Sometimes, BYU and Utah in general bug me. A lot. Yesterday, for example, during Sunday School, our lesson was on the gifts of the Spirit. One of the questions the teachers asked was, "How do you know if the thought or feeling you are having is coming from the Spirit and not from yourself?" They called on this one guy. A guy whose appearance, and I mean this in the nicest possible way, screamed "holier-than-thou Utah Mormon." You know the type. Anyway, his response was, "If you even have to question whether your thought is the Spirit or yours, you should be less worrying about whether it's the Spirit or not and more what you need to repent of. Clearly, if you aren't sure it's because the Spirit isn't with you as much as it should be." As I, and the teachers for that matter, were gaping in stunned horror, another guy added, "I completely agree. If you're being truly righteous, every thought you have will come from the Spirit."
Few things annoy me more than this sort of thing, and I was quite literally biting my tongue hard enough to draw blood to keep myself from making a snide remark starting with "Well for those of us who aren't perfect, and that does mean everyone here..."
People in Utah annoy me sometimes. This was further enforced this afternoon, when as I was purchasing a water bottle from a vending machine, some guy I didn't even know came up to me and said, "So did you hear about the legalization of gay marriage in New York?" I replied that indeed I had, and a lively but respectful conversation/debate ensued. Respectful, that is, until the guy said, "My biggest problem is that gay people claim it's just who they are. That they were born that way. They're such liars. Clearly, it's a choice, not a natural inclination. God doesn't make mistakes." Once again, I found myself gaping in stunned horror. When I managed to recollect my thoughts and say that being attracted to one's same gender is not a choice, he looked at me as though I were the spawn of Satan and said, "You're wrong. It's a choice and a sin to even have those inclinations, and if you disagree you should probably do some soul-searching or you'll wind up in hell like them."
Well. Needless to say, at this point I had gotten past my shock and was just furious. After reiterating that same-gender attraction is no more a choice than opposite-gender attraction, that to have homosexual inclinations was not a sin, and that the sin that certain people should be worried about was pride and ignorant narrow-mindedness, I turned around and left. As I was walking away, he called after me, "What do you know? You're just a filthy Democrat."
I laughed. Yup. That's me. Filthy Democrat and proud of it.
I can respect most political views so long as mine are respected in return. I understand that the majority of the church's political views are conservative, as are many of my friends' and family's. At the same time, there are few things I enjoy more than a decent political debate with a respectful and well-informed person with different views than mine. In Utah, however, I've learned to usually just keep my mouth shut when it comes to politics, because many Utah Republicans are neither respectful nor well-informed. A girl in one of my classes fall semester comes to mind, who knew nothing about any issues and whose only point was, "If you're liberal, God doesn't love you and you're probably going to hell."
As much as I enjoy BYU, sometimes it's hard to remember that I do not, in fact, hate it here. Some days, I want nothing more than to pack up my things, leave Provo, and never look back. Fortunately, Heavenly Father is always there to provide a constant stream of comfort and blessings that remind me that no matter where I am and what is frustrating me, I can get through it.
Lately, I've been sort of tight on money. And by that, I mean I don't actually have any. I had what was in my pantry and my fridge to last me through my next paycheck this Friday. Then yesterday morning, as I was looking for my phone charger, I came across an Easter card my grandma had sent me--with an unused $10 bill tucked inside. Just enough to buy groceries this morning. A miracle? I think so.
This evening, I went back to the grocery store for some batteries. All I had was the $3.50 remaining from my grocery trip this morning. Batteries were $3.90. The guy working there sold them to me for $3.50 anyway. A miracle? I think so.
Yesterday evening, I walked to the temple after dinner to watch the sunset and just think for a little bit. It was beautiful. But then it got dark and I realized that I had to walk home alone and that the only way I knew how to get back was a really roundabout way that involved walking back along the way toward Helaman Halls and then going to my apartment from there. Usually I'm okay with walking alone in the dark, but for some reason last night I was terrified. I'd made it almost to the Marriott Center when I had to stop and say a prayer that I'd make it home safely, and that I would stop being so scared. Within two minutes, I heard voices singing. As I tried to place them, I realized that it was the people at tunnel singing. I promptly started to cry as my fear was replaced by the warm feeling of the Spirit. A miracle? I think so.
As I continued walking, I was able to make out what hymn they were singing: "Count Your Blessings."
I can take a hint.
Despite the occasional annoyances living in Utah provides, I am so grateful both for the opportunity to study here and for a Heavenly Father that puts up with me and my ridiculous frustrations and continues to bless me anyway. I really don't know where I would be without the daily acts of mercy he provides. There is no way I would be able to provide for myself or even be able to make it through each day. I am so thankful, and I can never repay the debt for everything I am given.
But I still don't want to live in Utah after graduation.