Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Eulogy For A Housefly

Recently I noticed a housefly crawling on the mirror in my bathroom. I was intrigued by it because it's body looked gold, much like the housefly in this photo:

It's interesting, but houseflies do not typically bother or annoy me. I realize flies are typically seen as filthy pests and carriers of diseases because that is, in fact, what they are. But I actually like the tickling sensation of a fly crawling on my hand. That's probably weird, but flies don't bother me. Spiders, on the other hand, which I know rationally are far more useful creatures than flies (specifically because they often eat them) freak me out.

In any case, I watched this "golden" fly crawling on the mirror for a few moments, and then I had to rush off to work. Later that evening, after I came home from work and was finally going to bed, I noticed this same housefly dead on the floor not too far from the toilet. I knew it was the same fly because I had examined it so closely when it had been alive just a few hours before.

And then something strange happened as I looked at this dead fly on the floor: I felt a feeling of compassion and sorrow for this now deceased creature. I truly felt a feeling of sadness for a common housefly. I guess the reason why is because as I stared at this fly only hours before, he or she was merrily promenading and cavorting on the surface of my bathroom mirror with no idea that just a few hours later, he or she would be cold-stone dead on the tile floor.

And then I guess I got to thinking how all of us are just like this little fly, happily living our lives and going about our business, never knowing for certain if today might be our last day on this earth. Death sometimes comes slowly, but for others it is complete, unforeseen, and tragic surprise.

I realize the lifespan of a common housefly is not that long relatively, and therefore I shouldn't be surprised that a once vivacious creature could be lifeless only a few hours later. Nonetheless, I was taken aback and briefly mourned the death of this insect.

I must admit his (or her) funeral wasn't terribly dignified. I picked the fly up with a piece of crumpled toilet paper and flushed it down the toilet. Nonetheless, the fly's death did get me thinking about my own mortality and the mortality of those I love and how short life really can be. For that I am thankful. It's nice to be reminded of the preciousness of life.

Thanks, little housefly. R.I.P.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Talking to the Colonel

I don't think I've ever written about this, and only a few people know this, but ever since I was a child, when I'm praying to Heavenly Father, the image that I see is that of Colonel Harland Sanders. That may sound sacrilegious, but that's always the image I see in my head.

It probably stems from the fact that my family frequented Kentucky Fried Chicken quite a bit when I was a child, and I associate good times with my family with KFC. Of course, as a kid I was left with the impression that God was man all in white with a white beard, and looking at the iconic logo of Colonel Sanders, he fits the bill (although I guess I didn't really think about the fact that the Supreme Being of the world wouldn't need eyeglasses).

And when I look at Colonel Sanders and, more specifically, the famous KFC logo of him, he's smiling, jovial, grandfatherly, and relatable, all attributes I felt my Heavenly Father would have. To a child who had no concrete view of what Heavenly Father actually looked like, I guess Colonel Sanders seemed like the closest thing I could relate to, and therefore, he became a kind of proxy for me.

Of course, now that I'm older the rational part of me assumes that God probably doesn't look like Colonel Sanders, but the image is so imprinted in my mind now that this is still who I see in my mind when I pray, and I actually find it very comforting. It makes me think of my Father as a relatable and accessible individual rather than some distant and unreachable being. Even though God is probably much more fit than Colonel Sanders and undoubtedly doesn't require corrective lenses to see, I like the idea that my Heavenly Father is this warm, grandfatherly figure.

Now I have no idea what the real Harland Sanders was like; this is simply the image I had of him as a child, and that image somehow got transferred into my relationship with God. I don't tell people about this very often because it probably sounds weird, but it is what it is, and I don't apologize for it, and now it's out there for the entire blogging world to know.

I also don't think God is offended by the image I've created in my head of him. After all, Harland Sanders is one of his children, too, created in his image, and the ideas he represents for me are all positive ones that I feel God would have as attributes. And it's not as though I'm even worshipping or praying to the actual Colonel Sanders. It's simply his face and demeanor I see in my head when I pray.

I liken it to something George Burns says to John Denver's character in the movie Oh, God! "Not what you expected, huh? I picked a look you could understand. For someone else I would have looked different. I could do any face, voice, whatever. I could even be a woman." - his point being that to John Denver's character, he appears as an old man because that's an image John Denver's character will understand and relate to. I'm sure all over the world, God looks very different in various people's heads when they pray to him. He probably doesn't care so much what image they've conjured up; just so long as they're praying to Him, communicating with Him, and keeping Him in their hearts. At least, that is what I believe.

Anyway, until I see my real Heavenly Father in the flesh, for me right now, he looks like Colonel Sanders. Hope that isn't too odd.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Shhh...Don't Tell Jonah!

Today I went to my niece's baby blessing (it is the first child for my sister and her husband). It was a really good meeting, and I felt the Spirit unusually strongly as she was being blessed. A thought came into my head that this child in particular was going to be really special. I thought it was interesting that my brother-in-law mentioned in the blessing that my niece be given the gift of compassion and sensitivity particularly in her relationship to those who might be different or disabled or have special needs. It was kind of out of the blue, but seemed oddly appropriate for some reason.

My only regret was that I was unable to join the circle in blessing my niece. Normally, stuff like that doesn't bother me much. I haven't particularly missed holding the priesthood or going to the temple or taking the sacrament. But today I did feel a little left out as I watched my brother and nephews and brothers-in-law take part in blessing my niece. I realize based on the decisions I have made in regard to my relationship with the LDS Church that those are the consequences, and I accept that. But it still made me a little sad.

My sister and brother-in-law both gave really nice testimonies. My sister is one of the best people I know. My brother-in-law is a bit of a goof, but I like him, and he's a good man. That baby is very lucky to have the parents she has.

Testimony meeting was very nice. I had a good day at church.

When Jonah and I got together, I made it clear that I didn't want kids, and he accepted that condition, although I know he would not be opposed to having them. I still don't really want kids. I feel like I'm getting too old, I'm too selfish, it would be too expensive, and I feel I would have to make some sacrifices I am not ready to make in order to be as good of a parent as I feel I would need to be. But I must admit that my new niece made me momentarily "baby-hungry." If I thought I had the energy, money, and ability to still do what I do career-wise and have a kid, I might consider it; but I just don't see it.

Still, there is a part of me that would like someone to carry on my name and memory or someone to pass on my legacy, whatever that might be or someone to be there for me when I'm old like I feel I am there now for my mom or someone who I can focus on so much I forget to be selfish.

I don't think a kid is in the cards, really, but I do have yearnings once in a while. Anyway, I love, love, love being an uncle...and sometimes I think that's much easier, much simpler, and more my style.