As you wish
It was also educational as well as entertaining. The stories from backstage brought back wonderful memories of the film and all of the classic one liners.
“Anybody want a peanut?”
“Have fun storming the castle!”
“Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
“Do we have to read the kissing parts?”. . . “Someday you might not mind so much.”
“And thank you so much for bringing up such a painful memory. While you’re at it, why don’t you give me a paper cut and pour lemon juice over it. We’re closed!”
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
“Who are you?” . . . “No one of consequence.” . . . “I must know.” . . . “Get used to disappointment.”
“Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don’t think they exist.”
“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
“Never get involved in a land war in Asia.”
“Mawidge. Mawidge is what bwings us together today. Mawidge, that bwessed awangement, that dweam within a dweam!”
“You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you.” . . . “You seem a decent fellow. I hate to die.”
And of course I could go on, as I’m sure many of you could as well. Remembering all the great moments from the film brought a smile to my face. Alone or with friends, watching this film has always been an enjoyable experience.
Learning new stories
I did mention that Elwes’s book educates as well as entertains, and this is true. His book contains many tales not only from his perspective but from that of the other cast members as well as the producer, director, and screenwriter.
For example, did you know that what sealed the deal for securing Elwes his part as Westley was his Fat Albert impersonation? Or that Elwes injured his foot in an ATV accident just before shooting the scene with Robin Wright at the bottom of the hill in which Westley declares to Buttercup, “Death cannot stop true love”? I always thought Elwes looked awkward in that scene, especially as he maneuvered himself towards Buttercup, and now I know why.
There’s more great stories in this book, but as my space here is limited, let me share just one with you in Elwes’s own words.
There’s so much more in this book. It’s a great read, and so if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.
Find your joy
Books like this comprise just one example of the joy we can find in living fully. You don’t need to be married or have anything you want but don’t have to live fully. We all have many simple pleasures around us, and taking advantage of the opportunities to extract joy from them is what living fully is all about.
If you haven’t read As You Wish, there’s lots of those simple pleasures among its pages. But if reading isn’t your thing, find what is and embrace it. Maybe it’s eating a special treat. Or running a special trail. Or attending a cultural event. Whatever it is, don’t let what you don’t have keep you from living your life fully. Find your simple pleasure and make time for you. Make time to invite more joy in your life.
Drop the vain repetitions
I’m sure we’ve all heard the Savior’s injunction to avoid vain repetitions in prayer (Matthew 6:7-8). Yet I continually encounter prayer after prayer populated with trite phrases that are really nothing more than filler material.
And I know why this is. People are simply living life from habit. They aren’t thinking about what they do when they do it. They’re just playing a habit. It’s what we are all hardwired to do.
And it’s also the way we deny ourselves much of the joy God wants us to have right here and now. Without conscious awareness of what we do when we do it, the true joy of living simply can’t come to us.
Bless this food
Many of our activities include food. Typical offerings like cookies and punch are anything but healthy. Yet what do we usually pray before partaking? “Please bless this food that it will nourish and strengthen our bodies.”
Peeps! Cookies and punch are fat and sugar. While they taste awesome, fat and sugar by themselves do not nourish and strengthen the human body. So why are we praying that they will?
I’ll tell you why. We’re living life on autopilot. But we can break free. It’s called agency. Acting with conscious intent is prerequisite to extracting the most joy out of living.
The obvious alternative is to serve more healthy fare. Then our prayers will match our actions. We also get the bonus of supporting each other in caring for the temples our bodies are.
If you insist on serving less-than-nutritious foods that taste awesome, at least be conscious of what words you include in your prayers. Better to give thanks that we have the health in our bodies to enjoy what we eat than to plead that somehow God will bend the rules of nature so we can have our dream diet of eating what we want without consequence to our bodies.
Bless the absent
This next one is classic. “Bless those who are absent that they will come next time.” Of course, it ends right there. There’s no effort to reach out to anyone who’s absent. Hey, we often don’t even reach out to people in need in the same room who heard our prayer!
