Thursday, August 6, 2015

Damaged Good

In recent months, I've come to realize that I'm not alone on the path that I've thought the Lord set
forth for me. A few months ago, a close friend of mine named Ben returned home from his mission in Texas due to a serious lung infection. He spent some time in the hospital being pumped full of some cocktail of drugs, hoping that things would finally be cleared up. After spending a decent amount of time at home,  he returned to his mission in Texas only to be sent home another few months later with the same infection (sound a little familiar?).

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Ben's homecoming. While he and his mother shared their testimonies, my mind continually reflected on one thought, "He stands where I stood one year ago." My heart began to ache knowing what he and so many others are going through at this difficult stage. Rememberance of all the feelings of doubt and shame and worthlesness filled my mind and I wanted nothing more than to shake Ben and say, "It will all be ok!" But in all reality, it won't be ok, it will be even better! 

Returning home earlier literally installed in my mind the thoughts that I was "damaged goods" or worth less to God than I used to. I put on my blinders and focused on my seemingly now apparent imperfections. 

In a talk by Brad Wilcox, he describes a piece of marble he kept in his office. It was a beautiful polished egg or something of the like. He said it wasn't beautiful because of the shape of the stone or the smoothness of the finish; it was beautiful because of the streaks in the stone. The imperfections didn't ruin the stone, but instead made it unique and valuable.
While is seemed so hard for me to see my new "imperfection" as a blessing that is creating the  Priesthood holder I'm meant to be, I have come to understand the reasoning behind why the Lord called me home early. He truly has a plan for me.

Looking back at the year I've had, I now stand amazed at all that the Lord has blessed me with! Because I was sent home, through a crazy series events, I now have a job as an audio technician which has led to other amazing opportunities such as Vocal Point and private gigs! I'm involved with the presidency of the neuroscience club along with other service organizations. I was led into research, allowing me to design and create a study and lab to treat a condition affecting 20 million people! I have met many individuals I'm sure will be life long friends that I wouldn't have met in any other situation. I have had the opportunity to meet hundreds of amazing youth as an EFY counselor and see their lives changed by the Atonement; something I couldn't have done if I didn't come home early.

My life is nothing like I planned, but more than I could have hoped for! Through what appeared to be tragedy in my eyes, the Lord has created many tremendous miracles. In the words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "Don't give up, boy. Don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead--a lot of it--30 years of it now, and still counting. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come." I testify, that that is true. There are good things to come. God will never leave us hanging. In the times that we feel utterly alone and completely helpless, He will be there.