Sunday, December 20, 2009

For the first time in a while...

For the first time in what would appear to be ages Salina has felt like home. While there I have been happy. I have been among my family members.
Personally I say home is where the heart is. This statement has proven my downfall a couple of times (for instance, I spent several MONTHS feeling like Brazil was my home), but overall it has made some of life's transitions easier for me, especially if I want to go there.
Saratoga Springs became my physical home about nine months ago. However, it only became my heart's home about 6 months ago (6 at most). I now love being in Saratoga Springs for many reasons. But I finally feel like I'm going home when I make my way south on highway 89, just as much as I feel like I'm going home when I head north on 89.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The last year in review

As a missionary in Brazil I used to write a review of the previous six months. This included my accomplishments, my thoughts and my feelings of what had happened and a personal evaluation of my growth and progress. I have been home well over a year now and, as yet, have not written a review. I elect to do so now.
Thirteen, almost fourteen months ago, I did one of the hardest things I think I've done. After spending two years among a people I initially found strange I found myself loving them. I was teaching, leading, learning, and growing at an incredible rate. My faith seemed to grow. I was happy doing what I was. Yet I knew that my days as a full-time missionary were limited and that I would return to my home soon enough. It tore my heart in pieces to think about it. I honestly didn't want to leave behind the work I was doing. One day while praying I told the Lord that I would return because He wanted me to come back. Several reasons exist for this, but I'll not mention them in this post. The hardest part of serving a mission wasn't serving nor was it leaving my family and certainly was not going to a strange place that didn't speak my language. Not at all. The hardest part was leaving it all behind and coming back to Utah. Even being back in Utah my heart spent several more months in Brazil. The hardest part of serving a mission was coming home, both body and soul.
Once home I had to step into the world of dating. I tried a super-long-distance relationship by internet, but when it was clear to me that I wasn't going to be able to see her I let her go. My next choice was okay, but still immature. I met another gorgeous young lady who had received her mission call to Brasilia, Brazil. We had a good friendship and even went to dinner together once. However I wrestled within myself and the choice that lay before me: do I press to be a closer friend (and risk robbing her of her mission) or do I back away and let her serve and be supportive of her choice to serve a mission. I chose the latter, despite personal desires.
From then I spent a month trying to woo a girl who probably wasn't that into me. Despite feeling, on occasion, that I wasted so much time and effort and money I added experience to my learning bank. So I count the time and effort as being well spent. And I learned a little about kissing too. By now I say by experience that it is worth waiting until after serving a mission to start serious dating and kissing. Just make sure first that this person is someone you would marry. Seriously examine their character with the eyes of reason. Emotions blind and deceive.
Since then I've been on a few dates and even dated one more girl and wanted to date another, but the situation didn't go that direction. So I find myself still single, but looking.
In the last year I've seen, the separation and divorce of my parents, the apostasy of my sister, the birth of my beautiful niece, the death of my deputy sheriff uncle, a Mindy Gledhill concert, a friend go away to college, another come home from a mission, and yet one more leave for a mission, Glacier National Park, miles of Montana fields and mountains, Yellowstone National Park, Bear World, miles of I-15 in Idaho, Mesquite NV, the lights on temple square, beautiful sunrises, snow, and family recover from divorce.
The last year has been a good one. Immeasurable growth has come of doing what I was hesitant, if not initially unwilling, to do. I've grown from experiences and learned more about myself. I've seen in myself and in others what I didn't expect to see. I've received direction from the Lord in a few matters and I hope and have faith that it was for the best.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Unique character

This Friday I found myself jobless. I have been laid off from my construction job. The very thing that I had, at times, complained of stealing all my time is gone for a season. I fought the urge to despair. As often happens, my thoughts began to drift and question why I had lost my job, why I wasn't staying on, etc. But these questions were only bringing me hopelessness and sorrow. I need to hang onto hope and faith. The Lord gave me that job. He can give me another, as I diligently seek one out.
Rather than wallow in sorrow and seek out loads of comfort/junk food I went out and about. I ran a couple of errands. I read and finished a good book. Once again my unique character came forward. As much as I think it would be normal to fall into sorrow and grief and as much as I would expect myself to do so, I did not. After all, I am atypical. I respond differently. Once at home I applied for unemployment benefits. I also found myself talking to Brother Reynolds, one of the men I most admire from the Salina Stake. He asked how I was doing and complimented me on a few things. I never once had considered that I might have been an example in the stake, occasionally my family or the ward, but not to local leadership. He thanked me for my example and told me that he wants to be like me when he grows up (this is coming from a man who has sent his three kids on separate missions, two of whom are already home). So it is that I find more faith to press forward and continue shining a light. My unique character is to shine forth the light of God and glorify Him.