Pages

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Reminders

I was reminded today that I here for a purpose, that I have meaning, that I am important and that no matter how small my contribution is, that any positive effort I make can be magnified beyond my own comprehension by forces greater than my understanding.

The world is darkening...they said....I see it.  Confusion is at the heart of it all.  New weird definitions, less focus outward, more inward.

And yet I also heard that there is more light present today then ever before....and that it will grow stronger.  I have come to a certain understanding and belief in many things.... but despite that, I find myself questioning things.  I dip and drop at times into depression, uncertainty, and bewilderment.  Then I find reminders all around me.... little post it notes coming down from above like leaves in my peripheral vision, not always paying attention, then....when I focus I see them, and take a minute to actually read them.  I stop, reflect and I open up.....the good feelings come, not sure exactly how, but they come, mostly I know from whom they come.....

We think we know so much, that we don't need anyone else, then in 5 seconds we can feel so alone, completely misunderstood wondering who we are.  Is it just me or are we that fragile?  

In those small dark moments, there is nothing quite like the right reminder....like a burst of light filling us up with inspiration and hope. 

Yes, today I heard many reminders.....they filled my tank, at times my brain was happy, and more often my heart was.  One such reminder was to do a self-check.... How am I doing?  What else can I do?  Where can I help?  How can I love better?  How do I get out of myself and focus on the needs of others?  Sometimes I felt like "Yes, I am pretty good there."  and other times I was like "Oh my.... def need to do more there..."

Today I looked for inspiration and found it everywhere.....In every reminder given.  I am buoyed up with hope.

Thank Heaven for General Conference

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Growing up


I have never been that great about the idea of growing up.  I don't recall ever wanting to be big or an adult.  I exerted a lot of effort to resist that unyielding hand of life's clock.  I always thought staying young was the best way for me to make sense out of my life.

As the saying goes...
"You can pay now or pay later"
I believe in that slogan.  It is very very true.  Deciding to almost always pay later has played out in my life.  Despite adept rationalization, the mirror eventually comes out and no matter how long you keep your eyes squeezed together, they eventually peek open, and the truth shines in.  What you do about that afterwards..... well, that is all about growing up.

Have you ever had the experience of making the right decision but finding out it led you to the wrong path?

At first glance it doesn't seem to make sense.... making the right choice should lead to the right path,  right?  You would think that most healthy adults wouldn't get this wrong.....

Several years ago someone close shared with me a story called "The Wrong Road".   The basic premise is, sometimes the fastest most effective way to find the right path is to take the wrong one temporarily....

This story was different than most and I immediately made a connection with it but wasn't sure why...... meaning, didn't seem to make sense intellectually, yet emotionally I felt the power of the principle it taught, but I couldn't say that I related to it through personal experience.   I knew it was profound then..... what I didn't know was how real it was going to get for me in a very personal way.

I recently made a decision to position my career on a different trajectory.  It was an intentional accelerated path intended to get to higher status, more prestige, enhanced reputation, more money and more longer-term security. Opportunities unfolded right before me.  The architecture of the plan felt natural, at times inspired and full of promise.  It had tradeoffs for sure, but when one is in design mode and just "drawing" cool fluffy models and concepts on paper those tradeoffs seem.....  dimmer and less likely to happen....

I involved all the right stakeholders; my family, friends, wife and Heaven.  My enthusiasm was high and probably influenced some of them for sure.  But I thought I was "even keeled" in my approach.  I thought I was making a very "Grown up" decision.  Oh yeah, I was putting on my big boy pants.

This plan was a lot about me and wasn't that entirely considerate of my family.  (Yeah... that is sounding more and more grown up......) I would be leaving them,  moving to San Francisco and then monthly coming back to visit for a long weekend for some period of time until with the planned possibility of moving out there.  Lot's of unknowns, but the first steps seemed solid enough to move forward.

So I set off....I was going to show the world that confident and ambitious man that I had grown into...

It didn't take long.  Intentional isolation from loved ones quickly lost its' glossy gleam.  What looked so good on paper, was....... not, in practice. The shiny golden apple looked more like rust.

I started to look around and felt pretty small..... pretty alone.... pretty much not grown up at all......

I felt drawn to the only place that seemed comfortable.......this particular mat next to my bed where my knees seemed to fit pretty well.   I knew it was of high quality because my knees could stay there a lot longer than normal without discomfort.

