Monday, November 27, 2006


The privilege to work is a gift.

The power to work is a blessing.

The love of work is success.

-- David O. McKay

After a long holiday, it is hard to get back into the grind. I'm beginning to lose my love of work. After more than a decade of working 70-80 hour weeks, I'm worn out and the love is gone. I used to work because I loved my career, my self-employed business, my profession. I used to work, however, to keep me from thinking of other things - it was a way of avoiding the inevitable. It was a way to distance myself from my wife, from my family, from myself. Keeping busy with work, doing good "works", kept me from being "idle".

As I've come "out" to myself, as I've come back to my wife, as I seek to be part of my family, work isn't the shield that it once was. Also, I am wrapping up several projects and the work load is slumping. I should be celebrating. But I'm not. More idle time isn't necessarily good. I'm worried about it. My weaknesses manifest themselves when I'm idle.

Of course, work, as physics describes it, is that force or effort against gravity. Mental work doesn't even count in physics. So maybe I don't truly work at all. As I traveled in India a few months ago, I saw men, like ants, swarming over construction sites with a parade of manual labor. It was amazing to me, particularly as I find myself on construction sites in the USA every week, how industrious and effective manual labor could be without modern conveniences. With enough men on the job site, anything could be done.

Our priesthood quorum moved a neighbor this past weekend - your typical heavy furniture stuff. Getting my son to participate in this service project was not as painful as I thought it would be. We had a good time, mainly because many able hands showed up - and he felt the "love of work".

I'm finding the joy of my profession is not there. The pressure of liability insurance, of threatening law suits, of pending legal hassles - makes it fatiguing. Am I getting old? This sounds like the makings of a good mid-life crisis. I just want to change careers and grab my camera and travel the world discovering new sights and adventures.

Apologies for whining and rambling. I guess I should realize the wisdom of David O. McKay. It is a privilege to work. It is a blessing.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Go Cougars!

Okay... I really do try to have a bigger view of the world than just the Wasatch Front. I really do consider myself well-traveled and open to new ideas that are bigger than what happens within the state of Utah.
I recognize that those of you east of the Rockies may not even know that Utah exists at all... Case in point: Walking through the historic neighborhood of Beacon Hill in Boston, I met a friendly contractor on the street who was working on a remodel project of a colonial gem of a house. He asked where I was from. "Utah," I replied enthusiastically.
I will never forget his response... He said: "Utah? There is no Utah! I haven't been there so it doesn't exist!"
That having been said... I don't follow many sports and I certainly don't play any team sports... and I recognize that football on the national scene doesn't even give the State of Utah a blink of attention... but living in Utah and having been both a BYU grad and a UofU grad (yes, I attended both schools and have degrees from both schools), the BYU vs. UofU football game has always been a big part of my life, from my early childhood memories to the present. To say that I don't care about other games or sports is a major understatement, but believe it or not, this game is a big deal...

and it's even bigger when BYU wins, such as today! To be able to dish it out a bit against my male buddies who are Ute fans is the best! (A great straight-male bonding thing!!!) As gaggy as this may sound... GO COUGARS!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Remembering Squanto!

It's funny but when you have kids that spread from young adults down to 1st graders, you forget what you taught the older ones and just assume the younger ones "get it" by association. It's funny how you work so hard to teach the first child names and places and dates and concepts and events and by the youngest you just are ready to just love them...

On Monday, when I asked my youngest what Thanksgiving was all about, all she could tell me was "turkey". I felt like Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle where he questions his son Noah on where Baltimore is located - pulls down the map of the USA in disgust and states "I don't want to even think about the things they're NOT teaching you in school!". She couldn't tell me anything... No pilgrims arrival on the Mayflower. No Squanto and Massasoit. No and native Americans working together for survival, planting crops and hunting, and then celebrating their bounty in harmony together on those shores of New England. No Plymouth Rock... Nothing!

So, Family Home Evening became Dad telling the tribe about "The First Thanksgiving" with the help of a great picture book that reminded me of a few details even I had forgotten about, particularly the part about Squanto, the English-speaking Native American.

