Friday, March 23, 2007

Life is a Roller Coaster

I just want to thank Foxx and everyone else for their comments on my last blog post. What Foxx had to say was really thought provoking and has lead me to want to expound on some of the things he brought up.

Life is like one big roller coaster and I used to think that if I would just hold on tighter that I'd be able to stop the ups and downs and turns. The truth is that no matter what happens, I can't control the turns and bumps. Life comes at me full force and everyday something new happens and I really can't control what happens to me. I can control, however, how I respond to life. I can choose to pout over the unfortunate circumstances or I can laugh at it. But even more importantly, I can choose to learn from the experience.
I used to stew over the "if onlys" and the "should haves" in life. I have realized that nothing I can do will change the past. When I "goof up" it's usually because of lack of foresight or on account of unmet needs. But even more than the goof ups, I used to churn in my mind and beat myself up over life in general... I would go crazy over the things that I couldn't control no matter what. For example I get in my car to go somewhere and because of the stars' alignment or what have you, I get into a fender bender. How was I to know that the driver of the other car was going to hit me? But I would still beat myself up. Or I could simply be fulfilling a responsibility of mine, and for some reason due to unforeseen circumstances I was unable to fulfill my responsibility. I would beat on myself for not being perfect. I know far too many members of the church who do this too. It was a mental illness almost. I hated myself for not being able to control life. But I have come to realize that God gives us the maximum in blessings by giving us the maximum in experience.

For example, when I took my computer into CompUSA to have them back up all of my most valuable files and they ended up destroying EVERYTHING. It was a tragedy, a huge loss for me. I prayed and prayed over the matter. I felt so sick about the whole thing. I realized that my files were lost, nothing could get them back, and I couldn't turn back time and get them, so I needed to make peace with the situation. I prayed, "Heavenly Father, I can't just have this eat me up. I can't be hating the people who made this error and ruined my journal, photos, music, and documents. Please help me to make peace with this regardless of the outcome. I just don't want to feel this way anymore."
I still miss not having my files and documents, but there is nothing I can do to get them back. I did have a professional data recovery guy go over my hard drive, but nothing valuable was salvaged. I have to accept that and move on. I almost don't even care anymore. Sure it's unfortunate that I don't have those files and I wish I still had them, but I choose to let go.

It's been years in the making for me to reach this point where I can deal with nearly anything that life sends my way. In some ways I feel almost invincible to anything life brings me because I know that I can choose to let go and learn. Certainly some things are more difficult to deal with, but I can make peace with anything that happens.
Pain is temporary if I choose to let it be temporary. I must take ownership of the pain that life gives me, and at that moment, true healing begins.

This is why I love my life so much. It is so rich with experiences that shape my character. I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't for what happened yesterday. Life is full of experience both positive and negative, but if I can learn from the negative, suddenly I have turned a negative experience into something positive. And then the miracle happens, I begin to see that everything that happens to me is a blessing. I see God's hand in my life and I can see how every struggle, every negative experience, every trial, every little thing that happens to me is, in essence a blessing for good. I really believe that too.
When I pray God shows me that he loves me by bringing to my mind all of the experience that he has given me to shape who I am. I am truly at peace with all of the hardships, trials, and pain in my life. I am happy.

Now, having said all of that, I also recognize that having such an outlook can easily fool you into trying to remove responsibility for actions. It can be easy sometimes to say, "Well, I made that mistake in shortsightedness and I really know that it's not my fault." But often we know when we are playing with fire. I recently have hurt some people that I truly love because of my own selfishness. Never have I ever been so dishonest. If I had only kept true to my belief and continued to be honest, I would never have pushed them away. Trust can be hard to rebuild. Now, like I said, I don't dwell on the "if onlys" but still regret what I have done. When I don't respect my values, I don't respect myself, and when I disrespect myself, I make choices that show disrespect for myself.

My last post was a vent of frustration because when you act contrary to what you know to be right, it can really hurt. But I must accept responsibility for my actions, pay the consequences, and move on.


Gay BYU Student said...

I'd like to think of life as more of an amusement park than a single roller coaster. We get to try out lots of different rides. And yes, once we've been strapped into a particular one, we have to finish it - we get to have the whole experience of that ride, for better or worse. Once we get off that ride, though, we have the choice to try it again or to go for something different. We can choose our future based on our past experiences, choosing similar rides or completely new ones. That's how we live and learn and ultimately figure out what works best for us. We can learn other ways too (like other peoples' experience with certain rides). In the end, the point is that we aren't strapped into just one ride for our whole life - that would be suggesting some predestination or destiny doctrine (which I refuse to believe).

Hopefully that made sense. One final thought: regret and remorse are natural and healthy human emotions. They are the driving force that helps us learn from our mistakes and commit to not make them again. Without those feelings we wouldn't be able to learn and grow. Regret doesn't have to be lasting, but it should be there strong enough, however fleeting, to impress upon us a desire to not get back on that same roller coaster.

Distinguishing Preoccupation said...

Thanks for your comment GBYUS. I really agree a lot with what you said. I do however want to point out that sometimes we are too short to get on some rides, and ultimately there are some rides we can NEVER take. So again, not to drag this analogy out too far, it's important to note that sometimes we are predestined, if you will, to never enjoy some rides.

playasinmar said...

I too think life is like a roller coaster. The lady next to you smells like flypaper and the kid behind you is still screaming for no reason and the side of the car cuts into my ribcage and I don't think anyone should ride The Viper at Magic Mountain.

The Hidden Gay said...

Can I just say YAY for Top Thrill Dragster? I know that has absolutely nothing to do with all the poignant and open emotions you are sharing right now... but I just LOVE Cedar Point. That coaster is 410 ft tall and goes 0 to 120mph in 4 seconds.

I've ridden in the front seat. Arms up and enjoy the ride! For all its ups AND downs.