So here's what
I've been thinking about as I've been hiking the hills...
LIGHTS, REACTION, CAMERA!
For no special reason something
floated to the top of my memory bank, a recollection of a
phrase I heard over and over as I was a student in the Drama
Department at BYU: "Acting is not so much acting as
this phrase in the voice of Dr. Harold Hansen reminding me,
as I was playing Joan of Arc in Anouilh's
The Lark, to really
listen to the lines of the other actors, to really listen as
Bishop Cauchon says, "You are an impudent girl, and I now
become angry with you. You should be on your knees to the
having really listened, I can reply with meaning, "Missire,
deep in your heart do you believe that our Lord wishes me to
submit to the judgment?"
is a great principle on the stage. But not offstage, not in
real life. At least not in the way I've been pondering as I
framed a New Year's commitment to myself. I don't want to
let reaction be my major way of responding to life, to the
people in my life, to the stuff that happens to me.
And this thought
reminds me of something else I learned at BYU, from another
fine professor, Dr. Reed Bradford head of the Sociology
Department. I've paraphrased this story for my children and
grandchildren, but I wanted to see if I could possibly find
the original, and in thirty seconds (don't you just love
Google?) I did. It is attributed to Sidney Harris:
I walked with my
friend, a Quaker, to the newsstand the other night, and he
bought a paper, thanking the newsie politely. The newsie
didn't even acknowledge it.
"A sullen fellow,
isn't he?" I commented.
"Oh, he's that way
every night," shrugged my friend.
"Then why do you
continue to be so polite to him?" I asked.
inquired my friend. "Why should I let him decide how I'm
going to act?"
I wish I could
tell you I've long mastered that. I have not. Way too
often something goes wrong or someone I care deeply about
does something that hurts themselves or hurts me, and I lose
my center. I don't come from a place of carefully chosen
action. I come from a place of reaction.
I know you don't need any examples from my days. You've got
plenty from your own.
I ought to repeat
to myself every morning before I get out of bed:
"Today I will let no one or no thing decide how I am going
Maybe like Joan of Arc actually did when she refused to
react to threat after threat and impossibility after
impossibility, and instead--as an agent of her own
determination--picked up her sword and acted. And
Last night I watched "I Am," a
documentary made by former funny man Tom Shadyac. It is a
really splendid and inspiring story of who we really are,
showing that we're wired for cooperation and compassion, and
that science is proving beyond doubt how connected we are to
each other and to every living thing. Ever since the '70s
when my husband Gerald discovered meditation and Kirlean
photography, I have been fascinated by observable
spirituality. Here we are in 2012. End of the world? Or
the great transformation? I vote for the latter. See more
about the film at
NO MORE GOODBYES
CONTINUES TO BLESS LIVES.
Months ago I received a Facebook
message from a visiting teacher who told me of a young girl
who was in the hospital after a suicide attempt, "with her
stomach pumped and her arms and legs tethered." Her mother,
feeling she was obeying her church leaders, kicked the girl
out of the house for being gay. I asked this visiting
teacher if she might be able to get a copy of No More
Goodbyes to the girl if I sent one. She said yes.
Recently I got this note from the girl herself:
Lynn, [my mom's visiting teacher] gave me a signed copy of
your book 'no more goodbyes' and it saved my life! I
attempted suicide and planned to try again when I left the
hospital, but she gave me your book and it changed
everything! Thank you! You are an angel of god, truly! It's
as if you shone a light and held out a hand for my soul to
find the path again, as if you breathed air into my lungs,
shocked my heart back to life, injected hope in my veins. I
still struggle with my homosexuality with my family but me
and god are ok with each other:)...I can not say thank you
enough, I wish I could give you a big hug. I L<3VE you!
BUY FIVE COPIES OF NO MORE GOODBYES:
Circling the Wagons around Our Gay
and get two more copies free.
AND ON THE SAME SUBJECT, THREE FORMER BYU PROFESSORS
SPEAKING IN PROVO.
This Thursday, February 2nd at 7 pm at
the Provo Library, Rm #309, Dr. Bill Bradshaw, Kendall
Wilcox and David Knowlton will be speaking on the topic of
homosexuality within the LDS community. "Our goal is to fill
the room with people who are looking for answers -- in other
words, we don't just want it to be an echo chamber. The
atmosphere will be one of Q&A and information."
AND WOW--VALENTINE'S DAY IS ALMOST HERE! FREE COPY
OF LOVE POEMS WITH ORDERS OF $30 THROUGH FEB. 4TH.
How about treating your honey to
In Love Again and Always, or another of the many fine
(or funny) offerings at
I want to fill my
With filling you.
I am acres of
Let me harvest,
Mix, rise, bake,
With honey and
Breakfast in bed.
May January have
opened a door to a great year for us all. And may 2012 just
get better and better!
"When you live in
reaction, you give your power away. Then you get to
experience what you gave your power to."
~ N. Smith
blessings from your friend,