The day is finally here!!! As I type this, I'm on the train headed to Rochester. There will be someone there from Pageant to drive me to the Hill Cumorah. I can't believe it's finally here! Being out here, I have had the opportunity to reflect on a few things.
First, it's been nearly seven months since I got my acceptance to Pageant. December 15 was the exact day, actually (the blessing of keeping a journal). I'll be honest: the past seven months haven't been easy. Even earlier that day, December 15, I was having an super emotional day. Throughout the whole thing, I've moved twice, I've had friendship/dependency issues, and I had one of the most difficult semesters of my college career (coincidentally it was also the most successful semester I've had). I didn't realize it until recently when David pointed it out to me, but these trials could have easily been reasons to doubt my faith. While it didn't cross my mind to cancel my trip and drop out of Pageant, if I had chosen to doubt my faith, it would have made the trip pointless. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who has patiently and gently (sometimes less gently when I need a good shove or a smack to the face spiritually) taught me and brought me to where I am now. I have a stronger testimony now of His love and His perfect timing. One hard day in particular, I remember crying and grieving a struggle I was going through. Once I was done, humbled, and ready to listen to truth, a phone call came from the exact friend I needed (literally, just as I was finished crying my phone vibrated). God is there and I know He loves me.
Second reflection: it's been five years since I was in the cast of the Pageant before. That was before I started BYU. It was before I started this blog. It was before my mission. It was before I even accepted that SSA was really a part of my life, as opposed to just attached to my addiction (I don't think I've written here on that, but I mention it in my Voices of Hope essay and possibly my video). It was five years ago that I really first felt free of that addiction. In fact it was at Pageant that that miracle began. A lot has happened in the past five years: I've done several years at BYU, I left on my mission (twice), I came home from my mission (twice), I opened up to EVERYONE in my life about my SSA (that dark secret that I was never going to tell ANYONE), I have worked through (and continue to work through) feelings of dependency and codependency, I have made amazing friends, and (arguably most importantly) I have begun to accept my Heavenly Father's love and to believe that I am worthy of love. I am happier now than I remember being in a long time and largely that is because I've chosen to be happy. Life isn't always pleasant and I have bad days, but life is always worth living and it is always worth striving to be happy. As is mentioned various times in Pageant (quoting Alma) I have "felt a change in [my] heart" and I know that that change has come through the Savior Jesus Christ. He is the whole reason this Pageant is happening. He is the whole reason anything happens. Without Him, all of this mortal experience would be wasted.
I'm a couple hours away from Rochester, so I'll close this now. I'll try to make updates while I'm gone, but I just want to leave my testimony (the same as the last line from the Pageant--unless I'm remembering incorrectly): He lives and He will come again.