In our immediate family, we have the tradition (I don't know when it started) of decorating a glass quart canning jar with "I am thankful for..." written on it, with a fall-festive fabric lid. The jar is left on the kitchen counter and during the week before Thanksgiving, family members can write down (anonymously) things that they are thankful for. Then, at Thanksgiving dinner, the jar is opened and is passed around and the slips of paper are read outloud. Typically they center around home, family and friends, testimonies and blessings, but sometimes they get more creative, especially from my youngest daughter who is six... who is thankful for, among other things: the earth that grows pretty flowers, the color "pink", Christmas lights, and baby bunnies!

I was going to make of list of those things I will be putting in the jar and noting them here on this post, but I think my daughter's list is sufficient...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20, 2006


I recognize and personally believe that "change" is possible as we evolve as who we are with time, experience, knowledge etc. I am not the same person I was in high school or college or even last year. And I don't desire to be. Though I wish I were younger, better looking, more athletic etc., I don't want go back in time and relive the past if I can't take the knowledge and experience with me. Does that make sense?

So, as -L- points out, we are all changing and evolving - hopefully to someone better. That change is inevitable as we strive to improve who we are.

I recognize and personally believe that ultimately my goal is to be more godlike and that in the eternal aspect of things, the "change" is potential as I accept His will and accept the Atonement. I don't doubt that my traits and characteristics have that potential to evolve into His image. I believe that this evolution is one that I cannot do myself - perfection comes from Christ, not from my "trying really hard to be good and work myself into perfection". (-L-: I don't think we're that far apart here).

But, I recognize that some things may not be "changed" in this life! That is why the scriptures (and Elder Oak's most recent conference talk) are very clear in distinguishing between "healing those who are heavy laden" verses "making one's burden light". Making one's burden light does not take away, evolve, or "change" that burden. The burden is most definitely still there!!! It didn't go a way!! And it may never go away in this life! Why? I don't know - maybe lessons to be learned? Maybe something we need to experience? I don't know... But that is why He offers his yoke - "take my yoke upon you". He doesn't remove His yoke nor our yoke... but He promises to make it "light". So - all I'm saying here is some things in this life remain an integral part of who we are. These challenges, these experiences, these blessings, these burdens REMAIN with us and are not "changed" or "taken from us". But, as he makes these things "light", we can learn from them, grow in the ways we need to grow, evolve as we need to evolve on our journey without being destroyed in the process... Change, in this life, isn't necessarily a requirement. Allowing Him to lighten our burdens is our privilige.

(NOTE: for some, the healing is possible - I don't doubt - but for me, for now, I don't see that this experience that I call my life will be healed through some miraculous "change". For me the "great lie" would be to say that "change" right here and now is possible, even necessary, and within my grasp if I but work hard enough to bring it about, if I but have enough faith - now in my situation, this promise, this temptation, this sense of hope would be a "great lie"!)

I do not consider my homosexuality a "burden". Instead, it is a challenge, even a blessing, and from this challenge and blessing I have learned much! I have become who I am! Even in this last year, this experience has opened my eyes to new aspects of who I am - things that I may not have seen otherwise. Why would I desire to "change" this? I shouldn't!
(I don't want to quivel over semantics - however, this fundamental principle is not semantics!)

I may be cutting myself short. I may be missing the point! I may be sucked into the "great lie" and therefore I'm caving into the natural man or the devil's temptations themselves... But...
For now, for here and now, today, I don't desire to "change"who I am with this scriptural "burden"... I don't see the need... I desire to take His yoke upon me instead, and allow him to make my load light!
So go ahead and tell me where I'm still screwed up! After all, I recognize how flawed I still am and will continue to be!

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Great Lie!

I've been doing some thinking. I know, it's a dangerous thing to do. But, thanks to L questioning me, I've had to. I've been wondering if I am being suckered into a belief in the great lie that gayness is interconnected to other aspects of one's personality than just an attraction and desire for the same sex.

