I'm going to be a father.

Last Tuesday, we went and saw Mrs. Sixline's doctor. After a few forms and a little bit of waiting in the brand new Mother's wing of the local hospital, we were admitted back. Before we knew it, some gel had been sprayed on Mrs. Sixline's tummy and a black and white real-time image of my child was on the screen. I'm the proud parent of a lima bean. Of course, in the past week I'm sure it's a little bigger now. But at 9 weeks, the baby's rapid heartbeat was audible and the outline was visible. Its little nubby arms and legs were flailing about. Of course, I use the words 'arms' and 'legs,' but they were really just small appendages without joints or digits.

Now, I suspect you're wondering about how I felt in all this. And I don't really know how. Just typing this up feels so mechanical. Any description of feeling feels contrived and shallow. I've started and stopped this post more than a few times. I even tried removing the expressions I'm prone to use in an effort to sound more genuine. To checklist the emotions, yes, I am excited. Yes, I am looking forward to being a father. I suppose it doesn't feel real-- though it did feel real enough after the ultrasound.

But part of me hasn't let go of the bitterness that comes with infertility. Several of my very good friends are still waiting to be expecting, and with one case, the odds are very much stacked against them. I don't want to feel excited. I don't want to bounce off the walls. I just want to be content and I am quietly eager to be a father.

And there's also this nagging feeling that people don't appreciate it when you glory in your successes, but I'm not writing this to seek permission to be happy, so don't say "Well gosh, of course you're allowed to be happy." That will earn you a punch in the nose.

February 22, or thereabouts, and barring any unforeseen difficulties, we should be welcoming a child into the world.


skepticism and belief

Some things I'm very skeptical of. Others I buy in hook line and sinker.

Example of gullibility:

~phone rings - it's Mrs. Sixline~
Me: Hey hon, what's up?
Her: You will not believe this! They're all sold out of Batman tickets!
Me: What?!
Her: Yeah! They're sold out until Monday!
Her: HEHEHEHEHE! I got youuuuu!

Example of skepticism:

I don't really have a concrete example. I know I don't buy into religious or political stuff very easy. When people make a claim, I always want a source-- not so much to piece together the facts for verification, but mainly to figure out motivation. I think everyone's just out to get me on their side when it comes to politics. When it comes to religious matters, I tend to be most skeptical of LDS 'faith promoting rumors.' I have a really hard time at Institute-- mainly because I just can't accept something so quickly and so easily. What's really hilarious is that I tend to give negative criticism more of a free pass than faith promoting stories.

I don't think a religious guy can be categorically placed in the 'skeptics' bin. I especially don't feel they're birds of my feather; when I thumb through the atheist section at Border's I can never even come to agree with the thrust of their argument let alone sit through the details supporting it. The main thing, though, is that I refuse to accept a cosmic existence where good and evil go unrewarded and unpunished. I refuse to believe the final mark on the Jew's life in Auschwitz was a corrupt scheme of evil men systematically murdering others on the sole basis of religious persuasion. I refuse to believe that there will be no justice served to those who perpetrate the most horrible of crimes. And, the empty imminence of an aheistic view-- the stark void of Divine help and Providence -- is just too unfair. Is there no help for the widow's son? Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no end to suffering? An end of existence certainly meets the criteria, but what good is it when one cannot enjoy the peace that comes from a fruitful existence? I just don't buy it.

But, I don't want to be fooled, either. No... I don't want to be fooled. I don't want heroes, I don't want stories, I don't want a faith promoting history. I want the truth. People are people and they're going to shock and surprise you. They're not going to live clear cut good or bad lives. They're going to look out for themselves; they're not perfect.

So why is it that the Church mainly shows the good parts of our stories in lessons, manuals, and Church sponsored events? Because it's their job to help you with your faith, repentance, baptismal covenants, and endeavours in seeking the Holy Ghost, that's why. It's not their job to make sure you know what Brigham Young said about black folks, or how many women Joseph Smith was married to. It's their job to make sure you have faith and exercise it unto repentance. "How come you never told me?" some say. I say "How come you never asked?" The answers don't matter until the questions are asked.



Gitmo, Guantanamo, whatever you want to call it.

It's wrong. We're holding people without due process of the law. We're holding people on some really shaky and highly circumstantial evidence. Torture is wrong. It's ineffective. It needs to stop.


hold to the rod

I ride in a van to work. It's easy on the wallet, as we share the gas. It's also easy on me, because the commute to work is about 45 minutes one way. I can nap, read, or talk. I've already been through 3 books in the past 5 months.

And this is where the post gets difficult. How to say it, and how to say it and have the meaning carry over. There are times when I desperately want someone to see something exactly how I do, so that I can comfort myself in being understood. It's tough not being a good writer. It's also tough being a heart-on-your-sleeve kinda guy... Makes me feel like a wuss.

Yesterday I had a long conversation with a French/Swiss guy who happens to be in my van. He's a nice guy, and we've talked before. Yesterday I got the full story on why he is no longer a believing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's hard enough hearing someone tell me why Joseph Smith's polyandry, blacks and the Priesthood, and other common concerns have driven them from partaking in the blessings of the Gospel, but two things particularly stung yesterday.

First, I hate it when French folks turn away from the Gospel. It hurts a million times more than any regular other Joe. It hurts, and it hurts bad.

Secondly, I'm starting to see myself in a lot of these exit stories. People become disaffected and quit because they can't find the answers they're looking for. They complain that the Church doesn't tell people about the more obscure details of the history of the Church or of the lives of early Church leaders. One side of me says "Well, why should they? Do you or don't you have faith that Joseph Smith saw God?" We have a tendency to dismiss the things we do know because of details that suggest that it's all a falsehood. I can't blame people for feeling the immense and deep frustration they feel. And sometimes... though I'm afraid to admit it... It feels as though I'm bound for the same fate. That is not a friendly feeling.

And so I hold to the rod, trodding slowly onward until that day when I get to the tree of life. Where else am I going to go? To atheism? Hardly. There are too many things have convinced me of God's existence. To Islam, Judaisim, Hinduism, or another non-Christian religion? No... not possible. Too many things have convinced me humanity needs a Savior. To Catholicism, Protestantism, or Evangelicalism? I would still have concerns and worries with them, though a different set. So where shall I go? The answer is: nowhere. I will stay where I am, confident that all will make sense at some point in time.