meeting, if it were to be summarized in five words, would be this: "God knows and loves you." At least, that's what everyone kept feeling struck by. Or to be more specific, everyone who stood up in sacrament meeting today said something like unto it.

It's not a statement I would dispute.

But interestingly enough, that's not what I was hearing--or rather, what I was feeling--every time someone said that. Any time someone mentioned God's awareness of our difficulties, I kept feeling that I need to work on my awareness; after all, it is through other people that He usually blesses us. And I haven't noticed as much as I should have.

For someone who writes and reads as often as I do, I go through long periods of time where I'm oblivious to everything around me: there are times I barely notice the seasons changing, where I (unintentionally, usually) disregard the stress of those around me, and times where I become so focused on what I'm doing that I lose track of everything else I don't a passionate and intense interest in.

But I realized something today: I'm supposed to have a passionate and intense interest in helping those around me. I'm supposed to apply myself to the pursuit of awareness instead of oblivion. I'm supposed to become one of the instruments in the hands of God that helps other people come to realize His awareness of them.

As I grow older and as I serve in more capacities, I come to realize more and more that we are not a gospel of talking. I'm good at the talking. Far too comfortable, I think, with the talking. It's the walking that I have trouble motivating myself to do. But as Westley states in The Princess Bride when the six-fingered man pretends he will be taking him back to his ship, "We are men of action. Lies do not become us."

And when we talk as though we're walking, and we're not walking at all--well, we're liars. And hypocrites. And lies and hypocrisy do not become us, either. I'm afraid that I've been a liar and a hypocrite.

I'm going to try to stop that. I have roommates; I have visiting teachees; I have a calling; I have friends. I may not change the whole world by changing the way I look at things, but I hope that I can have the guts to work on improving my own little corner of the world.