I believe the purpose for this life is to "prove us herewith" and to DO the best we can with the talents / blessings / trials / characteristics / traits we've been given while here on earth AND in the Spirit World to come. The ultimate goal is to become like God through change (repentance) and in DOING / LIVING. I do not believe that we can "work out our salvation" and "perfect ourselves" into the Celestial Kingdom. I don't believe that is the task at hand. I am imperfect. I fall short all the time. I'm as stained as if you dumped blue paint all over me! I strongly believe, however, that we are to DO what we CAN with what we've been GIVEN, and that Christ will make up the difference of any shortcomings and imperfections and blue paint stains (for they will certainly be there) as we accept Him and allow Him to do His part.

So the task: doing what I can with what I've been given. Be a good laborer in the vineyard! Be a good steward of my "talents"! These talents include our core unique personality, our essence of our being, which includes personality traits, strengths and weaknesses, gender etc. These things were a part of who we were in the pre-existence and remain with us through this earthly life. We aren't all the same, just as the laborers worked various lengths of time, just as the talents weren't distributed by the master equally. Life isn't fair! (Just ask my disabled sister who has lived with major physical disabilities for the majority of her life). That is inherent in the plan! We don't get an equal shot. Our experiences are unique. Our reactions and lessons learned from these experiences are also unique. Thus, no one can judge but One. So, I should stop whining about what I've been given or not given, the challenges and struggles, the successes and joys before me. I shouldn't worry about what is fair! Or "Why me?" I need to do what I can with what I've been given.

I believe also that we have been foreordained, called, if you will, to do specific things. Whether we do them is still up to us and the choices we make.

So, is being "gay" a calling? Maybe. Maybe not. I think it's just a trait that one can look upon as positive or negative just like any other trait. Is it a god-like trait? No, not as I understand God. So should I banish it from who I am? I don't know that I can and I don't know that I should. If it is something that I can't control, if it is something that I did not choose, then I think it is unique, similar to other traits of my physical and mental abilities that make up who I am.

But, I feel (I don't know) that all of my traits, physical and mental, spiritual and social, creative and emotional abilities that make the person I call Beck are interconnected. I am a spiritually sensitive person. I am a compassionate person. I am a highly creative person. I am a very touchy-feely personal person. I am a passionate person. I am an easy-to-anger person. I am a quick-to-love person. I am a hard-working person. I am a selfish person. I am a self-made person. I am an over-reactive person. I am a gay person!

Now, can a person who is all of the above be so and not be gay? Of course! Can a person who is gay be a list of other characteristics? Of course! I understand that not only gays are sensitive, passionate, touchy-feely and creative. Millions of straights are, too. But the uniqueness is still there. My combination of who I am, what I am, and how I deal with those traits with the experiences I have are uniquely combined together. If you take my passion for creating and building away, I'm no longer the same person and maybe I become disengaged in other aspects of my relationships as well. Maybe that's a good thing, I don't know. If you take my over-reactive personality away, I'm no longer the same person and maybe it affects not being passionate. And if I'm not passionate, then I might as well give up!

So, if "being gay" simply means one has a personality trait of "liking guys" just as one has other traits (i.e. easy-to-anger, sensitive to the spirit, creative, judgmental, passionate, selfish), and if such traits or characteristics are not locked into the make-up of a person (that a person can change from being easy-to-anger to card-carrying temper-management expert by becoming more Godlike, or being less-enamored with athletic good-looking guys and more attracted to good looking women, then why not go for the change? I don't buy that argument. I think who we are is more interconnected. That's why there is the sentiment that I will stop being me if I can't be me. I won't be true to myself.