Funny how silly man must look to God at times.....I resisted the feeling of self pity, and began an earnest dialogue...... it felt great, so long overdue.   There was much to be thankful for, but there were a lot of questions I now had.

The answers were interesting.  I didn't expect them.  But as they surfaced I did recognize them.  I saw myself in them.  I had to face the fact that I was not really leading a life of faith, but rather, one where I had believed in faith, but wasn't making decisions by faith.  Totally giving up what I thought was best and placing my trust that God did know what was best.  I started to see pretty big holes in this beautifully architected plan of mine.  All the holes reminded me of the 14 year old that was still lingering in me.  I had to grow up....the time had come.

1.  The first clue was pretty glaring and potentially embarrassing to admit.     "Aaron, go back to your family"     I had started reading the Book of Mormon all over again and in the first few verses of the first few chapters there was great counsel given to a family to stay together and not to split up.
I was in a position where I purposefully isolated myself from my family.   I was in a horrible position to go "back"after moving away and just starting the coolest new job.  The overwhelming temptation was to rake myself over the coals and begin the comfortable self-berating and loathing process of feeling like I had messed up, that I was stupid and spiritually tone deaf!   I resisted..... in fact, I can say that I refused to go to that old familiar and unhelpful place.  I found a new place.  A place where my head let my heart learn.  A place of no judgement, no rationalization, just truth and acceptance as if I just came across a new little nugget of data that made sense so I accepted it for what it was.  Nothing more, nothing less...... "Aaron, go back to your family."    My feet grew a few sizes into the shoes I needed to wear.

2.  The second clue of the emerging deconstruction was about where my plan was pointed.  I had rationalized that new found fame and fortune would enable me to serve family and God somehow better in the future with the realization of this plan.    I kept reading the scriptures.  2 Nephi 28:31   helped shine a mirror on me that I wasn't sure I was ready to see.   There were several passages that kept referring to "Pride."  Every time I heard it something inside said "listen...."   The unraveling came and clarity surfaced......   Everything about my plan was about me, what I wanted which then I assumed would be what God wanted too.  I assumed it was what my family wanted.  It made sense, it wasn't inherently "bad", but what it wasn't........was.......God's plan.   This was all about me figuring everything out and then taking action.  Nothing wrong with "acting" vs being "acted upon", it was what I had always been taught about taking initiative and leading out proactively.  Taking ownership and responsibility. Specific scriptures were like sharp swords that cut me like a thousand ribbons..... not the proactive part, but the "me, me, me" part.

When you take the 'me' out of your life you look around and have to figure out where you can find foundation and a sense of purpose........ That mat by the bed become precious to me as the long days wore on.    I knelt differently each time now.... I was asking different questions.  What did He want?  What were His priorities for me?  How could I help Him with those?   The short answer come back as ...... "Faith".

So, taking the wrong road is a great way to be exposed to the principle of faith.  But, for me the road to understanding had to start with deconstructing and removing my pride.

Getting rid of pride is like stripping wallpaper off of a 1940's home.....  Not easy, not fun, and often made me feel like quitting.  For the first time in my life I let the mirror show just how much pride I had built up despite my flimsy attempts at rationalizing my behavior.    I was able to see the reflection very clearly and immediately could see what was getting in the way.  I continued to reject the reflex to castigate myself for being so "bad".  I knew I wasn't a bad person, but had to not let myself feel that way.  I just took it in the gut, got back up and started waking a different direction, leaving whatever I thought I needed to do behind.  Those first few steps is where faith really plays out....  Only then did I start to understand what living by faith meant... it was not having the answers, not knowing and really learning to trust that God loved me in a very different way.... in a way that would never let me go astray or fall if I just gave my life what I thought was important over to Him.  I had heard that principle my entire life, I had heard so many people talk about it happening to them, but I had to be honest.... I don't think I had ever really experienced it until now, at least not in a meaningful way.  Only now did I start to see what growing up really meant.

I quit the so called dream job, came back to my family, miraculously some temporary work surfaced, the prospect of new employment is real and unsure, but I feel continue to feel calm and peace and know things will work out if I can keep my pointing right.

there is more.... more deconstruction, more unraveling more new insights related other aspects of my personal life and relationships, but I will stop here.  This is plenty.

