so a little bit of perspective from me- it's not worth much but it's my monologue so it might cause judgment to enter your mind but we're only human so i understand if you judge- hopefully it's a good verdict! ok so moving on.
i believe the hardest part about coming home from a mission- especially a mission cut short (which is a whole other wheelbarrel of issues!)- is that you go from having amazing spiritual experiences every second while you're awake!
and you're awake from 6:30 (or earlier) till 10:30... so let's calculate that... 64,800 spiritual experiences a day!!! Go from that amazing number to trying to AT LEAST squeeze one out a day! it's ridiculous! it's like having withdrawals from prednisone all over again!
how do you ween yourself off a mission? you don't.... because you need to be 100% productive up to the last second. you can't just decide "okay, i have six months left- i will cut the spirituality down a little bit each day till the end" WHAT? no way jose (let's not get side tracked with the question of where did this "jose" phrase come from?? this really is northern mexico!! ok anyways) so.... no way jose! you need to be 100% working hard and spirit-led..... as you leave your companion and you're at the airport by yourself - while you're still on the plane- as you sit on the couch in front of your stake president- you still need to be in this 64,800 mode!! till well forever is the goal..... but it's impossible when you have family, work, school, and life opened up to you in a split second!
you don't swim for 1.5 years (i mean this figuratively- even though you don't swim for 1.5 years literally too!!) and then you're hit with a tidal wave. genius!!!
so this was just a little bit of one of my baby issues for the public. but what i do wanna blog about today is the fact that spirituality can be with you and you can be spirit-led on or off the mission! i'll get there.... eventually. one day at a time. one hour at a time.
one great spiritual enlightening i had this week was when taryn, dad, and i were sitting around the table..... if you know my life on a personal level- you'll know where this conversation stemmed from. or who or what situation or where it came from!
we're sitting there and i just straight up ask my dad if he would like to help me understand the parable of Christ, our loving perfect Savior, leaving the 99 sheep for the 1. I understand that EACH soul is precious and EACH life is worth it for Christ to do all he does for us and be our Redeemer. But (which sounds HORRIBLE to have a but)...BUT.... what exactly are we supposed to learn from this and how can we apply it to our lives to become Christ-like?I am just a little confused..... Do you leave 99 willing, happy, following souls for that 1 soul who wants nothing to do with you, mocks you, and spits on you? Do you upset 99 people for that 1 person who ruins everyone else's circumstances. There are many things that were said to this conversation but here is what i learned... and it was humbling!!
i can't believe some of these things were new to me- out of 108,864,000 spiritual experiences (which is a mission of 6 months) this beautiful message was never absorbed by me.
First of all, Christ left the 99 in a group! They supported each other and 99 sheep don't just disperse from each other the second the shepherd is gone. Generally, they stay in their pack for a few hours without the shepherd and they can sustain themselves for a few moments- the shepherd can't leave forever but he isn't herding them every micro-step of the way. Well that's interesting. Never thought of that..... this taught me many things. And one of them being that i need to not be so dang introverted- I need to let other people know what's going on with me- i know that might seem hilarious to some ppl to think of me as introverted but i choose to be at certain moments- at the worst times sometimes- the times when i should be leaning on other people, i'm all curled up by my lonesome.... anyways.
Then my intelligent amazing father went on to teach me more.
He reminded me that it's not just the sheep analogy in that part of the Bible. There are three stories and they are in a row the way they are.....on purpose! i now know this- before i thought they were just clustered together because they related. but not in any specific order! i'm a fool!
The first one- the coin. That woman turned the house upside down looking for that coin. It was lost! Not because it was the coin's fault! It was just lost and it wasn't taken very good care of. Poor coin! And it was of great value! As my dad was deepening my understanding of this I realized it's like so many people out in the world- that are in circumstances and lost places. Not because they knew they were screwing up or knew they were doing something totally harmful- they just became lost! Thank God (literally-in my prayers daily!) for missionaries. For all Christians and God-loving and good-hearted Samaritans who reach out to those less aware of God or of good morals! They are lost and we need to turn up the intensity to search for them!
The second one- the sheep. That dumb little sheep. Just had his head down and focused on the grass and then a little while later- he is stinkin' lost! Ah crud! He didn't do it on purpose- or he didn't realize he was choosing the grass over the heard!
He didn't look at the grass, look back the shepherd, look at the grass, look back at the herd, look at the grass, look back at the shepherd and then finally decide- ah the heck with it- i'm choosing this grass! He's a foolish sheep for goodness sake not some mastermind betrayer! How grateful we should all be to have a mindful, loving shepherd to go out of his way to help us find our way!
The third one- the prodigal son. What did the father do? Go out to the city and search for his son? No, he waited. But once he saw the son repenting- he ran out to him! RAN!!! Now I also like to think that the Father prolly kept tabs on his son the whole time- He has connections :) He's a wealthy father after all!!! So in my heart, He was aware of His son and more there than we think... but the son..... that prideful child....the Father needed the all-too-well-knowing son who turned his back on his dad on purpose- to change and come back! He's always waiting!! Now the prodigal son parable has many layers to it but that's the one layer I'm touching on today!
Isn't it interesting?? I can't believe I never put those three parables quite in that order and realized that the objects that are sought after are so key!!!
1. The coin
2. The sheep
3. The son
Souls on different levels of understanding and lost-ness! To an extent, we're all lost on some level!
I'm so grateful for my dad and my heavenly dad! They both teach me so much! Even though my dad spoke the words (which he learned from someone just as wise as him in his past), the way I was really taught was through the Spirit. My dad spoke the words, and the Spirit carried the words straight to my box of "Yah this is truth" in my brain, heart, soul, etc!!!
Even though life is a zoo and I literally feel like I'm stuck in a pile of elephant dung- it's not so bad! It'll wash off.
I hope you got through this post- because even though I blog a lot- post like these seem more important than the rest!
I know God is legit and He is mindful and loving.
As my lovely friend the pentecostal sang "Our God is an awesome God!!!" It's true! He has given us so much! The atonement! Eternal life! The Bible! The Book of Mormon! The prophets! The family unit! The temples! The sacrament! The Holy Spirit! The unconditional love and chances and His patient waiting!