My boss from the physical therapy clinic back east called me earlier to ask if I was coming back to work for them next summer. To tell her (and myself) that I would leave this place, this wonderful campus that has become the closest thing to home that I have ever known (outside of the temple), it was excruciating to admit to myself. She caught me on my way to my English class this morning, so I thankfully didn't have time to dwell much on my sadness. Afterwards, I returned to my dorm, tried not to think much about anything specific, and fell asleep in my bed.
I woke up to my phone's loud emission of Stairway to Heaven, answered the call, and was greeted by the familiar voice of one of my high school friends. We talked for at least an hour, possibly even two. It was so good to hear how he has been adjusting to college, and his call reassured me of a lot of things in regards to going back east; that I would have friends to see, things to accomplish, and ways to survive until I could actually come back to Provo.
I told him about my experiences here, and to share with him how much closer I've drawn to Christ since I've been here was absolutely inevitable. He is also a Christian, and not of the variety that has ever judged me for being LDS, and like so many times in our past it was easy for me to talk about my faith with him--which is great, because otherwise we would have had almost nothing else to talk about. I told him about my decision to serve a mission for the Church, and he said that based on his experience with me, I would do a great job of leading people and being a source of strength to others the same way I had in high school... I was unaware that his opinion of me was so high, that I had ever had such an impact on the people there. It gave me confidence in the good that might actually come by leaving Provo, as much as it'll hurt to do so.
And then, all thoughts of myself simply vanished. I realized that I needed to do something for this dear friend of mine, to show him how much his friendship has meant to me for all this time--something selfless and eternal, if I could manage it.
"Can you do me a favor and Facebook me your address? I want to send you something."
And within moments, I had everything I needed to proceed. We exchanged heartfelt goodbyes, and I was off to the bookstore to do what I had wanted to do for so long.
I bought a copy of the Book of Mormon in his native Korean, complete with a small, green hymnal. There were other things on the small shelf, but I couldn't even begin to guess what they were. I went with what I felt were the essentials. It was the best ten dollars I spent this week.
It wasn't until tonight that I finished the card, which started out as the most awkward letter on the face of the earth until I remembered to pray. Afterwards, the words flowed poetically, fluidly, until I had filled both sides of the small card with a thank-note and a small piece of my testimony. I plan to take the small bundle to the mail room first thing tomorrow morning and get it shipped to him. I'm so excited to see what will come of this. Within a week or so, I'll have my answer.
Since one of my dear friends here in Provo just received his mission call (Anchorage, Alaska--Spanish speaking), and with the prospect of a mission of my own becoming more and more a part of my life with each passing moment, my heart swells with joy to be involved in this work--even though I don't have a call to look forward to any time soon.
I guess for now, I don't really need one to do good in this world. This is my fourth copy that I've placed, probably the easiest so far, and my first in a foreign language. I think it does get easier with practice. I'll be interested to see how the experience of giving them out to people I know compares with giving them out to total strangers. I'm of the opinion that placing copies with strangers HAS to be easier than what I've already been through. I think it'll also be a nice difference. Even if all that happens is getting a door slammed in my face, repeatedly, there has to be less turmoil in that than the anxiety of the thought that my parents and family might never actually get what I'm trying to say to them.
But for now, I find a lot of joy in the preparation. I bought the missionary reference library, Preach My Gospel, and the missionary handbook. Right now, I'm trying to implement the whole sleeping 8-hours-a-night thing. Because I enjoy napping, I fail miserably at this for the moment. I'm studying the scriptures by taking the most challenging religion courses I can find, and taking as many of them as my schedule will permit. I'm even getting a taste of the dating turmoil of a lot of the guys I've met. I want to start practicing with the discussions, but I'm not even sure where to begin with that--which is kind of stupid because I actually HAD the discussions. But I was so ready to be baptized before I even took those discussions, and had so many other questions on my mind, I hardly paid attention. I imagine it's like that for a lot of people. I should probably keep that in mind as well.
I'm really blessed to be where I am right now. I'm confident that this will happen, and will do everything in my power to prepare in what time I have left before I can put my papers in. I'll be able to write to my new friends as they leave on their missions, asking them questions and learning from their experiences as much as is possible for them to write to me. But most importantly--with each new experience I have counseling with the Lord to consecrate my efforts, the more affirmations I receive that what I'm doing is the right thing, and that's so beautiful to me; that He knows the desires of my heart and will give me this experience that I already crave so much.
Considering the structural travesty of that last sentence and the fact that I've already used "Facebook" as a verb, I think it's time I signed off. I certainly have a lot of work to do.
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