So, not sure if any of this would make sense to anyone else, but I share it as it has been so impactful on my life and person.  I have no counsel, no wisdom, no lessons here.  I belief every person needs to be deconstructed so they can be built back up to their full potential. The only way to is figure out how to get out of our own way, and have some sense that there is someone like God that can help.

It was a beautiful thing to watch my kids grow into their respective shoes so well.  They seemed to get it better, more clearly and willingly than I. In so many ways they are more grown up than I will ever be....

I pray you are much wiser than me.  That you learn these lessons sooner than I did.
The wholeness of my admiration is for you who have learned to fill those shoes so well.  I thank you for your example of living by faith each day.

You have grown up so beautifully and it shows....




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Just Being

It was spring break.... great weather.....we def seized the day.  
I made the tee time and texted Landon and Braden  and told them to be ready to go golf.  I arrived home and they were waiting with three golf bags in the back of the van....oh yeah!

It was completely awesome....  got a cart, loaded up, but not before we supplied ourselves with three 32oz Dr. Peppers full of ice, milky ways stashed in a deep pocket of our golf bags for later (ok, we didn't actually have the Milky Way's but we should have..... and, they only would have lasted til the second hole) and absolutely no expectations of doing anything else but pretending to focus on technique we knew little about, mimicking the pro's with little wigs and wags of hips, feet and hands..... Every swing was like a new adventure, cause none of us knew where that little ball might go.  So, yes, very exciting!  There is a certain freedom that comes with a clear mind free from expectation.....and very little skill!  

I can't lie, it was kinda cool too that this course was super low cost.   One or two levels up from a well mowed farm meadow.

Isn't it so great to accidentally hit a lucky shot and then feel your chest and head swell with enormous confidence!  We immediately throw out the idea that it was just dumb luck and we entertain the new forming fantasy of "tour pro".

Ha!  Golf is the great "deconstructor"  It can reduce you to a pile of rubble if you start to care too much.  We managed to navigate that mine field pretty well.

Forget golf though.... that had little to do with what was happening.  This was all about just being together and taking the time to just soak......As if slowly sipping through the straw....like making a drink last for a really long time....sweetness all the way.

That will be all I remember, not anything we said, not any club selection, not counting strokes or glancing at the time on our phones.  We simply basked in the slow roll of the afternoon.

It was better than perfect.... it was..... "just right" 

Priceless..... 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Uber... The best laid plans

You looked so good on paper.... very seductive.  Hate to part ways but I must.....

It was short, sweet and definitely marked me in a powerful way.
I will look back and realize that so little of the journey had anything to do with Uber, but so much about me, my family and my journey....

How mysterious His ways are... I just pray I will have learned all the things I was supposed to..... time will tell.

So Uber......I loved rubbing shoulders with you.... it was truly a pleasure to feel the power of your cause, share in the intensity of the spotlight and to see what changing the world really  looks like.  I was inspired......and a bit not.
I am grateful for the glimpse, the sip, the taste of something so unusual and fascinating.  Super smart and bright people are just people after all.... Smartness doesn't = experience.   Experience doesn't = smartness.  They both need each other.... Hard to leave as I probably won't experience something like that ever again.

I am not sure how far you will go, how high you will rise.... no matter.      Loved the ride.....

Adieu



Monday, February 27, 2017

Soulmates

Over the years I have considered, pondered and have even written a bit about this notion of "soulmates."  I concluded that I had finally figured it out.... I am not so sure now.....some recent events have brought some doubt and dents to that definition.

And I am kinda glad......I like this one better. It is much more real, and has unfolded so beautifully before my eyes.....

This definition has been forming for a lifetime, but only in the past couple of years has it made itself manifest so marvelously.

McKenna and Braden are the opposite of sibling rivalry.... They are the fiercest of sibling alliances.  They aren't just "close", they have their own secret language, the one that doesn't need words.  The one that involves "knowing" something that no one else does.  The cosmic collaboration of communicative nuances and mind blowing telepathy. When the words do come out only they get it and usually they are on the floor laughing so hard it makes you laugh as well.  It is like a river of continuously flowing water, moving with its' own momentum and grace.  It can't be duplicated, regurgitated, redone, faked or copied..... it is magic.  It is incredible to watch and there is a ping of jealousy that one feels because it is so infectious you want to catch this particular disease faster than all the others, but you can't... even with lots of over exposure... simply, it is theirs alone.

