Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Message in a Bottle

I've just spent the day reading a book from cover to cover.  I rarely do that.  Usually I am conscientious and responsible. Not today.  My dishes are not done.  My bed isn't made.  I am still wearing my workout clothes from this morning's walk.


But I am in a different place now than I was earlier today.  Sometimes I am hampered by despair.  Inexplicable despair.  For-no-good-reason despair.

Sometimes I think I can explain it, or at least partially understand where it comes from.  Today I couldn't.  I needed to do things and yet I was paralyzed.  Not paralyzed by fear.  Paralyzed with the inability to motivate myself. 

I wish it was just laziness.  Truthfully, sometimes it is, but those days are filled with joy and the deliberate choice to play hooky and be lazy.

Knowing that my day was going to be difficult, I picked up a book to hide within. Just a book that happened to be within arm's reach.

I don't know what happened.  Maybe it was the sun on my face coming through the window.  Maybe it was reading about someone with a legitimate reason to want to run away.  Maybe it was grace from a loving Heavenly Father who sent me an important message to "Live."

We must choose, you know.

     "Just before she died, McKale asked me to promise her that I would live."

     She nodded.  "I think we all have to make that choice.  I meet dead people every day at the diner."

     "What do you mean?"

     "People who have given up.  That's all death requires of us, to give up living."

     I wondered if I was one of them.

     "The thing is, the only real sign of life is growth.  And growth requires pain.  So to choose life is to accept pain."

I know that there are people with "real" problems that face the decision to live or give up each day.  And then, of course, that makes me beat myself up for having imaginary problems.  But are they really?  I don't know what things you struggle with, and you don't know what I struggle with, and perhaps it is best if we keep it that way.

The book is called simply, The Walk.  It is by Richard Paul Evans and I found it to be engaging from the first paragraph of the Prologue.  It is elegant in its simplicity.  It captures the universal dream of running away from it all.  Admit it.  You have thought about that at least once in your life, haven't you?

I love my life.  I really do.  I have the freedom to enjoy a variety of pursuits.  I have people who really love me.  They do!  Who can say why, but they do.  I have been blessed with good health, with a sound mind, with a profound relationship with my Savior.

When life gets difficult I simply need to remember to glance upward and see that eternity is my covering, as it was with Patriarch Abraham and Mother Sarah (Abraham 2:16).  They never lost hope, but pushed forward in pursuit of the great blessings they had been promised. I suspect they even had days of discouragement.

Sometimes I wish I could write what I am feeling and send it off in a bottle in the sea.  Then I could be pretty well-assured that no one would ever read it.  It is difficult to send off a blogpost because even though it is nearly as lost in oblivion as that bottle would be, there are a handful who may actually find it and glimpse into my soul.

Treat it kindly, dear reader.  And perhaps take solace in discovering that others can have bad days too.

May we choose to live; to drink in life to its fullest, and remember that the only real sign of life is growth.

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