Changes, Journeys, and Me
Our branch just lost something near and dear to us in the form of a wonderful family. They're currently on their way to the Salt Lake Valley, where their new life is waiting for them. And even though they only pulled away a few hours ago, the absence is already beginning to make its presence known.
This family was the first LDS family I ever met. Their two oldest sons worked with me in a martial arts summer camp the summer after I ended one of the hardest times of my life. I can honestly say that their friendship saved my life that summer. At a time when I was broken and lost, their family stepped in to show me where peace could be found. They stood by my side as I searched for that peace, and found the embrace of my Savior. They rejoiced with me at my baptism--the father was actually the one who baptized and confirmed me. His wife allowed me the honor of wearing her temple dress that day. Their children have been a remarkable inspiration to me, showing me the wonderful fruits of a gospel-centered family. I've shared in the love that reaches out to and kindles any heart that finds itself in their home, and it's a feeling I won't soon forget--a feeling I will seek for the rest of my life if I have to. Because of everything I've seen since I met them, I not only believe in miracles, I'm not afraid to seek them out; the confidence that has made all of the difference in my life.
It's almost hard to imagine what life in the Church will be like without them, their presence and influence has been so powerful, so crucial to building the foundation of my new life. And even though I understand that my spiritual maturity and their future requires them to leave, I know I will miss them terribly. I will miss them as if they were my own--because in so many ways, that's what they mean to me.
Our branch actually threw a huge potluck party to wish their family well last night. An evening of taking pictures, talking, laughing, and pretending things weren't going to change for just one more night. But since I don't believe in saying goodbye, I had no other options but to wish each of them the best for their journey and their new life--the same as they did for me all those years ago. It was no easy task (especially with my boyfriend) because I knew it would be half a year before I would see them again--if, my brain reminded me, I was ever to see them again in this life. But I couldn't think like that if I was going to remain tearless. And I'm glad to say, tearless I remained--even when my boyfriend stood waving to me as my ride returned me to the part of the world that is never quite as warm as his life is to me.
But as the scriptures have been teaching me for years, "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Psalm 30: 5) I checked my e-mail this morning, and gasped when I saw the message from "CES Admissions" sandwiched between my Daily Book of Mormon reading and my e-mail from Borders. Upon checking my application status, I discovered that I've been accepted for the Fall 2008-09 semester; meriting the spazziest dance of jubilee I've done in public lately.
I always swore I'd leave my hometown and reach for something more. I almost didn't make it because of some really attractive options I started to consider--the option my mother would still have me pursue. But in light of recent of events, I realize that we all have our journeys to make. And sometimes, you have to look past the sorrow of those who care about you to see your destination, the dream that can drive you 3,000 miles towards what you really want.
Like so many others before me I've heard the call to head west. And now that the sonorous desire echoes in my heart, I won't walk away.