The first thing to announce, I suppose, even though Mormon readers will find it old news and non-Mormons may not find it particularly interesting, is that Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles died yesterday. It took me by surprise. It was only the day before that the Church announced his cancer was terminal, so I thought he had a few more months at least. He also acted more like a 72 year old than a 92 year old, and who knows how long he could have lived if he hadn't gotten cancer. But I think everyone would get cancer sooner or later if they lived long enough.
Unless my memory is very poor, which it is sometimes, the last time an Apostle died was nearly seven years ago. That was the same year the prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, died at the age of 97. That took weeks to sink in. Every time I thought about it I had to re-process it as if I was hearing the news for the first time. I've been fortunate in that no one particularly close to me in "real life" has ever died, but I know that won't last and I'm not looking forward to it. But anyway, I'm happy for Elder Perry having moved on to the next stage of the plan of salvation, and interested to see who will fill the vacancy he left.
I realized recently that after God has made the same promise four or five times, I should start believing it. How terrible is it that while my faith in God's existence is unshakable, my faith in His omniscience and total goodness wavers with some frequency. Sometimes I treat Him like just any other person who means well and tries to give good advice but doesn't know me like I know myself. Sometimes I feel like He enjoys watching me fail. In the case of this promise, that was definitely starting to seem like the most plausible explanation. But I've decided to start trusting Him more regardless of how hard it is, and see where that gets me. I know, I know, Captain Obvious stuff here. I'm a slow learner, okay?
Every once in a while, purely by accident, I have a modicum of success with a woman. A case in point happened a few days ago. I was walking home from work when a woman got out of her car and headed for her house, coming the opposite direction toward me. I glanced at her and then, because she appeared to be an African (probably Somalian) Muslim, which aren't exactly commonplace around here, I did a double take without even thinking. Our eyes met. She smiled. As we passed each other I thought, "Only one more thing is needed to complete this moment." So I looked back, meeting her eyes again, as she was at her door now and already looking back at me. I was like, "Bazinga!" Just in my head, of course. I can't do stuff like that on purpose. It doesn't work. So I just have to take these happy accidents, few and far between, when I can get them. I just cherish them for what they're worth and feel gratitude that I didn't ruin them by speaking.
If I want to communicate, I do it in writing, like I'm doing right now, though this isn't communicating so much as writing a journal type thing that anyone else is welcome to read if they happen to be that desperately bored. But I did make a new friend on Facebook the other day. There was a time when I had to worry about being kidnapped by strangers on the internet, and now strangers on the internet become closer friends than the people I know in person. This particular one is from Quebec, which is crazy because I grew up just south of there, and now I'm in Utah and she's in Alberta so she's still directly north of me, albeit farther away. I told her about how I love Canada and grew up watching Kids' CBC and the Red Green Show. And she was like, "I've never heard of the Red Green Show." And then apparently she Googled it and showed me the clip she had found, which I am including here because it's as good an excuse as any to share a Red Green Show clip.
Possum Lodge Word Game - "Love"
I thought, "But she's Quebecois, not Belgian."
I retorted, "Doesn't matter. All French people are Tintin fans. Watch." I brought it up and, indeed, she loved Tintin and owned all the comic books and watched the old cartoon series whenever it aired on TV and was sad that there were no new adventures to read (because Hergé has been dead for over thirty years). So yes, she was a Tintin fan. Linguistic profiling for the win! Tintin is, inexplicably, less popular in the United States. If you're unfamiliar with him outside of the recent Steven Spielberg movie, decent though it was, then you owe it to yourself to check out the comic books. They're phenomenal.
I got into a debate with another friend recently about whether humans are animals. I say "debate" even though there really was nothing to debate. An animal is "a living organism that feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli." So, unless you don't eat food, you're an animal. I hope that doesn't bother you but I honestly don't see why it should.
Of course, one could get around this by creating their own circular logic definition that adds "except for humans". Other attempts to drive a wedge between humans and other animals tend to fail sooner or later. Humans are the only animals that use tools? Nope. Humans are the only animals that create art? Nope. Humans are the only animals that plan for the future? Nope. Humans are the only animals with self-awareness? Nope. Humans are the only animals that communicate with language? Not by a long shot. I suppose you could say humans are the only animals that inflict suffering and death on their own kind just for pleasure. That one might never be proven wrong.
Spiritually, of course, humans are different. We are children of God. And even physically we have the distinction of being made in His image. So there is a religious difference which is just as valid even though it's not scientifically quantifiable. But in terms of genetics, physiology, evolution and what have you, humans are far more alike with other animals than they are different. And that's not a bad thing. Last time I checked animals are pretty freaking awesome.
Ah yes, I did get the opportunity to pay forward my friend Cece's generosity (see last week's post) by housecleaning for another friend who has some kind of disease that prevents her from standing up for very long. I had never heard of it before but I believe her because she's had health problems before and she has enough prescription pills and powders and liquids to open a mini-pharmacy. She also has enough clothes and shoes to supply a small African nation. Well, not quite, but almost.
In conclusion, it's way too hot here today and I miss the overcast/rainy days that we've been blessed with for so long. Oh well.