there never was ascension
without climbing the mountain
what is your priority?
comfort? or exaltation?
there never was ascension
there never was ascension
without climbing the mountain
what is your priority?
comfort? or exaltation?
I think people think they want the truth. But when it doesn’t sit well in their stomach, or it leaves a bitter taste in their mouth, they can’t possibly reconcile the contradiction or justify it when it doesn’t process through their filters.
I’ve always maintained that believing something new, antithetical to our current position, is quite possibly the hardest thing one can achieve. We love our positions. We love finding justifications for the beliefs we already have. We don’t want the hassle of a new belief.
We’d also rather hire a gardner to tell us how it is than to get our own hands dirty. Gardeners come in the form of many things… Spiritual leaders, news broadcasters, political figures… these replace the hard knocks of experience, grunt work, discernment, praying, reading, and divine communication.
It is also with people… our perceptions or judgments of them. We either hold them on a pedestal they can’t even reach, or we dismember their every moral fiber; both for the sake of convenience in chalking up the whole of them based on a perceived portion of them.
We don’t want to actually get inside someone’s head. It’s simply too much work.
Have you ever woken up to find that your life has changed overnight?
And you wonder, how did this happen? How did I get here?
Your choices were meant to take you somewhere else, but somehow it didn’t work out that way?
You realize you’re all alone, when you meant to have increase.
You realize you’ve opened the door wide open to many foolish paths, when you meant to follow God’s path. And you are blind-sighted.
You realize your heartache can only get you in trouble – when you look at the paths before you and don’t see the future you thought was yours.
You sit in despair.
Like everything you thought you knew has been ripped out from under you.
Like your very heart is about to explode inside your chest from beating and searching so hard, but it has nowhere to go.
You have nowhere to go – and yet you can go anywhere, because you are tied down to nothing.
And that is the very saddest part of it all.
You belong to nothing – to no one. Anymore.
You have no one to call home anymore. No hands to hold your heart.
You have no place to hang your hat, your clothes, your trinkets, your collection of 37-years of life.
A gypsy, suddenly.
Your wandering heart can finally wander, but you don’t want it to.
You don’t want to face the paths that it may take on this blank canvas.
The first strokes to set the precedence, the mood, to set the next chapters of your life.
An unpaved road, an unexpected fork.
You could lay down strokes of angry black, portraying a fearful, rogue wanderer.
You could lay down strokes of fierce red, portraying a mask of distracting bold adventure.
You could lay down strokes of happy yellow, portraying a faux optimism.
You could lay down strokes of honest blue, serenely portraying your melancholy heart, surrendering sorrowfully to the reality before you, painting each stroke without pretense, but with all the passion and authenticity you can billow out of your bone weary soul.
Yes, I will paint blue. It is the hardest. It is the softest.
I’ve headed into a “Woman Cave” for a week long honeymoon with myself and my favorite things: paper and paints, a journal and pens, profound and thought-provoking books, and passionate music; and I’m hanging a big old ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign to life so that I may enter into the bittersweet nest of introspection without unwanted interruption.
After two months of ranching (which I really regret not blogging about), witnessing more life and death than I have in my whole life, unwinding and unraveling in the beauty of alfalfa fields, mountains at sunrise and sunset, old cotton trees, running on horseback through unpaved trails, herding thousands of head of sheep to greener pastures, being away from ‘busy’ and immersed in nature and cycles of life, and feeling the most content I have ever felt in my entire life (though my skin is weathered and aged from the elements), I find myself with a new challenge. There is no rest for a wandering soul.
Life has a way of throwing curve balls we never in our wildest dreams expect, for better or for worse. So here I am in a little town far from home, in a tiny room, with natural hot springs within walking distance. I’ll be pouring in knowledge and wisdom through books and authors, and painting my expressions, pouring out the emotions of my soul. I’ll be soaking in the healing waters of mineral baths under the moonlit nights ahead, pondering the issues at hand, seeking guidance from On High. Pushing. Pulling. Stretching. Growing.