Yet we continue to play out this bad habit. Again, we have life on autopilot.
Instead of using the same trite expression, look around you. Identify someone who isn’t there and pray for that person by name. Then follow up by reaching out after that specific individual.
And if you don’t know who’s absent, then try this. Acknowledge in your prayer that you want to pray for someone who isn’t there but you don’t know who. Ask to be guided to that someone. Then after the prayer, show the Lord some real intent by asking around if anyone knows of someone who is absent. Once you identify that person, go reach out to him or her.
Some closing words
Unfortunately, we don’t limit the habit of vain repetitions to prayer. Many of us have the same habit when bearing our testimonies.
The one that sends me looking for my roll of duct tape the quickest is when someone says, “in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.” So, what? You’re bearing a public testimony to God the Father? I thought you were talking to the humans in the room. And I don’t have any son, let alone one named Jesus Christ. Rest assured that if I did have a son, I certainly wouldn’t name him after a member of the Godhead.
Habits left unchecked lead to life on autopilot. Life on autopilot creates a rote existence of just going through the motions. That arrangement runs counter to the nature of joy.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. You’ll find more meaning in what you do when you gain awareness of what you do when you do it and do what you do because you consciously intend to do it. That approach opens the door wide for joy to enter your life, regardless of your situation.
It really is all in how you approach it. So what expressions do you repeat blindly out of habit? Take a moment to examine yourself. If you find anything rote, replace it with consciously chosen words and actions. Get out of your own way and start experiencing the most your life has to offer you.
And feel free to share below in the comments section if you have a vain repetition I failed to mention. That can help all of us to stop living on autopilot and start living more by conscious choice. Start experiencing more joy in life, and then help others do the same.
Don't be active
When it comes to being active in the Church, we all know what the “right” answer is. You know what I’m talking about. Attend your meetings. Do your duty in your calling. The whole list we learned in Sunday School.
Yet the Church itself defines an active member as someone who just attends sacrament meeting once per month. That’s a pretty low bar to clear.
Many LDS singles want to marry someone who is active in the Church. But when you consider how the Church defines active, that standard suddenly seems deflated. That’s because you really shouldn’t be active.
Hold to your covenants
Some say you should be active in the gospel and not the Church. I both agree and disagree.
I agree that we should consciously choose our spiritual lives. Far too many Latter-day Saints simply go through the motions of what the subculture expects of them. They fail to distinguish between spiritual truth (what we learn from our covenants) and cultural “truth” (what we learn from our LDS subculture). For many Latter-day Saints, particularly in areas were the majority of the population is LDS, there is no distinction. It’s all one and the same.
And that’s where I disagree with being active in the gospel. Sometimes we define the gospel to contain elements outside our covenants. None of us ever covenanted to be perfect. Yet far too often we feel guilty for not having the perfect scripture study session or praying the perfect prayer. We singles lament our “imperfection” of singleness because that prevents us from having the perfect family while our married friends lament whatever prevents them from being the perfect spouse or perfect parent or having their own perfect family.
We never covenanted to do or to be any of that. If you doubt that, look no farther than in the prayer to administer the sacrament.
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
Did you catch that? We don’t covenant to be perfect. We covenant to be willing to strive towards perfection. That’s not just a subtle difference. That’s a huge difference.
Christ is the difference
I’ve never claimed to be anything other than a walking construction zone. Sometimes that means a building is still unfinished. As an introvert, I’ve always struggled with reaching out to other people and initiating conversation, especially one centered around sharing the gospel. I know missionary work is true and important, but I’ve always struggled with the personal application.
Sometimes being a walking construction zone means a building that was once erected has deteriorated or fallen down. Right now I’m struggling with home teaching. It wasn’t always that way. I used to visit all my families every month. But now I’m questioning my own participation in home teaching.
For many years, I sacrificed to serve. Now I need someone to reach out to serve me, but no one is there for me. I know that home teaching is true and important, but I’m struggling with the idea of supporting others when I myself need supporting.
If I were a typical Latter-day Saint, I’d feel really guilty about being less than perfect. Good thing I’m not your typical Latter-day Saint.
