Decades ago I received a Patriarchal Blessing by George Vousden of the Romford Stake. A lovely chap. A Patriarchal Blessing is a nice thing, literally a blessing from a Patriarch. It is written down and posted to you afterward as a reminder of the day and for you to review periodically.
Today I was reading the blog by Middle Aged Mormon Man (http://middleagedmormonman.com/home/2017/01/monovision-of-the-heart/) who encouraged us to review our Patriarchal Blessing, so I did. I don’t normally do what people ask but today I did.
Recently I have been dwelling on why although I perceive myself to be a serious person living a serious life and although almost always feeling peaceful not always feeling actively happy, I appear to have gained a reputation for cheerfulness and optimism even when things are rough. I had been thinking about the possibility of “toning it down a bit”, trying out the Managerial Head Nod And Smile rather than laughing.
I like meeting new folks, I love getting to know them, who they are, how they tick but I was thinking of trying out a toned down expression of introducing myself to new folks at church perhaps. Maybe down to a greet and handshake and move on. I was feeling a little pressure to fit in and be like other people.
There’s no flippancy with peoples feelings or thoughts. I find myself wanting to sincerely know how people are doing in themselves. Then if opportunity presents, try to gee them along a little toward happiness if they are on the fence and could go either way. Laughter releases endorphins and everything seems a little easier after a moment of levity with trusted associates. Also, if people are in an emotional place where they cannot bring themselves to see the light side of life and laugh, it is a signpost to pay more attention.
Like many tender hearted people, there have been rough experiences which have shaped my thoughts and behaviour, and have come out the other side and never want another person to feel alone in despair. I had great people. I had to endure my experiences myself and couldn’t pass that off to another person to do for me, but each time I looked up all I saw was friendship and love so I learned to look up often.
Lightheartedness and cheerfulness make people look up. Have you ever noticed that? They actually stop to look at you, initiating and holding eye contact, to see if you are serious and often match you cheerful moment for cheerful moment which magnifies the experience beautifully.
Then today as I read, I noticed in the Patriarchal Blessing a tiny snippet of a phrase about how I responded when I received great news a very long time ago. Apparently I was “among the hosts who accepted this great plan and rejoiced exceedingly”.
Transpires that I have always rejoiced, and my rejoicing has been exceedingly rejoice-ful! It has apparently always been this way. It is part of the make up of my personality, important enough for a Patriarch to comment and to have it written down and send it to me in the post even though on the day I was a little overwhelmed and mute.
I read a meme, love them or loathe them they’re here to stay for a while, which said that our sorrows carve a space in our soul to be filled with joy if we let them. That’s how it feels and after the fact it is quite lovely. During the fact it was all rather rubbish and horrid but after the fact it can be turned into a good thing in hindsight if you pay attention and put in the hours.
So, while I continue to chuckle with friends content in the knowledge that it probably isn’t going to be a personality trait which changes any time soon, please feel free to re-read your Patriarchal Blessing if you feel moved to if you are or ever were LDS, or feel free to ask a Mormon any of those nagging questions you have if you are not. Trust me, they like being asked questions. You’re not imposing at all.