Eliza N. has been our guest before. We’re glad she came back to share these thoughts.
As I watched LeBron James weep while embracing the NBA championship trophy Sunday night, I was flooded with my own emotions. I have this thing about crying whenever I see someone else cry, but I also have this thing where I get really emotional anytime I witness a really incredible moment—something that stands out, when time slows down just a little, and I am overwhelmed by the blessing it is to be alive, to be on the earth to witness something amazing. (Also, I was still very tired from my own achievement of running the Ragnar Wasatch Back past weekend, and isn’t everyone more emotional when they’re tired?)
LeBron James is two months younger than I am, and I have always felt a particular kinship with him as I have watched him during his career and seen how hard he has worked and all he has accomplished in our thirty-one years. I’m so proud of him, but I would have felt like this even if the other team had won, because this is an experience that doesn’t require your team winning. It is simply about the wonder of the human experience. Whether it be expressed in the remarkable human achievement of an athlete seeing the work of decades pay off, or in a flawless performance of a powerful poem or song, or in the brilliant writing of a magnum opus of a musical about a founding father of a country, or in running farther and faster than you thought you could and to do it on very little sleep—there is something about seeing people achieve much that makes me feel incredibly proud of them, even if I have no strong personal connection to them besides recognizing in them the things we share as fellow human beings. It is simply the profound experience of witnessing someone exceed expectations, pushing themselves a little farther, excelling in their field and in their humanity.
In sport, the arts, and in the magnitude of the human experience, where records are set, where the depths of emotion are felt, where humanity shows the best of itself in moments of compassion to the least of these, I am struck by the thought of what it means for a person to have “filled the measure of [their] creation” (D&C 88:19). And the more I ponder on that, I am struck by the idea of the vicarious experience of filling the measure of our creation by witnessing human achievement. This is the beauty of sport, of community, of the arts, and of witnessing history being made. I cannot help but be overwhelmed by unironic enthusiasm for the miracle of human consciousness, as the writer John Green would put it.
I used to think that filling the measure of my creation meant being a mother—that motherhood would be the crowning achievement of my life and the most important thing that I could accomplish. So far, I have not yet had the experience of being a mother, and that has opened my eyes to all the possibilities that life has to offer beyond just that narrow goal. I do think motherhood is an enormous achievement and accomplishment, but I now understand that it is not the defining role of everything I can achieve and experience on this earth as a child of Heavenly Parents.
We are on the earth for what is relatively such a short amount of time. There is so much potential in us for what we can achieve, experience, witness, and create. I frequently find myself busy with different activities, interests, and hobbies and try to figure out what I need to cut out so that I have time for the most important things, but I struggle limiting myself. I love being well-rounded, even if it means I am a jack of all trades but real master of none. This is how I “live deliberately” and “suck out all the marrow of life” (Henry David Thoreau, Walden) and how I am filling the measure of my creation—by trying to experience everything life and human consciousness have to offer in the short amount of time that I have both.
“Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now” (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton).