Saturday, March 9, 2013

A new me

This is the old me, the picture that had been in the upper right hand corner of my blog. Look over there now -- there's a new picture of me, just taken this week.

Not a lot of difference between the two -- still an old white guy. I'm grayer now than I was two years ago when the old picture was taken. And I'm thinner (I've dropped sixty pounds, though that was seven or eight months ago). And I have newer glasses (well, I've had them for nearly a year). So it's taken me a while to update the photo.

There are other ways I'm different from the old me. Some very subtle, some not so much. I think rarely do we go through drastic and dramatic changes. We change jobs, move houses, get married, have children come into our family or move away. None of those dramatic changes for me in the last few years.

But there are changes nonetheless. I think I'm less strident (I hope so) and more reflective. A benefit of writing is that I have time to think more carefully about what I write than I do when I speak (when all too often I speak first, then think...ready, fire, aim!)

One of the themes I've noticed in the talks of President Eyring is one that I've tried applying in my life lately. He has spoken more than once about what he does in his personal prayers, that he seeks in the morning to understand the Lord's will for him that day, and in the evening he reports back to the Lord how he did. This focus on each day has been really important to me.

I used to be a compulsive planner, and I still find great security in a good plan, though I'm less compulsive about it. I've come to realize that for many things in my life, I have to take them a day at a time. Although I may commit to lasting change, I have to realize it on the retail level, day in and day out, one day at a time, as the 12-steppers like to say.

The idea of considering my own performance each day has been really helpful, particularly in the relationships in my family. Elder Uceda's recent conference talk about a father who prayed before discussing his daughter's behavior with her really moved me. The act of prayer, it seems to me, does several things in such a circumstance:

It puts distance between the indicident that requires the discussion and the discussion itself, allowing the father to think more clearly rather than being ruled by his emotions.

It humbles the father. Kneeling and seeking his Father's advice, a father will approach his own child with greater humility and is more likely to learn from the experienced.

It invites the spirit into the delicate conversation, rather than allowing the natural man to chase it away.

I have more than once when evaluting my day in prayer felt my heart soften as I prayed, and therefore seen things in a new light, recognizing that I have changes -- and amends -- to make.

So, I suppose there's a new me every day. But not a new picture.

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