Monday, April 05, 2010

I testify

My mother is really close to her oldest sister in Italy, and they talk about once a week. They do talk about us quite a bit. Elda does not have any children of her own, so she just adores her brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and grandnieces and nephews, and always wants to know about them. Anyway, Mom said that Elda had mentioned something about how I am always going.

This seems funny because I do not consider myself energetic—in fact I feel tired a lot. However, I am always coming up with some new project. Elda remembers me as always being up for any excursion, no matter how minor, and studying when there was nothing else to do, or asking questions or looking through books—always being “on”.

Well, my aunt is eighty-eight, so by comparison I should look energetic, but also, I do very much always feel a need to be doing something. I am always getting ideas for things that I want to accomplish or ways to challenge myself, and I do tend to get overly ambitious, but every now and then I complete something cool.

The lead-in to this is that even though I am working, and doing a web site, and reading some thick books that are due soon, and have a lot of blogs and family history and preparedness stuff to do, I have given myself another project.

There were a few things that led to it. One is that a friend asked me if we observed Lent. My church does not officially do that, no. I have done it at times, given up or taking up something, because I do think it is nice to do something special while looking forward to Easter, but not on a regular basis. She called us slackers, of course, but actually what we do is fast one day every month instead of for a month, and sometimes we may do additional fasting if there is a special need.

For some reason the Lenten forty-day fast, symbolic of Christ’s forty-day fast, put me in mind of the forty-day fast our ward has been doing this pretty much annually. They have people sign up for a one day in a forty-day period, so that at any given time there is someone fasting for missionary work.

Somehow with those two things in mind, and sitting in fast and testimony meeting, I started thinking about how people say that when you bear your testimony your sins are forgiven. I believe the scripture they are referring to is Doctrine and Covenants section 62, verse 3: “Nevertheless, ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in Heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you.”

While this scripture is given to specific people as a greeting to them, a lot of people take it as a general rule. Even if there is not an exact correlation, bearing witness invites the Holy Ghost, which sanctifies us, and that is how we become clean and forgiven, and if we are bearing witness on a regular basis we are probably trying to do what’s right on a regular basis, so it all works.
And I was thinking that I would like the extra help. I feel like I just keep making the same mistakes over and over again, without really progressing, and I am tired of it. That busy-little-beaver aspect of my personality is that compulsion to improve myself and really be better and wiser and achieve my full potential. The point of all this being that I have decided that I will bear my testimony every day between Easter and the Feast of the Pentecost, which we also do not celebrate.

After all, the Resurrection is the turning point that changed everything. Yes, there were people who had already accepted him as the Messiah, but many still saw him as a prophet and many misunderstood his mission. His miracles were impressive, but not unprecedented. Yes, Lazarus had been dead longer than anyone else raised from the dead, but still, other prophets had raised the dead. No one had ever raised himself. Suddenly His power is certain, His mission is understood, and everything is brought together. I’m not doing it justice, but it is a watershed. Not only does it happen, but suddenly the Savior is everywhere, appearing to multiple people, and there are many witnesses, for fifty days, after which He goes and visits North America and gets even more witnesses.

So I will be bearing witness in one way or another from yesterday through May 23rd. I don’t know how all it will go. Yesterday after family scripture study I expressed my belief in and gratitude for the Resurrection to my family. Tonight, I am blogging it.

In other cases I may talk to people, or send e-mail, or write out cards, and maybe even pray it. Bearing your testimony to God can be really special. Yes, He already knows, but that does not detract from it. I assume I will get us on the fast Sunday in May—it seems like kind of an obvious one.

I don’t know how all it will go. I have some impressions of people with whom I will share my testimony, and some of them are a little intimidating, and I certainly don’t have fifty in mind yet, which is a lot—this is longer than Lent. But it will be okay, and I expect to be better at the end of it.

So, in case it was not clear enough a few paragraphs ago, I know that God lives, yesterday, today, and forever. Christ died, but He did not stay dead, and neither will we, and I don’t know how I would bear the separations of life if I did not know that. I know that Heavenly Father knows me and loves me, and that is true for all of His children. And through the Holy Ghost, I know that it is possible for anyone to know.

Friday, April 02, 2010

April Foolishness

I came across the paradox of me today. I knew April Fools Day was coming up, and wanted to acknowledge it in some way. I am a little mischievous, and I am certainly good at working out plans.

A good prank is not so over-the-top that it is not believable, and I don’t have time for anything really elaborate, and I certainly would not want anything malicious, so I kind of thought that changing my Facebook relationship status from “single” to “engaged” would be good—simple and non-labor intensive and harmless.

I didn’t want anyone to be going on too long, and feel really fooled, so I thought I would make a status update referring to April 1st as a clue. At the same time, I didn’t want the new status and the new relationship status to appear to close together and be too obvious, so I set the status update about April 1st at midnight, right before I went to bed, and then set the new relationship status first thing in the morning.

The way I believed this would work was that people would see I was engaged, think, “Really?” and then see the status update and realize it was a prank, so this was a one-minute thing. I was so wrong.

There were a few things I didn’t think through. With people you see on a regular basis, they know to be suspicious if you are suddenly engaged when you haven’t been seeing anyone. With Facebook people can see the status who may be sincerely interested in you, but not see you enough to be automatically suspicious. Therefore, I received a flood of well wishes, and begin to feel really guilty.

I was surprised at how bad I felt. I thought I was being a little bit bratty, which is not really so unusual for me, and there is the paradox: I am a brat, but I am also very susceptible to guilt about it.

I guess I felt bad that I had squandered all that good will. Suddenly I was feeling like I was letting people down by not being engaged, because they would all really like that for me. Bad Gina. And also I fooled them, which is not nice.

This is sometimes an issue in my daily life as well. My sisters and I rip on each other (and Mom) quite a bit too. We’re not really mean, but our humor kind of is. Anyway, I’m not sure of the best way to express this, but usually I score the most points. Generally that is fun, and no one seems to feel bad about it (unless they are in a bad mood and I notice too late), but what if it is having a harmful effect on their self-esteem that even they do not realize? I guess I will just have to stick to making fun of other people—only ones who are not around.

Maybe next April Fools I should go with something more elaborate and less believable, like a series of pictures of me with the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot and things like that. We’ll see.