Saturday, February 25, 2012

Obligatory Title

100% obedience. I hear it so often from all my missionary friends. Realize you may never get there, but strive for perfect obedience to the mission rules. I think there is a fair number of missionaries with that same attitude. They recognize that life is actually better when you follow all the rules, not just the ones you like or that are convenient or easy. Sure, you may not get to listen to Vocal Point's absolutely beautiful voices sing brilliant harmonies and create mind-blowing sounds, but what you get is worth so much more than that.

It's interesting, however, that such an attitude on a mission doesn't necessarily carry over into normal life. I see, for example, a young man that tries to uphold certain rules a large group of people have agreed to live by for a period of time. He goes about it in terrible fashion, but his public ridicule is not due to his method so much as his intention. Now, could this young man find someone violating the rules in more fragrantly? I'm sure of it. It probably wouldn't have taken much searching to do so. The target of his attempt at constructive criticism was certainly not the person at the time going farthest outside the rules, but what has been glossed over--and many times denied entirely--was that she was, in fact, outside the rules: "Dresses, skirts, and shorts must be knee length or longer." Seems like a pretty cut and dried rule to me. The dress of the young woman who was the recipient of the criticism quite clearly did not meet that requirement. Whether the top was cut low enough to be "revealing" is up for debate (I personally fall on the side that it was), but it's pretty hard to debate that a dress is knee-length when it isn't.

Now, I recognize that it can be difficult and sometimes very inconvenient to find clothing that fits this standard and is cute. It is inconvenient and expensive for me to be clean-shaven every day, yet I strive to do so. Until recently, I would forgo shaving on Saturday because my facial hair really wasn't that long, and after all it is Saturday, and I like to be freshly shaved for church on Sunday, and shaving every day really is overkill for how much/fast my facial hair grows, so I either shave two days in a row or don't shave Sunday if I shave Saturday, and neither option sounds very good. The last few weeks, however, I've taken a step back to look in the mirror, and decided that the hair really was long enough that I couldn't fit the clean shaven bill. Yes, it means I'll spend more money on shaving cream and razor blades because I'll use them more often, but it's a small price to pay to be a little bit closer to 100% obedient.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Life. Go Ahead and Talk to me About Life

A week ago yesterday, we had a funeral for my Grandma Sorensen. It still is difficult to write this post. I was able to write one for Grandpa Cobabe much easier. Partially, it's because I liked Grandma Sorensen a little bit more, even though I loved them both equally. Mostly, though, I think the way in which they died has a lot to do with it. Grandpa Cobabe was taken suddenly. He'd had heart and blood problems for a long time, but I'd gone to see him the week before he died, and he still seemed very strong. The suddenness of it kept me from thinking about his condition and reflect on the life he had lived. Grandma Sorensen was different. She struggled with Alzheimer's for several years before she died. It was hard to see her slowly forget so much. It became clear around Christmas that she was coming to the end of her life, and that she probably wouldn't live long enough to see me go on a mission. I got to observe her slowly slipping away, and, as backward as it seems, that makes it more difficult.

What do I remember about Grandma Sorensen? I remember going up to her house fondly. I remember playing with all the toys that they had, especially doing so with my cousins. I remember running my fingers up and down and all around the sculpture she had done, just feeling the interesting texture. Most of all, I remember Grandma pulling me into her lap to read a book. As much as my parents nurtured a love of reading, I think it was Grandma Sorensen who planted that love in me. It was never Grandma reading to me. It was always reading with Grandma, even when I couldn't actually read the words. She freely shared her library with us, even if we were just a bunch of rowdy boys. She understood that books were meant to be read and loved, not kept prettily on a shelf.

Another love my Grandma Sorensen passed on to me was of BYU sports. She was one of the biggest Cougar fans I've ever known. We used to go up to my Aunt and Uncle's cabin for Thanksgiving, and the BYU-U. of U. rivalry football game often falls that weekend as well (or at least it did when they were in the same conference). I can distinctly remember one year listening to it on the radio up at the cabin and my cousin David, who is a Utah fan, coming out in all his Utah gear and cheering loudly for the Utes. Grandma wasn't going to sit quietly for that; she went up and put on her BYU sweatshirt and called out "Go Cougars!" As much as I looked up to David, I loved Grandma more. That moment was the beginning of my now full-fledged Cougar fanship. I remember going to numerous football and men's basketball games with Grandma Sorensen. Our parents kept buying season tickets for them even as Grandma got older. It was one thing she enjoyed even as she forgot other things, and she went as long as she was able to. She may not have been able to steer all her grandchildren onto the correct sports path, but she certainly helped this one.

I love my Grandma Sorensen. It was very hard to watch Alzheimer's overwhelm her life, especially in the last month or two of it. I know, however, that she is now continuing her life of love and service. I know that didn't stop when her mind and body failed her. As sad as I am to see her go, I know the truth of the resurrection, and I know I will see her again.