Friday, January 1, 2010

I NEVER write good titles

My father gave my mom a book for Christmas that she referred to me. She said it was amazing as are most of the books she refers. Her eyes are like book metal detectors. When she finds an intellectually or spiritually stimulating book, you can be confident that it is valuable. So I try not to take it lightly when she mentions a particular literary masterpiece. The latest addition was Change Your Questions Change Your Life by Wendy Watson Nelson. New Years day I journeyed to my parents house to partake of a tradition-- beans-- All the while, longing for the book I had left unfinished at home. My fingers itched to hold paper and when I saw Sister Nelson's book placed on the end table I remembered my mom's recommendation and picked it up. It was a large book. Not a War and Peace tome, but I thick, wide book with heavy glossy pages, riddled with beautiful photography and largely printed words. Quick, easy reading for its size, I thought as I flipped though the brightly colored leaves. So I began to read.

I was so surprised when I had a "Aha" moment already on page sixteen. As Sister Nelson addressed the power of questions she made mention of "troublemaking questions". These often include the following:
  • Why am I SO. . . ?

  • Why doesn't ANYONE. . . ?

  • Why do I ALWAYS have to. . . ?

  • Why doesn't he EVER. . . ?

  • Why does she ALWAYS. . . ?
I noticed that many of the "troublemaking questions" if not all deal in absolutes. Now, absolutes are words I'm quite familiar with. I always speak in absolutes. Perhaps not always, but I am known to use them more often than not. Absolutes are quite powerful because they come from God. He is absolute. He loves us always. He knows us completely. There is only one way to return to his ever open arms. Satan knows this and tries to make things that are not absolutes feel as though they are. He uses sin and addiciton to snare us into thinking we can never get out. He tells us that we're never good enough, and that we're always making mistakes. He tells us that no one cares and it will always be this way. He tells us we are victoms, and in an attept to hide from sin and inadequicies we take the bait.

I have found myself in that very place asking those very questions. But it wasn't until I read them in that book on shiny green paper that I really pondered the effect they have on my life. They take away my power to see clearly.

I have a co-worker with a reputation of being difficult. She is very defensive and when she speaks it can sometimes sound belittling. While I had personally experienced no problems with her for the last year and a half that she's worked with me, two weeks ago she said just the wrong thing to prick my small ego. I shouldn't have got offended, but I did. And since that day, every word that has exited her small frame has filled me with anger and resentment. For this I am not proud. I heard myself telling Paul about her Monday afternoon, using this phrase, "She always talks as if everyone around her is inferior." My decision to see in absolutes sent me hunting for offense where none was intended.

Later that week I was reading a conference talk by President Monson from the priesthood session. He talked about the destruction of anger. I knew I was being chastised for my actions. I felt prompted to continue to another talk by Elder Anderson about the love of the Savior. While reading his words I felt the deepest sorrow for what I had done. I had not only let myself get angry, I had let hate and enmity enter my heart towards another daughter of God that was perfectly precious to him. My need to cover my own sins and hateful thoughts sent me digging for faults in others to justify the way I felt. It was a whole lot of ugliness. Absolute ugliness.

I'm making a vow to ask better questions to myself, positive questions, and to watch for Satan's twisted snares. I want to think better of other people and take offense less. This New Year's goal, or hopefully New Life goal, is proving harder than I thought. Yesterday I fell for it again and I'm feeling quite discourage and even embarrassed. So I'll try again today to be a little bit better. Wish me luck. Hopefully, my future use of absolute thinking and talking will be more righteous and keep me out of trouble.

But don't blame me if an occasional absolute pops up in my writing for detail-oriented purposes. Righteous detail-oriented purposes, of course.

1 comment:

  1. If you just keep trying you are SURE to succeed...and that is the absolute truth.