Monday, November 28, 2011

Kick Balls

I hold no grudge against my sister.  

It's plain and simple really, she's coordinated and athletic.  I'm not.  

When I was younger, this used to bother me a lot more.  I've now come to embrace the fact that my quirky personality will just have to suffice.  NEWSFLASH: No one is going to be my friend or fall in love with me for that matter because I'm good at sports.  Darn.

It took me a few years, but now I'm actually at the point where I can play and just have fun.  It doesn't matter if I look stupid, at least someone will get a laugh out of it, right?  I haven't been on a "team" (so to speak) in years.  When you are consistently the last pick for every game, you tend to lose interest quickly.  No hard feelings - just the truth. This is why I was so excited when a certain opportunity presented itself over this last summer.  Draper City decided that this year they would start an adult kickball league.  FINALLY! So, there was something that no one else had played since elementary school and a possibility that I won't be completely awful.

Well, you can't be the last pick if you decide to form the team.  So I took it upon myself to put a group of misfits together and call it good.

Our name:


We were surprisingly decent.  Every Wednesday night, we'd all show up and kick some balls.  Figuratively.  Literally.

It was nice to finally have a group that was good, however, if someone made a mistake we just laughed about it.  I guess that's part of growing up.  

We entered the finals in 1st place and had a terrible game.  I mean terrible.  Who knows what happened to the most successful team in the league?  I certainly don't, but I am glad that I was able to be a part of something so fun and hysterical.  I know it's taken me a while to post this,  but as it has gotten colder outside, I am really missing summer.  I especially miss those Wednesday nights on the lit field with my teammates.  

Hopefully we kick balls next year!

The funny part about this picture to me is that I'm pretty sure Spencer Pratt is the only one who actually kicked balls... Just sayin'

Monday, November 14, 2011

"...for He is mighty to save."

On a more serious note...

This month marks four years since I left on my mission and I've had a lot of time to reflect on the goals and plans that I had for this point in my life.  I often think of the phrase "Man plans, God laughs" and how true it is.  I am constantly reminding myself that my Heavenly Father does indeed have a plan for me and that that plan includes a journey, and not merely a destination.  And even though I am not where I planned to be, I am in the place that I'm supposed to be.  I am not a failure.
Abraham Lincoln once said,

"I do the very best I know how; the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end.  If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won't amount to anything."

Sometimes it is all we can do to stay strong and carry on.  Sometimes our individual trials may seem like they outweigh any possibility of ever overcoming them.  And maybe every last fiber of our being feels like it has been shredded.  When I get to that point, I try to remember this quote from President Monson:

"Mortality is a period of testing, a time to prove ourselves worthy to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. In order to be tested, we must sometimes face challenges and difficulties. At times there appears to be no light at the tunnel’s end—no dawn to break the night’s darkness. We feel surrounded by the pain of broken hearts, the disappointment of shattered dreams, and the despair of vanished hopes. We join in uttering the biblical plea “Is there no balm in Gilead?” We are inclined to view our own personal misfortunes through the distorted prism of pessimism. We feel abandoned, heartbroken, alone. If you find yourself in such a situation, I plead with you to turn to our Heavenly Father in faith. He will lift you and guide you. He will not always take your afflictions from you, but He will comfort and lead you with love through whatever storm you face."

At a particularly low point in my weekend, I got in my car and just took off.  I didn't know where I was going, I only knew that I couldn't stay where I was at.  The rain pouring outside seemed to match my mood.  As I flipped through the radio stations hoping for some "angry music," I was surprised at myself when I heard a familiar song and removed my finger from the radio dial. 

Where can I turn for peace?  Where is my solace
when other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart, Searching my soul?

Where, when my aching grows, Where, when I languish, 
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand? He, only One.

He answers privately, Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind, Love without end.

I then knew, without a doubt, where I needed to go.  As I sat and contemplated, a scripture that I had read earlier this week came to my mind.  There had been a prayer in my heart that reflected this particular oration from Alma 34:18.  

"Yea, cry unto him for mercy;
for HE is mighty to save."

He answers privately, Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.

When the whole world seems like it is falling apart...
When I feel like I am doing my best but can't seem to conquer on my own...
When I feel alone...
When I don't know where to go...
When one more straw might just break my back...
I know where to run. 