I’m not perfect, but I am willing to strive after it. Sure, I’m not doing my duty because I have questions — questions that I haven’t abandoned, questions for which I continue to search for answers. The moment I set my questions aside is the moment I quit trying. And that’s the moment that I truly break my covenants.
As we strive to follow our Lord Jesus Christ, we will all fall short somehow. Perfection in this life is impossible. That’s why the Savior is so central to everything we believe. Christ makes the difference between what we can do and what we need to be. Relying on Him to make that difference for you is a huge part of accepting His atoning sacrifice for yourself.
Yes, being perfect is a commandment. But it’s one that we aren’t expected to complete in this mortal life. All we are expected to do in this mortal life is to strive to do what we can. So long as we keep picking ourselves back up after we fall, God will keep accepting us. So long as we keep trying, we keep our covenant to be willing to live as much of the gospel as we can.
If you find yourself struggling with guilt and achieving an unrealistic ideal for yourself, please stop struggling and start evaluating what you do. Simply going through the motions of Church activity will offer no true and lasting joy because no life on autopilot can. Don’t be active. Be committed — committed to keep trying always. You truly fail only when you truly stop trying.
Choose your eternity
Owning your life is one of the most important things you can do to maximize joy in life. When you own your life, you accept responsibility for your life. That attitude frees you to move forward and enjoy your journey.
But much joy in our journey depends also on our approach. Habits inconsistent with our desired destination will stymie our progress.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Start with this question: Do you want to be single forever, or do you want to be married forever?
This seemingly simple question can easily deceive. Many of us are our own worst obstacle to our desired life, and we don’t even know it. To turn that around, we must first increase our awareness. After all, you can’t eliminate ineffective habits without recognizing them.
We naturally assume our approach to anything needs no adjustment. But that assumption doesn’t hold when you’re approach doesn’t deliver results. Insanity is expecting different results while doing the same things — and thinking the same way.
Many singles have a list of desired qualities in a companion. Defining your destination can help you know when you’ve arrived. But it can also hold you back from ever arriving. That’s especially true if the items on your list really aren’t that important.
I’ve heard all sorts of excuses (and that’s really all they are — excuses) for why a potential companion won’t work. Said person is too short or too tall, too poor or too rich, too fat or too thin, on and on and on.
When we don’t stop to question our approach, excuses transform us into our biggest obstacle.
For example, you may want someone wealthy to rescue you from financial burden. That’s completely understandable. But rejecting potential companions who can’t send your financial problems packing with the stroke of a pen or the swipe of a card but who could otherwise be very good for you is just keeping you single. Do you want to be single forever, or do you want to be married forever?
Don't limit your possibilities
Yet that's exactly what many singles do. We rationalize that opportunities aren’t worth taking if they don’t get us the end we want. And we want to protect ourselves from being hurt. So we apply stringent filters at the start of the process. And we thereby eliminate many worthy and wonderful companions from our consideration.
Do you want to be single forever? If so, keep doing what you’re doing. For most of us, that seems to be working pretty well. But if you want to be married forever — and a forever marriage presumes you’re married to the right type of person — then you need to change not just your actions but also your thinking.
When the Savior arrived in this world, He didn’t appear as many expected. Yet He was still the most pivotal person on the planet. The Prophet Joseph didn’t match what many people expected a prophet to be. Yet he was still called to restore the gospel. In our search for eternal companionship, should we not also consider that said person might not appear as we expect?
And if we accept that idea, should we not then consider that perhaps our filters on the front end of the road to temple marriage might be too stringent or unnecessary?
Do you want to be single forever? Or do you want to be married forever?
No one wants to be hurt. But you have to risk pain to get the relationship you want.
If you want to be single forever, go ahead and keep protecting yourself from any emotional risk. That’s pretty effective at keeping people single. But if you want to be married forever, you need to accept the possibility of pain. And you need to question your approach. Only then will you step out of your own way so that the life you want can come to you.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly Internet radio show and podcast to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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