Don't get me wrong - I'm all for improvement, magnifying our talents, overcoming our trials and all that good stuff - for that is the point of this life - TO DO WHAT I CAN. But I shouldn't try to be who I'm not. I shouldn't try to be a pretender and say that I've changed something that is simply what it is. I'm to the point in this discussion that I don't really care about the reasons why one may be gay. The "why" doesn't matter to me. Maybe it should. Maybe if it did, and a cure could be found for this "disease" or "defect", I'd be more interested in the "why". But for now, after 3 decades of being a struggler, I'm tired of caring about the "why". I'm more at the point of accepting that what is, is. It has taken me an awfully long time to get to this point.

I am Beck. All that makes me who I am is as much a part of me as my height and weight is part of my physical stature. Everything is connected. I can dye my hair green. I can seek therapy and convince myself that I am no longer homosexual. But my hair color is still light brown, though it may appear green to everyone else and I am still gay though I appear heterosexual to everyone else.

My efforts to "embrace" my gayness means: I am seeking to be happy to be me, all of me, and I'm striving to be the best "me" that I can be (working on changing / repenting of those things that need improvement), doing the best I can. As much as I desire a relationship with a guy, as much as I crave to be held by a guy and truly loved by a special guy, as much as my natural tendencies are toward other guys, I am choosing to follow a different path (as fatiguing as that is at times - and believe me I'm getting tired of the daily fight), not because I want to cut off those feelings, but because I have even stronger feelings for my family, my marriage and the joys and experiences that come from this life I'm living. If I were to cut off those feelings, I'm not sure I would be the same person!!! That may be a fallacy in my logic, but it is how it feels, nonetheless. I welcome contrasting points of view to help me see the errors of my ways!!! If you made it this far through this nonsense, then you owe me feedback!!!

I'm not good at debate (pretty obvious, huh?) I'm weak at presenting logical arguments (you can say that again!). I'm not an attorney (thank God for that one!). As I've reread this, this post makes no sense. It doesn't say what I want to portray. I don't know what I'm trying to say. I can't change who I am - but I can change and control what I do with who I am. In my mind, that is the purpose of my life.

I guess I have bought into the great lie!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Still struggling...

I want to portray that I'm really okay and have things under control and that I'm not really a 'struggler'. But that would be a lie!

I want to say that I'm really not tempted by images of male eye-candy, even if limited only to the PG / PG-13 versions. But that would be a lie!

I want to be clear that I attempt to isolate myself from Tim. I do it for the sake of my family, my wife, my marriage. I do it because it is the "right" thing to do in my situation, at my age, in my circumstance. And for the most part that is true!

I want to declare that I sincerely have no desire to see him, or to be around him, and that there is NO feeling of excitement or twitterpation when I'm with him. But that would emphatically be a lie!

I want to do what is right and prudent and correct as I deem to be right, prudent, and correct, per my personal self-imposed morals, my personal self-accepted values, my personal family obligations and commitments. This is true!

I want to portray myself as not wanting anything more. But, this would be the biggest lie of all! For you see, there is still something inside me, something major and tremendous, that fighting, bubbling desire inside me, that wants so desperately to explode and do something "wrong", "imprudent" and definitely "incorrect".

I live my life in a way to be clear that I want NO relationship with another man. My belief system is such that this is not possible. But, that would be a lie! I've fantasized about the possibility (ever so slight) of Tim being gay and desiring a relationship with me. Even hypothetically if that were possible, though highly unlikely, but say it was possible... say he came to me tomorrow and burst into my office and announced he was gay and that his intentions have been all along to let me know that he loves me...not in just a dear friendship kind of way, but in other ways of "love"... say that were the case, what would I do? Would I try to beat him up (even though I'd lose as he's so much stronger than I)? Would I kick him out of my house and tell him never to come to my door again? Would I be sympathetic to him, but not reveal my own inclinations, and keep hiding for obvious reasons? And after much thought, I've concluded that I'd honestly faint. And then, with my heart racing, I would cry with joy and grab him passionately and plaster a big wet one right on his trembling mouth, not even thinking of any other consequence. (What a farce! I live in a fantasy world of make-believe!) Then I would regret doing it and I would continue with those thoughts of how this could possibly be, how I could betray the trust of my wife and values and beliefs, my foundation, and then my whole world crumbles at my feet like an unreinforced masonry building in an earthquake.

