Saturday, November 27, 2010

For Thanksgiving: A Post about Enduring Things for which I Am Thankful

Thanksgiving was two days ago, and, as I thought about my New Years Resolution post for this weekend (introducing more extensively the resolution for December - to "endure more things charitably"), I decided to post a list of things I have "endured" that have taught me more about charity than I would have understood without them.  Here are some of those things:

1) Being raised in a house with a mother and five sisters

I had a father and two brothers, also - but growing up amid that much estrogen taught me patience and love in a very specific way.  (*grin*)  In the immortal words of Forest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that." 

2) Having a wife and four daughters

I have two sons, also - but see my explanation for #1 above. 

3) Being different from my earliest childhood memories

I realized at the age of seven, while reading the Book of Mormon on my own for the first time, that I understood it differently in some ways than others around me - including my parents, friends and ward leaders.  I realized at the age of about eleven or twelve, while reading Jesus, the Christ (by James E. Talmage) for the first time, that I wasn't alone in many of my views - but there was no way to share that epiphany with any of my friends.  They already thought I was stuck-up simply because I talked differently than they did - but understanding it was ok to be different (even in some "fundamental, religious" ways) has been a great blessing in my life as I interact with others who are different, as well. 

4) Repeating math I had learned already for 3 1/2 years in junior and senior high school

I am thankful in hindsight that I had to endure almost four years of repitition and boredom in my math classes, since essentially teaching my 9th Grade math class in the absence of an effective adult teacher led directly to my discovery that I love teaching.  If I had attended a junior and senior high school that knew what to do with me, I probably would have ended up being a mathematician of some kind - and I honestly can say I probably would have missed many of the highlights of my life and careers. 

5) Poverty on more than once occasion

I have been out of work more than once in my life, and, in one case in particular, it occurred as a result of taking a moral stance and being fired for it.  That led to the longest period of unemployment in my life and perhaps my greatest personal trial of faith - but it also led to two distinct careers that have been incredibly rewarding for me, albeit not financially. 

More importantly, in relation to this post about charity, it also taught me in no uncertain terms to appreciate and not condemn or judge others who are struggling - that there are good, righteous, intelligent, hard working people who are not blessed materially continually - that one's current financial condition is not an automatic indicator of personal worth - that the "Prosperity Gospel" might be valid at the communal level, but it isn't valid at the personal level.  I knew that righteousness does not equate to wealth (or even comfort) from watching my father growing up - but my own poverty blunted my own prideful tendencies somewhat and taught me that anyone can struggle in ways that seem incomprehensible to them prior to those struggles. 

6) My marriage to my "split-apart"

This is one instance where I refer to the definition of "endure" in my post last weekend - "to exist or continue".  It has been my great privilege for the past 24 years (next month) to have been able to exist and continue as half of a unique whole.  Mama has taught me charity in too many ways to list here - and she has been the single greatest blessing in a greatly blessed life. 

7) Blogging

Finally, I am thankful for having been able to "endure" through the schedule I set for myself when I first decided to keep a personal blog - and especially when I decided to post daily, except on Sundays.  I also am thankful for the time I have spent getting to know others in group blogs over the past four-plus years.  It has been time-consuming, but it also has given me glimpses into souls I would not have known otherwise - and that has taught me charity, as well, in a very real and important way.  It has been enlightening, especially, to work with those who are struggling with their faith and testimonies - and I will be thankful eternally for that experience. 

So, to all who read my thoughts here - occasionally or regularly:

Thank you for enduring with me!


Richard Alger said...

You have become a trusted friend. Thanks for your posts.

Patty said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and self so freely with all of us. I, for one, am richly blessed by your unique perspective, especially on gospel issues.

Mama D said...

I'm thankful for you, Papa. Thanks for an amazing life!!

Matthew said...

As Patty said, thanks for sharing yourself so freely with us! May we continue to endure together. :D