Monday, October 31, 2011

Talk About the Good Times

"No man was ever eloquent by trying to be eloquent, but only by being so."
-George Henry Lewes

Certain words, pairs of words, phrases- reading them makes me feel more real. I love the art that lies within an eloquent, silent elocution of prose. At times I find nothing more stirring than a string of carefully chosen words. I recently just finished Flaubert's Madame Bovary, written around 1857, I think. It had both romance and debauchery- two elements my needy soul craves in a story. But what I la la loved about it wasn't so much the tale being told, as the way it was told. And I have often had this reckoning when reading other works born in that period of time. It's in the very language: flowery without being fussy, calculated yet seemingly natural, as if from the beginning of time, words were always meant to be dispelled in exactly that way. When I read things like this, it makes me long for a time in which I've never even existed; when one's words were their very brand, their instrumentality for distinguishing themselves amongst everyone else. 
 A very good man once said, “Sloppy language and sloppy ways go together. Those who are truly educated have learned more than the sciences, the humanities, law, engineering, and the arts. They carry with them a certain polish that marks them as loving the better qualities of life, a culture that adds luster to the mundane world of which they are apart.” (-Gordon B. Hinckley) 

Truly a votary of anything eloquent, I agree with that very good man with all my heart. How we speak, and what we choose to speak about, can either beautify or tarnish the way we are perceived by others. How charming is it to be in the company of someone who speaks not only articulately, but with the polish that inevitably comes from quiet confidence and a subtle but apparent appreciation for the "better"? I know that whenever I converse with someone who speaks eloquently, intelligently, and with optimistic undertones, it revives my desire to do so. Regretfully, we don't have to search very far to find conversation which revolves around the negative, the harsh, the cynical, the base, and the everyday vulgarity that seems to proliferate like Nobody's biznass. It is effortless to indulge or even instigate the casual kind of discourse that revolves around nothingness and is propagated by cheap and pallor-ic cadences, for the path of least resistance is quite easy to succumb to. But nothing that comes easily is really ever worth having. (Nothing LASTING, I should say. For if I'm going to be honest, there are a good many things that come puh-retty easily which I do consider worth having: eclairs, Pepsi, lemon bars, Cafe Rio, cheeseburgers, naps, mascara, laughs. And yeah, after "cheeseburgers" I had to really stretch the imadge so as not to seem like a total obese-tress.) But are we really better off after engaging in such trite conversation? Do we stand more firmly footed, walk more assuredly and with more direction, and find more nobility in ourselves through speaking insubstantially and even crassly at times? Doubt it.  

I've said before that I believe in the power of the individual. If every living man and woman strove to achieve, a little more each day than the last, their own personal level of greatness, even by the smallest measure and irrespective of means or circumstance, just imagine the different kind of world we would live in. It's hopelessly idealistic, I know. But... so much power lies in mere words! If "words can never harm", then my name isn't Brittany Anne with an "E". Humor me with this naively arcadian notion, but do we not all speak words, all the live-long day, every live-long day? And if by the simple act of choosing to speak them with simple sophistication, and about things that are actually meaningful and pleasant and important, wouldn't the world, even by the ever-so-smallest measurement, be just a little more lovely?  

Please know that more than anything, I am chastising myself in the guise of altruism, but if there's anyone else out there who speaks like a pirate-hooker and knows better, I lower my glass to you, too. Mediocrity is a rampant epidemic, but it doesn't have to be. Seek to emanate the goodness that inspires you by speaking about it. Choose "better" words, words that reflect a meaningful existence. 
 Let us all  "be the good we wish to see in the world", if only with our words. 

Peace and Love.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I Believe In the Man In the Sky

  "...Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." 
-1 Timothy 4:12

It is here that I am most honest, I think. Because I am writing to really no one in particular but myself, I can express and catalog and capture the things about this existence that inspire me, that change me, that cause me to wonder, and the things that are most precious to my heart. I have expressed adoration for music, for family, for "culinary thrills", for summer, amongst many others. I realized today though that in all the time that I have spent writing about things that matter most to me, I have yet to express my devotion to the thing I consider most precious above all the bounteous joys that this life has brought my way. 

