Sunday, May 13, 2018

It's OK to Be a Christlike Hermione

Thinking about what I've learned living in Boston this year/grad school year 1, I've compiled the following list, which for me is about as raw and vulnerable as this year has been:

1. God can't drive a parked car. Move forward even if you don't know the way. (P.S. HE is the way. John 14:6)
2. Ask for help. Ask for rides. Ask for friends. Ask for shoulders to cry on. People want to help, but you have to tell them what you need.
3. Be kind to people and talk well of everyone all the time. The relief of complaining in the moment is never worth the anguish of hurting that person or their reputation or compromising your character. If you feel the need to gossip about someone/process, talk to God first.
4. Always turn to God first with feelings, hurts, anguishes, excitements, gratitude. Treasure your relationship with Him. He will always be there to comfort and take care of you, even when no humans are.
5. God gives miracles often at the same time as disappointments or trials. Sometimes we get a miracle because something else didn't work out. (One of the many examples: One Sunday I left my phone in an Uber on the way to church, because I am a gifted individual. BUT because of that I got to feel blessed and cared for by friends at church who helped me retrieve it. S/Os to Jessica Lees and Ryan Quinton.)
6. Always accept opportunities to serve and always open your heart to love despite discomfort and social anxiety.
7. Learn to discern between interesting people and people you can trust. The most important relationships are still with God, your family and friends. Bridle your passions that you may be filled with love for those most important people.
8. I can do hard things, I can be an adult and I can take care of myself (with help from God and others). I can be honest about what I don't know, about what I believe even if it's different, and about my mistakes. You will never learn if you don't admit that you don't know.
9. Be yourself, even if that self has a big personality, big hair, and in most ways resembles Hermione Granger (movie 1, not movies 3-7). Let God use you as you are, not as you think you have to make yourself into. It's ok to be a Christlike Hermione.

And now: more grad school! In the words of one of my favorite quotes but a dauntless Mormon pioneer, Jean Rio Griffiths Baker: “The future will most likely be an account of trials, difficulties, and privations such as at present I have no idea of, so as to be able to provide against them. But as you are aware I am not one to go through the world with my eyes shut."


Image result for hermione hand raise gif

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Flash Poetry: The Candle

I'm calling poems I publish on here "flash poetry," for the double meaning that they may be briefly illuminating, and indecent exposure.


Now, what I have here is a candle.
Some of you may not be familiar
with candles; let me explain:
They are made of wax, they are wick within
and burned, they are light and flame.

What I have here is a candle; Now remember
that the candle cannot see herself.
She sees only the shadows she casts, her
distorted form, she cannot tell that
she sees because of her own light.
She doesn’t know: she is the reason
we see as we have never seen before.

Now remember, what I have here is a candle.
To the candle, the world is melting;
Or rather, she is melting, while the world grows up
around her. How true, she thinks,
that I will only shrink forever. The candle
does not understand, she has
melted before, and will melt again.

Here is a candle.
She wants to hide her twisted body under a
bushel, a cover. She thinks she is dark, even while
she gives light to all of us here,
in this room of the house.

Flash poetry: Dive


To plunge the depth of my
like when I dove on the reef, dove deep to see the life there,
tumbled through pressure to the dancing bottom, waves breaking above, tempestuous, relentless, and I
drew small tube breaths, took a black rock from ocean floor
to sky, pumping arms and aching back and heavy tank and surface breaks--
I held the underside of that rock, flashing Mother of Pearl, in the sparkle sun, and
was happy just to breathe.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Flash poetry: Death and Taxes

Nothing Is As Certain As

Death: like applesauce,
both solid and liquid,
an unlabeled jam jar, a
bagpipe, deflated; an iris
closed before dawn.

Taxes: struggling to spell
your own name, a
broken power cord, a father's
wheezing snore; when you wake up
late on garbage day, and
run to the curb in your bathrobe
and slippers.

Friday, August 25, 2017

a boy walks into a grove: on moving

This week I drove across the country with my siblings, who are the best people ever and drove over 2,000 miles just to drop me off in Boston. (And are currently driving back to Utah!) The last day before arriving, we stopped at the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, NY, a forest behind Joseph Smith's childhood home where I (and other Mormons) believe he saw God and Jesus Christ when he was only 14.

Sitting there, in that holy wood, I was struck by the radical fissure that vision produced in Joseph's life. One day he is an ordinary farm kid--curious, walks with a limp--, the next day he sees God with his own eyes. Sure, he had to grow into his prophethood, he definitely didn't understand where the vision would lead him, but he was fundamentally changed. In his own words, "I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it" (Joseph Smith-History 1:25). He took a risk, sincerely asked God intending to act on whatever he learned, and was never never the same.

I feel like I have walked into a grove. And right now, that feels like a really stupid choice. I'm sitting in a huge city where I know a grand total of three souls, miles and miles from friends and family and my mountains and a valley I know as well as my own body, where I spent the better part of 24 years building a life that I walked away from in a matter of days.

But. This is my hope:

That it is exactly in the moments of complete disjuncture that God imbues the world with his power. A boy walks into a grove. A man travels to Damascus. A virgin sees an angel. A family leaves Jerusalem.

A man and a woman walk out of a garden. And nothing is ever the same.