Saturday, February 13, 2010

Memories


My memoirs are not published. There are no archives, no journals, no pages that are filled with life changing memories. Most remain on a ledge in my mind. Some have dangled and fallen, as if they were never there in the first place. Others, I wished were heaved off into the darkness, but they sit safely waiting to haunt. The remaining, have been saved, waiting to be remembered or penned.

Here’s one that comes to mind.

I awoke to a clear day, a blue sky and a “up and at it” attitude, encouraged over the years by my dad. I had a craving to be outside. I adore the mountains. There’s plenty of ground to cover or get lost in.  Much to encounter. I interrupted my craving to call on a friend.

Aaron is my go to friend. I my mind, he is much wiser then I. I thought at seventeen, his experience seemed to over shadow mine even though we were only three years apart. I trusted his judgment. He was the one that keep us out of trouble, most of the time. We only got into real mischief but once, to the tune of a fifty dollar citation from a State Park Rangers.

We met at his house and put a few things together. Our past ventures lacked a few utensils, so to maximize our trip, we gathered a few things; we clipped flashlights onto our belts, concealed pocket knives and grabbed snacks to build energy for this occasion.

We drove as close to Ensign Peak as we could, then walked to the base.

Ensign Peak is well known memorial of Brigham Young and the Mormon Pioneers stating that "This is the place". Marked with a flag pole, a plaque and plenty of empty beer bottles. The peek has been discovered and rediscovered by everyone and their dog.

Before the hike began the decision was made to hike the utility road around the peak. We thought it lead to radio towers at the top of the mountain. We had never seen the towers up close, just short of glimpses from way below in the valley. That direction seemed a good place to start, with a hope of some kind of wow experience along the way.

The exploration started out casual. Each step had its purpose. Each scene was taken in, not to be stolen by out of shape bodies, but to be gratified during each second that clicked by.

The road was getting nauseating. We needed something to keep us focused; we needed some excitement.

We looked up on the side of the mountain, together we saw a large hole. No a cave. We looked at each other like it was calling us; we answered it on the first ring.

How I got to the opening of the cave, so fast I can’t remember, just that Arron and I arrived at the same time.

We peek inside.

The sun’s light shined in about four feet. Darkness filled the rest of the cave as if it were a barrier warning us not to enter.

“Let’s go in!”were my words. Even with all his wisdom Arron surprised me, “you first.”

I couldn’t release my flashlight fast enough.

“Do you think there's animals in there?” I said retreating slightly. I seconded guessed myself, “No way, it’s too close to the utility road. There would be too much activity for animals to live in here.”

I pushed the button on the flashlight, it went on. It went off. I tapped it and it went back on.

The opening was less than four feet tall; the sides were as narrow as three feet wide. Crawling was the only way to enter. I knelt down and anxiously crawled in. Arron followed with no sound. The cave expanded slightly the further we went in.

The beam from my light couldn’t reach the back of the cave.

My mind was racing trying to take it all in.

The air was dank, with some kind of odor. I couldn’t quite grasp it even though I had smelled it before. We saw, what seemed to me, small rocks that lined the outside edge of the cave. I touched one. It was not a rock. I knew were the now familiar odor was coming from.

Thirty feet into it, I finely saw the end of the cave. Off to the right was another wall of darkness. I hoped it didn't turn sharply to the right. It did.

Some instinct caused my hand to reach out with the light and shine it around the corner. My vision followed the light. I looked around the corner. I saw six red eyes.

With a slight hesitation I warned, “There’s animals in here”. I peeked around the corner again. "Yes animals". My light couldn’t reach them to see what kind of varmints they were but there eye shine was startling.

I heard movement behind me. I turned and Aaron had jerked around and made it half way out of the cave before I could even register that we might be in danger. I twisted around and crawled as fast as I could.

I felt, whatever they were at my feet. Snapping, gnawing, and scratching as if it wanted to punish me for entering into their home.

I reached the end. I rolled out of the den. No animals. I didn’t realize I had such an imagination.

I got to my feet and looked for Arron. With heavy breathing he had perched himself upon a rock. We made eye contacted and burst out into laughter.

After a few minutes we continued our hike. Even though the rest of the trip was uneventful, we would remember our emotions and laugh. We shared with each other how we felt and what was going through our minds in the darkness. We had shared a death defying experience. Okay, it may not have seemed to be close to death to you, but for me and Arron, it was close. It was life changing, friendship building for sure.

Now I’m forty two years old, I still think about it and I still laugh.