I don't want to hurt my wife. This is most convincingly true!

I don't want male companionship with Him. But this is a lie!

My son and I watched the movie "Alexander" together as an assignment for extra credit for his World Civilations class in high school the other night. Though not inclined to watch R-rated movies, we decided to watch it together and fast-forward where necessary and still keep the storyline in tact for him to write his report. I made it clear that what was portrayed was Oliver Stone's version of history, not necessarily the real story. We then had a discussion about the homosexuality and my son pointed out how Alexander wanted to have his normal public persona as Conquerer and King of Greece with a queen and posterity, but his faithful hidden guy-lover as well. I said something like "He wants his cake and eat it, too".

I guess as I contemplated it, all I could think of was myself. I want it both ways. I want my cake and eat it, too! I want to be righteous, with my favorite sins on the side. I want the blessings of family, and my guy-lover at my side. I want to kiss him in front of the Bishop's office! I'm now catching myself fantasizing of that very thing!

I portray myself as a man in control, who does not crave King Benjamin's explanation of the "natural man", but craves instead the spiritual life. But that would be a lie!

I'm not feeling very strong right at this moment...

I'm not very proud either of such thoughts...

Unfortunately, I'm still struggling...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

What's going on?

I promised I wouldn't freak out, but this is freakin' me out!

Friday afternoon I wasn't in the office. HE called and wanted to see me. NOTE: Okay, I'm going to give him a name... I'll call him "Tim", but Tim is the same HE of previous posts (for those who even care and are following along), the same guy I'm very close to, the guy I'm trying NOT to get too close to, the guy who broke my ribs during the summer, the guy who saved my life on a cliff jumping boating trip, the guy who I hugged and kissed (on the neck) in the garage, etc. Anyway, Tim said he needed to make copies. I told Tim I wasn't going to be in for the rest of the day, but that the door should be open and he should make himself available to whatever office needs he had. I didn't hear anything more and frankly didn't think much more about it.

I went into the office on Saturday (yesterday) and found "friendly love notes" on stickies all over my office, at the computer, at the copier etc. He had obviously been there. One drew a "heart" and his name. What does this mean? It started freakin' me out. I got excited. I didn't call him. I decided it was a joke or just a friendship way of him saying "thanks".

I had a hard time sleeping last night.

This morning I went to church and he wasn't in priesthood. I looked but no sign of him. In one way I was miffed. In another way, I was pleased to NOT have seen him and have to deal with him. But if I were honest, my heart sunk a notch. (Since our "relationship" is so non-existent (at my request / and at the request of my wife / and out of respect for her), our "seeing" each other sometimes comes down to bumping into each other at Church).

I didn't see him in SS nor Sacrament Meeting. We sat up front so maybe he was in back. At the end of the block I had to stay after. That's when I saw him go into a meeting. I wondered if he saw me. After my meeting, I left the chapel and there he was talking to someone. I smiled but kept walking down the corridor.

Before I knew it, he was on top of me, tickling me, and throwing me into the HP Group Leader. At 6'-6", 230 lbs of lean athletic muscle, it's hard to shake him. We looked into each other's eyes. He was all smiles today, unlike a couple of weeks ago. We hugged full body, falling into each other's necks as we are now very comfortable in doing very naturally. We held each other for a while. I felt so good and peaceful in his arms!

I gave him a hard time about the notes. He grinned.

I had to go. That was it. Nothing more. All innocent.

So, why, if it's so "innocent", am I sitting here with school-boy anxiety going on in my butterfly-filled stomach? Why is my heart beat racing? I'm positive Tim doesn't know what he's doing inside me. I'm certain of it. I'm sure it's just good-natured friendship. Right?

So why am I all in knots?

I think I need to sell my house and move to another state!

Friday, November 10, 2006


I've been pretty silent on the "change" topic that tends to float around. I've enjoyed the takes that everyone has to one degree or another. And I try to keep an open mind.