He is My Savior, my Friend, my Strength and my God.  He is always beside me so that I am never alone.  When I am lacking, He makes up the difference.  The miracle is that no matter how much that difference is, He reaches me.  He fills the void with light and life.  It is during this time of the year where I am especially grateful for His sacrifice and love for me.  Without Him, there would be no meaning or purpose.  If there's one thing that I can be grateful for during this season, it is my Reedemer.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

If I could compare my life right now to any inanimate object, I would choose a bottle of shampoo.

The answer is yes. Yes, you read that right.  I am consciously comparing myself to a large bottle made of plastic and filled with ingredients such as ammonium chloride, sodium laurel sulfate, and polyquaternium-10.

The only difference between me and a bottle of shampoo, however, is that I don't have time to sit on the shelf in your shower all day.  I know what you're thinking.  Don't flatter yourself, chances are that I wouldn't choose your shower anyway. 

It's quite fitting, really.

Lather:   I wake up.  I go to I come home.  I do homework.

Rinse:   I try to forget about all the stuff that could cause a potential anxiety attack and wash all of the... "crap"... out of my system.  Figuratively.  Literally.  I go to bed.

Repeat:   I do it all again.




This story is comparable to that one time my iPod got stuck on repeat and I listened to the same song for 6 hours on a plane ride.  Thank you, brain, for the random insertion that has absolutely nothing to do with shampoo.

So, the next time you think about asking me what I've been up to... Stop.  Think, "shampoo."  Then you can save us both time by not asking such an absurd question and just telling me a funny story instead.  Or... OR! you could do something crazy and attempt to make my life a little bit more invigorating.  You decide.  Until then, you can find me stuck on a cold tile in the corner with soap.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

That Would Happen To Me: Part 2

I'M BAAAACCKKK!!  And consequently, so are the awfully, terribly embarrassing stories... Enjoy!

At the ripe young age of 15, I became a people pleaser.  Yes, it's true.  I learned that in order to get what you want, you must provide others with what they wanted first.  It was a fail-safe system, really.  This was especially true with my parents.  My dad asked me to spray all of the weeds in the back yard with Round Up (weed killer) one Saturday morning.  I decided that I would get up early and get it taken care of so that he wouldn't have to ask me twice.  I was trying to do a genuinely good thing here.  Well, I ran out of weed killer and went to go ask for more.  My dad replied that that was impossible because we had enough to last us for many years.  That's when I found out that you have to dilute the spray with water.  Like A LOT of water.  Our entire backyard died that summer and then... our house went up for sale.  Oops.

That would happen to me.

Once upon a time, it was a dreadful Saturday morning.  I got up to go to work and jumped in the shower really quick.  I was doing what normal people do in the shower (washing my hair).  I kid you not--at the EXACT moment I went to wash the soap out of my hair, the water just shut off.  Do you understand what I'm saying?? The water stopped coming out of the wall.  That's what I mean by shut off just in case you didn't know.  The next thing I know, I am banging on the wall screaming, "No, no, no, no, no! Noooooooo!!!!"  I couldn't figure out what the heck happened.  I then came to the realization that I didn't have a towel in the bathroom with me.  Fail.  Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, the sink had exploded on my dad while he was fixing it upstairs and everyone was in a panic.  So, he just turned the water off.  Typical Saturday morning at the Minnick home? Yep.

That would happen to me.

There are certain things that you do as a kid that can be considered "cute."  You might also do these things when you're a little older and suddenly they're not so charming.  I made many friends at Draper Theatre when I was young doing a show called Broadway Kids.  I can't believe I am admitting this right now.  Well, during my junior year in high school, I was convinced by some unnamed friends to do it kind of as "one last hurrah!"  I caved and found myself a little over my head.  I thought I had everything under wraps.  NO ONE was going to find out about this.  It would be over and then we'd all be on our merry little way.  Well, on the opening day of the show, I was in the Alta High School library when I saw it.  The newspaper was on the table with the entertainment section right on top.  Covering almost the ENTIRE front page was a picture of yours truly.  Don't believe me? Here's a link to the article.  I wanted to crawl in my locker and hide.

That would happen to me.  

