Sunday, April 1, 2012

525, Blah Blah, Blah Blah Blah

Well, if you have never heard of the more-than-slightly provocative
musical Rent before, consider this your crash course. It is a story of
seizing the day and enjoying every moment of life. And yes, there´s
your plot about gay relationships and drugs. But I will focus more on
the former. Let me know if I veer off track.

Anyway, maybe it´s the fact that I´m weird or that I´ve been living in
a different culture for a little bit but it has become clearer and
clearer to me that America is a little sick with a fever, and no, the
prescription is not more cowbell. The real problem is how we measure,
and the yardsticks we use to do so. Once again returning to Rent, in
the most well-known of the numbers (“525,600 Minutes”), the characters
question, “how do you measure a year? A life?” What questions! How do
we? In numbers, numbers, NUMBERS! Why are we always measuring our
happiness this way, especially when so doing makes us miserable?
Another great question. I´m full of ‘em today.

It reminds me of before I even started my mission, just a little after
I found out where I´d be going. What was the most common response to
the information that I´d be giving of my time and energy to serve Big
Guns upstairs?
“Wow, that´s so exciting! A foreign country? You´ll probably lose
a lot of weight!” If you were one of the many people who said this to
me, please feel free to kick yourself within the next few moments.
Really? My own personal thoughts whenever I heard that delightful
comment was, “you´re right, the real question here is, diet or
mission? But when I realized I could travel far far away to a
different land and leave behind all the conveniences of home, really,
the choice was easy. Mission! I can maybe try to teach a couple people
about Jesus, and then get back to that whole weight loss thing. I´ve
gotta keep my priorities straight, after all.

But seriously, it seems that everyone is always saying “I´ll be
happy when this measurement comes to pass.” Insert number of pounds to
lose, dollars to make, life experiences to have... “I´m 23 and I´ve
never been to Europe? How will I ever know who I really am if I don´t
go to Europe? Now I´m not a complete jerk. Just a little. And there´s
nothing wrong with having dreams and aspirations. There is something
wrong with basing your whole life around things that are sometimes out
of your control. You can´t be skinny right this second. So work on
it. Or if someone is ok with how they are, let them be. We can´t all
look like Kate Moss. But I hear so many people write/tell me about
their diets and how miserable they are to even eat. We´re supposed to
be hear on this planet to have joy, people. I tell it to investigators
everyday and now I´m telling you. EAT! I know, I know, everyone has
different bodies, sugar´s a drug, more blah blah blah. But find a
happy medium. Eat junk once in awhile. But eat it. And if you want to
go on a trip, save up. But don´t think if other life experiences you
can´t always plan for get in the way and you can´t go, that your life
journey is for naught. That´s just not so.

And yes, I know. In America, we value difference, right? I mean, every
once in a while, a movie like Hairspray will come out, and we remember
that big people or any type of minority needs love too. And then we go
right back to our regularly scheduled mindsets. To quote a dearly
beloved band teacher from back in the day: Knock it off! Let yourself
be, and others too. Or I´ll come after you.

Although, all that said, I will confess that some joys are measurable.
Not how many baptisms we have, but the fact that we have them. We´ve
been teaching a girl named Madelin for awhile, and she really wants to
get baptized, but we have to keep pushing the date back because she
either wasn´t completely prepared with all the lessons, (and I refuse
to have a convert immediately become less active), or she mixed up the
dates, so she set it for when her mom will be out of town. But it´s
all good; she is getting baptized the 7th of April. Good things come
to those who wait. At least, that´s what they tell me.

And last of all, what would a blog entry be without a really good
update about my special friend? I have had a couple more encounters
with my Godshield guy, and this time, I was behind literal shields.
The most memorable time, I was behind a locked gate of a member we
were visiting. He passed by, noticed me, but obviously, couldn´t get
passed a locked gate. So he just gave me a really creepy smile and the
"call me" hand gesture. I might just do it. Phone shields count too.

Anyways, that´s just a day in the life. My poor trainee-child got sick
and we stayed inside a couple days. That´s how I roll. I make a
fabulous parent. Not even with me two weeks and she´s already sick of
the mission. No, she´s great. She´s just learning the language and yet
she´s taking Azua by storm and taking part in every lesson we teach.
Now that´s how it´s done folks. Don´t over think it. Just do. Cue cheer
section. And cue my sign off.

Love (without measure)

Hma. Sweeney

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