The Guy in the Library *

So I did something impulsive today... It was super good! :)

I was sitting on the second floor of the library and sat next to this guy who was browsing the web with unusually small windows. I immediately thought of how I've peeked at inappropriate material on school computers in a public venue using smaller windows.

Being the nosy person I am, I wanted to see if this guy had similar issues to me. So I looked at what he was looking at. He was looking at NBA stuff. But then he did a google image search on something inappropriate.

I suddenly got a very sad feeling. I thought I'd feel better knowing I was right, but I felt worse instead. My heart ached for this guy. So, I was inspired to whip out my yellow legal pad and I addressed a note to him.

"Hey Man, ..."  I explained that I was an addict and that whether or not he was, was none of my business. But, that I acknowledged that I've been in the same exact situation--ritualizing, and browsing inappropriate media on a public computer, with someone sitting next to me.

I told him that I hurt for him, and that I was there for him. I left my name and number, and a reference to in case he didn't feel comfortable reaching out. I told him I'd support him in any way possible.

I folded it up like a letter, slid it towards him, tapped him on the shoulder (he was using ear phones) and said, "Hi, my name is Cody. I hope you're not offended or embarrassed."

Then I went to class.

I checked my phone after class.  I received this text message,

"Hey Cody. Thanks. Really thank you. After that I exited the screen and got off the computer. Thanks for reminding me that is not who I want to be. When you gave me that letter I didn't know what to expect. I was thinking it was going to say how horrible I was and that I am going to hell or something. I don't know if you believe in God but I felt like God reached out to me in the moment that I read your letter. 

When I read your note I immediately started to cry. Instead of being condemning it was understanding. I just thought wow someone cares enough to help me. I thought I was the only crazy person who was crazy enough to do that. I started off with good intentions to do school stuff and then I slowly got too complacent."

I was walking away from my class, being filled with the spirit. I knew that I had done what God wanted me to do this afternoon.

My thoughts leading up to this event went something like...

  • What if he laughs at my thinking that this is in fact a problem?
  • What if I see him around?
  • He looks kinda familiar (truly though) and I think I've had a class with him... 
  • What if he knows me?
  • Is this really my place?
  • Am I really feeling the spirit move me?
  • What if this isn't the spirit, just my arrogance telling me to interfere in his life?

This leads me to think a lot about consistency which has been my subject of sharing in the 12 step meetings I attend.

I just filled out an evaluation on a student presentation that we had in our class just an hour ago. The first line of the online form asked for my name. So I put it in. I immediately thought, "Okay, so this means that I need to be careful about what I say because it will have my name associated with it. I can't be completely honest with my comments."

HOLD UP SON...  Why not?

Why does being frank mean you have to hide behind a mask?  If how and who I am is how and who I am all the time, then it shouldn't matter whether or not my name is associated with something or not.

This concept comes from Elder Cook's article that I read during my mission. It's entitled. "Don't Wear Masks," New Era, March 2013. I learned from that article that if I can't own my thoughts, words, and actions. Then--maybe I don't want to participate in those thoughts, words, and actions.

I often ask myself on Sunday mornings, "What would I look like if President Monson was coming to the sacrament meeting I attend?" Would I polish my shoes? Would I make sure my shirt is pressed? Would I comb my hair? Would I shave? My point is, I should strive to be the same me that I am all the time.

Integrity should be thought of the way an engineer uses it to describe a bridge. It is not something to be possessed. If a bridge has integrity, it doesn't possess it like we possess our glasses, phone, keys, or wallet. It possesses integrity by being consistent, dependable, and reliable.

My goal is to be the same me, all the time. I'm still working towards that point. But eventually I want to get to the point where I'm not worried about whether someone finds out about detail A or tidbit B about me. Because I won't have to spin a web of ambiguity to save face.

* The above post is from an email sent by my good friend, Cody, who constantly inspires me with his approach to life and recovery. I asked his permission to post this because it touched on three important topics:
  1. Following the spirit, even when it might be uncomfortable.
  2. Actually doing Step 12: "Be prayerful as you consider ways to serve, seeking always to be led by the Holy Ghost."
  3. Being Consistent and having Integrity.


Susan Jackson said...

Way to go Cody! As a mom of college students I am grateful that there are strong courageous men like you around them! This is a fight that we have got to win and knowing that you are on our side is awesome! Keep following the spirit! You won't be wrong...just like in this case! The Lord is so proud of you and so am I!!

smurf1 said...

Thank you for posting this article. I am happy that Cody reached out in a positive way.

Anonymous said...

Cody is such a great guy! Way to follow the spirit. Thank you for sharing this experience with us!