What began with a little fistbump doo dad thing they do when they meet is just the beginning... Now they not only can speak for each other, but can pretty much emote what the other is feeling.   I hear about how identical twins have some amazing connections, this is like that, but different.

What this has led to is a pretty dramatic pinky promise they decided to make a few months ago: To serve their missions together at the same time.  They decided that they would get their mission calls on the same day, go the same place, speak the same language and actually end up as each other's companions as well! Ha! it doesn't quite work that way, but the idea on paper was really cool.  They weren't even going to tell anyone either and make it a surprise!  Well, I kinda messed all that up with my crazy idea to leave the family and go work in San Francisco (blog post coming...)  They ended up telling me so everyone knew, but then it was fun to be in on it for the ride....Man, the laughs we had along the way...

So, they did it..... physicals were completed, wisdom teeth pulled, interviews, applications and boom...they were waiting for their calls.  It didn't seem real until McKenna's call came.  Then we knew Braden's was on its' way.....his came last friday morning at 6am.  Then it got really real.   We had a big party, about 50 people came.  The mix of people was incredible... how cool that a mission call can bring out so many different people, all of whom have shaped their lives so much.

They opened and read their calls... McKenna - Montevideo Uruguay, Braden - Bangkok, Thailand.   The emotions run deep.  The gratitude deeper.... the level of awe and respect I have for them to make these huge life changing choices.... off the charts.

Wow!  amazing.....  I always wanted to expose my kids to the life I had growing up overseas, but couldn't quite give them that.  Now they are getting it through their own individual experiences.  Landon - Chinese, now with Spanish and Thai to add to the mix... pretty global..... pretty cool!

I think about this amazing memory they are creating together.  They will have this story forever, and will tell it to their own kids.  I can see the letters they will write each other..... sharing as only they can.  They will grow old and later, when their own kids are gone, and they are roasting marshmallows at the fire of their own twilight, this story will be told again.  It will bring bright memories that only they can know to their minds and their hearts, that this was about doing this service together, on their own terms, in their own particular way.  As much as I want to be part of this dance, I know I am just observing.  That is all I can do, is hope to be close to watch their magic continue throughout their lives.  Yes..... it is a beautiful thing to behold.  Watching might be all I can do, but it will be enough. I wish you could see it....it is something.

May 24th they leave together, on the same day..... could it be any other way?

Yes, it is awesome to see each of your kids grow and develop into incredible people.  To see this kind of bond?  unexpected and mind blowing.....   I bask in the glow they create.  The blessing is too great to handle... yes, my definition of soulmates has changed.   May this one live a long time....

McKenna and Braden, what can I say?  I love you,  God speed.... go do your thing... and maybe your magic will change the world.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Long View

This is the only drawing I know how to draw.  Anyone who knows me has seen this at least once. I hope this bring a smile to those who have.
I have drawn this same landscape for over 20 years now...I have never really not known why until now.   The words on the sign have changed over time, but the picture as a framework has been consistent over time.

It is like a "system", with individual components when integrated make it "whole".  There is context here...a background, a foreground, a beginning, middle and an end, a path, a direction, guidance, yes, one might say it conveys a vision of a journey.  The journey looks like it may take some time... not so long, but also not traveled in one day either.  One can see the end...I call it "The Long View."

I am not sure I completely understand what "Good stuff ahead" really means.  Despite being the one who wrote those words, I can't say that I know.  But I really liked it when those words came to me. Either the romantic idealist in me or just simple truth.  Good things are up ahead.

Does it seem like to you that the world has just gone completely crazy in the past 5 - 7 years....? Although I have seen the declining decay for decades, someone flipped the switch that has turned everything upside down.  I do not even understand what I see, hear or read anymore.... It is unbelievable.  Right is wrong, wrong is right, definitions are completely changing and it is happening literally before my eyes.  I have felt fear and even panic sometimes...every day the world seems to escalate more towards hatred.

Never has the long view seemed so clear as now.....   My little cute dumb picture has been a silent template in my mind that has kept me looking long... not short.  It has stretched my view... helped me me see further, higher beyond the rocks and potholes in the road.  It has kept my eyes lifted up, pointing higher, sometimes squinting to see what I can see.... There is something up there, I can't quite draw it, but it seems right.  It feels right too.

