Two things happened at church today that I found very useful. The first was that a friend asked me, rather out-of-the-blue, what I knew for sure. I thought about it, and replied, “I know that God loves me.” He asked me how I knew. I said I just did. End of conversation. But it reaffirmed that that is something I know for sure, and it is good to be reminded of that.
The second thing was that in Sunday School there was a really good lesson on the atonement, and I felt the slight pang of wondering what my rewards (or punishments) would be in the afterlife based on the choices I’ve made, and immediately a voice inside of me (which I assume was the Holy Ghost) said, “You are doing your best. That’s all that counts right now,” and immediately quelled my doubts.
Somebody in the class brought up the point that we are not excluded from God’s presence based on some kind of sin tally. Without the atonement, sin is sin, and therefore we are unclean and can’t enter into God’s presence. One sin and that would be it, whether it’s a lie, cheating, murder, or rape. Now, that certainly isn’t to say that they are all equal in value, but if there were no atonement, one sin would be just as decimating as another, no matter what it was. Somehow, I found it comforting that the atonement covers that which we are unable to do for ourselves. No one can reach the Father without the Son’s infinite atonement, and I found it reassuring that we are saved by grace “after all we can do.” I felt an assurance that I am doing the best I can with what I’ve got and that, for now, it’s enough.
I love Jonah a lot, and he loves me so, so much. I have never experienced the kind of undying love Jonah seems to have for me in a romantic relationship, and I am often in awe of it considering that I can be kind of self-centered. He is truly amazing, and there are times I feel I don’t deserve him (but I’m glad he feels I do). I often feel bad, because although I love and miss him, I don’t feel like I miss him as much as he seems to miss me. That certainly isn’t because I don’t love or care about him; I just feel I handle separation better than he does. But I feel bad that I don’t miss him more. It makes me feel like I don’t love him as much as I ought to.
If I’m honest, a committed relationship (marriage and a house) scare me a lot. I’m always afraid of losing my independence or of getting sick of each other. It frightens me. But I also have a hard time imagining that my life would be nearly as complete as it feels without him. When I really think of it, I have a hard time imagining that there’s anybody out there that could match Jonah. In many ways, I feel like we not only love each other, but need each other.
My mom and were talking about our relationship the other day, and she was saying that it seemed in many ways Jonah and I are opposites. In some ways this is true, but I feel that our differences balance each other out. It’s like we’re teaching each other or filling voids that the other has. And, as Jonah brought up later when I talked to him about it, we really probably have more in common with each other than not.
I was so lonely and rudderless before Jonah. It’s incredible how much his presence has changed my life, and, I feel, for the better. I’m glad we are a part of each other. We’ll be taking our annual trip to Cedar City in about three weeks. We are both very excited to see each other and be with each other (not to mention some make-out time ;-) ).
The other thing that is on my mind today is something I actually wanted to write about on July 4, but it seemed almost unpatriotic, so I refrained. I love this country and I love being an American, but since George W. Bush has been in power, I get more disillusioned with the state of our country as each year passes. Perhaps George W. and his administration are not to blame for everything (although I certainly like to put the blame on them), since he has been President, I feel like I notice all the cracks in this once great country. That’s not to say we’re not still great or capable of great things, but I just feel like my perception of America has changed. I find it ironic that after pulling together as a nation and putting aside differences after 9-11 that in many ways the values of this country are being lost.
I find that this country seems to be represented by greed, arrogance, self-righteousness, hypocrisy, and gluttony. Many of our leaders seem to put themselves above the law. Our health care is in a shambles, where the rich and well-placed seem to profit while the poor and needy suffer. Our justice system has so many holes in it. We consume and consume without giving anything back. We claim the sanctity of life, yet many innocents die unjustly. I’ve never seen the country as divided as I have during this administration. Our children’s futures look bleak based on our decisions now. It just makes me angry. I feel that many of the values this country was built on are being swept away by their opposites, and I am furious that there are still people who can’t seem to see it.
But on the other hand, maybe it is my perceptions that are skewed. I certainly don’t claim to be all-knowing. That’s just how it appears to me right now.
I saw the Michael Moore movie, Sicko, the other day. True, Moore can manipulate his audience, but he certainly has some valid points. Even if you don’t agree with his politics, I think the movie addresses some important issues. I don’t know that his conclusions are the way to go (I’ve seen the downside of socialized medicine when I lived in France), but I do know the present health care system we have has some major problems, and people are really suffering as a result.
I guess my point is that it’s wonderful to live in a free country, but with freedom comes responsibility and accountability, and I think we (and, yes, I include myself) have some work to do in that area.
Finally, I really like this song: