Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I have two degrees, for which I paid cash – with the exception of a single $1,500 student loan.

I have two jobs. Both are great. One provides affordable health insurance for my family. The other keeps me up late at night but helps with the soul.

I’m writing two novels right now and editing a third.

I’m a volunteer with my church and with the Boy Scouts of America.

I have a wife and three kids, a camper, a home in a quiet little town, and two vehicles.

I’m a little worried.

Some day – sooner rather than later – I’d like to retire. We’re trying to build an investment portfolio as my father-in-law has done so we can do so. But you know what? I’m pessimistic. I feel like we’re throwing money down a rat hole. Because since 2008 – that’s three years now – we’ve lost money. We keep putting money into the system, and we keep losing it. And the funny thing is, during the years we were gaining, I had to wonder: Why do the gains come so slowly, yet the losses cut so deeply and so quickly?

So when the Occupy Wall Street protests began, the inner cynic said, “Well, good luck with that, hippies. Nothing will change.” But I begin to wonder. Doing nothing but throwing good money after bad hasn’t done anything. My new employer offers a 401(k), and I’m not sure at this point whether to jump into it or not. I don’t want to lose any more money. I know they say you’ve got to ride the bad years with the good, but these are the same people who also say they deserve big bonuses no matter how their company performs, no matter how many of their investors are getting soaked, no matter how much government bailout money they may get.

I’m tired of that.

I’m like those who believe I, myself, and me has to work to get ahead. But at the same time, I look at the way “business as usual” is run, and I have to wonder if I, myself, and me is going to be enough.

I write to my elected officials about health care. I get back robot emails. Writing to them about the financial crisis, well, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be effectual. Maybe it’s time to join the protest.

Yet there is hope amid the fear. As President Boyd K. Packer said at October conference:

You must learn to “trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” You must be trustworthy and surround yourself with friends who desire to be likewise.

Sometimes you might be tempted to think as I did from time to time in my youth: “The way things are going, the world’s going to be over with. The end of the world is going to come before I get to where I should be.” Not so! You can look forward to doing it right – getting married, having a family, seeing your children and grandchildren, maybe even great-grandchildren.

Have faith. Be spiritual. And ring that doorbell.

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