Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tender Picture For Tender Subjects

Recent events in my life have inspired some deep thinking. I've really been evaluating a lot of things concerning life choices and religous beliefs. I am very happy to be a mormon, and very happy to have a family that believes in the same things that I do. I feel for those who have made religious choices that family members or friends did not approve of or support. I guess this is one of the large blessings in my life that I have overlooked.

Some of these feelings have stemmed from the death of my grandfather. He worked hard to support his family, he stood by the values and standards of the LDS church, and was proud to be a mormon. He was happiest when he was around his family, especially his grandchildren. I want to be like my grandpa, and my dad reminds me of him more and more as time passes.

Some of the other events have been less impactful. Mostly just everyday things like seeing someone treat others with disrespect or anger, or trying to figure out why people steal, and other things of that sort. Everybody does things that they will regret later on, but it's more of the kind of behavior that you would expect someone to feel guilty about. People who make a habit of stealing probably don't see it as a big deal after they've been doing it for a while.

To get to the point I'm trying to make, a lot of the things we do depends on what we are doing RIGHT NOW!!!! I've seen this many times in life. Just like the scriptures say, we need to choose this day whom we will serve. No man can serve two masters. I've always liked this. People think that the scriptures are so confusing, but what I love about them is the simplicity. We either choose to serve the Lord, or we choose to serve Satan.

The reference to Heavy Metal that I would like to make is that a lot of songs that I listen to preach this very principle, and are a helpful and constant reminder to me that I have an obligation and responsibility to serve the Lord, Jesus Christ, with all my might, mind, and strength. It is of the utmost importance for me to do this RIGHT NOW for the following reasons:

0 I have a family, and I need to set the example
0 The second coming of the Lord is going to happen soon
0 The righteous will become more righteous, and the wicked will become more wicked
0 I want to serve the Lord, and only Him

In the music I listen to, which has primarily been Christian Heavy Metal (a growing genre of metal), I find my strength and inspiration to live in such a way. For example:

Killswitch Engage - "A Light in a Darkened World"

"I see so much corruption
And it's hard to ignore
Living on greed and possessions
Is this what we're dying for?

Now choose this day
Who you will serve
To be the light in a darkened world

Many are willing to only live for themselves
Turning away from morality
Nothing can save you now

Now choose this day
Who you will serve
To be the light in a darkened world
You feel dissolved and the water's beginning to rise
Become the light in this darkened world

Touching upon my grandfather's death once again, I had an opportunity with my dad, brother, and uncle to dress my grandpa in preparation for his funeral and burial. I didn't really know how to prepare for this, or what to expect. For the first few minutes, it was very surreal. I walked into the room thinking that my grandpa was lying there, but after a while i could feel that something was missing. With our mortal eyes, we can only see a person's body, but without their spirit inside, it is just a body. The body is here for the purpose of housing the spirit. I kept expecting my grandpa to breathe or speak, but of course he wasn't. It finally started to sink in that he wasn't there. My brother and dad were very comforting and understanding when I got emotional.

This reminds me of another song by one of my favorite Christian Metal bands, August Burns Red. They use the lyric, "Blinded by the inability to see beyond flesh and blood." I like this because it shows us that by only thinking in terms of this life, we miss out on the big picture. There is also an As I Lay Dying song called "Upside Down Kingdom" that argues that this world teaches us to live it up (eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die), and that the only consequence is regret for the things that we didn't do or try. We are taught by the philosophies of men that we're here until we die, and that's it.

I take comfort in knowing that my grandpa is with his wife after 7 years of missing her, and he is with his son that only lived for a little more than a week on this earth. We need to keep in mind that this life is like a flash compared to eternity, and that we made a choice to come to earth and live by God's commandments. I know that I want to prove to Him that I am worthy for the happiness and blessings that he wants to give to me. I am the only one who can decide if I will carry out the duties that will be given to me for this purpose. I will be the only one to blame if I am not worthy.