WE CAN LIVE THE PRINCIPLES EVEN IF WE CAN’T HAVE WHAT WE WANT

photo credit: raymondclarkeimages Above The Clouds And The Sea via photopin (license)

I am writing a book. I told a friend how thrilling it is to see it taking shape and that it’s as close as I’ll ever come to giving birth. It made me realize I’m living the principle of creation. I think I would rather have been able to give birth to a child, but honestly, I’m not sure. I have nothing to compare this to, but it’s pretty dang thrilling. I’m guessing that a woman who has given birth to a child can write a book but won’t experience it as deeply as I do because she’s already lived the principle of creation a different way.

A little light bulb went on, and I realized that the principles are there for the living even if we can’t have their fulfillment in the shape we think we want. If you think about it, it’s living the principle that fulfills us, not the particular shape it manifests itself in. I’m defining “principle” as a fundamental source or basis of something. So creation, connection, accomplishment, expression, etc. I think of principles in this way as action words because we actively choose whether to live them, i.e., let those aspects of our life fulfill us.

I also realize that I’ve already realized this (I’m so smart). I’ve pondered many times about the dearth of personal family connections throughout my life. We weren’t a close family growing up, I’m not in contact with any biological relatives at the moment, I wasn’t able to have kids, and the kids I adopted self-identify as belonging to someone else (not all of them, not every day, but it’s a theme). When I was 38, I left just about everything in my old life behind to live a gospel life. So you could say I’m kind of a loner.

Then I thought about how deeply and broadly I can connect with people in general. What I lack in intimate depth of connection, I more than make up for in incredible breadth of connection. I can talk to anyone about anything. I think I would rather have had a close relationship with my mother or a sibling, but honestly, I’m not sure. I can’t compare it to the feeling of a tight-knit family at home, but it’s pretty awesome to feel at home wherever I go.

We make the mistake of thinking accomplishment has to be big and public. We need to have a college degree, or a big house, or a promotion, or a fancy car. And those can fulfill the principle of accomplishment, but they are by no means the only thing. I think emotional accomplishment is actually much more admirable, even if you and God are the only ones who know about it. Forgiving someone who has hurt you might be the ultimate accomplishment.

We say, “I can’t write,” or “I can’t sing, or “I’m shy” or whatever else we tell ourselves when we think we don’t have much to say or no good way to say it. The simplest way to live the principle of expression is to be authentic. Just be who you are. I said it was the simplest way, not the easiest. It took me nearly 50 years to figure that one out, but nothing is better now than feeling at home in my own skin.

All this time, I thought I’d missed out on some really important stuff when, in reality, I’ve had it all along in shapes I didn’t recognize. Wouldn’t you know it, I wouldn’t trade my shapes for anything. I want exactly what I have.

Seems like the Lord knows what he’s doing after all.

5 thoughts on “WE CAN LIVE THE PRINCIPLES EVEN IF WE CAN’T HAVE WHAT WE WANT

  1. I for one am grateful that you are who you are.

    Now I’m wondering if there are things or areas of my life that I’ve been incorrect about. I suspect there are simply because I tend to judge myself with no mercy.

    1. I saw your comment on the way to church this morning so I used it in bearing my testimony (it was Fast Sunday for some reason in my ward). I talked about how sad it was for me to see people berating themselves or just not feeling good enough, and that a lot of it comes (I think) from living in over-achieving Utah with more Mormon perfectionists than you can shake a stick at. From the point of view of someone who lived _without_ the gospel, people here don’t realize how much light they have. One speck of light dispels the dark. They’re good enough. I also mentioned that we might all want to stop pretending we’re shinier than we are because nobody’s as shiny as we think they are, and if we all relax, we’ll be happier. Have a great week. 🙂

      1. As you know that is a really difficult area for me. I know it’s true and I hope it pertains to me too. I just know I don’t deserve it. I read your words and feel this hope. I also read your words and can’t help but think somehow I’ll end up being a pretender. I know it’s true for others and I hope it’s true for me.

  2. Wonderful insight. I had an epinany while thinking about the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth. Besides having children, I think it can also apply to being creative in any endeavor here on earth.

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