Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Choose Your Response

Luisa Perkins' novel, Dispirited, deals with a lot of interesting issues and topics in regards to the spirit, the body, death, and the after life. What stood out to me most, though, about this book was its subtle exploration of agency.
Throughout the book the main character, Cathy, keeps asking herself why she's the only one that can save Bunny. At times she even fights against that distinction, putting off her rescue attempts because the timing is inconvenient and gets in the way of her living a normal life.
At one point in the book she asks Januarye, a character who is sent to help her and Bunny, why she is the one that has to deal with this challenge. Januarye responds with one simple question, "Why not you?"
In this moment Cathy realizes her selfishness and determines to continue helping Bunny. Despite the fact that she didn't choose this situation, she chooses to still make the most of it and to help someone in need.
I thought this was a valuable lesson from the book. In life we have to deal with hard and terrible situations. We lose those we love, we are injured, we become sick, we move and have to make new friends, we have a bad day at work. Regardless of the challenge, it doesn't matter if we chose it or not, what matters is how we choose to respond to it.
This ability to choose our response is a key part of LDS doctrine. We believe in agency and that each of us agreed to come to earth to use that agency to choose to follow Heavenly Father's plan. With that agency comes, not so much the choice as to control everything that happens in life, but the choice of how we'll respond to what occurs especially when those occurrences aren't our choice. I thought this novel did a good job at illustrating this belief.

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  1. I like your focus on agency. Sometimes we don't think about it enough, but it really is a defining doctrine of ours.

    The "Why not you?" reminded me of the general conference talk "Is it I?" in a way. It's always interested to step back and realize how we're looking out ourselves in our particular context.

  2. The concept of agency did not necessarily occur to me while reading so I think it is cool that you noticed that. Your example of Cathy choosing to accept and help her situation rather than ignore it provides a great example of how we can accept the situations we have been give and choose to handle them how we should and work on solving them.