Friday, August 20, 2010

The sand and the sea

“I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force … Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty.
- Joseph Smith

"Small pieces of glass get caught in the surf, and smoothed and sanded until they are like clear, colored stones. Sea glass, it's called, and apparently it's quite valuable."
-My mother, in a conversation we had while I was in Africa

I guess the trick to life is to take the punishment patiently and with joy. In Africa, and at home as I deal with the consequences and remainders of my journey to Africa, I have been frustrated many times by the inconveniences, disappointments, requirements, and penalties I feel I am experiencing. Today especially has been difficult in that regard; not due to any great injury, but rather to a thousand small cuts.

In these circumstances, frustration at the great, apparent un-necessity of it all clouds judgment, obscures blessings, and gives anger place in the heart.
I have struggled with these feelings for a few days. The disappointment, frustration, and anger I felt in Africa but could not express came tumbling out of me here. Since I didn't resolve my feelings while I was there, I need to here; but I hadn't wrestled with those thoughts yet, and found only anger in myself when I attempted to do so.

Events of the past few days brought these frustrations to a head, until this evening I was fed up with the school, university, and organizations I'm working with. My sister warned me to reframe things positively, rather than run off on a Dutch sailing barque, as I was only half-jokingly considering.

My family, ever a source of comfort and love, again brought me the answer. My mother suggested that I listen to music.

It has taken me almost an hour and a half of listening to inspired musicians playing the most beautiful pieces of music in history, but the clouds have lifted; I have been able to let go of some of my anger, and I have come to a place where I can forgive.

"Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak." - William Congreve, The Mourning Bride (1697), Act. 1 Sc. 1.

"And it came to pass, when the evil spirit ... was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him." - 1 Sam 16:23

It's true.

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