Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spiritual Sunday - Some random Sunday thoughts including Eminem

I'd love to say that we had a wonderful time at Stake Conference today. That the Spirit was strong, Chloee was reverent and we came away uplifted and energized for the upcoming week.
I'd love to say that - but it would be a lie.

We didn't make it to ANY session of Stake Conference. Splenda didn't go to Priesthood Leadership meeting either.  Instead, last night we took care of errands, stayed up late, slept in, I got 10 loads of laundry done, the house picked up and Chloee's room cleaned and organized.  (Cleanliness is next to Godliness right?)

Seems strange from one who bears her testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ often and sincerely.  One who serves, teaches and tries to be a good example.  One who blogs about spiritual things and professes a regular religious habit.

I really am all that.  I'll never deny my faith.  I'll never deny what I believe and what I know in my heart is the truth.  I try to do what's right.

So what does it mean when I'm not perfect.  When I can't do it all.  When I make a purposeful decision to slack off
What does it mean?

I've been thinking about this very thing for quite some time.  It seems that people tend to ebb and flow with their testimonies and church participation.  As a member of the LDS faith, those ebbs and flows are usually more prominent perhaps than in other religions.  There are a lot of things that we covenant to do.   We serve in various capacities. Some more demanding of our time than others.  We have a moral code of ethics we strictly adhere to.  We have a health guideline that we follow.  It may seem, sometimes to someone outside our faith, that we have a lot of work and a lot of rules.  Does that affect our ebb and flow or is it something else?

For some people life circumstances or a major tragedy or struggle affects their ebb and they find that over time, it becomes a permanent separation.  They lose the light they once had for the gospel. 

For others, they ride along for awhile in the ebb until a good wave of some sort catches them and carries them back into the flow.

Some are lucky enough to just keep on in the same rhythm and cadence all their lives.

I've been thinking about the 99 and 1.  You know the parable where the Shepherd keeps careful eye on His flock to the point of searching out the one lost lamb and returning them to the fold.  It is taught that Jesus Christ is the Shepherd and we are His sheep and He cares enough about each one of us, that He will search for the "lost one" to return them to the safety of the fold.  Sometimes it's through the hands and efforts of another, but He finds us - my thoughts last week basically.
I am a Believer of this.

Lately I've been thinking.....What if that lamb didn't want to be found?  What if that little one was pissed.  So frustrated and full of anger and disappointment that they purposefully snuck away to seek his fortune alone?  And then, maybe that sheep hit the proverbial rock bottom and came back on his own.  Fought off his own wolves, climbed his own little barbed wire fences, forged rivers and hiked his way back to his Shepherd?
Is there something to be said for someone who works hard to get themselves back to what they consider their own good graces with God?  Not that it takes away from anyone who had loving friends and family to help them, but I wonder about those who battle back, for the most part, by themselves.  And don't we all have to do that to some extent. 

Splenda has always taught an important principle in our home.  'You are responsible for your own happiness'.    I also believe this to be true about or Spirituality or lack thereof.  You are responsible for your own.  No one can do the work, or maintenance but you.  And when you meet your Maker, no one will be there to answer for you - just you.  You are the only one that can make or break your relationship with God.

BUT - we are all in this together.  As a human family, and we have much to learn from one another.  Same religion, same faith or not.  There are things we have to offer each other and things we can improve in ourselves based on someone else's example.

Now, this is really gonna throw ya - Today I watched a link my son put on Facebook.  He has always been a fan of Eminem.  From his very beginning, which is admittedly very raw.  When the boys were young, I would look up the artists and songs they were talking about so I would know what they were listening to.  Slim Shady disgusted me.  I found him abhorrent.  But I kept my eye on him.  Corbin loved him.  At one point, and sometimes still, people tell him that he looks like Marshall Mathers and even his mannerisms are somewhat similar.  I have to agree.

Back to Slim - He was racking out album after album, gaining worldly accolades.  His private life was now public.  A crazy mother.  Abandoned by his father.  Horrible childhood.  I could see where his angry lyrics were coming from.  His movie 8 Mile hit the theaters.  I waited until I could my hands on an edited version (that would so piss him off), but his rhymes...... they started to intrigue me  - he started to intrigue me.  This was an obviously very angry, hate-filled, chip on his shoulder scrawny white kid.  But his talent to manipulate words into rhymes and tell a story was so compelling.  I wanted to understand him better and I found some songs that I really connected with.  Of course always the edited versions but I started a secret following of him.  Outside of my family and some friends, no one knew how much I really dug him.  Certainly not something one would bear testimony of at the pulpit.  Of how one of his songs inspired me to be better.  That just wouldn't fly so well.

