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Magical World

Wouldn't it be lovely if, with just a twitch of the nose, life, or any aspect of it could be changed. Instead, positive changes always seem to involve tremendously hard work, determination, and endless setbacks. How lovely it would be to have the powers of Samantha Stephens.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Best Part of Waking Up...

Five days weekly I teach seminary. This year we're discussing the Doctrine & Covenants--but it makes no difference to me what the topic is. I love the time I spend with the young men and women in my class. I know more about each of them than I probably should. I've talked to them individually, asked questions, laughed, hugged them. I know many things that hurt them, make them happy, frustrate them. Some are fluent readers, some are not--but all are willing to take a turn reading aloud a scripture or a quote when asked. Some get good grades easily, others struggle for their C's. There are many different ideas, personalities, and backgrounds coming together each weekday morning.

Sometimes it's as if I can feel their souls. There is an inherent goodness in each one of them. I'm very aware that some of them struggle with opposition daily in varying degrees. Some of that opposition is strong, and daunting. And yet they carry with them an undaunted spirit and an optimism in spite perceived troubles or sadness. They are very strong.

I wonder how much of what I say actually matters. Probably very little. It's the situation that is important--the coming together and gaining strength through common goals, camaraderie, feeling the Spirit (hopefully), and laughing--a lot. I am strengthened by these young friends. Each weekday, for just under an hour, I can escape from all that might make me sad, and spend time with some of the best people on earth. I listen to them talk and discuss. I laugh at David and DJ trying to play "I Heard the Bells" as an excruciating duet, while the rest of the class giggles as they sing. I hear the devotionals, some well-prepared, some less prepared, but all presented with willingness and a desire to express important thoughts to friends. I cling to the words of each prayer, and as they leave me each day, my heart says my own prayer entreating our Father to keep these beautiful young men and women safe--to help them know how important they are--to let them be aware of His love for them.

I wake up in the morning, happy that I am so blessed to have contact each day with my seminary students. If they take only a few things away from our time together this year, I hope it will be these:
1. Each one of them is a unique individual with a work only he or she can do (i.e., everyone has a "job" suited only to him/her).
2. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. Only through Him can we be redeemed. He has the ability to care for us when we are sad, hurt, angry, sinful, or wanting in any way. His love for us is greater than any other. Our love for Him should be no less.
3. We share a Father who loves us and has provided a way for us to return to Him. He has infinite blessings in store for each of His children. The receipt of those blessing (how many and to what extent) is our choice. He will allow us every opportunity to partake of all that He wishes to bestow upon us. He loves us enough to let us decide what to do with our lives, and He has set us free with the hope that our love for Him is sufficient to bring us back one day.
4. I love them. If they remember one thing about me, I hope it's that they know I love them.

Today I just have to acknowledge how incredibly blessed I am. It's not everyone who has the privilege of interacting each morning with some of God's choicest sons and daughters. I am doubly blessed in that one of those sons of God is also my own sweet son, and another is a very special friend. What more could I ask? I can't think of anything.

9 Comments:

  • At Tuesday, November 28, 2006 12:35:00 PM, Blogger Loyalist (with defects) said…

    Early Morning Seminary was one of the few things I really enjoyed during my high school years.

    I have no doubt that you are an excellent teacher.

     
  • At Tuesday, November 28, 2006 2:57:00 PM, Blogger Xanadu said…

    "God's choicest sons and daughters"

    That statement sort of blew me away. I teach a reading club of boys ranging in age from 11 to 18 twice a month, some have issues, some come from a very affluent families, but I don't think any of them are "choicest" in God's eyes.

     
  • At Tuesday, November 28, 2006 3:22:00 PM, Blogger Samantha said…

    I know, Xanadu. I'm so lucky. I get the best and the brightest. But maybe that's because I see better than you do...or God is a little closer...or perhaps I understand the worth of their souls on a different level than you can comprehend...

    I find it interesting that you are so blind and self-absorbed that you've robbed yourself of the opportunity to allow your life to be blessed by the choice sons and daughters of God that you are privileged to work with--after all, I only have a few--the entire line was "some of God's choicest sons and daughters." The quote should not be shortened or its context is misconstrued. But perhaps that was your aim. If so, I may have missed it. I tend to overlook mistakes the first time.

     
  • At Tuesday, November 28, 2006 4:20:00 PM, Blogger Xanadu said…

    Sam,

    I'm sorry if I misread you. Call it the inaccuracies of language and of communication, but when you say "choicest" you divide the "sons and daughters" into those who are chosen and those who are not. My meager understanding of religion is that we are all elect, and to make this clear I simply state it.

