Life in the Fast Lane

by Jen on August 11, 2006

By Nick Sidwell

They tell me that I am nice now, but they remember when I said “this about their shoes” or “that about their school picture.”

When my best friend, Sarah, and I got married in the temple, the sealer compared our life ahead to a great journey down a long road, our destination being returning to our Father in Heaven. I remember him saying, “There will be bumps and potholes but also breath-taking vistas and so many memories along the way.” He was right, you know. Life is a journey with hills to climb, beautiful scenery to see, and unforgettable experiences to enjoy. I think about what the sealer said a lot, and I’ve been able to realize the truth in his simple analogy of a great journey down a long road. In life, I believe it is very easy for us to get caught up with the bumps and imperfections in the road and we end up wandering back and forth in our lanes. Life is overwhelming at times, swerving around with ups and downs like a rollercoaster; comparable to learning to drive! That’s what I wanted to focus my article on: preventing swerving and wandering in life.

One way of swerving is not keeping our emotions under control. Emotions are a big part of the road of life, in which we can wander haphazardly. Happiness, sadness, being upset, scared, and in love are all a part of this earthly experience. The problem arises when we let go of emotional restraints. For example, imagine being so happy about a perfect test score that you don’t even realize your friend who got a low score feels even worse because they think you are rubbing it in. Without the right attitude, even happiness can be self-centered. This can go the other way and hurt you as well. Imagine being so sad that you work yourself into depression, or being so mad it turns into rage, or so scared that you miss an opportunity that could have blessed you. Yes, even love, when in excess can be something selfish. It’s like the movie Princess Diaries, (P.S. Don’t tell ANYONE I saw a chick flick!) where she becomes the princess and tries to do what is right but ends up sacrificing her friends for what seemed good at first but became too involved later on.

A personal anecdote of mine that can be a bump in the road is your image. I assume that many of you, like me, have always wanted to find the definition of ”being cool.” When I first got into junior high, I wanted friends and just to be noticed. I ended up trying everything I could think of. Nothing too risky, of course, but I changed the clothes I wore, I slicked back my hair, I changed what I was interested in, and even how I treated people. Looking back on all this, I have to laugh because nobody cares now what certain colors I wore or how my hair was styled. That was so important then, but now nobody even remembers half the stuff I did to be cool. Except for one thing… ashamedly, I admit that I wasn’t very nice to people back then because I though it was cool to tease and make fun of people. There are still times that I run into a friend here or there that used to know me back then and when they get to know me again, they always comment on how much I have changed. Curiously, I ask them how I have changed and they tell me that I am nice now, but they remember when I said “this about their shoes” or “that about their school picture.” Being cool didn’t turn out the way I thought it would, and I veered off too far from where I should have been. I wasn’t nice to people and I regret it. I am just glad I got my “car” back in line.

Great examples of how to keep your car in-between the lines are the General Authorities. Being a member of the church, I have had several opportunities to meet various leaders of the church. My wife has had even more chances than I to meet and shake the hand of the Prophet and other brethren. Each time it is an amazing experience to feel their presence. They have such an amazing outlook on life and that happiness comes from keeping their life “in-between the lines”. I think these men are so remarkable because their disposition is always constant. They glow with the spirit of the Lord because they stay between the lines. During General Conference I realized the Spirit makes all the difference in your trip through life. When you have the Spirit guiding you away from harm and giving you the protection of the Lord from the world, your destination is more attainable. The Spirit of the Lord helps the General Authorities stay between the lines, just like he can help us! Because they have the Spirit with them they are happy and are constant in their behavior.

The Holy Ghost can help us realize our limits. It can help us realize when we are getting too close to the edge and have to change directions a little to get back in line. We can recognize these “swerves” when we tell ourselves “Whoops” and “Oops” when we’ve made mistakes. One of most valuable lessons I’ve learned is that you can’t go too far to the right or the left without causing an accident. There is a happy medium, a middle ground in which to stay safe. This is why I say stay in the middle, and be constant and ever wary about swaying to one side so far that you get off in the wrong direction though your intention may be righteous. Anyone can fall, and the adversary can twist anything into a binding circumstance where he will win. Be like those who have the experience on the road– the Prophets of our day. And most of all stay between the lines!

Nick Sidwell has a BS degree in Communications and Spanish from the University of Southern Utah and is planning to attend a graduate program to receive a masters of Physician Assisting. Currently, he is living in Cedar City, Utah with his beautiful wife Sarah, who is a fourth-grade teacher in a small town called Parowan. He enjoys all aspects of communication, spanish, and the sciences. He also loves to receive productive comments from his readers and answer any questions they may have. You can contact him at “sidwello at yahoo dot com”.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Anonymous October 16, 2006 at 1:50 pm

I was attacked one time when I said, “your emotions can be controled.” But as you said if we don’t then we’ll swerve and hit some very bad bumps. I hope that people will read this. Thanks.

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