This is a scripture that I think of as the He Man passage:
... men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; for the power is in them.... (D&C 58:27-28)
If you read yourself into it, it says, "… for the power is in me…."
Or, I have the power!
I was recently speaking to a friend who not long ago went through some pretty difficult things in her personal life. I asked her how she is doing and how she is feeling now. She explained that she is doing a lot better, that a really big part of that has to do with a decision that she made to take more personal ownership of her situation. I don't know if that is the same as accepting the hand you have been dealt, but I think that life is like the lottery – if you want to win, you have to play; you can't just wait for it. In other words, 'men should be anxiously engaged' in thier own cause. To get anything out of a relationship, you have to put things into it. Investing in anything often has the effect of making the investor much more interested in seeing that thing succeed. The way she explained it was that simply by deciding to feel better, to make the most of the situation she is in, and then to act on that decision, she has felt much happier. Her investment has been an attitude shift; she decided that 'she has the power.'
Talking to her, hearing her new take on things, gave me a lot of encouragement (and it inspired me to write this post - thanks friend!). It is very easy to relinquish power in our own lives and to become, seemingly through no act of our own, trapped by our circumstances. Very often, however, it is actually that "no act of our own" attitude that is actually the thing that builds the trap that we find ourselves in.
When I lived in North Carolina, I went to Church with a girl who was in charge of a fellowship group of young people. She had a saying, I am sure that it was borrowed from some other speaker but that is not important, that you have to blossom where you are planted. With that idea in mind let me tell you about an experience that I had in Costa Rica, sitting on a bus. My love of springtime and flowers is something that only increases my love of Latin America – there is always something in bloom in those wet, tropical countries. But one of the things that most stood out to me when I was first in San José, Costa Rica was the amount of trash in the city. It seems to be a problem common to all of the countries of Latin America where I have traveled but it was a little shocking to see in Costa Rica because of the clean, green image and the reputation of being environmentally friendly that we see in travel ads promoting Costa Rican tourism. On that bus, I went past an empty lot totally surrounded by other occupied buildings. People had sort of converted that lot into an impromptu dump. Really, it would be disgusting to live or work next to all that decomposing trash, but against a wall in the midst of all that trash, there was a large, lush plant covered in beautiful pink flowers - just like it was in the middle of a city park or something. Understandably, people are not plants and I would never suggest that a person should 'bloom' in that sort of trash, but if we view the problems that fill our lives, or the situations that we don't like being in as a different sort of trash, then I think that the metaphor works and we can still find things of beauty, or create things of beauty in our own dumps as well.
Remember, seeds grow better in broken earth than in comfortably tread or cozily lived in places. Sometimes all that a buried seed needs to grow is for somebody to run a tiller over the ground where it has been forgotten. Think about that the next time that life feels it is running a tiller on you. Or if it feels like you keep getting shit on, you could start using it as fertilizer.