    I don't think you "see better" than me, nor I you, and I'm not sure it can be reduced to the innuendo that God loves one person more than another, or the simplified "worth" of a person's soul. As to the level on which you understand someone's soul, we'll, I'm sure that's the case. I've always believed that interpersonal interaction comes with infinite levels of intensity.

    "Self absorbed"? Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black? But I would guess that I'm no more self absorbed anyone else, and for me, just as for everyone else, the process of learning humility is endless. I know I need some work here, some work there, but I challenge you to practice what you preach.

    As your post earlier clearly shows, hate is far easier than love. The Book speaks against your chosen philosophy, it calls for a radical love, an extending of love beyond your desire, in not just the "choicest" areas and subjects of your life, but in every single area.

    You have the luxury of hating David, and of hating one segment of people that in reality you really don't even have to come into contact with if you don't want. I, on the other hand, am the most reviled type of person in your culture. And as such, and because of my past, I can tell you what true misanthropism is, and it is darkness, it is hate, and that, my friend, is self absorption.

     
  • At Tuesday, November 28, 2006 5:50:00 PM, Blogger Samantha said…

    Xanadu: In reference to your petty argument about word choice--if it bothers you that much, don't read my blog. You weren't invited, and your inferences are inaccurate and unwelcome.

    As for being self-absorbed--well, in case you didn't notice--THIS IS MY BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!! Naturally it's self-absorbed. It's where I express things about ME!! I've made no claims about my blog existing for the benefit of humanity--it is simply and blatantly for ME! That being said, if you ask anyone who knows me, you'd find that the whole person spends little time worrying about herself, and just in case you were wondering--that time I spend with my students (that would be every weekday morning at 6:45 a.m.) is completely volunteer--I do it because I love them. Also, if you actually READ my blog, instead of just lifting it, you'd know that I've never claimed to be perfect, I'm very aware that I'm not, and that I work daily to try to improve myself--unsuccessfully, I'm sure, but I'll try till I die. I've confessed to hypocrisy, to feelings of unworthiness, to acknowledgement that the blessings I've been given extend far beyond my capacity or ability to receive them. Be careful what you say about me--YOU DON'T KNOW ME!

    For me, hate is not easier than love. Once again, you totally and completely missed the point (really, Xanadu, read with an open mind for once!). I've spent my life resisting those feelings because there was so much about my cousin that I loved. And the fact that he is the ONLY one for whom I've felt true hatred, but I love so many others, should back up the truth that love is easier. This is a step in my therapy--I HAVE to acknowledge my feelings because if I don't--I'll die. It's that simple. I have an eating disorder (which you'd have noticed if you'd read my blog with someone in mind besides yourself) that manifests itself because I don't know how to feel. So you are perfectly free to ridicule and demean my attempts to live, but your efforts to do so are extremely insignificant when viewed beside the huge effort I have put forth over the past year. THAT is an accomplishment that your tiny mind can't comprehend, or you would never venture to mock it.

    I've had enough. I've allowed you a voice on my blog because I believe everyone should have the opportunity to express. However, at this point, I'm just tired of you and your rhetoric. "The Book" that you call upon to back up your arguments is obviously another source from which you take things out of context. I believe you would find (again, if you actually READ IT) throughout "The Book", many, many times, God speaks out against the very relationships you defend as therapeutic and positive. Age difference aside, according to "The Book," having sexual relations outside of marriage is wrong--and marriage, according to "The Book" takes place between a man (which you, yourself, defined as around 17 years of age) and a woman (again older than a child). If you profess belief, if you use "The Book" to defend yourself, to back up your ridiculous arguments--you need to walk the walk, my pet. Either you believe it or you don't--that's just the way it is. And quite honestly, although there is no one who lives it perfectly, as long as you want to legalize a lifestyle condemned by said "Book"--you aren't even trying.

    You are welcome to categorize yourself however you please--you see yourself as reviled, hated, condemned. I suggest you take your pity party to a place where it will be not only welcomed, but appropriate--START YOUR OWN BLOG. Your musings are unwelcome here.

     
  • At Tuesday, November 28, 2006 7:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    An interesting battle we find ourselves in. Xanadu, I believe that God loves all of His children, but there does exist an "elect of God" category among saints on earth. I am not claiming to be among them, and I don't make judgment calls because only God Himself is justified in this, but certainly there is a difference in spiritual attitude between one who consecrates his/her very life for God and one who goes about destroying the lives of others.

    On a more important note, I think that you have an obligation, Xanadu, to leave Samantha's blog. You have entered into her healing territory and only created difficulty and frustration for her. I love her with everything that I am, and I wish to protect her and her desires. Please grant her wishes and voice your opinion elsewhere.

