Friday, December 3, 2010

finding joy in the journey

Hi friend. Sorry I dropped off for a bit. Thanksgiving and all, you know? I have much to be grateful for though, and it wasn't for lack of moments of rejoicing that I didn't report back on here. The best part of my Thanksgiving week was, of course, being able to spend it with family. Delicious food, delicious world, and delicious people to be cooped up and snowed in with. Thanks fam for being awesome.

Second best thing about Thanksgiving week--I finished my thesis! Of course, at this point, I don't mean finished, finished, but first final draft finished. Revisions will be happening in the next few weeks for sure, but the most challenging, most difficult (hopefully) part is now over. Oh, and did I mention that it is currently 61 pages? Gasp, I know. I never thought I'd write that much about anything, let alone a research topic (they're usually boring, don't you know?) But it's truly sitting next to me in all it's real, printed glory. With lots of red marks on it, of course, having already been through it's first trip to my professor. But I'm not discouraged. With a little work, it will be the best thesis ever written! (I'll accept checks for personal orders! :) )

So anyway, life lately has been good. It's always good, of course, but lately I've just felt so happy. I have so much to be happy about! Even challenges, when they come, can't take my peace away. Like tonight, for example. It's almost midnight and I've still got a lot to do. So much to do, in fact, that for only about the eighth time this year, I would classify my internal feelings as ones of stress. Definitive statement then: I am stressed. BUT, feeling stressed doesn't mean it's time for me to crumble. I am capable of doing hard things. I know it. Sometimes events in life require that we climb harder, faster, and be stronger, and stretch ourselves more that we thought we could. We may have to sleep less, wear the same socks two days in a row, and forgo a hoped for event in order to achieve what we most desire. But even in sacrificing, we gain.

Sorry that this is so train of thought and therefore, may seem jumpy to you, but at this point in my monologue I am going to introduce one of my favorite analogies to you--that of weight lifting. In case you did not know this about me, consider yourself informed: I love to lift weights. I'm not a die-hard gym goer, but I look forward to twice a week weights classes when it's just me and the bench and the weights and my body and I get to push myself and think and clear my mind and work on physicality instead of intellectuality for a little while. And then, the next day, I get a kind of secret, personal joy when I feel the results of my efforts in regular movement--sore shoulders, tender abdominal muscles, achy calves. Oh, the joy.

But that's not the point. My point is, life is like a gym. We don't get anywhere, indeed, there's no point in even being there (the gym)/here (alive), unless we're willing to work and try and push ourselves and sweat. And when we do, the results are sweet. Things that were once difficult gradually get easier. Areas of ourselves that we might have been self-conscious of or even ashamed of, with time and concentrated work, may actually become areas of confidence for us. To me, that is what I see when I think about my life. There are many things that I am not very good at, but the scriptures (Ether 12:27) teach us that God can make our weaknesses become our strengths. In my life, I have seen how when I am humble and teachable and both seek to improve my weaknesses and have faith that they can be improved, with time and effort, viola! they are.

Yay for weight room analogies and for true life principles! We can change. We can get better. I'm not going to let feeling stressed rob me of the wonderful expectations I have for tomorrow, this weekend, next week, the rest of this year, and the rest of my life. Though distraction it may be, it will not sidetrack me from what I really know--that our lives are more than our to-do lists, and our worth more than the things we can quantify. God will still love me if I get a B- or a C in my Statistics class, and it's okay if I don't do my hair perfectly tomorrow. Life will go on. And it will be great.

Thanks for reading.

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