The diametric is a common theme; light and dark, health and sickness, etc. Zarathustra had something when he drew the divide in terms of light and darkness. Unfortunately, the conflict I find in myself is not entirely one of good and evil. Relax, reader: my post this evening has nothing to do with any relationships except two - that of myself with myself, and that of myself with God.
I find in myself two beings; not one of absolute darkness and one of absolute light, but rather a sober man capable of great love, pure joy, great sorrow, and grievous sin, and an idiot capable of nothing more than superficial pleasure and pathetic folly. The first faces the world in battle: ceremony, celebration, conflict, and conflagration. The second laughs at all things, makes poor jokes, wastes his life, and knows neither that which is sacred nor fearful. He dances where angels ought to fear to tread: not the waltz, but a fool's cousin to the Carmagnole. Deadness, dumbness, idiocy are his dominion, and unfortunately through him, mine. It is as if my reason were sapped in strength and cast before swine to be trampled under foot, while I am rent from before and behind by tusks that curve only inward.
I wish I knew to make my life only the first man - a life of symphonies and silences. This is the test; nothing stops me except my own perspective. What I would give to have those scales fall from my eyes! And yet the second man, misshapen fool that he is, did not spring into being fully formed from my cloven head. He grew, inch by miserable inch, as I sought a different approach to life. I did not bear the solemn, so now I must bear the obscene, the ludicrous, and the absurd.
It is reflected in how I spend my time. How much waste, these past days! How much laziness! How many words dropped carelessly, stupidly, without thought or effort! Rather than an examined life, I live a caricature. Though the better man struggles for egress and urges me to seek obedience and valiant effort, I stumble about blindfolded in the fog of my foolishness. My tools are blunted in the hour of my labor; I lack the self-respect that the Lord of the Vineyard and his servants embody.
"And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people" (2 Cor. 6:16) Pursuit of God brooks no stupidity, no foolishness, no absurdity; I cannot serve the God of Counsel and Holiness and play the fool.
I speak not here of joy, nor laughter, but of mania, of nervous fear, of foolish pride, of vain ambition, and of setting the things of the world higher than the things of God. Let virtue garnish my thoughts unceasingly, that my breast may receive light and knowledge from the most High! Let the noise be silenced in praise of my Creator!
I find comfort in this promise, given by Elder D. Todd Christofferson in the latest General Conference:
"Elder B. H. Roberts once expressed the process in these words: 'The man who so walks in the light and wisdom and power of God, will at the last, by the very force of association, make the light and wisdom and power of God his own—weaving those bright rays into a chain divine, linking himself forever to God and God to him. This [is] the sum of Messiah’s mystic words, ‘Thou, Father, in me, and I in thee’—beyond this human greatness cannot achieve.'" (Reflections on a Consecrated Life, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, General Conference October 2010. ) http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-1298-6,00.html
If I come closer to the Man of Holiness, the nonsense must be burned out of my life. Let that fire commence now; let its greasy smoke bear a petition to my God for forgiveness for my "levity, and for my [sometime association] with jovial company, etc., not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God" (Joseph Smith History, 1:28). Again, I do not discredit humor, but poor taste; not joy, but vapidity; not a smile, but a slack jaw.
I am sustained in this by the idea, felt and stated, my Father has communicated to me: "I know what you can be. I will help you become what you can be. I will help you be worthy of your self-respect. I will help you be more than you have become. I will lead you back into what is true."
I know He will. May my behavior demonstrate my belief. Amen!