Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Proverb and a Project - July 13, 2009

I realized yesterday, somewhere between home teaching, saying goodbye to my family, and church meetings, that I wasn't going to have time to write this letter. I started wondering what I would do - how I would find the time when I needed to drop off my sisters at soccer camp, I had a major deadline at work, and when Mondays have no free time in the first place. As I felt the stress grow and grow, I remembered a proverb I learned on my mission. The branch president in Ladispoli spoke during Sacrament Meeting one day and explained the following: There are two types of problems in life. The first type of problem is one that has a solution. If you have a problem, and there is a solution, there is no need to worry - all you need to do is find the solution and put it into action. Worrying about the problem doesn't help you find the solution any faster. The second type of problem is a problem that has no solution. If you have a problem and there is no solution, there is no use worrying - you will never find a solution, no matter how much you worry. The moral of the proverb is this - no matter what your problem in life, don't worry about it!

As I thought about my minor problem (which was simply that I had committed to doing more than I was physically capable in the time allotted), I realized that worrying wouldn't get me anywhere. I would write the letter eventually, and when that time came, I would write it. Before I had the time, there was no use in worrying about finding it. As I gave up my stress, I felt a wave of relief wash over me... and I slept well and was able to concentrate on the important other aspects of my life.

Each of us has things that stress us - decisions that we will need to make in the future, outcomes in life over which we have little control... anything that we can't do right now. I have tons of those right now. I submitted my manuscript of Watching Cookies in the Oven this week to Deseret Book and I could be incredibly stressed, hoping that the editor likes it... I don't know what I will be doing come September (as far as a job is concerned) since every decision I've made has made me sick to my stomach... and I wish that I could figure out my life plans... but, whether I stress or not about all these things doesn't ultimately affect their outcome. It only affects me - and, at least in my life, added stress is not a postive ingredient!

Beyond that, life is great. I was just cast in a movie called Stand Strong - I'm a funny character named Andrew Turner who is also a mechanic. We'll see how that goes. Practice for Pirates of Penzance is getting more intense as we approach show time, and my family was just here. While they were here, we went to see all sorts of alternative doctors to see if we could find a way to treat my sister's cancer. After talking with friends and family, my sister decided to follow a few courses of action - becoming completely raw, mostly vegan, drinking tons of water, and using essential oils as topical and dietary sources of cancer-fighting compounds. Some of the doctors did things that made sense to me - the explanation of essential oils going through the semi-permeable membrane of the skin, for example, made complete sense to me. But some of the other things they did - like muscle testing and iris reading - were completely foreign and made me uncomfortable. I have trouble believing things that aren't spiritual in nature and aren't easily explainable, and so I really didn't want my sister to make important decisions based on a knowledge-gathering technique that I couldn't understand. I've studied quantum physics, so you can explain at whatever level you want. And yet, I have a desire to understand things and to accept them even when I don't understand... and to know how they work - to know how a woman without a degree in medicine can look at my sister's eyes and know that she has massive amounts of scar tissue in her knee and can "see" four visible lumps on her thyroid - something a doctor could only tell from a CT scan. That actually happened in one of our appointments. I know that there is something there... but what? And how do you find it and objectively qualify it? I've always loved immersing myself in new environments... I guess the Lord has given me a new course of study!

Your sources of stress may be important decisions, events, relationships, or anything else. I'm giving you permission to let them go - to do what you can do today, today, and wait for tomorrow to do what cannot be done until tomorrow. Life is too short to worry. The Savior taught people on both continents the same injunction: "Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof." (3 Nephi 13:34, Matt 6:34)

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