Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mercies in Disguise (Three Years Later)

Another reflection post? Yeah. What's the occasion today? Well, three years ago today, I was dropped off at the airport by President Brower, had my last conversation with Elder Call as a missionary, and flew home to be picked up by my parents in Alberta.

I remember being worried about going home, going back to Provo, calling a couple of my friends (with no warning that I was coming home), and being back at BYU as a 19-year-old RM. I remember fear. I remember relief. I remember sadness (though no tears came, but I wish they had). I remember vividly that day... The hardest day of my life.

It's been a long road coming to terms with what happened that day. For 11 months, I strived to get back into the mission field and for three months I got my wish in Calgary. In coming back from Calgary, I felt unfulfilled because of some negative experiences that happened there. However as I've grown, as time has passed, and as I have worked through my scars, I have seen how I have been changed and how each experience had taught me something and been for my good.

Many of my followers on this blog did not even know me when this blog started, nor do they likely even know why it started. Unlike many SSA/Gay Mormon blogs out there, this blog did not begin because of SSA. This blog began because of my mission, or rather because I didn't know if I'd be able to serve. After I came home from Toronto, this blog was about trying to go back. I guess because of that it makes sense as to why my blog stayed mostly dormant until last October when my readership exploded (currently my “coming out” post has over 1700 hits since October).

However, the purpose of this blog is still the same. The theme is still the same: "For a Wise Purpose". I thought I knew in January 2010 what that scripture meant. I thought I understood what it meant for all of my experiences to be for a purpose. Maybe I still don't understand. However, I understand a lot better than I did when I started this blog, when I left for Toronto, when I came home, and every experience that has happened since.

I recall a song (it was actually sung as a duet at the June North Star fireside by Ty Mansfield and Katharine Matis Adams) by Christian singer Laura Story that has helped teach me some if these principles recently. The song is called Blessings and I'd like to share part of it. "What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy? ... What if trials if this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights, are your mercies in disguise?" I don't want to go into the song too much, because I talk about it a lot in my Voices of Hope essay, but this song hit home. My greatest desire was to serve Him, but that was not in His plan for me. As a result, coming home became my greatest disappointment. However I have come to understand that my Father knew me better and knew what I needed. And I didn't need the mission field. My place was back here at BYU, my home.

Again, it has taken work, time, and tears for me to get to where I am that the loss of my mission doesn't feel so much like a loss. I feel more aligned to the will of the Lord, being a light and example where I am, instead if where I wish I could have been. Sometimes it's painful to know that of I knew what I knew now, I don't think I would have had to come home... And yet at the same time, would I have learned and grown the way I have had I not come home? No, I wouldn't have. I am the man I am now because the Lord knew me well enough and loves me enough that He hurt me and brought me home.

I know that it is through the Atonement of my Savior that I have been able to grow and I have been better than I once was.

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