The following probably tops my list of most embarrassing stories.  As a recently returned missionary, we can all agree that one is pretty awkward, right?  A few weeks after I returned home, my mom convinced me to try this new fad out with her.  She said it was called "zumba."  Ok, I thought.  I haven't seen you in a few years, what the heck?  She promised to buy me a jamba juice and I considered that to be a deal, so I went.  Never, ever, have I EVER been so embarrassed.  I was the only, I repeat and reemphasize, ONLY guy in the class.  (Besides Carmelo, the instructor).  The room was full of about 50 middle-aged women who were ready to "shake that thang."  As if it wasn't enough to just be in the same "dance class" as all of them, good ol' Carmelo had to "spice things up" a bit.  When the class was almost over, he motioned for everyone to gather at one end of the room.  I was walking over to the other side with my mom when he pulls me aside and says, "Not you, partner."  I instantly became sick to my stomach.  Apparently, it was now time for my private routine.  He put on some sexy Spanish song and turned me so my back was facing the ladies.  I was then instructed to shake my... bottom and give them a show.  I received cat calls, whistles, and believe it or not, quite a few laughs.  "White boy can shake his booty," they said.  I have never had so many mothers try to set me up with their daughters.  Obviously that went well, I'm still single.  Thank you, Carmelo for the most awkward 2 minutes of my life.  P.S.  You better believe I got one huge freaking Jamba.

That would happen to me.

It is no surprise that the Minnick family has been working on purifying our words in the year of 2011.  Although I haven't been perfect, I have certainly tried.  It is also no surprise that I am not very athletic.  That's what happens when your sister steals all of the good jeans.  I meant genes.  I was recently playing church softball with the singles ward and I don't have the best self-esteem when it comes to catching a ball so my best hope is to just pray that it doesn't come to me.  In this particular instance, my prayers went unanswered.  Unfortunately, when one of my friends lobbed the ball to me, I sort of kind of dropped a little bit of an explicative.  Whoops.  The umpire reminded me it was church ball and the poor girl running toward second base probably thinks I'm going straight to the bad place, but I repented.  I swear!  I mean, yes, I did swear, but... yeah.  The other time I used the same bad word was when everyone surprised me for my birthday this year.  My apologies to all my friends, but you really did scare the s*** out of me.

That would happen to me.

I sing to myself in the car.  There, I admit it.  As I was sitting at a stoplight not too long ago, I was belting some big song and I noticed that the guy in the car behind me was frantically trying to get my attention.  When he got out and started approaching my car, I debated running the red light just to get away from him.  I couldn't have possibly cut him off or made him mad, right...?  My palms grew sweaty and I was ready to put the petal to the metal when all of a sudden I heard a small bang and he waved politely.  He certainly did his good deed for the day.   Thank you, sir, for proving that I'm an idiot and closing my gas tank for me.

That would happen to me.

While we're on the subject of gas, let me just give you a warning.  Pay close attention to this story, or someone might just trick you too.  I was at the gas pump one morning just minding my own business.  I inserted my debit card and selected the regular unleaded gas just like I always do.  I picked up the pump to put it in my car and that's when I realized that someone had locked the handle in place to allow the gas to come out.  I received many stares as I screamed and figeted with the handle.  Before I knew it, gas was spilling ALL over.  Note to self: check the handle before you select the grade of gas.  It could save you a car wash and a change of clothes.  Kids these days.

That would happen to me.

Just in case you missed my facebook post (Tanner and Whitney).  The automatic doors at target are NOT working.  They trick you into thinking that they're going to open.  The motor then gives out and since you are already on your way through the door, you may just end up on the floor.  Not kidding.  Don't ask why I'm always alone when this happens.  I just am. 

That would happen to me.

The story to top it off for the night:  My friends are so great.  In fact, I hope that one day they will have a similar experience to this.  We were at my friend's house on the mountain.  She really lives on a humongous hill.  They were outside all riding this bike and asked me if I wanted to try.  It was a creamsicle beach cruiser type "thing" and I was excited to ride it.  I began to ride it up the hill with my phone in one hand and my car keys and a wedding announcement in the other.  On my way back down the hill I waved excitedly to my friends only to wonder about the astonished looks on their faces.  As I began my ascent dow nthe steepest part of the hill, I heard someone scream, "Spencer! Nooooo!!"  They had 'failed to mention' that the bike didn't have breaks.  A little ways down the road, my friends came running and found me crashed in someone's front yard.  I swear on my life that bruise was on my hip for a month.  Thanks guys.

That would happen to me.