So this link today?  His interview on 60 minutes.  His comeback story.  I knew he had disappeared for a couple of years.  His new album Recovery is amazing.  His story is inspiring.  He had a raw deal thrown him in life.  He made the best he could with the talent he had.  He made something of himself in the world that he knew.  Would I hold him to the same standard I believe?  Hell no.  He wasn't raised the same way that I was.  He probably doesn't even know what a Mormon is, let alone what we believe, so why would I expect him to hold to the same rules I do?  Sheesh, that's where I think we make mistakes. We assume everyone should be living just like us. 
So looking at how he was raised.  The life that he came from.  The life that he knows and understands, I can only base my opinion on that.  And I think he has an amazing story of inspiration.  Of how one can hit rock bottom, get help, get their shizz back together and then come out stronger with an intent to help others.  Does he still use some rough language in his raps?  Yes.  BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT HE KNOWS.  I can't hold him to a different standard when that is all he knows.  Just like I couldn't expect him to know my LDS terminology.  Does it make it easier to listen to?  Not if it's offensive to you.

So the beauty is, you don't have to watch this clip if you really don't want to.  It did air on 60 minutes so the language is what is allowed on network tv (basically jr high swearing)
But if you choose to, I hope you find it inspiring, and motivating to see someone who was really ebbing.  Ebbing in a way that few understand.  And by some good graces, got some help, caught a wave and for him, is now flowing. 

(won't let me embed)

So I guess to try and tie this all together.....  We all struggle.  We all have our ebbs and flows in our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  At the end of the day though, there will be no excuses.  We will just have to answer for our own relationship with God.  But even though our own salvation is personal, we can learn from others.  Even others that are not of our chosen faith, not even close to the same kind of world as ours, but we can still learn from them.  Let their experiences enhance our lives and motivate us to better ourselves.  Even if it's just a small step.  As long as are moving forward with a good heart and good intentions and trying our best, feeling comfortable with how our meeting will go with our Maker, I think we are doing okay.

And for the record, I am not in an ebb stage.  We just took the weekend off.  No harm, no foul.  I either missed some great talks that would have inspired me, or I would have come home frustrated from having to keep Chloee quiet and occupied for 2 hours.  I won't know will I?  But I'm good, no ebbing here, just a nice steady flow for now.

PS - Don't let my Bishop know I like Eminem, he might re-think my calling with the youth  : )

And if you actually read this whole thing and are interested in eM's best song off his latest album

The most offensive lyrics have been edited out but again, the beauty is that if you are still uncomfortable with him - you don't have to listen.  And you don't have to read them.......
I'm not afraid (I'm not afraid)
To take a stand (to take a stand)
Everybody (everybody)
Come take my hand (come take my hand)
We'll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just lettin you know that, you're not alone
Holla if you feel like you've been down the same road (same road)

[Intro (during Chorus):]
Yeah, it's been a ride
I guess I had to, go to that place, to get to this one
Now some of you, might still be in that place
If you're trying to get out, just follow me
I'll get you there

You could try and read my lyrics off of this paper before I lay 'em
But you won't take the sting out these words before I say 'em
Cause ain't no way I'ma let you stop me from causin mayhem
When I say I'ma do somethin I do it,
I don't give a damn what you think,
I'm doin this for me, so ____ the world
Feed it beans, it's gassed up, if it thinks it's stoppin me
I'ma be what I set out to be, without a doubt undoubtedly
And all those who look down on me I'm tearin down your balcony
No if ands or buts, don't try to ask him why or how can he
From "Infinite" down to the last "Relapse" album
he's still _____, whether he's on salary paid hourly
Until he bows out or he ______ his bowels out of him
Whichever comes first, for better or worse
He's married to the game, like a_____ you for Christmas
His gift is a curse, forget the Earth, he's got the urge
to pull his ______ from the dirt, and _____ the whole universe


Okay quit playin with the scissors and shit, and cut the crap
I shouldn't have to rhyme these words in the rhythm for you to know it's a rap
You said you was king, you lied through your teeth, for that
_______ your feelings, instead of gettin crowned you're gettin capped
And to the fans, I'll never let you down again, I'm back
I promise to never go back on that promise, in fact
Let's be honest, that last "Relapse" CD was ehhh
Perhaps I ran them accents into the ground
Relax, I ain't goin back to that now
All I'm tryin to say is get back, click-clack, blaow
Cause I ain't playin around
It's a game called circle and I don't know how, I'm way too up to back down
But I think I'm still tryin to figure this crap out
Thought I had it mapped out but I guess I didn't, this _____ black cloud
still follows, me around but it's time to exorcise these demons
These muh'______ are doin jumpin jacks now!