Just recently Aaron told me he had shared this experience with his kids. I have shared it with mine.

This is a memory that will frequently be revisited.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Our we Hypocrites?


Last week there was a missionary from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons, that was detained at the Cincinnati airport for the lack of necessary documentation. He was arrested for being an undocumented immigrant.

This info from the Salt Lake Tribune caused a blinking frenzy and a slight tick in my head. http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_12223689

I thought that citizens of America are required to have a Social Security Number, “documentation” as a person native to the country, to receive any benefits and services the country provides for them. Non-citizens, who wanted to be, live or work in the United States need to have documentation as well. Some non-citizens don’t need to have a SSN, but for other purposes, they need other types of documentation. Everyone needs documentation. It’s the law.

My stand on illegal immigration has been the same since when I became aware of the issue. Round them up and send them home, when their documented, let them come, they can apply for jobs and whatever.

Being a member of the Mormon Church I have certain beliefs. One of them in our articles of faith is, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law”. Ether I believe this or I don’t. I do. I won’t hire illegal immigrants in my business and anything else that may jeopardize my freedom.

The purpose of the Church is to bring people to Jesus Christ. It uses its members, called missionaries, threw out the world that believe in Christ to help find those that are looking for Him. Both the Missionary and the one looking for Christ will benefit. That is what life is about in the first place, finding our Savior. But we can’t do the right thing the wrong way.

Reading the article it sounds like the Church is on its heels. There is definitely an awkward relationship between the Church and illegal immigration.

I believe the Church is true and I know that the prophet receives revelation from God. I will do what the prophet asks of me. If I were a leader I would allow illegal aliens to hold leadership positions, participate in all its programs, receive its welfare services, and attend its temples. I think that is what the prophet and the Church want. The behavior of the Church signifies that fact.

The thing is I still think that documentation for all immigrants is the law and should be upheld. There should be enforcement, especially with the current crisis of the swine flu. The citizens of America should be defended from all enemies (swine flu) both foreign and domestic.

As you can see I am on both sides of the issue. Does that make me a hypocrite? hyp⋅o⋅crite  ˈhɪp ə krɪt[hip-uh-krit] Show IPA
–noun
1. a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
2. a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, esp. one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

When it comes down to it, I will do exactly what the Church counsels me to do.

If you read the history of the church, there are stories after stories of immigrants, newly members of the Church, coming to Zion from faraway lands. I don’t know if they were legal or illegal. Maybe that has a bearing on the churches position. Maybe not.
More information on documentation for both citizens and non-citizens can be found at http://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Friends


About six months ago, my wife, kids and I were rushing to an appointment. We had enough time to slip into the drive-thru at Arctic Circle. It was there where I saw, running food out to a customer, an old friend.

In an instant, the time machine of memory whisked me back to my junior high years. Three of us were inseparable: M___B___, T___ F___, and Me. We had lunch together, we walked home from school together, we had sleepovers and reveled in life.
T___ F___ would tell us the story of the movie he had recently scene as we walked home from school. He described the film without skipping a single scene. He would illustrate to us the characters, the relationships and the emotion of the film. He could scare us, make us laugh and cause us to cry.

The motion picture I remember most was the “Shining”. After hearing the story from him, I went and watched it. T--- ‘s words scared me more than the movie.

Not long after high school, TF developed a disease and passed away.

M___B___ had all the ideas, from going to the movies, a bike hike up City Creek Canyon and watching girls at the mall. What set him apart from all my other friends was that he had all the Star Wars collectables, from Yoda to the Millennial Falcon.
One night we had a sleepover at his home. His room was in the basement. At the bottom of the stairs a door led into a family room. In the back of that room, to the right, was his room. His room was full of Star Wars stuff so we used the family room for our fun.

The first thing we did was cover all the windows to make it pitch black, we turned off all the lights and started a slow strobe light and played strobe hide and seek, followed by Dungeons and Dragons, and movie on v.h.s. Then, discovering the world by discussing our perspective, common sense and our wisdom, (what perspective, common sense and wisdom 13 year old boys have.) It went well into the morning.

There were many good times. Times that push us together and some tried to rip us apart.

We brought personality to the table, we did the give and take, and we left with more. We were improved, magnified and most of all we did what was right and because of that we had more freedom.

We understood each other. We knew our ambitions were different and as time moved forward we didn’t get in each other’s way. By doing so we spent less and less time exploring life as one, then finally not at all.

Our bonds will not be cut, it could not be cut, even with the long serrated blade of time, it cannot severe our adoration for each other.

