First off, I want all the kids to know that if they wanted, they can write me a letter/keep a personal conversation with me. I don't know if they knew that or not. So if they want to they can. And thank you for your "brutal-honesty" haha. It was perfectly honest and just what I needed to know. One of the things that I have just gotten over is trying to be nice and sugar coat everything. People aren't going to change unless you are blunt. So I am. Haha. I am too tired of putting things the "nice way." I'm not mean (there is a huge difference) but I'm not their friend--they have plenty of those friends who do nothing for them. I'm friendly, but I'm here to help them and help myself for that matter!
Second, I actually had a great study about the Sabbath Day this week (or better the sacrament and stuff). So I got thinking to myself, "what is the purpose of life?" That question that no one seems to be able to answer. Long story short, we are all seeking for happiness and lasting peace in this life. The truest and most lasting form of happiness is found in the gospel. Why? Because it MEANS something. Meaning is what brings us happiness. The more meaning, the more the happiness lasts. Too often we trade lasting happiness for a moment of joy that really means nothing to us--but it feels good! True meaning can only only only be found through sacrifice. That is why we have all we have in the gospel. The scriptures were brought to us to give us meaning at a great sacrifice--usually life. Going to church is a sacrifice and keeping the sabbath day holy. Symbols are used to give us meaning and it is up to us to make the sacrifice. The most powerful prayers are always accompanied by sincere sacrifice--sometimes the sacrifice was forced aka "compelled to be humble." All in all, the sabbath and the gospel are exactly what we make of them. Here is a little something I wrote in my journal:
"Our covenants are opportunities for us to perform formal sacrifices. Many might think that after the Ressurrection and the fulfilling of the Law of Moses that the sacrificial altar disappeared along with the burnt offerings required under the law. If we look closely we will realize that they are very present but we are the burnt offering to be filled with the Spirit of God which, like a fire, is burning. As we descend into the baptismal font or as the sacrament is blessed on a table or altar to be passed on trays for us to partake, do we offer ourselves as an offering of righteousness with a broken heart and a contrite spirit as if upon the ancient altar of sacrifice to be consumed as with fire, being filled of the Holy Ghost to ascend to the throne of God clean and spotless to partake of eternal exaltation? Have we also considered that sanctifying ordinance of eternal marriage to be that of an exalting and eternal sacrifice--which sacrifice will lead us to true meaning and perfect happiness?"
All in all, every symbol and ritual in the gospel is to give us meaning and to teach us something of the nature of Godhood. Each symbol is to bring us closer to Christ and by making covenants through sacrifice, we clean our inner vessel. If the sacrament has no meaning to us, or if baptism is merely a way to "join the club", we have, as Jacob says, "looked beyond the mark" and the power of the atonement is inept. The more sacrifice we put in, the more meaning we get out and the power of the atonement only grows to transform your life anew. This is living after the manner of happiness.
I wish I could share everything but... everything sure is alot. haha. Symbols are everywhere and they are here to give us meaning but it is our duty to sacrifice to make them meaningful. That is why worthiness is important--not because it is some magical set of rules but because we cheat ourselves out of so much meaning by being unworthy of such.
Other questions: What is a good minor to go with IR? I'm thinking about studying chinese now instead of arabic (arabic and middle-east will become more of a hobby instead of a job thing).
What sort of things did you see going on in China? Overall experience.
What are strong characteristics that I have that would be useful in the workplace?
Anyways, that's about all for this week. I love you and hope things go well! Oh and tell dad happy fathers day. Is it this week or did it already happen I forgot...?