Rolling Stone

Mormon Doctrine

Wry Catcher and Sister Mary Lisa suggested I submit this piece to Main Street. My thanks for their recommendation. And thanks to Hellmut and C.L. for getting me started. This piece originally appeared on my blog–POMP–on April 30, 2007.

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Every once in a while I place a call to my therapist in California. When I do it’s usually for one of two, maybe three, reasons.


1. I’ve spent too much time with my family.
2. I’m at either a breaking point or feeling very dark.
3. I’m too much in my head and I can’t make it stop.

Right now, I’m in mode number three. In my head… I am rolling stones… Uphill…

Sisyphus.

* * * * * * * *

I’ve caught myself watching the light this weekend. The bright, clean tones of spring. The blueness of the sky. The verdance of the leaves, soft and new as they push forth out of their dormant winter buds. The iridescent coating of pollen that encases everything in an other worldy hue and aura. The cleansing rush of rain, followed by gentle breezes and birdsong.

But it’s the light that grabs me and stirs my thoughs.

And I think about the days and hours I sit in an artifically-lit room, while outside the light plays and dances, scorches and burns, feeds and starves, illuminates and enlightens.

I’ve been feeling envious of the light, knowing that tomorrow it will rise and set and I will have once again missed the bulk of its life-giving wonder. While it makes its steady meditation across the sky, I will have once again trudged through the day, answering the phone, filing paperwork, writing letters, submitting invoices, making travel arrangements. At the end of the day, I’ll release my laptop from its docking station, lock it up in the bottom drawer of my desk, go to my car, and drive home. The next morning, I’ll get up and do the same thing all over again.

Sisyphus.

* * * * * * * *

Growing up Mormon, we’re taught that our lives are all part of a grand plan God has for us. They call it The Plan of Salvation and tout it as the answer to three supposedly pivotal questions: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” and “Where am I going?”

The answers are meant to comfort us and provide motivation for moving through the day-to-day of life, enveloped in the security that there is more meaning to life than simply just being here in the present moment. We are taught that we lived and learned before this life, that this life is a continuance of that pre-mortal learning and is a walk of faith, and that the next life will be a continuation of what was not only started millenia before but lived out in the present.

We look back with fondness, struggling to remember what that pre-existence was like and how happy we were there. We grapple with the fact that we are here now, because we reached the end of our ability to progress only as spirits and we come to this earth as an ongoing test of our faith and obedience to God and His laws. We look foward to and hope for a reward after this life that goes beyond simply being saved by Jesus and sees us lifted up into exaltation in the very presense of God Himself.

And when it’s all said and done, we’re taught that we’ll do it all over again. That, if we’re worthy, we’ll be Gods and Goddesses and will create worlds and populate them, much as the biblical mythos of the centuries have taught us that we were created.

Sisyphus.

* * * * * * * *

They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different outcome.

They say that in the East, people live to work while in the West, they work to live. Something in both of those is inherently out of balance, but the latter seems preferable to the former.

I’m not looking for the meaning of life or some magical plan that will save me. But I’m also not content with simply rolling the stone to the top of the hill only to see it roll back to the bottom and having to start all over again.

Sisyphus.

SisyphusCartoon

5 thoughts on “Rolling Stone

  1. Pomp, that was beautiful.
    I’ve been conditioned to not roll the stone so high anymore — that way the stone doesn’t have to far to roll back down the hill, and it rolls with less velocity.

  2. CV Rick: Thanks! Futility is the operative word here. Must get over that… Must get over that… Must get over that…

    Phoebe: Thank you. And I hear you: I’ve got to stop rolling my stones so high. That, or I need to start rolling them on flat surfaces and plateaus, ’cause the uphill thing just isn’t working for me!

    SML: I wonder what would happen if, instead of pushing our own stones, some of us abandoned ours and stepped over and helped others push theirs. I’d like to think that might have a positive, less futile-feeling outcome…

    Hellmut: AMEN! Of course, the irony of this particularly moment of futility in my life is that I’m not looking to be perfect or master/conquer something. I’m just looking for the day-in and day-out to be meaningful.

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