But in this last week, KSL RADIO (the LDS church-owned radio station) has been doing a week-long "in depth report" on reparative therapy and whether men can "change" their sexual orientation. Though I've listened with intent on seeing what kind of spin the church employed reporter would put on the investigation, trying to find a hint or slant, I must admit overall it's been "fair and balanced". The reporter has interviewed both sides of the story. I just find it interesting that it is being reported at all. Following the FOX NEWS report, it seems to be a "trendy" thing to discuss.

Is there really news here? Nothing new was brought to my attention. That's because I don't think there is anything "new" to report about reorientation of one's sexual preference. I guess I should look at it as a good thing that KSL even broadcasted the series and did so in an unbiased manner.


Am I the only one, or does it give anyone else the creepy crawly heebie jeebies when someone from Evergreen starts speaking??? I feel like lies are spewing forth as soon as their representatives open their mouths, like they are selling me something, like they want me to enlist in their program almost as bad as trying to sell me a used car. It makes me sick! In yesterday's report, the Evergreen guy stated something to the affect that "it will be difficult, but that CHANGE is definitely possible - though everyone's path is unique". And then in this morning's report, I just had it! An Evergreen guy stated "playing sports with men and making that connection will create positive relations with other men that will make the difference".

All I can say to this is: BULL CRAP! I'm not a 18-25 year old "struggler" here new to this game! I have a track record of "struggling" for over 30 years! This idea of "change being possible" is a JOKE! At least for me! The idea of "playing sports" will improve my relations with men is even a BIGGER JOKE! I hate playing sports... And making me dribble a basketball and shoot a lay-up, or spiking a volleyball over the net into the face of another man and receiving an appreciative slap-on-the-butt male bonding, (as nice as that may be) isn't going to CHANGE me one iota!

I fear that such reporting as 'fact' causes me (and those like me who are married) grief, because it gives people such as my wife, the false hope that there is a NEED for change, and that change is desireable. So far, my wife hasn't said anything to me about the reports. We listen to KSL in the morning for the news and weather at the start of each day. I'm sure it will come up. Maybe that will lead to positive discussions between us, I don't know...

You know... I'm sorry, but I don't feel any NEED TO CHANGE! Have I made that clear? Is that blasphemous??? I've tried that for two decades (in many ways even not knowing fully that that was exactly what I was trying to do). I AM WHO I AM! I have no desire to be anyone else! My characteristics that make me a gay man are beautiful, admirable, and praiseworthy.

Now, don't get me wrong. I know very well that another word for REPENTANCE is CHANGE. I've taught countless priesthood and sunday school lessons that teach the simple equation: REPENT = CHANGE. I know very well that "change" is part of the gospel plan and that Christ expects a broken heart and humble spirit of me as I come kneeling before Him.

But, I don't think He wants me to CHANGE what has been God-given - those characteristics or talents that I need to use in helping others and in losing myself through their use. It is my task to take my weaknesses and make them strong.

As the letter to Elder Oaks states in last month's conference address: "Some profess that change is possible and therapy is the only answer... There is NO NEED to determine why I have this challenge. I don't know if I was born with it., or if environmental factors contributed to it. The fact of the matter is that I have this struggle in my life, and what I do with it from this point forward is what matters".

To have this quoted in a conference address is very significant to me. There are many things in my life that I need to work on and repent/change for the better. But... the fact of the matter is that I have this struggle in my life, and what I do with it from this point forward is what really matters to me!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


What is it about oceans that draws me to them? Why do I feel peace when I'm in there?

I needed peace this last weekend. So I flew to the ocean. Just for the weekend. It was extravagant, but I needed to do it. I'm drawn to the magical healing powers of the ocean. As much as my "angst" has decreased in the last couple of months, even to the point that I was considering changing the name of my blog to "Beck's Deminished Angst", or "Beck's Angst Held in Balance", or even "Beck's Sense of Peace Despite His Angst", I know I'm still not THERE yet as I need to get away, run away, hide, escape... whatever you want to call it. In fact, when I'm not very practical or prudent, I'd like to find a way to live my life where I could escape all the time. If I were truly getting in control of my life, my gaydom, my marriage, my ability to serve others and my God, if I were truly in touch with myself, I don't think I'd be taking these "escapes".

