Thursday, September 11, 2014

No Room in the Laie Inn

I recently received this text from a good friend: "Did you really put all of your clocks in the freezer?"

I thought about writing back, "HYPERBOLE," but she is an English teacher so she knows that hyperbole means obvious or intentional exaggeration. Claiming to put all of my clocks in the freezer isn't technically exaggeration because I didn't put any of my clocks in the freezer. I didn't even think about putting any clocks in the freezer.

So I texted back, "LYPERBOLE," because technically it was a a lie. An obvious and intentional lie.

Pretty much everything I say on this blog is an obvious and intentional lie. Unless I'm telling a story about my mother-in-law. Everything I say about my mother-in-law is recorded word for word exactly as it comes out of her brain. I may have to put words in my husband's mouth and my children's mouths based on my ability to read their minds, but my mother-in-law says and does exactly what she's thinking, so there is no need for literary devices to get her point across. I can just tell it like it is.

For example, on Mother's Day she brought a Walmart bag to dinner.  I assumed it was a gift, based on the following five clues.
  1. All of her gifts come wrapped in Walmart bags.
  2. It was tied with pink curling ribbon.
  3. I could see a box of Sees Chocolates inside
  4. It was my birthday.
  5. There was a card on the bag that said To Dummy. 
But even Forrest Gump could not have prepared me for what was inside that box of chocolates. Where chocolates are usually neatly stacked, I found rows of toothpaste samples. And dental floss. And a few tools that only a retired dentist would have access to.

See what I mean? No punchline needed. No fancy spin. She is the fancy spin.

For the record, she was genuinely surprised that I mistook it for a gift. To her it was nothing more than the fruits of her labor while cleaning out the storage room.

And I believe her. She has never told a lie. She really believes that she has never told a lie and I believe that she believes that. As for me, I tell lies sometimes because I think that occasionally speaking in lies can get you closer to the truth. Other times speaking the truth can get you closer to the truth.

The problem with truth is that it takes longer to tell. Sometimes you need some emotional space before you can say what you need to say.

I wrote the following post back in April and I just now have the guts to publish it.


I recently said to my husband, "I wish I cared about more things. There are so many things I should be passionate about, but I'm not."

"Like what?" he said.

"Like wearing purple," I said.

He tried to console me by listing the things I care passionately about.

"You care about socks," he said. "Mismatched socks, stinky socks, holey socks, socks on the floor, socks under the beds, socks between the couch cushions and car seats, socks in Lulu's mouth . . ."

"Socks?" I said. "That's the best you've got?"

Luckily something finally happened that I cared enough about to raise my voice--the sports programs at BYU-Hawaii were cut. I felt so angry about it that I decided to write the administration a letter.

Dear BYU-H

Please don't do this.
Pretty please.
With sugar on top.
Don't do this, k?
Seriously. Don't do this.
And p.s. don't phase out fine arts either, k.
Or Pacific Island Studies.

I don't know if you could tell, but on that last please I was doing pouty lips and puppy dog eyes.

If there's one thing I ain't too proud to do, it's beg. Especially when I'm crying on the inside like a clown, but also crying on the outside, like a clown who's Alma Mater just told her that there's no room in the Laie Inn for athletes. And that also there's no Laie Inn, so technically there's no room in the Laie Marriott for athletes.

I am bummed about this decision on so many levels. Four levels, to be exact, but I can only talk about one of them publicly. I mean, come on, peoples! Sports can shape character, teach discipline, give focus, give something to root for and be inspired by, blah, blah, blah. Sports can be a vehicle to get an education on an island far, far away, and rub shoulders with awesome people from 70 different countries, while blowing the mind wide open, expanding cultural horizons, changing the course of life, and altering destiny!

Ahem . . .generally speaking, of course.

I just feel so sad for all the future athletes and coaches and families who will never get a chance to have their minds blown wide open, or their cultural horizons expanded, or their destiny altered on an island far, far away, while rubbing shoulders with awesome people from 70 different countries.

They say it's about progress. That it's simply a way to become more efficient and effective.

Here's my question: Why does progress have to feel so cold and sterile?

I mean effective and efficient can be two different things, right? Being more effective is not always a result of being more efficient?

Think about it.

While you're thinking about it, allow me to speak in parable:

For three years I walked my dog every day in a field overwrought with wild flowers and weeds, lined with trees and bails of hay, and penned in with crooked irrigation ditches. There were crops too, of course, because that was the purpose, but it was so much more than a field full of crops. It was a place for birds to chirp, and butterflies to flit, and dogs to chase geese, and dog owners to take deep breaths and stretch out across hay bails and listen to ditches gurgle. But then the field was sold, and the owner wanted to make it more productive, so the ditch was filled in, and an enormous rolling, robotic sprinkler system was installed. The trees were cut down, and the hay was hauled away to make more space for the rows and rows of corn, that were not being grown to feed people, but as a commodity--to feed cows maybe, because cows feed people, and if we can grow them bigger and faster, they can produce more meat, which produces more money.

I continued to walk my dog in that field even though there were no more birds or butterflies or trees or gurgling brooks, but one day I was chased down by a tractor and kicked out for trespassing.

My point is, if a field's purpose is to feed cows and make money, then YES, more efficient is more effective.

You get me?

But if a field's purpose is to integrate both spiritual and secular learning, and to prepare students with character and integrity who can provide leadership in their families, their communities, their chosen fields, and in building the kingdom of God then . . . well . . . 

Athletes can be great leaders too, right? Athletes can build the kingdom of God too, right?

Sports isn't just balls and bats. Sports is people. People who are part of a community, and contribute to a community. When you eliminate sports, you don't just eliminate events, you eliminate a whole population of people. From the community. People who are actually living in the community now. And people who might live there in the future. That's athletic abortion, right?


I just hate it when whole populations of people are eliminated, even if it seems more efficient without them.




The Songer said...



nevadanista said...

I hope this doesn't make you blush or anything, but you're my favorite liar. True story. Oh, and my favorite truth teller too. No one can lie and tell the truth all at once in a single blog post quite like you. And sorry if the mere mention of Jackson Johnson makes you terribly homesick, but it's as if this song was written for you. I'm pretty sure JJ loves you.

Oops. I just tried to cut and paste the youtube address, but my computer is possessed of an evil spirit at present and won't let me.

So anywho, give 'Anything But the Truth' a spin.

Love you, Rachel

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Love you too, Rachel! This totally did make me blush. And then I went and listened to Anything But the Truth and smiled. I just knew JJ and I were vibing. ;)

Martha said...

I just keep hoping that somehow, somewhere, someway, that somebody will give a bunch of money to BYUH and they will say, "JK about not continuing sports" and they will keep them.

I was talking to Coach P. a month ago and he wishes the same thing.

Martha said...

BTW you are kinda funny. Keep writing stuff.

pat said...

What a naive friend you must have.