Saturday, July 17, 2010

An Encouraging Trifecta

I’m felling more upbeat today. No vast changes, but my outlook is less cloudy. Here in Portland, we call those “sun breaks.” Hooray for euphemisms! Some people might say we get enough breaks from the sun here, but hey, I grew up in Arizona, so I have a sun surplus. 
In addition to talking with a couple of friends yesterday and attending part of a Moho gathering, writing a comment on Chris and Camilla’s blog helped me feel better. I’ve adapted it to be part of this post because it has to do with faith, hope and love.
From my perspective, hope is best experienced when it is blended with faith and love. But I don't mean to limit the meaning of any of those three to the traditional churchy definitions. I look at them this way: Hope has to do with a sense of optimism tempered by what is likely. Faith transcends religious experience and goes more to the idea that although I don't have all the answers and no other human being has all the answers, there is truth and goodness in this world worth standing up for and fighting for. Love is by nature unconditional, and mysterious. 
When shared, love lifts, enlightens and enlivens. This happens in ways big, small and everywhere between. Neither hope nor faith nor love is necessarily diminished by a healthy sense of realism. And even when our circumstances change, our expectations are unmet, our faith is tested and our hope becomes strained, genuine love remains.
As I was writing, the latter part of 1 Cor 13 came to mind. (For me, that chapter is among the most transcendent and beautiful in all scripture across all religions.)
“[W]e know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.... For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.“
The traditional Mormon interpretation with which I was raised defines the future “then”   as sometime in the afterlife. I had a flash of insight that broadened the personal application for me. 
I really identify with the imagery of the dark glass. Whether it is due to a foggy mirror or a tinted window, I know my perceptions are obscured to some degree. But I hope that obstruction continues to become less over time (as it has so far), that the fog will dissipate, that the darkness will give way to light. Knowing myself more fully is a gift that can come in this life. Knowing and appreciating those around me more completely can come in this life. The way I see it, LOVE is the perfect thing that comes to do away with what is “in part,” broken or incomplete. I just have to recognize love for what it is and what it isn’t, and not wait for the future to allow myself to feel whole.
After a streak of feeling down, those were encouraging thoughts. 


  1. Glad you're feeling better [insert hug here].

  2. I really liked your comment on our blog and have been thinking about it all afternoon. Thanks!

  3. Thanks to both of you.

    @The Wife: In reading your comment, I thought of the other kind of glass I should have included in my post above: the "crystal ball." In Mormon culture and doctrine, it comes in many forms: words of the brethren, patriarchal blessings, the "Mormon mileposts" we're brought up with from childhood, the spirit (or what people interpret to be the spirit), among other things. Those things may give us food for thought or unique insights, but they are often about as good at predicting things as a Magic 8 Ball.

    The more I've allowed myself to experience genuine love, the greater my trust in myself has grown. Obviously, I still have self-doubt to work through, but the clarity and confidence that I've felt through letting go of expectations (mostly self-imposed) are liberating--as is the realization that life doesn't have to be neat and tidy to be wonderful and fulfilling. I don't know where things go from here, but I try to remember it's okay not to know.