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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

on faith and forgiveness

I admire people of faith.

How they can go about their lives, certain in the knowledge that there's ultimate good in the world.  They seem keenly aware of their place, and where they are headed in this world or the next.

But that's not me.

I grew up in a semi-Mormon household.
Dad went to church a bit, but his folks didn't really integrate faith into their lives.  He lost his mom early to lung cancer and dad just did not keep up with church-going.  My mom's side of the family are the Mormons.  Big time.  My grandfather is not god, but he plays him in the temple.  Really.  (When the Mormons do their ceremonies to seal families together into infinity, they have people stand in as substitutes for those not in attendance, like dead people.  Most temples use projected images, but there are a couple of "live" temples out there where people stand in.  And my grandpa stands in for god.)

Flashing forward, my family wasn't altogether religious.  We went to church sporadically, but didn't have family home evening or anything like that.  My parents both worked.  They only had a couple kids.  The missionaries would visit from time to time to try and pull us further into the fold, but nothing much came of that.

I asked my dad once, what he believed in.  We were standing out in the forest, scouting for the perfectly seasoned pine we could fell, buck up into rounds, and take home to stoke the wood stove.  He looked thoughtful for a minute, smiled, and said, "This is what I believe in.  Being out here in the woods on a hot autumn day.  Or planting flowers with your mom in the back yard.  Fishing.  Being in nature.  Working hard."

Yup, that's my pops in a nutshell.

And I've subscribed to that same philosophy most of my life.  From the time I was eight and decided to live in a tent for the summer.  Or the time when I was nineteen and hit the road in my pickup truck for a year.  My decision to work in a national park rather than remain a well-compensated rat in a cubicle.  We get paid in sunrises and sunsets, so it's said.

But I am sometimes jealous of that faith that others seem to have, that surety.
That thing, whatever it is, that has always eluded me.

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