Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Parable of the Fruit Snacks

Oh my cute mother came over the other night to rub my legs and tell me I can do this last intense part of pregnancy--where all the hormones, expectations, excitement and physical symptoms combine to generate enough heat and energy to keep my entire house warm for the next month. At least.

But she always says "Oh you used to write so funny. Why don't you write those funny blogs anymore?"

And I think, I don't know, I just don't.

The author on the Diane Rehm show the next day answered my mother's question, "we write to figure out what we're thinking" and I know I've expressed that somewhere on this blog before, but it's a good reminder. I don't have a lot of time in my day to think. So when I sit down at this computer, all I crave is clarity. All I want is to know what I think. And not about Lego creations if you know what I mean, I mean, about life.

And so I was thinking today about sin. And really, what is sin--because it's a perspective issue so much of the time. One person's sin is another person's liberation. So really, what is it? I mean, I have about two hundred and seventy-one church manuals, religious pamphlets and earnest Google searches that could answer this question for me, but remember, I want to know what I think.

And here's what I think, if the two great commandments are to love God and love others then the two great sins are to hate God and hate others. In my life, I feel separation from God when I stop surrendering my life to Him and instead try to control it myself. And I hate others when I hold them responsible for my life--my emotions, my fears, my success or my joy--because they will always disappoint.

I guess another way to say it is like this: Sin is giving God's responsibility to people in my life and hating people in my life for not being God.

But my ability to practice agency, choice, ownership is the pathway to love. I love God when I utilize my power to choose between good and ill intent. I love others when I don't let them take my power of choice away.

It's so stupid but this is the only way I can think of it right now: when my children recognize they are hungry and instead of blaming me for their hunger, they instead go to the fridge and get their own needs met it makes me incredibly happy. Happy for them, mostly, that they are learning that the power is within them to take care of themselves. But also happy because I can stay on the couch and chew ice chunks like I should be doing at this point in my pregnancy. I mean, right?

In this scenario I guess I'm God. I am happy for them because they are becoming enlightened and alive, which was my hope for them when they were conceived. I've taught them skills to help themselves. Like God, I'm seeing them fulfill their purpose as self-sufficient humans.  Also like God, I am sitting down chewing ice chunks because certainly that's heaven.

But also in this scenario I'm their mother and this behavior eliminates the negative emotions between me and my children--nobody is blaming anyone, but instead needs are being met by choice. The blame they could've put on me for not feeding them doesn't help our relationship, and the anger I feel towards them for making me feel like a bad parent hurts both them and me. But when I take responsibility to teach them how to help themselves, and they take responsibility for that knowledge! Ah! Then we have love at home.

And if they need help, certainly I will help them, but the approach is one of, "Hey Mom, I'm hungry can you help me reach the fruit snacks?" instead of, "Hey Mom, you never feed me and I'm starving and all you are doing is sitting there eating ice chunks."And I curse them under my breath (and maybe not so under my breath...) all the way into the kitchen.

I think a life of ownership is the most spiritual, peaceful and joyful life I can imagine. To wake up every day ready to answer for all of your choices for that day, to promise to God to protect and utilize your power to choose and fight the temptation to let others make choices for you SO THAT you won't end up angry and resentful and hating the very thought of them--it sounds like the good life to me.

It sounds like that's what I'm thinking about today.




*Book of Mormon side note: I started thinking about this as I read the account of Lehi and his family today. God tells Nephi that his brothers will have no power over him, unless he allows them to ruin his choice to believe in God. 1 Nephi, Chapter 2.