And I just can't keep living this way
So starting today, I'm breaking out of this cage
I'm standing up, I'ma face my demons
I'm manning up, I'ma hold my ground
I've had enough, now I'm so fed up
Time to put my life back together right now! (now)

It was my decision to get clean, I did it for me
Admittedly, I probably did it subliminally
for you, so I could come back a brand new me you helped see me through
And don't even realize what you did, believe me you
I been through the ringer, but they could do little to the middle finger
I think I got a tear in my eye, I feel like the king of
my world, haters can make like bees with no stingers
and drop dead, no more beef flingers
No more drama from now on, I promise
to focus solely on handlin my responsibilities as a father
So I solemnly swear to always treat this roof, like my daughters
and raise it, you couldn't lift a single shingle on it!
Cause the way I feel, I'm strong enough to go to the club
or the corner pub, and lift the whole liquor counter up
Cause I'm raising the bar
I'd shoot for the moon but I'm too busy gazin at stars
I feel amazing and I'm


I am going to choose to be inspired by him and his will to not just survive, but now to offer his hand to help someone else who may be where he was. 


Suz said...

So many different paths. It doesn't matter where you started or which path you take. It matters where you end up. The lambs who don't want to be found are usually the ones who need to be found, and they may think they're making the journey alone, but they aren't.

Pedaling said...

watched the entire 60 minutes clip.
thank you- it was very interesting.
love the not afraid song.
yeah, i have a few rap songs on my ipod, as well.
no eminem though that might change by the end of the day.
glad he cleaned up from the drugs.
drugs destroy.
kinda reminds me of mike tyson--he's a new man. saw him on a show similar, not to long ago and was quite impressed with him, believe it or not.
your son does resemble him.
toddlers-small people, and conference don't really go together....i remember staying home with little ones a few times.
nice post.

Diaper Diva said...

He is inspiring. I am always impressed with those who can rise above. I am raising the children of those who just couldn't. Makes me so grateful my children have escaped the childhood he desribed.
oh, and we have not made a stake conference with all our kids in a long time. No way can they make it for two hours. One is pushing it.

Wife Of A Salesman said...

I like him too...he's pretty much the only rapper I do like. Sometimes I write rap, but its not so angry and I never perform it. Jim loves rap music, he listens to spanish rap, he doesnt speak spanish. I am pretty sure you can keep your temple recomend and still enjoy eminem. I did ten loads of laundry yesterday too, that is pretty much a normal sunday for me. I didnt see the interview but I am going to try to watch your link soon. I agree, HE loves us all, even when we leave Him, that's why He searches for us, when we wander off and keeps blessing us even when we don't ask.

tammy said...

He's probably the only rapper I like. I admire anyone who can overcome their circumstances, no matter what they are. Thanks for the link to his interview.

2 hours is a long time for stake conference. I think everyone is pretty much done at the 1 1/2 hr mark. I know I am. There were many times the boys and I would leave early, if we even made it at all. It's hard going when they're little, especially when you're doing it on your own.

I always like your Sunday posts and wish I could express my thoughts as well as you do.

gigi said...

My oldest has always liked Eminem. I admire the way he has overcome his circumstances in life.

I personally think that sometimes we have to do as the Savior did and withdraw from the crowd. He did it and so should we. Good for you.

Sue said...

We don't have to be perfect just progressing..

I have always related to you and your take on life. You are deep, heartfelt and you feel "all" things in a spiritual way.

I love this post. Who hasn't skipped out of church a few times?

I really do miss when I don't go, but once in awhile it happens.....

We had stake Conference this weekend too.
I didn't make the Saturday night meeting.

My kiddos came over, and I had to make a decision. I chose them.

I have always liked those individuals who are a little ruff around the edges, but inside they have strength and a desire to become better,and find ways to express themselves. Eminem does that.

I have always liked his edited songs.