Saturday, August 10, 2013

Families Are Forever

Finding the strength to leave the environment I had lived in for my nineteen years of life came from a heavenly source. At first, I really did not know what to expect before I stepped on the plane. As I hugged each member of my family, and walked over to board, the reality of a two year separation sunk in. But somehow, it felt natural, I would be okay. Adrenaline pumped through my body, a twinge of uncertainty poked at me, but a reassuring stillness filled my heart, and guided me gently on the plane, with the security that I was heading in the right direction.



Clothed in my new grey suit, backpack fastened, and my hair slicked back in the signature missionary comb over, I awkwardly shuffled through the air walk.  I somehow found my way onto the plane and found a window seat that faced back to the airport. Glancing out window I saw my family. There they stood, behind the dark glass of the airport, the six of them, the tallness of my Dad down to the smallest form of my youngest sister outlined in the shadows, watching anxiously as my plane prepared for take off.

They waved to me, and smiling to myself I waved back. A verbal "goodbye" slipped out of my mouth. Though they could not hear me, I had to say it. The other passengers on the plane probably thought I was delusional. Emotion flowed through me, I did not cry, (honestly), but my soul yearned with admiration towards them,  it was not a "good bye", but more of a "see you later". I would return to them again someday. For now it was time to leave them and begin my journey in the service of God.

The engines of the plane hummed dutifully, the wheels started to rotate the aircraft and I began to lose sight of the airport, separating me from my loved ones. I craned my neck and strained my eyes to catch the last glimpse of them. I managed to see my little brother running along the windows, as far as He could go, as if he could follow me....and then they were out of sight.

 Turning away from the window, I rested back and allowed the inertia to glue my body to the airplane seat.  Ascending into the air, above the Valley of the Sun, past it's mountains, and golf courses, desert, freeways, and suburbia, I also left my old life behind. I knew I would not come home the same person. Soon, the clouds passed by, and I sailed through the clear blue sky towards my new destination. Utah.

*******

I have never appreciated my family more, until I left them. As it has been said, absence makes the heart grow fonder! If there has been anything I have learned from my mission. I want to be with my Mom and my Dad, my brother and sisters, forever. I do not want to rely on the wishful thinking that we will all be floating little winged cherubs and play harps to sit on clouds after we die.

I want a surety, to know and feel, that we can be together not only to enjoy each other's company for this life. I want forever to mean something. This is what the gospel of Jesus Christ brings me. It brings me knowledge to know that forever families are possible. This is why I willingly chose to leave my family for two years, in hope of bringing someone else's family together for eternity.

Families have been established by God to bring happiness to his children, allow them to learn correct principles in a loving atmosphere, and to prepare us for returning to live with Him again. As parents teach their children about Jesus Christ and help them to apply His teachings true happiness can be found.

My childhood was filled with rich experiences. My Mom and Dad guided me to connect with God, and establish a personal relationship with Him. They worked together as equals, utilizing the teachings of Jesus Christ, principles that have brought me happiness. To put others before myself, to share, work hard, be honest, and forgive. Also, to tie my shoes properly, eat, to dress, and while my Dad attempted at teaching me to be athletically coordinated, I definitely flopped on that one...I still appreciate that He did!

As I grew into adolescence, I grew increasingly aware of my parents flaws, I formed my own opinions. Sometimes those opinions conflicted with their views leaving both of us hurt. I was impatient. So were they. I failed to recognize they were still learning too. We decided to let go, and apply forgiveness and learned to give our hurts through God. We found healing through Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

No family is perfect. There are many families that are broken. Perhaps your family is in pieces. Perhaps your own personal life is in pieces, someone you love may be struggling. I urge you to not give up on them. I promise you, that you and your family can find healing, it may not be in the time you want it. But if it is your desire to have these blessings and to achieve these blessings, I invite you to turn to God, and to learn how He can help you. He will help you, for He has helped me. Or if you know someone who is struggling, through a divorce, trouble with teenage children invite them here.

I am thankful for the knowledge and reality we can have everlasting happiness with those we love. These truths guide me forward, and I'm excited to have a family of my own someday.

Click the picture for an incredible document  that talks about God's plan for families:

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