I'm in one of those moods where I want to write, but I don't know what. So I'm going to start with whatever comes into mind and start going.
I've heard in church a lot the following phrase: "Really, the Gospel is all about: "insert option here"" Everyone is trying to find the basics of the Gospel. It's all about faith, family, Christ, repentance, God, love, etc. It's an interesting topic and I'd be quite curious to hear other thoughts on what the Gospel is all about. Usually people's answers are based on what they are currently thinking about or experiencing. Someone who just got married might say family. Someone who is experiencing trials might say faith or progression.
Maybe its because this is been what I'm thinking about now, but who can blame me? I think the Gospel is based on the relationships between us all. I've been volunteering at the MTC every week, the missionaries came to my house this week, and the lesson in Sunday school was on missionary work, but all I could think of was the importance of our connection with others. Why are we asked to do missionary work, to reconnect people to their Father and brothers and sisters? What is the one of the best ways to do it? Building the relationship with the person. As missionaries, the best way to help people was to become their friends and show them how much you care.
So many theorists that I've studied have talked about this relationship. Levinas in particular strikes me as someone who understands us in this way. He suggests that who we are is dependent upon our relationship towards others. The moment we see another person, Levinas argues, we feel a call to assist in helping that person in whatever way possible. Our whole purpose and meaning for life is built upon our calls towards others. Our being is dependent upon others.
I think it's taken me a long time to appreciate the relationships that I do have in life. Maybe its that I'm becoming more of a sap. I just watched a commercial for Folgers where a brother/son comes home from doing...something...in Africa. He gives a present to his sister who took off the bow and placed it on her brother and said "You are my present this year." Watching it made me realize how much I've missed my brother, who is on a mission. William was my rock and really means more than the world to me. For some reason, when I left on my mission, it wasn't a big deal. I didn't think too much about the family, and maybe it was because I was embarking upon a new, exciting adventure. However, being the one home, I miss him. I used to call him almost every day about my life and what I was going through. I don't know if there was really anyone that I was closer to.
But, since he's left I've realized how important family is. I've been able to spend more time with my sister and her family who moved up to Salt Lake. I've been able to talk more easily to the other brothers and sisters when I'm back home in Vegas and I enjoy the time I have at home. It is good even to just be around them.
However, I think friends can be just as important as the family. My friends that I've either known for years or just met recently mean the world to me. They've really stepped in when I've been away from the family and unable to receive the support that I used to have. My roommates make sure that I stay in line as well as some other close friends. How could the Gospel be based on other things when to me, these relationships are what keep me afloat in this world. My rapport with God, Christ, family, friends, and everyone around me are what is most important.
I've also found that I get attached to others quite easily. I'm almost a complete open book if you ask the right questions. But, even to those I barely know, I tend to feel a duty to be part of their lives and help them in any way I can. Take my job, for example. Every job that I've had, the people become every part of what I live for. As a TA, I think about my students all the time! It may seem a little weird, but I really do care and want to do everything I can to make sure they succeed. I don't think they understood that it was quite painful to assign bad grades because I really did want them to do their best and I understood how hard they were working to get there. When I was a Freshman Mentor, it really was a full-time job of looking out for my students. I thought about them constantly and was trying to make sure they were alright. I'm still good friends with some of them and I hope all of them know that they can come to me for anything.
Anyways, putting it altogether. I just think that it is all about relationships. I mean, what is everyone pressuring me to do? Get married: start new a relationship, get married and create more little relationships. That's what seems to be the purpose. It seems to me that the more we connect with other people the more we connect with God. Relationships shape the core of everyone's life. Anyways, I'd love to hear other people's thoughts, but this is what I've been pondering of late.