January 5, 2011
Did you know that if you go to bed at 10:30 on New Year’s Eve, the world still turns? The ball still drops! The parties go on and people keep growing and when you wake up– it is 2011.
Did you know that even if you don’t sing Long December ten million times in your mind, even if you don’t dance around with your best friend Katie at midnight or make a crazy long list of ceremonious goals… life still happens?
Things keep going. This blows my mind.
I thought about that a few times last week, and then found Dad referencing that song in his email today! What a hip Dad. What a great song. Long December. For the record, it does talk about California and forgiveness… which makes it almost pertinent to my life. All those within the sound of my voice should sing out with the Counting Crows. And learn about the gospel too of course.
What was I doing this time last year? What was I worried about? What were my questions for God?
It was a very very different life. I had no idea what was coming. This is a theme for my existence on earth so far. I tend to have no idea what’s coming.
For the entirety of 2011, I will be a missionary. Who knew? The more I am here; the more I wonder… why doesn’t everyone go on missions? I am convinced that if everyone knew the power of this experience, the power of the change within, the potential it merits, everyone would come.
I need the world to know that I am having the most intense experience of my life and I just know every second is worth it. I know this stuff is the truth of the eternities. Many of the mysteries of God have been unfolded, revealed, restored through Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ themselves– to the earth today. It’s a miracle.
I look around this valley and know that every single body I see has a spirit inside– and that that spirit lived with God. That spirit chose to come here. That spirit already knows the truth, and can be awakened to it in this mortal life through the restored gospel. I am called here by a living prophet of God to teach those people, to help them remember who they are. They are each of infinite worth, infinite power. They can each have a fullness of joy– eternal life. They have a divine purpose here!
I scramble to live up to the ministry God has somehow entrusted to me and missionaries all over the world. I feel so overwhelmed by the joy of the truth and the weight of the task.
I want to tell you some stories from the first week of my new year as Somehow Sister Brown.
1. Church on Sunday.
Sister Reynolds and I stand by the front doors to church, hoping to greet one of the billion people we invited to come this week. We wait there until five after, when we sneak into sacrament meeting and sit on the back row alone. The back row is our spot right by the door where we wait and hope that someone will come late. Just as the opening song begins, a family of five walks in. We will call them -The Story’s. Am I making this up?! They just come in, 3 kids and all, ready early in the morning for their first Sunday at church– and sit down like it’s no big deal. IS THIS HAPPENING?! Is our little Story family actually here?! The Bishop is cracking up as he watches me try to contain my spaz of happiness.
OH MY WORD I CANNOT SIT STILL! YES YES YES! YESSSS!
After that, in walks another cute woman we’ve been teaching, we’ll call her Glow. I am surrounded by people I love and just whispering to them about where to find the hymns and how to take the sacrament and trying to be composed. Best Sunday Ever.
2. Dinner on Monday.
I’m running out of time so I’ll be quick on this one. We have dinner with a married couple in our ward. The husband is my deaf friend that I’m always nervous to sign with. I taught the lesson! In ASL! I told the story about Thanksgiving dinner from President Monson’s talk on gratitude. It was so fun! We were laughing and joking and he was the most animated I’ve ever seen him– like his full personality was starting to come out. In my soul language that I love so much! Yeah!
3. Miracle Tuesday.
We teach a lesson to a new lady we found before Christmas and just love. We teach her The Plan of Salvation and I just can’t even explain what happened. Every question she had was ready to be answered. “I feel like I knew this all along,” she was saying. “I just knew it had to be like this…” We just ask her questions and let her self-discover the truth as we go. (This is something I’m really learning from Sister Reynolds. Sometimes I teach without asking questions because I’m so pumped to say what I know and I just can’t slow down.) But of course I am pumped. I am practically exploding in my chair and just testifying my face off. By the end she is just caught up in it all and saying “Why am I crying like this? Is it because I’m pregnant?” NO! It’s the Holy Ghost! This is restored truth! We are crying too.
I have heard stories like this before, but I’m telling you it’s different. It’s different when it happens right in front of you. I left her house so grateful to have been there. I just prayed I could always remember that day of my life– and I knew if nothing else happened here my whole time will have been worth it. Sometimes I just know. KNOW with every little piece in me in a way that makes me feel like I will burst into the sky. It is so important for people to find out for themselves. Find out for yourself!
Funny story time again. –i.e. publicly humiliate myself on mass forwarded email and blog entry(again).
Yesterday morning I woke up wondering if I was in fact, still alive. This happens often. I feel so sore and so tired and so anciently old at 6:30am that I just don’t even know what’s happening to my life. I put a sweatshirt on over my pajamas. Add tennis shoes. Tell Sister Reynolds “I’m having trouble standing up straight. This is going to be interesting.”
We leave the house and start running. Morning exercise.
I had this distinct impression that I was losing my sense of balance.
“I’m going to fall on my face today,” I thought.
I imagined myself writing a letter home about how I fell on my face at 6:30am.
And then I thought “Oh don’t be ridiculous. You’re fine. No whining.”
So we keep running. We pass the stop sign. We make a right. We run by the cactuses and funky trees and up onto the curb for the sidewalk and…. yep. Flat on my face. I am sprawled out over the pavement with cut up hands– nose just a few inches from the sidewalk.
“Oooooh Swan dive B-town!” says Sister Reynolds.
She said it was pretty graceful. “Thanks.”
What is my life? Since when do I wake up and go running every day?
Since when do I preach the gospel with bruised knees and cut up hands?
You best bet I got up and kept runnin!
Love this life.