Tag Archives: perspective

Hope, Expectation, Love, and Agency

HopeIt doesn’t matter if you’re eighteen, twenty-eight,
forty-five, or seventy-three, the truth is at every age, there are simply Things We Don’t Know We Don’t Know.

We learn a great deal from personal experience and through the experiences of others, but no matter how wise we are, we still have blind spots in our awareness. And sometimes those blind spots play a major role in the decisions we make, for better or worse.

One of my blind spots has been understanding the difference between hope and expectation, and how these two characteristics affect how we love others and respect their agency.  Continue reading

I Have a Dream

I have a dream that one day we will reach a critical mass of Zion-prepared people and the Lord Jesus will return in glory to live and reign here with us.

I have a dream that my children and my grandchildren and their children will inherit a healthy earth, that they will be freed from the tyranny of sin, free to grow in righteousness in a peaceful, joyful world.

I have a dream that one day I will talk with my Lord face to face, that I will learn all truth, line upon line, directly from the Source of Truth.

I have a dream that the church I love will one day be truly perfect, that everyone — of every gender and race and social class — will find a welcoming home, a place to rest and contribute, to love and be loved.

I have a dream, a powerful dream, of the celestial world, where my Mother and my Father reign in all perfection and glory, a celestial Home where I belong.

I have a dream of a marital partnership that mirrors our Parents’, to which we each bring divine power and tenderness, and with which we  further the work and glory of our God.

I have a dream that every soul on earth and in heaven will come to know who they really are, that they will each embrace the grace of our Savior and come Home.

I have a dream, an impossible dream, that Love and Truth and Mercy will prevail, that humankind will finally find within themselves the divine spark that makes us beloved sons and daughters of God, the spark that once ignited and fanned, flames into glory, one precious soul at a time.

I dream the impossible. And I believe . . .

 

What do you dream?

 

The Long View

My children and I starting a new path in 2011. Photo by Katie Stirling

My children and I starting a new path in 2011. Photo by Katie Stirling

 

Last year I took a full-time job at the university where I completed my undergraduate and graduate degrees. After several years away, being back where I spent so much time in my past has been both a wonderful and strange experience. The campus is a palimpsest, with layers of time and memory revealing themselves as I walk through buildings and down tree-shaded paths. There are the benches in the fine arts building where I took naps after art history class my freshman year; the school supplies area in the bookstore where I spent my hard-earned money on fancy gel pens to liven up my note taking; the building where I received my patriarchal blessing in a small campus office. Some of the places where I lived, worked, and studied have been completely erased—torn down to make way for new construction that still disorients me after being back on campus for a year. Eighteen years ago I was one of the new freshmen I now see walking around feeling simultaneously excited and scared (although I didn’t have a cell phone glued to my ear at the time). Continue reading

Open

imageWhen I lived in the city I was accustomed to the kaleidoscope of smashed glass caught in the cracks and rough patches of sidewalk and road. Beautiful, but terrifying trash. I’ve stepped on enough broken drinking glass shards to know to keep my feet covered when I stepped outside. The day I spied a man running down my Baltimore street without shoes I looked once to see him, again in unbelief, once more in disbelief and again because why would anyone in their right mind run down these glass glittered streets without proper footwear? But up the street he ran anyway, not stepping gingerly, but in stride and purpose. Open and free. I just thought he and anyone else reckless enough to attempt such a task was crazy. Then I met one. Continue reading

Taking Exception to Exceptionalism

As a student of rhetoric and an aspiring writer, I worry about words. I worry about the way they sound or don’t sound. I worry about nuance and assonance and consonance and rhythm. But mostly, I worry about the meanings (intentional or not) that we send with our words.

Currently, I’m serving as the first counselor in my ward Young Women’s organization. Which means, not surprisingly, that I spend a lot of time thinking about the messages that get sent to our youth, both inside and outside of the church.

One of the messages we send to our youth concerns their exceptionalism–the idea that they are, to borrow Peter’s words, “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood.” This message isn’t particularly new: I heard it 20 years ago. And there’s nothing implicitly wrong with the message–as a church, we believe that the current generation(s) were held back in the pre-existence to come to earth today.

What concerns me, however, is how this (and similar messages) may get taken up and misinterpreted. One of the difficulties with chosenness is that it only happens in opposition–one is only chosen if another is not. Exceptionalism works the same way. To be exceptional, one has to be an exception. One has to be better than others. (The Free Dictionary defines it as “well above average; extraordinary.”)

Don’t get me wrong. I love the youth I work with. They are smart, strong, vibrant young women full of integrity and faith. But exceptional? I find myself increasingly resisting that concept. The moral standards our youth (and adults) hold themselves to are exceptional. But I’m not sure it’s healthy to extrapolate from this that we ourselves are exceptional. I think it sets a dangerous precedence and expectation. Continue reading