Hi I'm Ryan
My wife and I are expecting our 4th child next month. We live in NY - I work for a record company. And I am a Mormon.
I am 37. I feel younger than that - don’t we all. But I expect the arrival of child #4 next month will change that. When my wife and I got married we wanted 6 kids. Until we had one. But we’re still having fun - although 4 is THE LAST - but that’s what I said after the last one. I work in the music industry. My kids think that means I listen to music all day - which I don't. I still don’t know what I’m going to do when I grow up. Working with music is much too fun to be a real job. My wife thinks I’m just in denial and I need to accept it. She’s usually right. When I was 19 I left college to serve as an LDS missionary for 2 years in Seoul, Korea - that’s where I first started to think about someone other than myself. You’d think growing up in a home with 6 brothers and sisters would have taught me that already – but I was stubborn. I would not be the same man I am today without having taken those 2 years and committed to something bigger than myself. Since I returned home 16 years ago, not a day has passed when I don’t think of my time as a missionary.
Why I am a Mormon
My wife and I use the phrase “in the zone” to describe a feeling we have when we are our best selves. When I’m less selfish, more helpful and supportive, and less critical. When I listen more and talk less. When my heart is soft and my mind is at peace. When I play more with my kids. When I’m more honest, both with myself and with others. When I’m optimistic and excited about our future. When I need things less and people more. When I’m less prideful and more open minded. My family likes me more when I’m “in the zone”. My friends, my co-workers – even I like myself more and trust me, so would you – the alternative gets ugly. I am Mormon because I want to be better. And I can’t do it alone. Life is complicated – and the older I get the more I realize that the maze only gets deeper. And the answers are not in the self-help books or mind control games or diet plans. The only way I’ve found is through the power of Jesus Christ. Because Christ knows me: the good, the bad and the ugly. And because He believes in me. That gives me hope. No matter how hard it gets or how many times I fail, He will show me how to heal, and step by step, how to be my best self. Just like I feel for my own son. My oldest son is almost ten years old. And he struggles. He gets frustrated easily. I see him trying, but sometimes he just can’t. It breaks my heart to see him hurt, sad or lonely. I would do ANYTHING for him – to make him feel better, and to help him make himself feel better so that when I’m not around he’ll be OK. Like Christ does for me. Religion isn’t a study of theology – it’s a way of life. For me, being Mormon means finding real ways, through Christ, to be a better person, to find peace, and to help my family. It’s very personal and it’s part of my everyday life. Because being a better Ryan takes A LOT more time than Sundays. I have a long way to go. I’m not nearly as good as I should be, especially considering all I’ve been given to work with. But I’m trying. And that’s what being Mormon is all about – to just keep trying to be better through Christ.
How I live my faith
Living my faith is in the details. In fact, some of my work colleagues are shocked when they find out I’m a Mormon. Yes, Mormons DO LISTEN TO MUSIC!. I don’t wear my religion on my sleeve. I don’t hide it either. It’s saying my prayers - and not just when I need something. Being Mormon means nothing if I don't have a relationship with my Heavenly Father. That is the core of my Faith, and for me the best way is to talk with him. This summer I'm trying something new: during my prayer before I sleep, I only focus on the things I'm grateful for - I don't ask for anything. This helps me identify the blessings of the day and all I've been given. Then, in the morning and throughout the day I make my requests. So far I like it. The other essential detail for me is taking the time to study my scriptures every day. There is something powerful and inexplicable in reading the Book of Mormon and the Bible that immediately effects my mood - that smooths the hard spots over and puts things into perspective. Those are the foundation of living my faith: scriptures and prayer. They put me "in the zone" and everything starts from there.