The Last Bell

 
Maybe over a month ago, one of the two microwave ovens in our student lounge at school stopped working.  I thought they would fix it or replace it… but it stayed that way for a few weeks.  Finally, I had to wait for more than a minute to cook my cup-noodles, and I ran right out of patience.  I’d recently become aware of a staff kitchen on the second floor which had its own microwaves, so I snuck up there, cooked my noodles, and snuck my way back out.  I noted that there were… I think three working microwaves up in that empty room.  A suggestion needed to be made…
 
Some days later, I had opportunity to talk to Troy Woodhouse, an administrative assistant and son of the school president.  I asked if these microwaves had been brought over from the old school.  He said they weren’t…  I asked, since they were new, would the broken one be repaired, or replaced?  He seemed to be just the tiniest bit defensive, in his nice way, toward my supposed criticism of the school.  I mentioned that there were three working microwaves up on the second floor that were scarcely used and only one down here for all the students to use, and I wondered if they could be switched until such time as the broken one could be fixed.  He assured me that it would eventually be fixed… but within a minute or two he had thought it over and was saying, "Actually, thats not a bad idea."
 
A couple days later, there were two working microwaves again in the student lounge.  I assumed he had acted on the idea.  It may be that the broken one was finally replaced from elsewhere.  I guess I could go check the faculty kitchen to see if the broken one ended up there…
 
In fact, without adding any new furniture, there’s also room for two additional microwave ovens in the student lounge.  I had told that observation to Troy during that conversation…
 
 
Namkyu told me yesterday that this week, he had been told by that girl that he was calling her too much, and since then he had started to have serious doubts about her.  He expressed that he wanted somebody whom he could really connect with, a real friend, without having to play social games.  I tried to tell him to give it just a little more time so they could get to know each other better…  But, honestly, if she doesn’t normalize soon… you know… I don’t care if it IS Kim Jeong-un, or WHAT beautiful combination of languages she can speak.  No amount of Cantonese and Korean and no apparent degree of spirituality can cure an Asian girl of a diseased heart that will no longer love anyone but its owner.  Kill the relationship quickly, and bury her in your past; and find a girl who may lack the desired outward things, but who knows how to love.
 
What I like about Namkyu is that he’s like me: very selective about girls.  He doesn’t want to waste his life struggling in an unpleasant, troubled relationship, so he only wants a girl who has all the right qualities for happiness, and no fatal social weakness.  He’ll give girls chances, of course, but he cuts them loose very quickly.
 
I’m kind of the same…  I don’t actually begin interaction and effect the relationship as easily as he does; but mentally, I will give most girls a chance to get my interest.  Few of them get it — those few are the ones I write about in my journal.  And of those few, none have progressed very far, except for… the two who later left me.
 
I’m sure there’s a good one somewhere.
 
Well, I feel great to be loosed from the psychological (read "psycho") chains of temperamental girlfriends, and I give my condolences to the ones that are ensnared in my place.  If I ever marry, it will be the best marriage, it will be the truest love; we will have every ingredient for happiness.  And if I can’t get the best marriage… I will accept no substitute.  Like religion: either the truth, or nothing.  A life alone, yet with God, is better and happier than ten wives who would keep you from God.  To echo Paul, an imperfect wife would absorb all of your attention in a futile effort to please her, which instead you could have spent building the kingdom, serving mankind… building yourself.  Seek, then, not to be joined, not to one who is not full of God’s spirit and not interested in the ideal life, and the ideal romance — and you will find but few individuals who are.
 
If you are joined imperfectly… well, too bad for you.  You probably deserve it.  If such blessing comes to you as has often come to me, breaking your imperfect bonds, giving a spirit of dissension to your partner, then be grateful: happily allow them to depart in peace, and rejoice that you’ve been given another chance at making an ideal life.
 
In sum, you who can see clearly are worth more than your lovers who shut their eyes; your happiness is worth more than theirs.  That part of you that pulls you so forcefully toward them is like the hunger of a fat man as he walks past the pastry shop.  Save your hunger for the healthy food; and save your love for the healthy recipient.  And stop loving so easily.
 
Well, then, isn’t this restraint the same thing as that which prevents, for example, Kim Jeong-un from opening her heart to Namkyu?
 
What’s the difference?
 
The difference is, she (it seems) will not give a boy a chance to be the right one.  She needs him to prove it, instead; and nothing can ever be proven to a closed mind.  Then, if her mind is closed and she still wants to be convinced, she is basically waiting to be emotionally overpowered and made into a slave.  She has lost her free will.
 
Namkyu, on the other hand, also restrains his love, and waits for a superior girl.  But his approach is quite opposite: he opens his heart and gives his love MOMENTARILY to every worthy girl around him, giving them all the opportunity to demonstrate their hidden character — and then he shuts his heart just as quickly, so as not to fall headlong into affection.
 
Well, the second way is better.  It’s more godlike; God does not refuse grace to any, but allows all to refuse it to themselves.  And we do not reject or disqualify any girl; we allow them to disqualify themselves.  So at the last day, it cannot be said to us: "You judged too hastily, chose wrongly, and betrayed unknowingly — and for it, your enjoyment is so much the less today."  …But that will be said to the rest.
 
And if we, rejecting every imperfect union, wait alone till death, then we will have shown the ultimate faith, and ultimate fidelity will then be restored to us.
 
God’s children coming to earth?  They will come in one way or another.  They will come to good families and carry the gospel outward, or else to sinful families, and receive the gospel.  And if they reject it, the sin will be answered justly someday; and the more the sinful majority rises up to threaten us, the more like Jesus we will be, having descended below all and having overcome all.
 
The commandment to marry?  The commandment is, first, to love; and so the "commandment to marry" is a commandment to prepare ourselves for worthy matrimony, and lessen the need for so much rejection.
 
…Finally, we know that in rejecting the imperfect, we are only hoping for the perfect.  There is no merit in singleness, except that it preserves us for a more proper union.  If the perfect companion comes, then God has exalted us.  And, also like God who knows that a sinner who repents may become the most righteous of all, our rejection of girls is not final; while we wait, we never say "never" to anybody.
 
 
On Tuesday night, I was fortunate to be able to operate the nursery at church as the Relief Society had a Christmas dinner — including a presentation organized by my talented mother.  Tending kids is the job of the elders when the sisters get together.  Brent Miller was there with me, a guy about my age.  We only got two kids…  Adam Pope, some 7-year-old-looking kid, and little Ava Hendrickson, Amy Loveridge’s daughter.  They live in Washington.  Adam played soccer with some of the balls there, while Ava played with a truck and some animals.  It was pretty fun.  I also got some pictures of the presentation…
 
-Steve
 
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