I’ve been deliriously happy over the last several days, particularly since Sunday. For the first time in a long time, life feels brim full of possibility. My life is really shaping into something I love. The reasons are myriad, but suffice it to say, my dreams and ambitions are becoming clearer and clearer all the time. Things that have troubled me or weighed on my soul for prolonged periods of time are beginning to shift and fall into place, and I like the result. I feel overwhelmed by love and joy.
There are many things contributing to my good mood. Some big, some small. One that I consider at least a moderately big deal is that Melanie and I have already received our tax refund for the year. It was substantial enough to pay off one of our credit cards, the one with the highest APR. For us, that is a really big deal. It is so relieving! It reduces our monthly bills greatly. We can now slam that extra money down on other credit cards, and an end to credit card debt may actually be in sight. We had enough money left over from the tax refund to purchase tickets to the Broadway Across America production of Once, which will be at Kingsbury Hall around the time of Melanie’s birthday. Melanie and I both loved the movie Once and have very much wanted to see the stage adaptation. We figured if we ever had the money, we would splurge on it as a birthday gift to Melanie. That opportunity presented itself, and so we went for it. We are very excited.
One silly thing that is bringing me much delight over the last several days is an album I got from the library, Men Without Hats’ Pop Goes the World. The title track was the only one that was familiar to me, but the whole album has proven very infectious. There is something beautiful in the cheery, innocent simplicity of pop. It really elevates my mood. Something about it resonates on a very deep level with me. It is happy and beautiful. It inspires me to do more with music. I love that music, at its core, serves no other end than to touch one’s emotions. It is as close to a pure manifestation of love as I can imagine. It makes me giddy.
On a much more serious note, my spiritual life is amazing and humbling right now. I’m not sure I can explain it in a way that makes sense and doesn’t defile it in some way. The last few years have been a roller coaster, but I have been relentless in searching, pondering, and praying. It hasn’t been easy. At times, I have felt very confused and pulled in seemingly opposite directions. Stepping back and getting some perspective, I can see how things have worked together for my good, and I see evidence of God’s hand in my life all along the way. It reminds me of John 3:8, which reads, “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Maybe I’m misapplying that scripture—I admit, I’m not 100% sure I’m interpreting it correctly—but it seems applicable to this time in my life. I feel prompted to do this or that, and I don’t always get it. It doesn’t always make sense to me, and sometimes it feels like I’m going in circles. But the experiences I’ve had as I’ve tried to be earnest and sincere in heeding God’s Spirit in my life have been astounding. This most recent Sunday was particularly significant to me. It was one of the most spiritually powerful days I’ve had in who knows how long. My soul was on fire for most of the day, even when I was doing normal, day-to-day things. It’s sad to me that I don’t feel I can share my experiences with just anyone, because religion is taken to be such a competitive market. You say one good thing about whatever church you attend, and those who attend a different church will think you’re saying yours is better. Or maybe it’s just easy for me to assume that because of my own religious background. Maybe it’s a Mormon mindset, coming from the idea that Mormons are a special people to God. God’s spirit can be felt at Mormon church because it’s His church! Oh, maybe He visits other churches from time to time, but if you say you felt God’s spirit somewhere else, the Mormon mind is automatically on defense. “That’s great and all, but you should come to Mormon church, because that’s where God’s spirit always is. I promise, no matter what you can tell me about your church, mine can do that and more! Anything you have to say? Been there, done that! Plus, bonus features galore that are available only through God’s true church—which is mine, by the way. No matter what you have to tell me about your experiences, there’s nothing you can say that isn’t describing only some of what you’ll get at Mormon church! Be as excited about your church as you want, but it’s like telling a guy with a fully-loaded Lexus that you’re excited about your Hyundai because it has air conditioning. That’s awesome! But have you ever ridden in a Lexus?!? It’s even better!!! Air conditioning is just the beginning!!!!!”
Sorry. That was probably a bit negative. But there’s pain behind what I’m saying, because I’ve had some unbelievable experiences and I know certain people in my life would dismiss them out of hand. The spiritual promptings I’ve had won’t matter to these people. They won’t believe they can possibly be legit. The hours I’ve spent praying won’t matter. The seeking and thinking I’ve done won’t matter. All that matters is that I’m not doing things the way they think I should. The story behind it all is irrelevant. And that’s heartbreaking to me. But be that as it may, I’m in too good a mood to dwell on this stuff. Let me remind you of that before I end this, just so we can be back in happy mode. This is an exciting time in my life. I think 2015 is going to prove a monumental year. I can’t wait.