Thursday, July 12, 2012

Spiritual Makeover

My sister had another marvelous thought worth blogging about.  We were eating lunch a couple weeks ago when this came up, and I can't remember exactly what started the conversation.  We both have been very proud of the fact that as girls in this world, we have managed to have quite decent self-esteem.  Don't get me wrong, we still definitely have moments of despair some days when we look in the mirror, or have things we wish were different, but for the most part we have been able to stay away from many of the dangerous lies that are whispered to girls in our society.  However, having said that, my sister made the comment that regardless of her good self-esteem, there are still times when she fixates on a certain characteristic, and becomes frustrated that she can't change something.  The example she gave me was that there was a time in her life when she was obsessed with her eyelids.  She said she felt her eyelids were too hooded and it bugged her.  She spent a lot of time thinking about it, trying different things to she if she could make the hooded eyelids less noticeable, etc.  Eventually I guess she just realized it was a ridiculous fixation and got over it.
In our conversation a couple weeks ago, she made the comment that despite all of the time and effort we spend into our physical appearance, in the end it is completely pointless.  Because in the end, as in after this life, we will all be resurrected.  In the Book of Mormon, in Alma chapter 40 verse 23, we read:  "The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame."  When we are resurrected, we will have perfect bodies, every single one of us, no matter if we have been good or if we have been evil (see Eternal Life--Definition).  So why do we need to worry so much about what we look like?  What we really should be focusing on is our spiritual appearance. 
Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we have the possibility to become clean of our sins and live with God again.  To inherit this aspect of Eternal Life, however, it is absolutely necessary that we become clean.   "And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end."  (3 Nephi 27:19)  So instead of spending all of our time trying to change our outward appearance, we should be focusing more on what really matters in the end.  We should fixate on those characteristics that take us farther away from God and do all that we can to eliminate them.  We should focus on developing a thorough spiritual beauty regimen, making habits like daily prayer and scripture study that will prevent unwanted characteristics.  We should focus our efforts into developing Christ-like attributes.

 Alma chapter 5, verses 14-16, 19, read:
 14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
 15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?
 16 I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?
 19 I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?

Let us ever be diligent in making our spiritual selves more beautiful, repenting daily and accessing the most wonderful gift of the Atonement of Christ.  No matter what we do in this life, we will have a perfect body when all is said and done.  Let us strive to have a perfect spirit as well!

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Diva Inside

Lately me and my sister have become addicted to a show called "Drop Dead Diva", about a ditzy model who dies and somehow comes back to earth in the body of an uber successful lawyer who died at the same time she did.  The character struggles to adapt her old life with her new life, as she is not allowed to tell anyone who she really is and must pretend to be "Jane" while still being her old self "Deb".  As I was watching the show this last week, I realized that I often feel the same way about myself, only with me it's the pre-brain damage Carly vs. the post-brain damage Carly.  Although now that I think about it, it might be more than just brain damage, I'm sure the move across the country and back also played heavily into my warped personality. 
Every so often I get these random waves of nostalgia as I think of the old me and wish I had some of those characteristics still.  Sometimes I wish I still knew the entire starting lineup of the Boston Red Sox off the top of my head and that I watched ESPN every night.  Sometimes I wish that I was still the translator for the USA websites of a couple Italian rock bands.  Sometimes I wish I had the energy to go to various activities, including operas, hikes, movies and social events.  Sometimes I wish I still could write amazing stories.  Sometimes I wish that I still had the brash confidence to fulfill my dreams on the spur of the moment, no matter how crazy they were.  Sometimes I wish that my brain didn't hurt as I try to commit things to memory or that it didn't take 110% of my effort to stay focused. 
Having said that, however, there are changes to my personality that I do like, and that I am grateful for.  I'm a lot more patient now.  While I suddenly struggle a lot more in social situations, I have a lot more compassion and ability to relate and care for the patients at work that I see.  I rely more on the Lord than on my own "strength". 
Hopefully as time goes on, I'll be able to re-incorporate old habits I miss into the new me, and become even better than either the old me or the present me.  I discovered ESPN3, which will help me in my sports viewing.  I randomly bought a violin to teach myself how to play, just for fun.  And hopefully I'll be better and watching RAI and staying involved in my Italian.  I also have tickets to a baseball game and an opera, so I feel like progress is being made.