Before I left the mission, President Cleveland had an interview with me, He told me that he sincerely felt that this is what Heavenly Father needed me to do... to go home. He told me that I should move on with my life, jump back into school, start dating again, work hard, and focus on the future. So that's what I did. Since returning home I registered and began classes again at BYU (this semester is kicking my butt), I have moved twice, received 3 promotions at work, and been on a jillion first dates. I am sincerely trying to move on with my life... but sometimes, something pulls me back. Something inside of me pricks my heart. My thoughts go a little crazy.
"If I move on, people might think I am too happy to be home... that I chose to be home, that I wanted to be here. If I move on, I might forget the person I became on my mission. If I move on, I might forget the changes I made, and the lessons I learned. If I move on, maybe the people I loved there will move on too, and all will be for nothing. If I move on, will it even have mattered?"
These thoughts circulate and ruminate. I know that in reality, they are false. But when they enter my mind, they feel so real, and reality feels so far off.
Returning home early from a mission has been the hardest thing I have ever had to face. It has tested me in every aspect that I ever imagined; spiritually, socially, mentally, physically, and emotionally. A lot of the time I fail at those tests. Sometimes I can't help but succumb to the pain. I let it engulf me; I become the star actor in my own Shakespeare tragedy. Sometimes, life just punches you in the face!
However, I have discovered a thing or two about pain; about punches. Without pain and without punches, you would never learn to HEAL.
Healing is different than moving on. Moving on... it reminds me of packing up everything and leaving and never looking back. Whenever my family goes camping, on the last day there, as we pack up, my dad always says, "let's make sure we leave this place better than when we came." We pick up every tiny piece of trash or plastic or paper or anything that isn't a natural part of the forest. We leave no trace. We move on.
I don't ever want to move on from Indiana, and from being a missionary. Because I want to leave a trace on the people in Indiana, and I want them, and their lessons I learned, to continue to leave a trace on me forever. But I do want to heal.
Healing almost always leaves a scar, but the pain is no longer there. Eventually you can laugh at whatever caused the scar, or swap cool stories. You can warn other people of the dangers of what caused your scar, and direct others how to avoid such scars. You can do a lot after you have healed; for yourself and for others.
We are directed to drop our burdens at the Saviors feet; to give it all to Him. He promises in return to heal us. I am currently in 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon. This is when the resurrected Christ visits the people in America. In chapter 17 verse 9 it says, "And it came to pass that when he(Christ) had thus spoken, ALL the multitude with one accord did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in ANY MANNER; and he did heal them EVERY ONE as they were brought forth unto him."
I struggle with my own fruit basket of afflictions, mental and physical. And sometimes the world would tell me to just give up. But here Christ promises to heal me...If I will simply come unto Him.
Those afflicted people in 3rd Nephi... they didn't just MOVE ON from their afflictions. If it were that easy, we wouldn't need a Savior. They didn't just move on with their life. They were brought to the Saviors feet, and they were healed. They made their way towards Him, step by step, with several others, and had faith that he would take away their burdens, their pains, and their afflictions.
Not only is this a beautiful and true account, but it also gives us an example of how to find healing in our own lives. It reminds us that their is hope. These people in ancient America, they were able to literally fall at the Saviors feet and feel His hands on their head. He physically is not with us now, and we cannot physically kneel at His feel and feel His hands. But that does not mean that He cannot still heal us, that we cannot still fall to our knees and allow Him literally to take our burdens. So how is this done?
I keep coming back to the same scripture.
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." " Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." " For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
We all carry burdens. Some heavier than others. Some have suffered the loss of a child, some divorce, some an illness. First we must come unto the savior. We do that through prayers, through our thoughts, through repenting, and ultimately through keeping his commandments. He said "If ye love me, keep my commandments." He set for us the perfect example, and showed us how to have a life filled with meaning.
He then says, "Take my yoke upon you." We do this through covenants. Every single week when we partake of the sacrament, we renew that covenant that we made at baptism. We yoke ourselves to Christ. How fortunate are we? Because it is a heavy load. One we cannot bear alone. But as we pull together with Christ, the burden is made light, we get a little rest.
He then says "Learn of me." We do this through our daily study. As we study the Saviors life, we see those patterns of love and service. We read how he tells us to live in order to be happy. We begin to desire those same things for ourselves.
He then reassures us... "His yoke is easy, and His burden is light." He has already born it. He has already carried that cross up the hill to golgotha. He already bled from every pore in gethsemane. He was already laid in a tomb. For us. And as we celebrate this weekend, he was already resurrected. For us.
Christ didn't just "Move on" after what he went through. No, He was healed. He allowed the power of God to heal Him. And there were some scars left. Scars that serve as a beacon to the world today; that draw us unto him. He invites us to be healed as he was. He invites us to access his atonement; to find rest unto our souls.
No matter what you face, healing is available. Whether it comes in the form of increased strength, or the lifting of the affliction completely, the Lord provides a way. I am still raw. I still have open wounds. For some reason I expected to just be fine after 4 months had passed. But it is ok. It is okay to feel pain, because pains allows you to be healed.
May we all come unto the Savior this weekend, and drop our burdens at His feet, and begin our own healing process. Happy Easter. I love you all.