When I saw M___ B___ in the drive thru, I got out of the car, ran to him, (knowing the span of thirty years had changed my face) I said, “M___B___, C___L___”, his surprise was joyful then we embraced.

We could only share brief histories.

I left thrilled to know we were still secure in or friendship.

We may not see each other again for a long time, but I know our friendship will not end with our lives. We will take our friendship with us to the afterlife.

I feel all my friends are like this.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Multitasking



Human beings cannot multitask. Our brains can’t do it. After we think of one thing, we move on to the next. Only after one thought can we move on to another.
We can shift from one task and move to another in a rapid succession, but we cannot do two. If we do it rapidly enough, we think we are doing two but we are not. It’s like playing tennis with two or three balls. We can’t be in two or three places at once.
A person may be able to think of a hundred things that can be done at the same time, for instance; writing an e-mail and listening to music, driving and talking or texting on the phone. In some cases we are using different cognitive functions, but we still switch between tasks, taking are minds off one thing to do another. That’s why studies show that driving and talking on the phone is the same as being sleepy at the wheel or even intoxicated. In this case we can’t swap our thoughts fast enough, so are reactions are slower, taking more time.
We switch between tasks, not doing two errands at once. Try playing two video games, or doing two mathematical problems at the same time; thinking movements, strategy or anything, exactly at the instant you think of the other. We can’t do it, we replace one undertaking with another.
Another thing, when we switch tasks, we lose time. For instance, it takes me about 15minutes to shovel my driveway, and about 15 minutes to sweep my garage, so if I were to shovel the driveway then sweep the garage it would take me 30 minutes, right? If I were to jump between the two every 5 minutes it would actually take longer to do both chores. I would have to stop one to do the other. The halting is where we would lose time.
Now while taking that into consideration, doing tasks that would take considerable less time would still cost us time. It maybe just a few seconds, but it adds up. Losing time and not being productive.
Now that I’ve made the argument, I was wrenching my brain, thinking of something I could do exactly at the same time as the other. An example I came up with was, I put down the toilet seat lid at the same time I shut off the light. I did have to think of one task first before the other, but I did perform the action simultaneously. The behavior was so easy, unskilled that I put them together as one action. So in response to the “humans cannot multitask” statement, the only way to do more than one task at a time, is to put two lesser, insignificant tasks together, task that don’t have a lot of skill, something we don’t have to think about. Then maybe we can say we are multitasking.
So let me say it this way. Prioritize the task, do it, then move to the next project. We’ll notice that our stress levels will be considerably depleted.
What is you argument?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dear Mom and Dad


Dear Mom and Dad

I write this to give you, special respect. I celebrate your lives, your commitment and how you have raised me to reach my potential. I pay tribute to and honor you as my parents.

Thank you for bringing me into this world, that I may have all the experiences of life. The adventures I have had were some of the happiest momenta to some of the saddest. My happiness is founded on all kinds of life stories.

Thank you for our home. It not only provided a roof over my head but a shelter, a protection and a defense from the assaults of the world. In our home, I had the clothing and the nourishment for both body and spirit. I never went without. I was happy.

Thank you for sharing the gospel with me. The teachings of the Savior have sunk deep into my soul. I’ve come to know the joys, the grace and the salvation of the gospel. The gospel is teaching me how to develop a countenance that shows the image of Savior, the image that I can see in both of you.

Thank you for your examples. You have shown me the proper way to instruct, to discipline and most of all, you have demonstrated unconditional Love. I’ve felt your love always, even to this very day.

Thank you for serving in your callings with stoutheartedness, with faithfulness and great courage. You have inspired me. I can see that I can accomplish things that will bring me to greater heights.

Thank you for helping me see the right from wrong. You have taught me to choice the right and now I can feel true blessedness from choosing the right.

Thank you for the unforgettable cakes and calibration on my birthdays. Dad gave the pitch, some singing out of tune, and some not quite the right words, but what I heard was an angelic choir saying “we are gland that you were born”. Singing happy birthday showed me how you have always felt about me. I will forever more know that I am important.
All these things I will share with my children. I will teach them the principles that you have taught me. They will bring a legacy that generations will live, because of you.

I want to be like you. I will hold up the standards that you have held up, I will live that lessons that you have lived, and I will represent our God like you have represented our God.
I cheer and rejoice with delight because my life is so much more manageable and meaningful. You have inspired, encouraged and loved me. Thank you. I love you.

Forever
Christian