I was at the beach months ago when I received word of one of my very dear relatives discovering unfortunate, life-changing news about her health. We had grown up close in age with only a few weeks separating us at birth. And as I walked alone, staring out at the mystical ocean and inhaling the stuffy, salty air, my naive mentality that life goes on and on dramatically melted away. None of us are invincible. And this life is truly the only chance we have to live.
I reflected on the news and mirrored her struggles into a different version of my life, wondering if I would be able to handle this trial as gracefully and courageously as she was doing. Whether I live to be 32 or 102, I realized that everyone of us will eventually have to take a final living breath. I pondered, in that last breath for me, will the taste on my tongue be a sweet sensation of contentment or a choking bitterness of regret?
Because of this turning moment, and the amplified intake of Brené Brown books on vulnerability, I have challenged myself to have a bold, exciting year with an extra dose of courage. I’ve tried to truly embrace the blessings I’ve been given and focused on saying yes to things that have held me back by fear in the past. From committing to a bleached pixie-cut to hitting an open mic on comedy night, it’s been a bucket-list roller coaster thrill for me.
In the bridge of my absolute favorite song, Omnia Sol, the lyrics go, “Let courage be your ore. Let passion be your sail.” Such beautiful words that ring truth have brought a new, unseen strength into my life.
So…. There’s the back story behind today’s post.
I was discussing some important life matters with the Big Guy the other day and had a distinct impression to flip open the latest general conference talks and read President Utchdorf’s recent address. The words confidence, courage, and humility caught my attention and I knew whatever his message was, I needed to act on it. What was the subject on, you ask? Missionary work. And oh gosh. Missionary work.
I don’t know if I’ve always been this way, or if it’s just my current season of life, but missionary work is my Achilles Heel in the church. I gave a high school friend of mine a Book of Mormon once and it was just so awkward. Even as I write this post my negative thoughts are wrestling inside of me and whispering, “Some of your close loved ones have separated themselves from the church. What right do you have to bring your religion to others when your own family has taken a different path?” Ouch, demons… Ouch.
But you know what, Universe? I have one life to live! Brene Brown is my spirit animal. Dieter F Utchdorf is my spirit’s spirit animal. And I look like Tinker Bell and Draco Malfoy had a baby. So, being vulnerable and valiant is wonderfully and exactly where my heart desires to be right now!
The missionary attempt…
I could sit here and preach to you about religion. But I’ve read about Nephi. Every time he tried being a missionary to his brothers, it seems he usually ended up bound with cords or beat with a stick. The times when his family truly were converted were through acts of God: Angels, being electrocuted, and magnificent ocean storms. So, I’m gonna leave that part to Him. The religion itself is between you and the Holy Ghost.
All I want to share is how my heart is feeling right now.
We are all dropped into this life when we are born: naked, helpless, afraid, cold, and lost. Our entire existence is an unfinished puzzle with missing pieces.
If the spirits embedded inside of us are all blinded by the unknown, we instinctively reach out scrambling for a lifeline, for something to help us understand who we are, where we are, and where we might be going.
Here is what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has done for me:
My soul has reached into the darkness and grabbed hold of something. Something warm that soothes my shivering. It feels strong enough to shield me from what danger might linger in this unknown. And it’s leading me to a place my heart trusts and is beckoning me to go. Above all, I feel like if I squint just right, it has helped my eyes begin to adjust to the blackness and notice the light.
To me, for my unfinished puzzle, I see it as truth.
If you were more curious about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and all the unique things that make us us, you can ask the missionaries, visit churchofjesuschrist.org, pm me if you’d like, or better yet come and see.
And to everyone else, I hope you can trust that I am truly in the best place for me and at peace in my heart. And wherever you are, however your lifestyle or spirituality may differ from mine, I trust you and know you may feel that too in your own way. And I wish you the best.
Here’s to courage and vulnerability, to unfinished puzzles and finding peace, to taking our last breath joyfully and discovering the beautiful truth that follows after.