There is something in the simplicity of the one sign, the one path, the one sun, the one horizon, the one direction.  The more I gaze and reflect the more I realize I don't need more than that.  Can I be content with just what is there?  Will that be enough to get me through?  Strangely, I believe the answer is "yes", it is enough for me.  The answer that has been forming in my heart and mind recently is that I need to stay simpler.  For a guy who likes to over analyze and keep things complicated it is saying something.  For the first time in my life, I want to be simpler.  I think it is the only way through this journey for me.  Simple faith, simple hope, simple love and less clutter in the living room of my brain.

Maybe the only question I need to ask each day is: "Is this decision today going to help me in the long run?"  or "How will I feel 10 years down the line if I make this choice today?"  Would these be enough to steer me clear of the landmines just ahead of me?

I like the puffy clouds, I like the shadowy mountains but mostly I like this little star guy...... with his little hat and little smile.  He has worn these two things for all of his existence. The brim of his hat pointing forever forward.... his knowing smile because he either sees or knows something about the future.  I like that......  I never knew this until now but am so grateful because I needed to know what he has always known.... to look for the long view,  cause apparently....... there is good stuff ahead!

I wonder what your long view looks like?  I wish you well on our journey.....

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Holding Back Time

Here is Beauty holding back Time..... an absolutely beautiful piece of art.  One can feel the tension of forward momentum that Time is showing, even a bit anxious..... to be moving on.

Have you ever felt this way?  Wishing you could hold back the hands of time.....or lingering too long in the way things were?

I spent a good chunk of time in my youth trying to hold back the past.  I kept going back in my mind's eye.... I had too many beautiful experiences in too many foreign lands to let go of so easily.

I was that teenager practicing soaking in moments, memorizing each detail, the smells, the air, cloud formations, what people were wearing, what things looked like.

Time.... Sometimes it moves so slowly -- waiting at the DMV for an eternity (especially those days before smart phones!) But then contrasting that with your own kids.....Way different.... with kids it is one quick moment, whisking by like a cat's whisker faster than we can see, faster than we are every ready for -- when my first graduated from High School I only realized then that in just 4 more years all the of rest of them would be out of the house.

We say things like:  "Don't waste time"....  "Make the best of each moment"  Time is important.  We associate it with how long we will live...to some it defines not only life, but their existence as well.   Some "experts' say don't live in the past....forget what happened, only look forward.

We use time to measure all kinds of things... maybe it is God's way of thinking we are in control... setting limits for tests and teenage curfews, pregnancies, detention and time outs, when we are done with school etc....

 I think time is just a measure of a memory... when an experience begins and ends.

What if time were a series of innumerable books on an eternal bookshelf.  Not chronological.  No, just recorded "moments" yes...even "memories".  All of them already lived out and recorded.  And anytime we could just go to that "moment" and see ourselves living it out.  learning by watching ourselves in that moment.

Is time just something that brushes past us fleetingly?  It seems as if we are constantly struggling against it.  Like a the pull of a tide....constant pressure, misunderstood tension.  We let it do terrible things like measure goodness and badness, often it is a heaviness of regret, dormant dreams, drowned desires.....things not done.

Or are they just things that did get done.... the 10,000 activities, tasks, so that we could say things like "we did it" , "see how much we accomplished"......Life's mother of all checklists.

I think time should be savored, like a delicious sips of chocolate milk....  sipping a thousand memories....

So I say let time fly! .... release him... your beauty won't fade.  Your beauty is in the memories themselves... carved in, never to fade.  Being your best self in every moment is the way to go... ride time like a bronco buster...!!  Why not?  don't hold back, don't look back.... don't sell yourself short by always wishing the ride was just a minute longer.....  Run to the next one and ride it hard and ride it beautifully..... then sip on the memory later... it tastes better that way.

Post it Notes from Heaven

11 years ago we moved to Centerville, UT from upstate New York.  We bought this fun old historic home.  We moved in Nov' 95 and took this picture on the left with the kids on this grand staircase.  It turned out to be one of those 'keepers.'  We have looked at it a lot over the years.  It represented a new beginning then....  a wonderful new beginning that lasted 11 years.  In Aaron years that is like 2 lifetimes.  Almost left once but held on.  Glad we did.... 
11 years of jam packed life experiences and memories.  The kids are all 'grown up' now... yes, even Lexi... the punk kid is as feisty now as she was then...!    