I just recently read this, and nothing rings truer right now:
God doesn’t give you the people you want,
he gives you the people you need.
to help you,
to hurt you,
to leave you,
to love you,
and to make you
the person you were
meant to be.
We have plans for our lives, and God has other plans. We can hold tight to what we hold dear, or we can surrender our will to His. When we tell Him we will do anything for Him, we musn’t say it casually, because He will test us, and He may not provide a ram in the thicket to bail us out. And sometimes He asks us to do things that seem contrary to His Word, which can leave us confused. But then we remember that asking Abraham to kill his son Isaac, wasn’t exactly orthodox, and full of contradiction, and so we can find some comfort and assurance that not everything has a textbook answer; that it is by His spirit He reveals truth unto man (John 15:26).
I’ve tried to get inside the mind of Abraham. He was willing to face persecution. He was willing to be misunderstood. He was willing to be falsely accused. He was willing to risk and give up family, and friends, like Jesus says he expects of us if we are truly willing to follow Him. (Matthew 19:29: – “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”)
Though I’ve not talked about it much, if at all, in this space, I am of Mormon persuasion, and our modern Scriptures declare that we must be “chastened and tried, even as Abraham” (D&C 101:4). The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “You will have all kinds of trials to pass through. And it is quite as necessary for you to be tried as it was for Abraham and other men of God… God will feel after you and he will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings.”
“We will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; and we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abraham 3:24–25).
“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19; emphasis added).
The Lord affirmed that He would “give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith. And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal. Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy. For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me” (D&C 98:12–15).
Abraham was tried in consequence of his righteousness. But Abraham was not some anomaly in the Scriptures. The Lord must try all his people “in all things, that they might be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom” (D&C 136:31).
Do we love our Lord above all?
Are we okay with rewards not of this world?
Weighty matters to ponder, indeed.
I find the mysteries in life so fascinating…
Lazarus, the dog I’d been nursing back to health after being on death’s door died yesterday, within days of my miscarriage and Mother’s Day four years ago. He was going to be my dog when he got better. I imagined him healthy, and strong. I imagined his love and loyalty to me after being the only one on the ranch who gave a damn to help him. No one even knew his name; he was a forgotten dog that came with the sheep herd. By the time his condition was brought to my attention, he hadn’t eaten or drank anything in three days. They believe he’d eaten something poisonous, meat from a dead animal gone bad, maybe.
I felt that I could save him, though he was already lying down on the bed of a truck with several dead lambs, as if his fate was sealed and he was going with them, to the dump that is their final resting place. My first instinct was to give him activated charcoal, to help move the poison out, so I called my herb friend who suggested that I mix that with crushed garlic and administer via an enema. So I did. And he was better right away, drinking water within 30 minutes, and eating a few bites of food that day. We also gave him essential oils to relax him, on his nose and on the pads of his paws, which are highly absorbable. After laying there barely breathing before, he was now digging a hole in the dirt to cool off in. He was gaining energy.
The next morning I gave him another charcoal and garlic enema, administered more oils, and also gave him minerals and probiotics to start giving him the nutrients he needed and build back up his gut flora. He was doing better. Every time I would administer something to him throughout the day, he would get up on all fours and drink from the water I had placed right next to him. He still would eat little, to nothing though. I tried raw milk, raw eggs, soft dog food, and crunchy dog food. So I made sure to give him the minerals through an oral syringe, which he hated, so I had to use a little force.
On the third day, when I would give him the minerals, instead of swallowing, most of the time he would just let it dribble out of his mouth. He was taking a turn for the worse. It made me think he was giving up and wanted to die. I would also pour liquid minerals directly onto his paws, so they could soak into him that way.
By the fourth day, he was breathing very heavy and fast, like he was grasping for air. In asking around for help, I learned there was a veterinarian on the ranch (supposedly one of the best Vets in Mexico). I had Marguerito (one of the ranch helpers) get in touch with him, and he said he would come see the dog. It took him several hours to show up. He said the dog had a bad infection in his lungs, which was why he was having trouble breathing (and eating, and only drinking a little here and there). He said that penicillin could save him, and he had some, but no needle to inject him with it. So I put a call into my herb friend to bring a needle to the ranch. In the meantime, the Vet suggested we mix up some sugar/salt water for him in the oral syringe. Our communication was very limited – he could only speak very little English, and I only very little Spanish. Marguerito translated for us when he was around.
Knowing that he was a Vet, I asked him to administer the oral syringe while we waited for the needle to show up – that when I did it, Laz would often let it dribble back out of his mouth. I figured the Vet would have had done this hundreds of times and knew an efficient (and safe) technique to help the dog keep it down. He had Marguerito hold Laz’s head back while he administered the syringe. I was unnerved by the way they were jostling him around when he had very little strength. Marguerito forced Lazarus’s head back for too long that he suffocated him. Laz died with Marguerito’s arms around his neck, went limp and fell to the ground.
Words cannot describe my heartbreak in that moment. After all the gentle love and care I was giving him, these men didn’t take into account Laz’s fragility and sickly state. I couldn’t help myself from falling apart in front of them, just bawling, and walking away. I watched from a distance as they tried to revive him, to manipulate his limp body to let the fluid drain back out, but it was too late. Those poor men couldn’t even look at me. They just killed the dog I had been delicately and tediously caring for in the several days before, by their carelessness and inconsideration.
My friend called while at the store looking for clarification on the needle.
“Don’t bother,” I said. “He’s gone.”
She came right over and we hugged and cried.
I was weeping off and on throughout the day. Mark took me to go sit in a hot tub, to try to get away and relax a little bit. He held me in the water as I cried and expressed how badly I wanted to save Lazarus. He replied, “maybe you did.” <3
The day before Lazarus died, I told him that he should go if he didn’t want to fight, but that I really wanted him to make it and that I would keep being there for him because I loved him. I also told him that we would see each other again in heaven, and that I would claim him – he could be mine, since no one else was there for him in his dying days. I am a believer that animals do go to heaven – you can’t look an animal in the eyes and tell me they don’t have a soul. Lazarus is surely there now.
Of course I named him Lazarus with the full hope and expectation that he would surely make it after those first signs of coming back to life after that first enema.
As always, I am looking for learning opportunities, and experiencing fully whatever is going on around me.
Marguerito, who has always been very kind to me since we met a month ago, called me last night.
“How are you, Mija?”
“I’m okay, Marguerito.”
“You think I kill your dog?”
Yes. “No, Marguerito, I think you were trying to help.”
“I sorry, Mija. I see how you cry. You have beautiful soul, you beautiful person inside and outside. You come to the church with me tomorrow?”
See, how sweet he is? I cannot be mad at Marguerito. He was only trying to help. Maybe Marguerito needed to see a softer side of humanity in me. It is more than likely Laz wouldn’t have made it, and for all I know, they helped him out of his suffering, and I might have only prolonged it. And truly, my anger can only be directed at myself, for not trusting myself to take care of him.
As for the Vet – it turns out that the Mexican government took him out of prison and sent him to work here (I guess that is not too uncommon – it is a way to make room in their prisons and a way for Americans to hire very cheap labor). The story I’m told is that he killed someone in self defense. Now it’s easy to start making judgments – whether he did it in self defense or not, is not for me to decide. But my experience of him was a kind man, who wanted to help me and Lazarus, and took the time to do it. Maybe he has some things to face regarding death. Who knows what the death of this dog in his hands has brought back up for him?
As for me, it is Mother’s Day, four years ago I miscarried, and today I will bury the doggie I so desperately wanted to save and have in my life.
What are all the connections, coincidences, and reasons the Mexican Vet, the Mexican helper, Marguerito, and Lazarus and I were thrown together in this random situation at this ranch all far from our homes? I can’t say for sure, but beyond the sadness it fascinates me, like all circumstances like it, believing in no accidents and no wasted experiences.
Our lives are chalk full of happy and tragic accidents, and strange coincidences. When I get to heaven, I want to walk back through my life and see them plainly – how they all assisted me in my progress and growth as a human being. I want to see that everything mattered, and everything counted for my experience.
Lazarus, forever in my heart!