Monday, May 30, 2011

King of Tangents

Have you ever had a thought go through your mind and then you wonder... holy cow, how did I get here?! Well, let's be honest- that is a fairly regular occurrence in my life. I am almost completely positive that I am, in fact, the King of Tangents. One of my mission companions was just sure that he needed to fix this problem. As we drove in the car one day, he mentioned that I don't use a clutch when I speak. I asked him to expound because I didn't really comprehend what he meant. He then explained that I don't use connecting thoughts to "switch gears," so to speak. Apparently this was causing quite a problem. At the end of his little spiel, I said, "Well, Elder, luckily this is the reason that the Lord invented automatics and cruise control. What a blessing they are to us."

Today someone told me that they wanted to live inside my head for a day just to see what goes on in there. I'm sure that would be eye-opening for them and very very scary for me! So I'm not quite sure if this person was giving me a compliment or.... anyway here's your chance. As I was sitting through my beneficially boring biology class, I decided that I should take notes. Be proud. However, the notes weren't on the lecture. I took extremely accurate notes on the events of my mind. Keep in mind that I'm not including the "gears" per se that are helping me to transition, that would be a never ending blog.

At the risk of embarrassing myself, I will share some of the thoughts that surprised me. A penny for my thoughts...? Ok- you asked for it.

Bio Professor while speaking about genetics: "Are you an inny or an outy?"
In my head: "Inny. I always wanted an outy though. Oooooh I definitely want an Audi! Probably the Q5 SUV. Yep."

"I should start saying, 'what the dickens?!' more often..."

"I just drew an ear of corn in my notes..."

Bio Professor: "Which are the most dangerous apartments in Provo?"
In my head: "The Branbury. Duh. Everyone knows that. My dad doesn't seem to believe me though. Oh listen- everyone else is saying the same thing out loud! Ok, now I feel validated."

"Spencer! Pay attention!"
"Oops... ok sorry Me...."

"Why would my shoes be glued to the ground?
I wish I was actually good at sports."

"Jars. Oh I love homemade jam!"

Professor: "Adrenaline makes your heart beat faster when you're in a car smooching!"
In my head: "Yeah, that happens to me too..."
"Wait, what?! How did we get on the subject of steaming up windows while smooching....?"

"His nucleus looks like the sun with a pineapple on it."

"I wonder what would happen if I put this paper clip in that socket..."

"HA! He just talked about a recipe for homemade jam. I'm psychic. Don't tell anyone."

"oh oh oh! good idea! You know those portable houses that they cut in half and you see them moving down the freeway on a big truck? We should play house in one of those while it's moving! The people driving on the freeway would be SO CONFUSED!"

"Do teachers ever just make stuff up..? When I'm a teacher, I'm going to tell all the students that the moon used to be turquoise."

"WHAT THE DICKENS?! ha.. ha... hahahaha."

"A flash mob would be the coolest thing that could happen to me right about now."

"Yep, like clockwork- the Russians are always late.
"Wait, if they were like clockwork, doesn't that mean they'd be on time...?
Aw shoot- how do you settle a dispute with yourself?"

"My life would be so much better if there was a nice big window in here."

Professor: "...something....something.....Mutation...something..."
In my head: "X-MEN COMES OUT NEXT WEEK!! I hope someone will want to see it with me. Who would want to go? Does anyone else still turn into a 10-year-old boy when they think of X-Men? Wow, I'm such a deacon right now."

"Aspirin is a scary white little pill."

"Obviously no one ever taught him that you're not supposed to erase the board from side-to-side. My teacher friends would be so disappointed."

"Whoever invented the projector was really smart."

Professor: "I'm going to teach you to decode codons."
In my head: "I LOVE playing Alias!"

"I don't know why she swallowed the fly.....
perhaps she'll die."

"Am I dreaming, or did he just say, 'Oh gag a maggot! That dude was uuuuugly!"

So that was just one class. Maybe this was more eye-opening for me than anyone else...?

Monday, May 23, 2011


I don't know whether I should be thrilled or frightened that I'm still here after Saturday's events. I expected, along with many of you, to be raptured. Unfortunately, I think I'm speaking for a majority when I say, "Oops."

There are some of you who might be unaware of the rapture of which I speak. I don't know how you escaped the news coverage, the signs (literally like card board signs- not signs from God), the billboards, the facebook statuses, or those individuals who were "sounding the trumpet," but congratulations for being a little naive. I admire you, really.

If you are still confused, take a look at this article, and that might offer some sort of explanation. Trust me when I say, you could hear about it anywhere!

