Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pushing Play

April 2004. I was 29 and attending graduate school at BYU. I had just taken nearly a year off school for a major back surgery and had finally given up on attending singles wards for church. In March I decided to move to a new place, rooming with a friend of mine, Clark Teamant. I started attending a family ward - the one where my great Uncle Bob Teichert lived down South of BYU's campus.

I lived pretty simply at the time and spent most of my time on campus. I would ride my bike up to campus early in the morning (between 7-8am) everyday and spend most of my hours in the periodical section reading, writing, researching, doing homework, and occasionally flirting with the many, many pretty girls that came in. I would leave to eat, go to class, and that was about it. I had a job as a research assistant and I did most of that work in the library researching the topics of the professor's research (Dr. Don Adolphson). A lot of days I stayed at the library until 10pm or later. Some times I would go home early and get a bike ride in ( I did a lot of cycling back then). It was pretty awesome.

One area of my life that I was not succeeding at was my love life. I mean, I pretty much quit dating. I was surrounded most of the time by 19-21 yr old girls who still had little clue about what they wanted and who they were. At 29, I was not exactly part of the "in-crowd" anymore. But it was fine. I had dated someone pretty seriously in 2003 and had a hard breakup from that. So I was ok not dating much.

One day, my good friend and classmate, Adam Lindsay, told me he wanted to introduce me to a girl he taught school with. Her name was Amy. I wasn't all that excited to meet her, but agreed to go with him on Sunday to visit with her. That Sunday, Adam took me over to this girl's house. As we sat in the front room with her and chatted, it was quickly clear to me that I was not going to be interested in her - for whatever reason. I just wasn't interested. Thankfully, I don't think she knew why Adam had brought me over - I think she just assumed we were there to say hi as Adam was already a friend of hers. At some point, she mentioned that she needed to leave to go to an evening meeting a the church, called, "ward prayer", and asked if we wanted to go with her. We agreed to go - after all, we had nothing better to do.

Ward prayer is a Sunday night meeting that lasts about 15-30 minutes that BYU student wards held. Its a more informal meeting - more like an evening devotional with that ended with a prayer together as a group. I had gone to these for many years as a student at BYU.

At the meeting, there were several people that I knew, and after the meeting I chatted with them. After talking to one of my friends, I turned to see Adam talking to some cute girl. I had to rescue the poor thing - Adam Lindsay was a character and I wasn't sure that girl knew what she might be getting into.

I stepped up to their conversation and introduced myself. Hi, I'm Adam - yes, Adam as well. And she introduced herself. "I'm Amy". Ha! Adam and Adam and Amy and Amy...

For the next 5 minutes, I don't think Adam Lindsay said too much. I doubt either Amy or I rememberered much that he was even there. After all, someone had just pushed play and the music was no longer on pause. The ease and beauty of it all was familiar - like we weren't starting something, but resuming something.

At some point my ride was leaving (the other Amy). But gosh, I did not want to leave yet. I needed this Amy's phone number!  So quickly, I asked again where she worked and what her last name was (Brundage). I was going to call her work if I had to. I could have just asked for her phone number, but I was kind of a dumb-head about that kind of thing sometimes.

Amy B. left and I got in the car with Adam L. and the other Amy. Adam said to me, "You liked her, didn't you?!" Yes, I did. Yes I did! I said to Amy (our driver at this point) - can you please get me her number?!  She agreed to give it to Adam L. the next day at school.

When I got home later, as I walked up the driveway to my place, my roommate Clark and his brother Leo were outside. With a big smile on my face I said, "I met my wife tonight". And I was serious (as serious as you can be while feeling giddy like you've just discovered a sunken treasure).

It was April 18, 2004.

On Monday, I got Amy B.'s number and on Tuesday I called her and asked her out. We talked almost every day after that and I even visited her at her home once that week. On Friday night we had our first date. In May we said we loved each other and I went to Cambodia for 2 1/2 months.  We talked via the internet most days while I was gone. By August we were engaged and on September 30, 2004, we entered the Timapanogos LDS temple and were married for time and all eternity. The best day of my life.

10 years later, I still feel the music playing - we just learn new dances to it.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I'm going to try taking a bit more

I'm honestly a bit tired of giving. Now, don't get me wrong. Giving is awesome - and everyone praises it. When Christmas comes it is all about "giving", and well, how many times are we preached to and counseled to give more and give better?! We are asked to give of ourselves, our time, our money, our talents, and more.

Well, I'm tired of that. Call me crazy, but I've decided to try taking a bit more.

Sitting in church today, as I sat waiting for the sacrament, I thought about what I was about to do. I was about to "take the sacrament" - a shortening of the word, "partake." It's an active word that denotes the idea of conscious, deliberate choice. The offering that Christ makes for me daily is one that I must take. In the New Testament we are urged by Christ to "Take my yoke upon you..." (Matt. 11:29). We are also told three times in the New Testament to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Christ (eg. Matt. 16:24). Even Christ's pinnacle moment was that of "taking" upon himself the sins and sorrows and pains of all the world. Then and only then could he truly give us the power and joy of the atonement.

I've considered this idea for several year now, but as I sat thinking about this concept in today's meeting, I realized that perhaps Faith was a process of taking. Faith isn't just an act of giving something a chance. It's not about giving in, or giving time to something. No, that is too weak for me. That is not the kind of faith I should build. Instead, I should be taking. I should take the time, take a step, take a chance, and take His word for truth. It is this idea of taking - like seizing something because I want it so badly, I need it so badly.

Indeed, even the sacrament prayers do not mention giving. They DO, however, use the word "partake" in reference to what we do with the sacrament and state that in so doing, we witness unto God that we are willing to take upon us the name of Christ.

In the Book of Mormon, the covenant behind baptism is further explained, saying that in baptism we are expressing our willingness to bear one another's burdens. Sounds like a form of taking to me.

Giving makes it sound just so noble and self-praising sometimes. Maybe giving is what others do and taking is what I do. Even listening is a form of taking. Gosh, I am not great at taking in that form. Humility is even a form of taking.

Yeah, I get the whole giving thing. I'll probably continue to do that too, and feel great about it. But I think I'll start trying to take more. I think it just comes down to how I want to feel about how I have faith and how I approach everything - as if everything is a blessing and that I am always receiving - that the gift is so great that I cannot stop taking it. For sure, I'll never give more than what was given, so I might as well embrace the taking of Christ's cross, of His name, of His task, of His Spirit, of His forgiveness, of His love. Yes, please, give me more of all of that. I am ready to take.