Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Paradox is an ex-pirate

My habit of getting music off of the internet by not-so-legal means is one I've had for a while now… well, I should say had.

The thought that I should probably get rid of all of my pirated music is one I've also had for quite some time. I don't know why I hadn't until yesterday. I'm guessing it has something to do with that sense of entitlement that our prophets so recently pointed out about my generation. I genuinely wanted to think they were talking to other people, that I was doing a top-rate job at my discipleship, but I look at myself now that I've finally done as instructed by the Spirit, and I just have to laugh at myself.

Why does it take until Satan is snapping at my heels until I will do as I'm told? How did I ever convince myself that my drag-and-drop theft was any different than taking a CD out of a store? As someone who prides myself on my honesty as much as I do, I certainly seem to be willing to lie to myself when it'll save me some money and get me what I want without having to earn it. I should know better than this. Even though my mother isn't Mormon, she taught me so much better than this simply through the way she lived.

Thinking of that is part of what made deleting every single pirated file so easy. My mother is a woman of an interesting integrity, and has told me that she resorted to stealing in my infancy because times were hard. But I think back to those years when my parents were newly separated, and I recall how little we had—but my mother earned every bit of it then. Between working at a job she hated and having to swallow her pride and turn to others for help, she taught me what it truly means to be self-sufficient, what it means to earn what you have.

Even though she doesn't think anything of pirating music, it's because of what I learned from her that when I heard the council from the prophets about the dangerous effects of instant gratification, taking what I haven't earned, and the dangers of the internet, I could recognize what I was doing was wrong. I knew President Thomas S. Monson was right when he said I needed to "CEASE NOW."

I think I'm much too harsh and critical of my mother because of all the things she couldn't give me because she wasn't Mormon. Heavenly Father isn't pleased with me about that, and I have a feeling He's trying to get me to see that He did bring me into this family for a reason, that families are His unit and He has the power to teach through them, no matter what their circumstances are. As long as I'm going to be ungrateful for all of the blessings He has given me through my mother alone, let alone the rest of my family, why should He honor my prayers when I ask Him to bless them with the happiness of the Gospel because of how much it would bless me? This isn't ABOUT me. It's about doing right for them, loving them for all they've done for me. I should be grateful that they love me despite the fact that they don't really understand me anymore—NOT be consumed with how much they don't understand me. What am I, 12?

…and as I sit here, I realize that my pirated music and my family are actually very closely related, as much as this may appear to be a non-sequitur worthy of a certain pirate we all know pretty well…

...Just because my last name means "pirate" doesn't mean I get the benefit of acting like one. Just I feel like I was dealt a crap hand when it comes to families doesn't mean I'm right. Sure, my mom used to accuse me of acting like my father (whose name I have), and it would send me into fisticuffs because of how much I hated the very thought (and even worse when I could see the truth in her accusations.) But it made me look at how I was acting, at everything I DIDN'T want to be, and it helped me to change. She taught me plenty, even if sometimes I'm under the impression it wasn't enough.

And so we move forward into the direction of the all that is good and obvious about life. Piracy is stealing. Stealing is sinning. Sinning is bad. If I don't want Satan to have any footing in my life, I have to take it from him by NOT SINNING. I mean, I know I never went to Primary but this really is VERY simple.

So in honor of everything I've learned from this, I bought myself a new Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD, which I LOVE by the way. I even ran into my friend that works in the store and he told the cashier to give me his discount. Saved me 4 bucks!

No sense in being a pirate anyway--too much sailing and never enough rum. And that whole going-to-hell thing doesn't sound at all pleasant. Seems to be all I can do is thank God that there are better things to be, and chart out a course for the Aqua de Vida that'll actually take me there.