Thursday, October 8, 2015

I Was Blind

This is a poem I wrote after attending a Sunday School lesson about Jesus healing the man who was blind.

So many types.
Light and dark, bright and dull.
I have no words for these things.
Which color is blue?
So this is a sky.

So many movements.
People hurdling, hurdling, hurdling by.
Voices question, threaten, accuse.
I hear the anger, the fear, in the voices.
Now the feelings have faces.

A face stops.

A face I could not have seen,
A face I know.
I know His voice, the man called Jesus.
The man they say feeds, heals, makes whole.
The man who mended me.
He calls himself the Christ.

I was blind.
Now I see.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My Choice

The other day I was discussing abortion with some Facebook acquaintances. Their basic viewpoint was that abortion is "not ok" but that it's not the government's business to make that choice. (While discussing this with my husband, he said something like, "Deciding who is and is not allowed to kill people is very much a role of government. Regulating doctors is also a pretty basic role of government." However, my purpose in writing this article has nothing to do with further debate.) While the Facebook conversation definitely did not change my mind or my vote (I'm not sure Facebook posts ever do), it did make me think about this.

In America we believe that the government is a representation of the people. So, if we really want to end abortion, maybe we should be looking at other ways to make a difference. I'm not talking about other political policies. We already decided that government isn't the answer. Maybe politicians or famous people can say "everybody should do this" or "the government should do that", but for little me, saying that "the world should be this way" is an exercise in frustration. We might as well say that the world should be paradise and have done with it. So, laying aside our political beliefs, working together whether we are pro-life or pro-choice, what is something that you and I can do personally to help people make good choices? I would love to see other people's ideas and comments on this. Here are a few things that I've thought of:

My life is pretty sheltered (though I prefer the word 'blessed'). Most of the people I know belong to the same religious culture I do. They are honestly striving to follow important commandments such as the law of chastity that make life so much simpler... and, though I'm trying not to be judgmental, better. And, as "the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them" (Alma 31:5), it seems to me that missionary work ought to be on the list of ways to help mothers make good decisions. Spreading the word of God is a way to change people's hearts, and let the laws and politics follow. Again, I'm not saying that "everybody ought to be a member of our church" or  "people should listen more to missionaries". I'm saying that those of us with good, moral lives should talk to our neighbors, talk to our friends, and try to help spread the principles that lead to happiness.

Another idea that came to mind is to use the spheres of influence that we have. I communicate best through writing. Sometimes words haunt my mind and do not go away unless I write them down (thus, I have this blog). I also just published my first book. Novels shouldn't be written purely with a political agenda (that's not a story, that's a soapbox). But I find that my beliefs and experiences do help me to write. Once I euthanized a dying baby chick, and even though my reasons in my head were solid, the second I killed him I had an instant emotional reaction I didn't expect. The experience became a part of my book, where the main character enters a battle and ends up killing someone. My feelings of horror when I hear about abortion came into the story in the climax, when the main character sees the result of prejudice that ended up killing many children. The theme of motherhood comes up continually, and I have a feeling that these thoughts on changing hearts instead of laws is going to be very prevalent in the sequel. I also feel that young adults don't have enough experience with parenthood or children, as families shrink and/or break. I noticed that young adult novels, if they have children at all, use children as heart-wringing props to show how evil the villains are. The dear children must be saved... but they aren't characters, and they aren't human. In my book I tried to show the children as characters. Some were hurt, you might call some of them victims, but I hope I showed that they are individual people, valuable not only because of who they can become but also because of who they are.

My last idea is the hardest. My thoughts on these subjects were interrupted as I needed to leave the house and run some errands, which means I needed to take my three little boys with me. I realized that one thing I can do is to show people the joy of motherhood. This is not easy when taking little boys in public. I'm usually trying to show people that I am not insane as I try to keep them in some sense of order. But maybe that reaction is making things worse. Maybe I can try for a balance, so that I'm still teaching my boys not to run in the road or disrupt other people, but I'm doing it in a way that emphasizes the fun and joy of it. Lately I've been trying to answer people who say "you have your hands full" with "and my heart's even fuller" (this is difficult for me because I struggle to talk with strange people). If you have ideas and tips on how to do this, please share.

So, there are a few thoughts that I've come up with. Again, I would love more ideas on how I could help people to make good decisions, not as a voter but as an individual. Thank you.