     
  • At Tuesday, November 28, 2006 7:30:00 PM, Blogger Xanadu said…

    Sam,

    It’s interesting to see that the kind of feedback you want is simply reification of what you deem to be socially acceptable, reification that in my opinion is doing nothing to help you heal and everything to help you continue taking your bath in victimhood; it’s sort of become culturally chic these days. You want to be “healed” but “healed” only in your paradigm, a paradigm which reserves a neat little spot for cruelty and vindictiveness—and it is that little spot, and that little spot only that I have responded to on your blog.

    As far as being unwelcome, I am an expert on that. My kind is being murdered and tormented beyond anything you could possibly imagine, at levels not seen since Hitler murdered the Jews or the Whites still held slaves, and it’s being enabled by your reckless comments, that you call “healing”. That, my friend, is egregious.

    Your blog DOES exist for the benefit of humanity, just as my commenting on your blog exists for the benefit of humanity. What I’m talking about is love, and that love is the acceptance of love, and whatever prevents the acceptance of love, like the Bible says, is the greatest sin. I state, I make no bones about it, no hidden innuendos, the love that includes sexual love between an adult and a child is just as sanctioned by God as the love of marriage, or the love between adults, or any type of love—but to pervert that, as your culture is doing, is a sickness beyond anything I can imagine.

    I think I’ve been very careful in what I’ve said about you. I try very, very hard to be accurate in my communications, but you yourself must likewise be accurate; don’t let your dislike of me lead you to assume I am insincere or being purposefully provocative, I am not. I think this is the first time you’ve ever received an honest critique of what you’ve written and how you represent yourself, and it’s a little bitter, especially coming from someone whose world-view is taboo and violently silenced. Like you, I can’t change the cards I’ve been dealt, but I can play them to my best advantage and the best advantage of humanity, and that, I have decided, at whatever time and place, is to counter the injustice that I encounter on a daily basis.

    [Sam, someone asked you why you don’t just close your blog and privately journal. You’re response was that such an action would defeat the purpose, and the only difference I can see is the amazing ability of blogs to be publicly interactive. Feel free to censor me; you can to that by limiting, blocking, or deleting comments. If you did this it would be a move I would understand, it would be a move that has become far to prevalent today.]

    And no, Sam, I don’t know you. I only the you that you present in your words on this space. Likewise you can only know the Xanadu that I present in the comment sections of this space. More than likely, in real life, we’d probably get along very well. You say that to hate is not easier than love. Sure, that is an easy, benevolent statement to make, but I find in your self-presentation on this blog that like most people in the world that’s not really an honest statement, and I think you’d agree if you meditated upon it without anger. I understand that you are in therapy, and I can understand that you need to express emotions, but don’t let that be a guise and vehicle to carry hate. In no way do I demean, nor have I ever, your means to live, but don’t hide bigotry and dishonesty behind those means, that would be disingenuous to so much that you have written. In no way, no matter how much you’ve gone through, can hating another be justified as a means to life. That goes against everything Christ taught.

     
  • At Tuesday, November 28, 2006 9:06:00 PM, Blogger AttemptingthePath said…

    Xanadu,

    This blog is NOT a place for you to attempt to indoctrinate us. If you wish to talk about this--create your own blog and find your own online community.

    Go away.

    Leave this blog alone--No one cares. Go away. No one wants you here and no one cares of what you have to say.

     
  • At Tuesday, November 28, 2006 9:10:00 PM, Blogger -L- said…

    Xanadu, you are quite a piece of work.

    You have a very high opinion of yourself, excuse yourself of all responsibility for molesting children, paint yourself as the victim of society and a defender of "your kind". In reality, I think rank and file pedophiles are morally superior to you in every way I can conceive. You are shockingly evil, a "monster," to use your own word, not because you are a pedophile, but because you spend your best effort spreading lies, hate, angst, and suck your own satisfaction in causing suffering in others as shown here to the whole world wide web. Please make no mistake, I despise you not because you're a pedophile, but because your debased nature extends much deeper.

    I keep asking myself how many times you need to be uninvited to be here before you will gracefully go? How much effort does Samantha need to waste on replying to your ridiculous and laughably absurd comments before you will take the hint and walk?

    Don't answer, I already know. You stay and torment because it's your nature. You do it because you are a pathetic, mean person. And next, no doubt, I can expect to hear a defense of this misunderstood population of vilified pathetic mean people. I can't wait.

    I previously gave you an invitation to discuss your issues in a forum elsewhere that doesn't inflict unnecessary pain, but you ignored me and stayed where you feel you can safely bully someone vulnerable. Like a coward.

    Just go, and don't come back. Don't merely refrain from commenting, don't even VISIT.

     

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