We are about to close out the final chapter here in this part of the world.  I have a new job that is taking me to San Francisco and leaving the family here in Utah.  I didn't hunt down this job, it really came to me.... It worked itself out as the last couple of opportunities have done... an interesting side story....Just as I was working out details before the offer came through we had a hand written note suddenly show up on our door from a family living in Indiana... Here is what they wrote:
" You don't know us but we have been admiring your home for over 20 years.  We don't know your situation, but if you ever wanted to sell it, we would love to buy it from you."
Woah... Talk about timing... Maybe a coincidence....?  No, we see through coincidences much better these days....  Back in the 90's they may have tripped us up a bit... but not so much anymore.
We felt it was the second little post it note from Heaven nudging us forward.  We have since wrapped up the deal.  I move out in Jan and we all move out of this home in Mar.  So, I try and reflect upon this rapidly closing chapter in our lives.  There are a lot of moving parts to try and hang on to....like a really fast merrygo round....we are mostly just trying to hold on tighter.  But when you are married to the world's greatest project manager, it all comes together pretty nicely.

One unique way we have begun to close this chapter was to take another photo... same place....same clothes..(almost!).... same pose.... same stairs.... but not so same kids.  Landon did a fab job by going to a second hand clothing store to find as close to the same things they wore originally.  We positioned the bears just so too.....  Seeing them all sitting there now, side by side to the original is quite the scene to take in.  One can get caught up in the details of shades of color, smiles aren't quite the same, shadows here but not there, etc... etc...

 I don't see those things.....

I see brothers and sisters that grew together over those years... working things out, helping each others, getting in each other's way at times....fighting over all the same cliche things that every family deals with. They all 4 played all 4 years of High School soccer.  They cheered each others games, they went to each others' plays.  They terrorized the neighborhood together.  Their personalities went in all different directions.  Despite that, they learned to pray, they learned to get a long.  They excelled in everything they chose to do. .  Together they conquered all that was placed in front of them.  They achieved their goals.  Most importantly, they all grew testimonies of Jesus Christ each in their own way, in their own pace, in their own space.  They have blessed so many lives just be being their best selves, most of all their Mom and Dad. 

I look at them and see the same togetherness and love that has glued them altogether through this collective experience we have had together.  It feels right... it hurts good.

So, we try and find the last few words on this the last page......  Each one carries a world of emotion, each one reflects the immense gratitude we feel to God, for guiding us here, and for everything we found and did.  We close it not with regret, not with longing or looking backward... we pause to pose, one last time to close out this chapter with a picture... a picture that conveys a thousand words. Well done kids.... thanks for making it so perfect!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

New Grass part 2

This new grass thing has me smiling every time I go outside... I took a pic today.  Had to express my joy in seeing this new color spring up and out.  Obviously I didn't consider the same type of seed...he he.... oh well.  To me it doesn't matter, to see these little guys like a little Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, stretch out and try and fill in all the blanks is pretty exciting.  

This either means my life has become so dull that it only takes a few seeds to sprout to make my day, or that I am just that lame.....yes, I have become a......lawn nerd!

So, one last little gasp of verbal joy....   I love you little green guys, poking out with new energy as if you can't wait to experience life.   It is actually hard to go over you with the mower... weird, but true.

I just want to thank you... for giving me so much hope, that broken things that be beautiful again,  in fact, just like Kintsukuroi.... Now everytime I look at the lawn I will see the new patches, the places that have been grafted into the whole and will remember the impactful lesson I learned about second chances.  No matter how barren, no matter how improbable your situation may seem... there seems to always be a way out.  Not always on our time table, not always in the ways we think, but there is always a way... I have more faith today than yesterday.

I prayed before I cut some trees done, which I have never done before, so that angels would push the limbs in the right way, that I would cut the tree in the right place, that no damage would occur to our neighbors or to any property.... including "us".   It went perfectly.... way more than it should have.  Everything I do includes rework...not this time.  I never expected to have so many lessons on faith working in my yard.  So, thanks to the tree angels that helped guide the soft landings.....and thanks for God's creations that provide cool learnings....   


love it......

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Beautifully Broken....Kintsukuroi

I am trying to remember exactly when it was that I became aware that people, not just things.....could actually "break."  In Indonesia, as a kid, I saw plenty of poor people, beggars even, that lived broken lives....most of whom made tiny homes out of broken boxes, sticks and rocks to hold down thin corrugated sheets of metal for their roofs.   I didn't know about being broken on the inside.....That was different.....My 10 year old eyes couldn't see that 'far'.

