29 October 2009

Contemplations driven by "The Mermaid Chair"

After reading "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd and loving it, I thought I would give another novel of Kidd's a try. Now, I will NOT recommend this book because, honestly, it's a little bit scandalous. However, I think the issues Kidd addresses in this story are important. Basically, Jessie (the main character) goes to tend to her mother who lives on an island off the coast of South Carolina and ends up falling in love with Brother Thomas aka Whit (a monk). Now, okay, that's a little strange but the main problem is that Jessie is married. Surprised? I wasn't. Of course she's married! Nobody writes a novel of secret forbidden love if one person of the pair is unmarried. Not like Whit's being a monk wasn't interesting enough.
Anyways, after reading this novel, I have come to the conclusion that people like Jessie are selfish. Jessie was looking to "find herself" and, I suppose, found her missing self while sneaking about with a monk. While I was contemplating the ridiculousness of such a notion (finding one's self) I was reminded of a scripture from the New Testament. "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 16:25) Moral of the story: if you find yourself feeling unhappy with your situation, self, spouse, co-workers, classes, ward, professors, roommates, family...SERVE SOMEBODY! If you happen to be feeling adverse to a particular someone, then serve them. Another scripture from Matthew proves the point: "But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44).
I was having a discussion last night with Brother Welch, the 2nd counselor in my BYU ward's bishopric, on gratitude. He told me of a study that was performed on two groups of men over the course of twenty years. The first group was instructed to write down, everyday, three things they wished to improve upon. The second group was directed to write down three things they were grateful for everyday. At the end of the study, it was noted that of the first group, 40% of the men sought outside counseling. However, of the second group, not one person sought additional help. As the Holiday season and New Year approach, I am going to put this challenge to the test: to write down three things I am grateful for everyday in the hopes that it will open my eyes to the wonderful blessings I have been given and help me be more willing to serve others.

No comments: