Thursday, October 8, 2009

So my intentions of posting every day seemed to have been thwarted rather effectively. However, I have also had time to think about a couple more -ity words...dependability, tranquility, and something else...ummm...uhhh...sigh...I even wrote it down...somewhere. Oh is what I've learned so far.

During our move from Arizona to Utah, I decided that one of the advantages of moving to an area with a high concentration of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would be the ability to "hide out" for awhile and rest from the many responsibilities that filled my life before. Perhaps if we had moved to more transient area, where members are almost overwhelmed by newbies, that would have been possible. However, we moved into a ward that hadn't seen more than two or three new families in a couple of years. Ward members flocked to our home, laden with smiles, hugs, and yummy treats. Everyone went out of their way to make us feel comfortable...and useful. In a matter of a couple of weeks, I found myself fully participating in Relief Society activities, ward choir, stake choir, a new calling in Family History, and agreeing to substitute teach a Sunday lesson. When a member of the Bishopric called and asked me to speak in Sacrament meeting the same day I had agreed to teach, I accepted the responsibility, and then went to my room and cried. Then I prayed.

Responsibility is an interesting word. I am fascinated by the way the meaning of a word changes when you look at it from a different angle...responsibility as an adjective, rather than a noun. I looked at the word "responsibility" and pondered on my recent degree of response. Yes, on the surface, I responded politely and quickly to the call to serve and speak, but what about on the inside? What quality of "response" did I really make? I agreed to speak, but did I agree happily, or did I agree grudgingly?

I looked up responsibility in the Bible dictionary and found myself directed to "accountability" and "stewardship." Luke 12: 35 -48 stood out in the references. Here is an account of the Savior teaching a parable of a faithful and wise steward. Verse 35 begins by telling us, "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;" Then verse 36 tells us "and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, [this part sounds like active members of the Church] when he will return form the wedding; [Remember the ten virgins?] that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately." I turned to Matthew 25 and reviewed the parable of the ten virgins. Men and women, with lights and lamps, waiting for the Savior's return. They all know what is expected of them. They know what their responsibilties are, but some of the virgins neglect their responsibilities and some of the men "beat the menservants and maidens" and become drunken. What if we compare their lights and lamps to our temple recommends? The responsibilities we carry out to qualify us for a temple recommend are the oil that fill those lamps, and keep our lights burning. We know what is expected of us. Our "response-ability" takes on new meaning here. Are we responsive to the things asked of us or are we becoming complacent and "hiding out?"

Verse 39 gives us a warning: "And if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through." By watching over and caring for our responsibilities, we can defend not only ourselves, but our homes and everyone and everything in it. The Lord promises the good and faithful steward that he will be made "ruler over all that he hath." There is another -ity word that comes into play here: dependability. If we are dependable, we will respond (give response) to the needs of others. The Lord depends on us to fulfill our responsibility to love and serve others, to keep the commandments and endure to the end --when He comes again and holds us accountable for our stewardships.

I no longer desire to "hide out." I'm excited about the learning process I am going through as I study to teach that Sunday lesson and I look forward to the opportunity to express my gratitude and my testimony about the new insights that are given to me as I prepare that Sacrament meeting talk. I will continue to explore more -ity word, too. Come visit me once in awhile and see how I am progressing...just so I can be held to a degree of accountability!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Week One of the -ity Experiment

Week One:
I decided to make a list of all the -ity words I could come up with:
charity, responsibility, integrity, accountability, fidelity, civility, nobility, humility, dignity, generosity, respectability, community, creativity, opportunity, curiosity, productivity, affinity, diversity, humanity, infinity, luminosity, necessity, equality, identity, reality, personality, tenacity, continuity, and insanity (we are so not going there!).

Next, I went to Google and looked up the suffix-ity. Google sent me to where I found the following information.

"Latin: suffix used to form abstract nouns expressing act, state, quality, property, or condition corresponding to an adjective)"

There I found 18 pages of -ity words, many of which I either can't spell or pronounce, or they don't apply to the purpose of this blog. I did find sagacity, (which has possibilities) seniority ( getting there too fast as it is), and a really fun one - pecuniosity. It means: "The state or fact of being supplied with money." Now that is a fun -ity word that I am sure many of us would have no qualms about trying to develop! Serendipity was listed: "an accidental or chance discovery." Pseudoserendipity showed up as well: "A description of accidental discoveries of ways to achieve an end sought for, in contrast to the meaning of (true) serendipity, which describes accidental discoveries of things not sought for."

I had fun learning new -ity words, but I am not interested in developing a talent for sesquipedality ("The practice of using abnormally long words"). My goal is to develop states of being for myself that will bring me closer to who I really am: A daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me. A child of God. A spiritual Being having a mortal experience. I am reminded that no matter how many big words I learn, it always circles back to the basics of the gospel: Faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, obedience and enduring to the end. Developing those virtuous -ity qualities described by Bishop Burton will help me achieve my goal.

So, where do I begin? What -ity do I choose first? I'll narrow it down to the first 10 I listed earlier: responsibility, integrity, accountability, fidelity, civility, nobility, humility, dignity, generosity, charity. I moved charity to the end of the list because the Bible Dictionary describes charity as "The highest, noblest, strongest kind of love, not merely affection; the pure love of Christ. it is never used to denote alms or deed or benevolence, although it may be a prompting motive." 2 Nephi teaches us that if we have not charity, we are I am hoping that as I come to develop the other nine -ity qualities, I will be more prepared to understand the concept of true charity.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

In pursuit of ...what to blog about.

What do you write when you can't think of anything to write? I don't know how many times I have settled down in front of this computer with the intention of writing something wonderfully uplifting, inspiring, and genuinely clever. As soon as the window opens, my mind goes blank. I recently watched the movie Julie and Julia (and except for the sprinkling of obscenities, I really enjoyed it). I found Julie's idea of blogging, as she cooked her way through Julia's cookbook, delightful. However, I am late to be jumping on the blogging train. Every time I think I have a great and new idea...I quickly learn it has already been done. Of course. So, I will use this time and space to record the every day and perhaps mundane activities of my family and my pursuit of those things that mean most to me - mainly trying to be the best wife/mother/daughter/sister/friend/grandmother/niece/aunt/cousin and crazy woman that I can be. Perhaps I will share my thoughts as I pursue my dream of life-long learning and answers to the questions we all face about who we are, why we are here, and where we are going...whether it be in this life or in the life to come. I hear's been done before. but since we are all unique, perhaps someone will read this and find a piece of what they too are seeking.

This weekend has been the 179th General Conference of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Where I live, the weather is cloudy, cold, windy, rainy and rather dismal. but my heart is warmed and I am inspired to be more of who I am, to live more closely to the truth. Presiding Bishop H. David Burton spoke about the -ity virtues. -ity being a quality, state, or degree of being. Integrity, charity, civility, nobility, humility, fidelity, dignity, generosity, responsibility, and accountability are just a few examples. I also love the quote, "Integrity is the light that shows from a disciplined conscience."

So now I have a goal for this blog. I am going to experiment a little bit, so bear with me. Each week, I am going to focus on a different -ity virtue and share my thoughts as I search for examples of people living this virtue and my experiences as I try to implement this virtue in my own life. If you see someone living that -ity virtue, or if you have an experience in your own life, tell me about it! We have the power to change the let's do it!