Sunday, December 14, 2008

I See... the Joys of Living Vicariously

God blesses all of us with various gifts. These gifts have a purpose. They are meant to enrich our own lives as we share them with others. Keeping them hidden under a bushel denies others of the light that shines from our gifts.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you are already aware of how naturally funny I am. What you may not know, however, is that I've been keeping another wonderful gift hidden from mankind (besides my innate humility). I'm ready, however, to break the silence and reveal that I have been blessed with the remarkable gift of living vicariously.

What is living vicariously? It refers to the mysterious, yet wonderful ability to enjoy the successes and blessings of others without the pain and effort required to earn them. When I view other families' pictures of their Disneyworld vacation, I don't grumble and wish I was there- I feel the joy and excitement that they felt throttling through Space Mountain or eating breakfast with a larger-than-life mouse. When someone drives into the church parking lot in a flashy new car, I can feel the pride of new car ownership swelling deep inside of me, and sense the comfort that a dashboard DVD player and heated seats would provide me. The greatest blessing is that I get to feel the joy without experiencing the pain. I don't have to deal with credit cards bills and car payments.

Making the best of my rare gift to live vicariously has brought me unspeakable (but not “un-writable”) joy. With very little effort, usually involving reading the biographies of great men and women or listening intently to riveting pre- and post- sacrament meeting chit-chat, I have been able to

  • run marathons;

  • conquer Tang China and Lamanite armies;

  • work in Ronald Reagan's cabinet;

  • hike and bike through Utah and Idaho wilderness panoramas;

  • wonder in heavenly awe as very young children negotiate their first upright steps;

  • and much, much more.

Living vicariously permits the poor to be rich, the ugly to be beautiful, the stupid to be smart, and the awkward to be talented, all without the required sacrifice, effort, or natural gifts. It puts me in the same league with everyone else.

Don't hate me for my gift- just talk to me about your new house or your son's game-winning touchdown pass. Don't deny me my happiness.

I've been told that living vicariously is a Christ-like gift. I haven't said much about the flip-side of living vicariously- feeling others' sorrows and pains, but without actually having done the deeds that authored them. Only one man has that gift- our Savior and Redeemer. I've been told that because he took upon himself our sins and pains and sorrow, he has walked through our darkest hours with us, and knows how to completely and perfectly comfort us.

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