No, truly I'm not in control.
I'm very NOT all together. So, I seek to escape, to run away...

Oceans give me that "escape" treatment to my soul. (Maybe it's because I wasn't raised around them, being from Utah, and the Great Salt Lake, as magical as it can be with a late summer sunset, its notorious lake-stink kind of destroys the imagery).

Oceans restore my spirits.

Mountains do too.

I love God's creations!

Now if I could only learn to love me as one of His creations...

Friday, November 03, 2006


At my wife's request, we rented the DVD "The Lake House" last night. It's not a great movie and I don't "highly" recommend it as it is frustrating as all get out! Maybe I need to watch it again. The premise is very stupid and yet, I find myself haunted by its message of how fragile our human "connections" are with each other and how we can become "disconnected" very easily (not just between family members and friends, but between total strangers).

But the movie got me thinking...

I know my life has been impacted by numerous strangers. I remember just a couple of years ago standing alone at Dead Horse Point in Southern Utah taking in the spectacular summer evening over Canyonlands National Park and the goosenecks of the Colorado River snaking through the red rocks a thousand feet below. Up came an earthy, fantastic looking, young, athletic European guy standing next to me. I was immediately attracted to him! For a while we didn't say anything - just drinking in the soul-renewing scenary surrounding us. He finally said something about the incredible view in broken English and I asked him where he was from - Italy - my home away from home - and we soon were chatting away together in Italian for two hours until an amazing desert sun had set!!! Come to find out we have the same profession, the same love of the deseret and nature, of hilltowns in Italy, of architecture, photography, and art, or culture and people and language. It was an experience like none other. Here we were standing in the middle of nowhere in the deserts of the Colorado Plateau and Marco happened to stand next to me and we both began sharing our lives together! There was such an incredible momentary real human connection! We have since continued our discussions together via email, and are looking to collaborate professionally.

Is this coincidence that this experience happened, this "chance meeting"?

And friendships (dare I say eternal friendships)have sprung into a life of their own through "chance meetings". Countless ones from my mission experiences. Even the meeting of my wife was such a chance meeting where we were thrown in together in a circumstance because we happened to know the same people and those people needed a group to sing together in a Sacrament Meeting. They were desperate, and perfect strangers met to sing on one Sunday morning in Provo, Utah. And love followed.

Such "chance meetings" turning into a life-changing connection makes me think just how amazing life is. But like the movie, I'm haunted by all those connections I don't make by not reaching out, by not being where I should be.

And my haunting turned last night (as I couldn't sleep) into thoughts of "what ifs" -like:

* What if I hadn't volunteered to sing that day? Would I have still met my wife?

* What if I had my self-realization early on in my post-mission days and become accepting of being gay and more open to a relationship with a dear friend who died of AIDS (see my post of May 27, 2006 "Different Eyes Seek Peace"). Could I have lived a life together with him as he wanted to live with me? Could I have helped him from taking the course of self-destruction he took? Did I purposefully "disconnect"?

* What if I had my self-realization early on and stayed in Utah, but then chose never to marry?

The "what ifs" could go on forever. I guess I shouldn't worry about the disconnections and concentrate on my connections and making them stronger.

But why did I not come to a self-realization for so long? Why this delay reaction? Is this, could this be a blessing in disguise? Or is it a curse for now having to live with other decisions and choices I've made?

Why did I connect so strongly with my friend from the mission field?

Why did I connect so miraculously with my friend at Dead Horse Point?

Why did I feel such immediate eternal bonding with my wife?

Relationships, attractions, bondings, friendships... why do they so easily disconnect sometimes and other times last forever?

Oh, the disconnections of our lives...

Please stay connected.