"Be thou an example of the believers." Depending upon what one believes, this has infinite application. I believe in many things. I believe in the power of the individual. I believe in the efficacy of beautiful words. I believe that music is the language of the soul. I believe that we should leave the earth better than we found it. I believe that we should all work to make the world worthy of its children. I believe that nothing is too wonderful to be true. It is what we believe in most deeply that directs us to the paths we pursue, like a compass. 

 I am lead to and/or perhaps by the things I believe in most. I have often thought about what my life would be like without my belief system, and though I'm sure that, in the absence of the compass that it has been in my life, I would have made several different choices which inevitably would have led me down some rather deleterious if not completely dissolute paths, at my core I know that I would always feel that life was more than just the present. Some of us are not inclined spiritually, and that is fine. But as for little old me, religious dogma aside, I believe that all people are spiritual beings. C.S. Lewis said it best, I think: "You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." In that sense, I know that had I been born into different circumstances wherein religion of any sort was absent, I probably still would have sought some sort of transcendent outlet simply because spirituality is a very ardent part of who I am. 
Of all that I love, and in all that I believe, there is one truth more penetrating, more anchoring than all the others, and it is this: Jesus Christ is the son of God, and God is my eternal Father. I believe that anything good, anything beautiful, anything that makes me feel more close to becoming the woman I am meant to be- THAT all comes from God and His perfect son. Belief in Them serves as my most reliable compass.

There is so very much about life that is unsure. That very precariousness has painted parts of my mortality with tangible sorrow, numbing remorse, and abysmal hopelessness, for I have just as much frailty within me as I do strength. But I am yet grateful for these brush-strokes, for it is by them that I have witnessed the power of what I know to be true. It is in those truly helpless moments that my soul has been rescued, redeemed, and comforted beyond any earthly comprehension. I have felt the healing power that comes from bended knee. I have been empowered by the strength that comes from submission. If there is any one thing to which I can attest, it is that God does not forsake. 

I have often thought to myself, "I live a charmed life". And I must say, I do: I laugh, I eat, I sing, I play, I read, I write, I love, I sleep, I work, I pray. I pray. I pray to a seemingly chimerical being, yet He is as real to me as my own flesh-and-blood father. It is He to whom I submit bended knee, and it is He to whom I plead for rescue. And though not always on my ideal timescale, not once have my requests been ignored. I have felt, despite His omnipotent power, His tender concern for little nobody Me. He created all the Heavens and everything that they contain, the earth and all it's majesty, and still, though compared to Him I am the dust of the earth, He hears me. To me, God is not to be feared. He is to be loved. For He is the most merciful, patient, benevolent Being that I have ever come to know. Truly, I have come to understand that there is nothing more panacea-ic than prayer. The more I learn to align my desires with that of my Maker's, the closer I feel to self-mastery.

His Son, Jesus Christ, is the Savior of the world. It is by Him, through Him, and of Him that I can become the perfect version of myself. His grace provides the comfort and the promise that I have so often sought in my moments of despair. The more I come to know Him, the more that Hope permeates my life. His existence provides the perfect framework for what I want my life to mean: virtue, patience, compassion, humility, service, faith, love, and purpose. Without Him, I would have no compass. He is my direction. He is my path. He is my destination.

I so much want to be an example of the believers. I want to live like I believe, because I do believe. In fact, there is nothing I believe in more. And, consequently, it is this belief that allows me to so fully appreciate all the numerous other things that I have so often blabbed about here, in this private little space. My belief in a Heavenly Father and in his perfect Son has made my life as full as it is. If you are just a little bit lost, helpless, or feel like something is missing from your existence, I would invite you to seek out the spirituality that is organically within you. Nourishing that part of my soul has brought me nothing but peace, direction, and at times, exquisite joy. Whatever you choose to believe in, let it be your compass. And if it is honest, it will lead you to everything good that you are meant to become. 

Peace and Love.

P.S. See for yourself just how hopeful life can be: 

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