Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pardon the Narcissism: A Limited Farewell to the Group Blogs

For the past two years (almost), I have been an active blogger - to say the least. (*grin*) Actually, to be more precise, I have been a VERY active blogger. OK, that is an understatement.

That has changed over the last three weeks. The internal drive simply has begun to fade, and this change has corresponded to the impending change in my employment situation. I am in the process of changing careers (to something I have wanted to do for a while), and it will take time and focus to be successful in this new stage of my life. I also might be moving with my family to an area where we will need to spend time integrating into a new community, a new ward and a new stake.

I still will maintain this blog, hopefully with the same focus and format as I do now. I still want to post daily, as I find great joy and peace and meaning in doing so. I simply will be cutting way back on my participation at the group blogs I have frequented so regularly for the past two years. In many ways, I will miss that participation.

I have learned SO much in the last two years, especially about the wonderful group of people who struggle with something (sometimes many things) about the Church and/or the Gospel but continue to serve faithfully - or, at least, who strive to understand and remain involved. I have come to value deeply Elder Wirthlin's amazing message in his April 2008 General Conference address, "Concern for the One". (This talk has become my favorite of all time.) Among other things, this humble man of God said:

Some are lost because they are different. They feel as though they don’t belong. Perhaps because they are different, they find themselves slipping away from the flock. They may look, act, think, and speak differently than those around them and that sometimes causes them to assume they don’t fit in. They conclude that they are not needed.

Tied to this misconception is the erroneous belief that all members of the Church should look, talk, and be alike. The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony. All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole.

This variety of creation itself is a testament of how the Lord values all His children. He does not esteem one flesh above another, but He “inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God.”

Over the last two years, I have blogged publicly largely with these members - those who have been hurt in one way or another because they look, THINK or are different. I have felt a connection to them and their concerns - in some ways, more deeply than I have felt almost any connection in my entire life. The one thing that has weighed the most heavily on my mind and heart about my upcoming reduction in blogging time is the accompanying cessation of my active fellowship with many of the people I have come to love so much.

I never have actively "marketed" this personal blog, and I don't intend to do so in the future. I hope those who have been faithful readers up to this point continue to read; I hope they share this blog with others; I hope what I write will benefit someone, somehow, somewhere - and I hope sometime in the future I will be able to resume a degree of participation on the group blogs. I have enjoyed and learned from it more than I have words to express.

So, in closing, may we do all we can, in whatever way we can, to be a force for good - to be charitable in our communications - to think before we speak and edit before we comment - to see God in those around us and with whom we communicate - to become more Christ-like in a very conscious, intentional way. May those who struggle be blessed by our acceptance, understanding and love. May they feel God's love through us. May the world be better because of our blogging, and may God smile when he sees how we treat His children - our brothers and sisters.

May there be a road - and may we travel joyfully together along it (carrying for and succoring each other) as we make our way back home.

19 comments:

Amy E said...

"- to be charitable in our communications - to think before we speak and edit before we comment -"

I think this is what I like most about your comments, Ray.

I hope it all works out for you and your family.

less mehzzedup said...

"-I hope that what I write will benefit someone, somehow, somewhere-"

Please realize that what you write and what you have written does not go unnoticed. Your respectful style and thoughtful attitude has made a positive difference in my world, and I am certain in the lives of many others. Thank you.

All the best to you and yours in your new venture.

~God Bless

The Faithful Dissident said...

Thanks for this heartfelt post, Ray. I echo what less mehzzedup just said. Your participation on my blog and others has had a huge impact on me. I'll never forget the comment you left in my Skeletons In The Closet post about how if members who are "different" fall away, we only contribute to the stereotype that liberal members -- or black or gay, or whatever other stereotype is out there -- are those people who can't last in this Church.

Thanks for being the voice of reason in so very many instances, Ray. It's people like you who really make me want to stick it out. :)

So here's to proving the stereotypes wrong! Wish me luck. ;)

Jen said...

Ray-

I think people come in and out of each other's lives at different times to help open each other's minds, give them strength or to just be a friend when no one else is there.

I think you have done a great service in doing all of the above for many people. It will be interesting to look back and see all the things we did to help others when we stand before the Lord someday. I am sure we don't realize the good that is done when we truly have a heart to do good and are striving to be as the Savior.

Thanks for the influence you have had in my life and the effect it has had for good.

Good luck in all you do!

Jen

Kent (MC) said...

Ray,

You have been one of the most influential examples of "the way" to blog that I have encountered. I'll do my best to follow your example. Also, I wish you the best in your new endeavors!

Anonymous said...

I was sharing with my husband today some of the things I have learnt from lurking here and elsewhere.I haven't commented much as i have limited articulacy due to illness,but I have been praying for you and yours.I've learnt more here than i have learnt in many years of membership and been able to begin to explore my thinking less defensively.I have begun to believe that this is my church too,that my doubts and fears belong here-that just because there are those who cannot bear them doesn't mean that no-one can bear them.I have found a congregation,a community.I am so inspired by your tolerance,inclusiveness and humanity.When I grow up,I'd like to be like you.May the road rise to meet you,my Homie.

Papa D said...

My emotions are at the surface right now, but thank you, everyone. I truly appreciate the thoughts.

Mama D said...

Thanks to all of you. Ray truly cares about each one of you. You have no idea just *how much* your gratitude for Ray's efforts and your support mean to him - and by extension, to his family. We have all been blessed through his insights and his blogging!

Love you, Ray! I know you will continue to do good things.

djinn said...

Best of luck, more than that, actually. I do hope things are working out for you and your family; you strike me as one of the most decent people I have ever, uh, read.

Kalola said...

Papa D ~ Thank you for accepting my differences. Elder Wirthlin's talk "Concern for the One" is also one of my favorites. Blessings upon you and your family.

Kristine said...

Godspeed in your new ventures, Ray. You'll be missed!

backandthen said...

As long as you keep bloging here....
And I wish you to succeed in your new career :)

Christy said...

I have no doubt that you will continue to help other people with your posts. You have given me much to ponder.

Bruce in Montana said...

Best of luck Papa D.
Thanks for putting up with my differing opinions.

Matthew said...

As a newcomer to this whole bloggernacle thing, I must say that I have quickly come to recognize and appreciate your insightful posts. I will certainly continue coming here, and I thank you for sharing your thoughts so generously.

I wish you all the best with your new career.

DMI Dave said...

Good luck with everything, Ray.

SilverRain said...

As long as you continue to write here, I think we'll survive. (I actually read mostly what you write here anyways.)

Tasha said...

I am so glad you are going to be just a little bit closer. You will all be in my prayers. there will be a lot to do, i wish i could be there to help.
love you!

Clean Cut said...

And a big "ditto" to all that has been said. :)