Maybe it was when I saw what a bad break up could do to someone... a boy broke my sister's heart in High School.... I didn't understand the depth of pain, but I didn't need to, I just had to watch to know what that could do.  I remember experiencing the betrayal of friendship, hurt feelings from a family member, physical and emotional scarring caused by worldly vices, crippling low self-esteem, co-dependency....the desperate clinging to the wrong kind of love and affection.....and others......

Through personal experience, I started to see people differently.  I could start to see more on the "inside" then before.  What became the most revealing, was the transition of awareness in seeing others to that of seeing my own "brokenness".... Ouch!  That was a painful realization.  How did those things come into my life? How did they sneak in there?  How did I not see it?  I remember the series of events that led me to a very profound visual of the eggshell of a foundation that I thought was so much stronger than it really was.  I remember watching the eggshell crack literally beneath my feet....I didn't know how to stop the slipping or the eventual fast paced free fall to "truth".....real truth.  There I found a mirror that I didn't know existed or ever thought I would have to look into. This was Heaven's mirror, helping me to see who I really was and to challenge what I really believed in.   I struggled with the wrong definitions the world propped up in front of me -- of love, goodness, and personal worthiness.  I placed labels and values on my brokenness.... I couldn't be worthy of love and acceptance if I had these particular broken parts could I?  They were "bad" -- so therefore, I must too, be "bad."

I didn't know exactly where to start, to put the broken pieces back.  I actually believed for longer than I should have, that I couldn't really be put back together.... or if I did, then it wouldn't be the same "product" as before... it would be "defective"... Something you would find at a discount or outlet store... second hand quality.  It was very easy for me to find comfort in that space.... I didn't have to work that hard... it was pretty easy to believe in an alternate path and just "coast" in autopilot.  No thinking, no feeling, no steering... just letting things happen to me, instead of actively engaging in moving forward and upward.  I spent a lot of time deciding to accept the broken variety of Aaron.  I was still ok..... not shattered.  But I couldn't see the way through the pieces around me.

Then there was this person..... Not sure how, but they saw through me... they didn't see the pieces, they just saw my heart, they saw what I could become, not what I was.  They didn't look back, like I liked to do, they only saw......beauty. Part of me responded to that, part of me couldn't really believe it.  No, I can't really let myself totally believe in this new golden picture of myself.  That would mean giving up all these false beliefs about what I thought I was get rid of the map that led me to an alternate destination.  I had become comfortable with my collection of hangups.....That was harder than I thought to do..... It was easier to accept the broken me than to believe I could be whole, or even better than before.

In Japan, there is an art form that puts broken pottery back through application of lacquer mixed with powdered silver, platinum or gold.  It is called Kintsugi or Kintsukuroi "golden repair." More profound, is that it's philosophy treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.  A philosophy that embraces the flaws and the imperfect.  An amazingly different perspective than most of the world would offer.  Highlighting the cracks and wear as simply an event in the life's journey of an object rather than seeing it at the "end" of it's usefulness or existence because of the damage.  Not only do they acknowledge the flaws, but they honor and value them!  As in the image above, 
the repair is actually illuminated by the gold lacquer
....what a stunningly beautiful concept.

I for one, can share with you that it is an unbelievable feeling to be lacquered with gold powder and be illuminated with hands and eyes so loving. To be good as new.....no, to be 'better than ever.'  To loosen and let go of the robe of shame and guilt and to be a new kind of shiny.  I couldn't have ever done it myself.  I needed help...I still need help.....How do I ever in this lifetime, or with words that will never convey the deep and sincere gratitude for those who see what I could not?  For those that went from seeing to piecing me back together, that never gave up, what do I say to them?  What words do I choose?  What gift can I give?

I can be my best self and I can return the favor by seeing all those around me as they can become, not just who they were yesterday and who they are today...

Learning about Kintsukuroi has done one particularly important thing.  It has heightened my awe, reverence and hope of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  The parallels are very strong and interesting.

I know all the cracks, flecks, uneven lines and damage that makes up my particular piece of pottery.  I see my gold lines with a different view these days..... .  I have been and will continue to be beautifully broken.  There is no other way....