A Sluff Worth While

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Yesterday I sluffed 5th period. Bad Aly, bad! Nah. Not really. I went with my dad to see Thomas S. Monson, president of the LDS church, speak at a BYU devotional. It may have been the most eye opening experience I've had in a really long time. I went into the Marriott Center with a not so great attitude. To be honest, I don't like going to religious things. I love religion and think it's absolutely beautiful that we can all have different beliefs about this life, prior lies and even later ones. But sometimes I feel like it's misinterpreted, people take it in the wrong ways. So I will admit, I wasn't too happy to be there, but I was out of 5th period psychology so THAT was a bonus.

I sat at the very top of the arena with my dad. I scooted away from him, he scooted toward me and put his arm around me. He told me he loved me. I stayed silent. My mind raced at the speed of light, but at the same time, it was completely emotionless. It was a weird feeling. A feeling I've never had before. I watched college students alike shuffle into the arena. Tall kids, short kids, black kids, white kids, kids in wheelchairs, kids using sign language- THAT was amazing. Every kind of ethnicity and ability you can think of, it felt like I saw at least one of each. It seemed like a million people in that room; just to see one old man talk about religion.

An old guy started playing the organ. I laughed at him a little bit inside. He was brittle, his hair looked like a thin layer of straw on top of his head. The music was pretty, though. People were quiet, but still there was a wave of side conversations being held in whispered tones throughout the 22,700 occupied seats in the arena. I put my head down. Thinking, of course. I'm always thinking. Thinking about these people. They all have smiles on their faces, they all know for themselves who they are and where they're going, they all know the purpose of life. Then the whispered conversations ended, and the sound of denim rubbing together filled the audience. People were slowly standing up. Some people cried. I looked down what seemed to be a million miles down to the stage. President Monson walked up onto the stand. It was quiet, despite the hymns being played by the man with silly hair and bony structure.

President Monson spoke. He was funny, I giggled a couple of times even though I thought I didn't want to be there. That feeling did wear off. Throughout his talk, I really just watched the people in that huge arena.

I watched the cute couple next to me, who looked to be newly weds. They loved each other and believe they will be together forever. That made me smile.

I watched the group of guys, who looked to be macho men.
They weren't too cool to be at a religious event.
That made me smile.

I looked at the group of deaf students at the bottom, signing the hymns sung.
They weren't playing their 'pity me' card.
That made me smile.

I did pay attention to some of President Monson's talk, though. Coincidentally enough, he talked about how young adult should try to find out their beliefs for themselves; that living off of other people's testimonies in their churches wasn't always going to be good enough. They needed to know what they believed in.
I think I know now.

I believe in what makes me happy.

It's that easy. Religion doesn't need to be rules and books and doctrine. Sure, that's nice. But isn't religion supposed to bring happiness? Making people happy brings me happiness. Telling the truth brings me happiness. Being my best self brings me happiness. Respecting EVERYONE brings me happiness.

That's what I believe in.

Being a good person, trying your best to please God in every way possible. Because there IS a God. There's no way this beautiful world could have been made without God's hand, and we see God's hand in all things. So give back... not just by being a cookie cutter, church going, scripture reading, person. But by being a good person with a gentle heart, being open and inviting to other people, serving people who need it AND people who don't. Make people happy, and you'll make yourself happy.

So no, I may not be into completely organized religion. I may not believe in what everyone else does, that's not the point of individuality and religion. It was there all along, but it took me an arena full of college kids, an old man from Salt Lake City, and a brittle man playing an organ to see that. But I can 110% honestly say that I'm happy with the things I believe in now. And that's the point of life, isn't it? Be happy, make others happy with you, and NEVER forget,

God is good.

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