Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Newness Ahead

If you'd asked me last year where I'd be today and what I'd write about in a cliche end-of-the-year blog post, I would have looked around, grabbed my wrist, and showed you my Jason Mraz used guitar string bracelet.

That, basically, would have been it.

I would have never dreamed of being able to report all the things I've experienced this year, nor would I have imagined they would all, in hindsight, be steps back to living my testimony.

Yes, it's going to be one of those posts.

With the end of 2011 I had fallen into the pattern of not trying with regards to faith. I refer to it now as my hiatus, which I believe is a very human thing to experience. Luckily enough for me, my hiatus consisted of slacking off/neglecting basic things like prayer and scripture study, as opposed to dabbling with drugs or whatnot.

In January I bought my Jason Mraz used guitar string bracelet, which I wear erry day, with the exception of work/swimming because if I expose it to water it will rust.

Shortly thereafter I was involved in a devised theatre project, which served as a realization that I'm not as theatrically creative as I would initially like. It also served to illustrate the fact that I evidently can't be myself and just talk. Ever.

In March I met FUN.

I listened to them all through senior year, so that was a super nice thing. (and a warm up for what would later come, for it would be about a month later that I would find I had the ability to meet Jason Mraz.)

My mother and I went to California for two days with my grandma because the hotel was totally cheap. I walked on the beach and watched the ocean and wanted to stay. I didn't want to go back. I wanted to dwell on the California coast and listen to Jason Mraz's California music and live in contentment for once. 

Upon my return, my place of employment moved locations, which brought with it a new set of jolly coworkers and a crappy new uniform and iron-fisted corporate reign. 

At some point after this move, I was locked in the grocery freezer. For twenty minutes.
Looking back, my year has gone like this: Erica's really focused on the worldly things. Erica really wants to be rad with regards to the world. Lord lets Erica meet FUN. because what's more rad and worldly than that? Erica continues to trounce about in said worldly manner. Lord lets Erica be one of twenty to get meet-and-greet tickets for her favorite musician. Erica still trounces worldily. Erica gets locked in a freezer.
There is nothing more devastating than standing there, shrugging and thinking "I'll pray, He'll let me out, life is swell," and slowly having to realize He has no reason to let you out of the freezer. He has no reason to answer you in your time of need because you ignored Him in your prosperity. 

The blood started to slow in my veins and I began to want to sit and wait, to give up and rest because I was so tired. But the Lord is a merciful being, for though He didn't allow me the ease of freeing myself from the freezer, He continued to prompt me to kick the door and make noise, even though I desperately wanted to stop, and He prompted someone to come back to that secluded part of the store at that moment, even though she didn't really need to. 

I had to look at myself, metaphorically, over the next few weeks, and remember that haunting thing that kept nagging me in the freezer: that if I wasn't worthy for Him to immediately rescue me from behind a locked door, I am in no way worthy for Him to rescue me from hell.
I continued to trounce in my worldly way.

In September I met Jason Mraz, which you can read about if you haven't here. The thing is, though, I walked away from this experience the same. Nothing changed. I returned to Utah and I was still living with my parents, I was still going to Weber, I was still working for minimum wage, I was still unpublished, I was still not musically talented, I was still subpar and unhappy.That's what set in the most: I was unhappy.

The greatest thing of my entire life had just happened--I had experienced the one thing I'd dreamed about for years, the one thing only a handful of people get to experience in their lives. My greatest dream/wish/ambition had come to pass, and I was unhappy.

The idea began to dawn on me that I'd gone to the concert seeking lasting happiness. I'd gone ready to return an enlightened, exuberant person. 

I'd sought living water from a worldly well.

You see, I was searching for answers all summer. I was searching for ways to not be what I'd been during that devised theatre project; I wanted to be myself 100% of the time. I wanted to be outgoing and funny and normal. But I didn't seek the Lord.

I found answers with Jason's music, living in the moment, your home being inside of you...everything on his album answered my concerns and gave me hope--I thought that perhaps that was the Lord's way of answering me, though I wasn't being humble enough to seek answers from Him. He put the answers where I would find them: in Jason Mraz's songs. 

But other than having a poetic way to describe what I needed out of life, I had nothing. I still remained in my unhappiness, and the memory of meeting my idol somehow weakened me rather than provide strength.

In October they changed the missionary age.

I stood at work by the microwave thinking it over, having been out of the room when President Monson said over the radio the news. I started thinking.

I've never felt I needed to serve a mission. That's never been a thing I've planned on. I always figured I'd decide when the time came, primarily expecting that I'd be in a steady relationship and therefore wouldn't be expected to go because I was just going to get married shortly and begin to craft a place to rear healthy righteous babies. 

That's always been the plan.

It dawned on me that age 21 wouldn't be the time to decide to serve a mission or not. Preparation beforehand would be needed. I realized, there by the microwave, that if I began preparing to serve a mission right then, I'd only barely be ready by the time I was 21. 

If anything, the mission age change made me realize I wasn't worthy of mission, and wasn't going to be any time soon.

I trounced on in my worldly pace.

In November I auditioned for the Improvables, something I'd been wanting to do since high school but timing was never right. I almost didn't go. I was preparing to leave and head over to the theatre and I really about turned around and went up to my room to get in my sweatpants. 

But I remembered how mad I'd been at myself for not trying for Drama Sterling Scholar, when only one person ended up applying last minute, so I went to the audition, deciding it wouldn't hurt if they didn't want me.

The Lord made one more effort to get me. He tried one more thing to bring me back to His orbit. He allowed me to cross paths with someone who changed me, almost instantaneously.

They always say we have a light about us, that Christ shines through in our faces, as members of the church. They use the Christ in your countenance metaphor, and I never really got it. I never saw the difference, until I met this person. There suddenly was no way to keep me from delving into the gospel, no way to talk me out of reestablishing my relationship with the Lord. I was struck immediately by an overwhelming desire to do good, to be good, to be of the Lord again and walk the way I should have been walking all along. Everything that had happened to me in the past year lumped together and confirmed the thing I had finally grasped: I need this gospel. I need the Lord and His Spirit and my Savior. I need to dwell in His house and abide by His precepts, and life will be a happier, more successful place for me.

I began writing on a daily basis, and writing things of actual merit. I was offered the position of director at an elementary school for their spring play. I was able to help with technical aspects of the Institute Christmas show, getting some know-how before assistant stage managering next semester. I found a botany class on campus. I registered for an Institute mission prep course. I kissed a man. 

Whatever the end all is, whatever I'm headed toward, I'm confident and comfortable with it. It took me a year, but my Heavenly Father is ever patient. He knew I'd come around, and He didn't give up on me. 

2012 wasn't the end of the world. It was the end of my being of the world, and a revived resolution to never again stray from His course or His light.

1 comment:

  1. Erica, that was beautiful and inspiring. Loved it!