Monday, October 19, 2009

Starting Today

I couldn't sleep last night. There are a few things I do at times like these:

1. Lie in bed staring at the wall/ceiling and try and figure out what it is that is keeping me awake
2. Put on peaceful or sad music and try to fall asleep (more often peaceful than sad)
3. Give up all hope of sleeping and get out of bed. In this case I more often than not end up going for a drive

This morning I ended up doing all three. After about 30 minutes of listening to the first 20 seconds of each of the songs on my iPod I decided I would rather be driving if I was going to be listening to music. So I did. I got in my car and started driving. At first I thought I wanted to drive to Flagstaff, but at precisely 2:30 AM when I hit the fork that would take me either north, to Flagstaff, or south, to Tucson, my wheel turned left taking me south. I thought it an odd choice at first, considering there was nothing I knew of to interest me on the road to Tucson, but then I figured, at least this way there was the possibility I would reach my destination before my brain started saying "yeah... you need to turn around."

Well, I didn't. About 50 miles out from Tucson I realized I'm not really in any position to be spending money on gas unnecessarily, so I started looking for a good point to turn around. Every exit I passed, however, just didn't seem to be good enough. Eventually I gave up caring and started enjoying the drive again. It was nice, really. The last time I had enjoyed a long drive with good music and few cares was driving Chalise Cole home to Utah. At this point I started missing a lot of the people I really care about or have had good friendships with, but have lost or let fade over time. Mostly it was Sally Romley, one of my closest friends during my... (I think) junior year of high school, back when I was totally stuck on Mallory Caldwell, Sally was totally stuck on Niels Rieck, and Mallory ended up dating some weirdo we all thought was gay. Jason something. Man what a fun time that was, back when choir was the reason I went to school. I got to thinking about her because the first time I ever drove down to UofA I ended up stopping in to see her. It didn't last long, and I don't even think it was very much fun, but it attached her to Tucson in my mind I guess. Same thing for Ashley Evans and Hang Ho, who I visited on a separate occasion.

When I arrived in Tucson I decided to check out the UofA campus for no reason in particular, so I exited with the "University of Arizona" sign. Basically the campus was so uninteresting I ended up driving around Tucson for 15 minutes and then getting back on the freeway heading north. On the way back I started thinking about the things I want to change in my life. The fact that I always end up on this subject could be the reason I most enjoy long drives alone with my thoughts. Today I thought about something I haven't spent much time pondering in quite a while, and that, is kindness. I remember walking with Sheri Sharp one night around the Mesa Temple, during one of my happier and more spiritually attuned times in my life, and expressing to her what one of my big focuses was at the time

People are starting to wake up around me, so I am going to finish this later. (Fingers crossed)

So basically I've been thinking a lot about what a very dear friend said to me a while back. It was something along the lines of, "When I was young, I tried to be ____ (can't remember), as I grew older, I started to emulate those who were rich. Now, in my old age, I hold my deepest respect and admiration for those who are kind." (loosely quoted).

Basically I feel like it is time to put off childish things. I spent so much of the past years of my life trying to be like my friends I thought were funny, or cool, for one reason or another, and so I emulated their funny sayings, their actions, everything I thought made them cool. I'm not saying I have spent my whole adulthood trying to fit in, quite the contrary to be honest, I simply thought that I wanted to be like them. When I look around now though, I see innocent jokes that drive wedges tearing friendships apart over time, and for what? For a laugh at someone else's expense... how much does that suck? A lot. It sucks a lot.

I've been the subject of those jokes more times than I can count, and I have learned over the years to laugh them off with everyone else, but why would that give me any right to make them myself? This isn't the main focus of my thinking but I'm pretty tired at the moment, (for reasons quite obvious) but here is the point I'm trying to make:

I would rather people see me as someone who is trustworthy, hardworking, kind, and selfless, than as someone who is funny and always good for a laugh. I am commiting here to change my focus, and to watch my words and actions, ensuring that nothing I do for myself is at the expense of someone around me if it can be helped.

Yesterday in church a young man stated in his talk one of the better analogies I have ever enjoyed enough to remember. "Eternal life is the same as Eternal service." He then proceeded with this example: How much of what the Savior did in creating the world, in his earthly ministry, in atoning for our sins, and how much of what he does now is for his own gain? Likewise, how much of what our Father in Heaven has done has been for his own personal gain? Everything each of them has done has been for us. "For behold this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." So, to be exalted and receive eternal life you must be prepared to spend however long all of this ends up being, in service.

Begin now. Serve those around you.

I am attaching to this post the lyrics to the song I have decided to give to my good friend Lennox Morey. He has undertaken to help a village of African people who are in dire need of the help of people who have the ability to do so. This song was written during my deployment to Djibouti, Africa at the request of a fellow Marine who was heading a humanitarian project there. He ended up not needing the song at all, and so I have decided to use it for the purpose for which it was written. I plan to include this in my first CD and to donate time, effort, and a percentage of any money I make to this cause and any other I find along the way that will surely aid those who are in dire need.

So, without further ado...

"Starting Today"

Look at these people
Why don’t they try?
Why aren’t they smiling?
Why do they cry?

I see a people
Who’d die for a chance
Praying that someone
Will reach out their hand

I will be someone
Starting today
I know there’s something
I’ll find a way

A way to bring someone
Closer to peace
Closer to being
Who they want to be


I will raise my voice
I will take a stand
Lift someone up
Reach out a hand
That’s why I’m here
That’s why I am
Pray, give me strength
Strength now to stand

I have been given,
All of my days
My life has been so blessed
In so many ways

I have a chance now
To repay my due
It’s my time to give now
It’s my time to do

Now look at these people
There’s hope in their eyes
Some of them smiling
Some of them cry

We’ve given something
So simple to give
Taken people just living
And helped them to live!


I will raise my voice
I will take a stand
Lift someone up
Reach out a hand
That’s why I’m here
That’s why I am
Pray, give me strength
Strength now to stand

Pray, give me strength
Strength now to stand
Starting today I am a man.

1 comment:

Lisa Andrews said...

Nice Ben! Way to channel your emotions into something positive. I enjoyed this post. Lova ya tons bro ;)