Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Somethin' kinda philosophical

I like things that will make me better.
It's why I like working out. It's why I like going to school. It's why I like having a job and providing for myself as much as I can stand to. It's why I prefer reading books to watching tv.
And. It's why I like to run.
It's why I like to run far. Sometimes farther than I've run since, oh, about a year ago when I did my half marathon. Yeah, haven't run much more than 6 miles at a time since then.
And sometimes, when I run that far, I stop before the last 3 miles of my run and sit under this big tree that i love and I collect all the thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head this whole time, jostled out of the far reaches of my brain by my steps, and I let them organize themselves into something coherent.
 Actually always. Always when I can trick myself into running that far, I do this. It's my peace ritual. It's my quiet place in Provo.

Today I ran this far. And as I sat under this big tree that I love, I thought about how imperfect I am. My Heavenly Father created me, and all His children, with an awe-inspiring potential, one He expects each of us to reach eventually. And today I thought about how depressingly not even remotely close I am to reaching that potential.

Specifically, I thought about how mean I am sometimes. Often, when my feelings are hurt, I lash out, usually at whichever unfortunate soul has managed to upset me (whether intentionally or not), and want them to feel my pain. Sadly, these people are usually those closest to me, because those are the people who have the power to hurt me. But hurting them back ultimately just makes me feel worse. I often can catch myself, and force myself to bite my tongue. But I'll be honest, sometimes I don't.
I was thinking about this nasty habit of mine, and I couldn't help but notice how carnal of an instinct it is. I think it is the natural human response to being hurt--you want to see justice met. It's wrong to hurt people, and you want to see them punished for doing something wrong. And who better to do the punishing than you, the victim who has suffered this injustice?
It's natural. But that doesn't make it OK. It is so far from the example Jesus set, and so animalistic and beastly in nature, and I realized it's a characteristic I have to learn to overcome if I ever expect to achieve my potential.

My mom always told me that anger is a secondary emotion, usually brought on by grief or disappointment, or some other variation of sadness. And so I set for myself a little goal. Every time I get the urge to say something mean to someone, something that I know will make them feel as bad or upset as I am feeling, I will take a moment for introspection and ask myself, what is the real reason I am upset? What is it about this thing that they have done that has made me angry? Because what I've found so far is that when I get down to the core of it, whatever action has been taken against me has conflicted with some selfish, egotistical interest of my own that actually is not fundamentally crucial for making me happy. And so, at this point, rather than take it upon myself to administer justice, I am able to admit that I'm really only mad because I'm self-absorbed. This provides me with the opportunity to humble myself and leave it to the Lord to chasten as He sees fit, release my anger, and forgive. Because punishment is God's job; forgiveness is mine.
Don't know if this will be helpful for anybody else, or even if it made any sense when written down, but it's what I've had on my mind.

By the way, I got my first car ever :)