Saturday, February 23

The Last Night of the World

"Our lives will change when tomorrow comes
Tonight our hearts drown the distant drums"
- Miss Saigon

I've been thinking a lot about my mission lately. About the successes and the trials and the hard times. When I was on it, I thought it would never end. Despite the difficulties, I worked hard. It was up and down, but mostly down. Some companions were difficult, some wards provided no help at all, some investigators showed so much promise only to give up when they were so close.

I remember knocking doors in the pouring down rain, riding my bike home when I was completely soaked, my scriptures completely ruined--and I thought then, what a beautiful way to end a mission. Sure it was hard, unbearable at times--and yet, it made me a person who wanted more than anything to be like the Savior.

My last night I stayed up until 4:00am. After all the other missionaries had gone to bed, I stayed up and read the great missionary passages of scripture: Alma 26 and Alma 29, D&C 4 and 18, and others. I wrote in my journal. I thought about the journey that had brought me to that point. I thought about being in the temple the day before, how I felt peace and satisfaction with the results of my mission. I could honestly say that I'd done the best I knew how for two years, I had given all I had to the Lord--nothing more and nothing less.

"I didn't want to go to bed last night because I knew as soon as I woke up all of this would be over," I wrote in my journal.

Despite two years of laboring hard, trying to lose myself I sat there unaware of what the future held for me. I knew that I was still "gay," only now more than ever I had no idea what that meant. I wanted more than anything to stay in the safety and security of missionary service. And yet, I knew when I woke up, that I'd have to move forward with my life and figure out how to fight an even bigger battle that lay in store for me.

I'd learned a lot on my mission, but I didn't know how to deal with what home-life would bring. I'd lost much of the motivation to read the scriptures and have an 'endure to the end' perspective. With no wife, no kids, no family, where was my future? I'd looked forward for so long to my mission, I didn't have any idea of what to do afterward.

And so here I am. More than a mission later. And unlike my missionary self, I can't say that I've given Him everything, that I've tried my hardest and done my best. I've fallen and faltered and failed. I've been so close to walking away, to throwing it away and part of me still wants to.

Where did that young Elder go--the one who would do whatever the Lord asked, no matter how hard or lonely or pointless it seemed? I miss him, and I'm sure that he misses me.

6 comments:

  1. I remember when I came home from my mission, I set some life goals for myself. I was going to get, at least, a Masters degree in college, possibly even a PhD. I was going to learn to play the organ. And, the list goes on and on.

    Now I'm sitting here some 30 years later - and I haven't accomplished any of those life goals that I set for myself, and I don't think I ever will. But, my life has still been a success - just not the type of success I thought I should accomplish.

    We all have regrets. We all, at times, take a look at the direction our life has taken and wonder how things would be different if only we had done things differently. We all have our could-a, would-a, should-a's.

    Occasionally looking back can be healthy because it allows us to continually reassess our lives and make course corrections. But, we need to be careful not to wallow in it. We need to keep moving forward - that's all Heavenly Father really asks of us.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "With no wife, no kids, no family, where was my future?"
    I feel the same way. Well said.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had a lot of issues leaving my mission. I wanted to so badly, but I wanted to stay so much as well. Life after the mission has been a roller coaster, but I've gotten through it, thankfully.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I read a talk long ago - I can't remember who gave it - that said something like; "The Lord never moves. He is constant. Fixed. Unwaivering. When we feel far away from him, it is because WE have moved; drifted. Not Him. He is still there, where he always is, longing for us to draw near to him again."

    Neal

    ReplyDelete
  5. I loved this entry. It was awesome. I got back from my mission 2 years ago and feel the same way. I remember feeling the same way the night I left the field as well. What a beautiful way to express it.

    ReplyDelete