I must admit that quite honestly I'm a little let
down about the whole thing. I was beginning to get a little excited, but that's when I realized- "Holy crap! I am NOT ready for an apocalypse!" So, in order to prepare myself (and others) I came up with a list of things in which I could have been better prepared for such an event.

#10. Try as I might, I have never read the entire Old Testament. A being worthy of rapture must know his scriptures. One time
I got to Genesis 20... I guess you could say that I was somewhat prepared with my reading material-- depending on whether or not you can substitute the Zombie Survival Guide for the Old Testament?

#9. My Bishop is in China...
How I am supposed to get a hold of him and clear my name if he is on the other side of the world? Heeeelllllooo?! I think he planned that on purpose. Tricky dude.

#8. I forgot to set my alarm!! I woke up at 6:04 and the first thought in my head was "Oh shitaki mushrooms! I have missed the rapture." When I finally came to, I realized that the apocalypse was really at 6:00 pm. Whew! What a relief...

#7. I forgot to get my shift covered at work. On Friday night, I attempted to inform my boss via text that I would need someone to close up shop for me. The text read, " Hey! I just wanted to let you know that I am planning on being raptured tomorrow at 6:00. You will need to send a sinner to close up shop." My boss replied wondering what the bleep I was talking about... I guess he didn't see the billboard? :/

#6. As my mom was preparing her lesson for primary this week, she went to the church website and found this:

Apparently we are not going to find out the church's official position on the matter... yikes.

#5. I may or may not have a slight swearing problem. This is our swear jar...

How can I expect to ascend if I am indebted to the jar $21... Unfortunate, but true.

#4. My mom and I are in the middle of a game of
words with friends. I am currently winning (which hasn't happened in a while) so... I would prefer to beat her and rub it in a little before I have to be nice.

#3. As my mom so kindly informed me in one of our games a few weeks ago, I am unmarried. I need to be married for the rapture. I just do.

(If you notice up in the right hand corner, you will see her first words were "find" and then "wife." My word was on the bottom "bugged." Then if you will please refer to the top, you may notice that it says "You Lost." I wonder if that is figurative or literal...?)

#2. I wasn't wearing my rapture shoes.

#1. We ran out of ketchup.

All in all, Saturday was kind of a let down for me. After literally two weeks of nothing but rain, the sun finally came out and I was stuck at work waiting for the glorious events to take place. Hey... do you think they just got it all mixed up? It was supposed to be the SUN, but NOT the SON...? Get it?! hahahahaha.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Reason? Season? or Lifetime?

Something happened to me during the last few weeks that doesn't happen a lot. I have been at a loss for words. To me, words are just about as important as anything. I don't necessarily mean in talking or speaking out loud, we all know that that just comes naturally and I can't turn off the endless spout which is my mouth. However, this loss might better be described as "writer's block." So many things have happened and changed that I just couldn't even gather my thoughts.

Have you ever felt like so much was changing, but in a way everything was staying the same all at once? Maybe I'm making no sense at all, but in all reality, that's the mumbo jumbo that is swirling around in my brain as I type. Good or bad? I'll let you be the judge.

The biggest thing impacting me at the moment is my friends. It's a time of life where things just change so rapidly that getting a grip is next to impossible. Holding on to those closest to you becomes an unspeakable battle where you're afraid to love and quite frankly, afraid to lose at the same time. Let me explain.

A few years ago, I got one of those annoying chain emails. I remember it read something like this:

"Friends come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime."

I can't tell you how true that is. As I look back on my life, I have had many incredible friends and they have all come at the right time and for the right reasons. If you're reading this right now, chances are that you and I are (or have been) friends at some point. If I don't know you, I'm sure that you have had similar experiences, but nonetheless, people come, and people go. If there is a chance you fall in one or more of these categories in my life, there are some things you should know:


To be honest, I feel like every single person I meet falls under this category. Each person brings with them a new perspective, trial, challenge, or blessing. To the many of you who have affected my life in such a way that has changed me, I am grateful to you; even including those where the relationship has been less than simple.

I realize that it is "uncool" to quote from musicals, but I stopped caring what was cool years ago... so... sue me for being a sap. One of my favorite songs from WICKED expresses this category perfectly.

"I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason,
bringing something we must learn,
and we are led to those who help us most to grow,
if we let them, and we help them in return.
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true.
But I know I'm who I am today because I knew you."


I hate this one. I'd much rather classify everyone into "Reason" because if I put anyone here, I feel like it's too much of an ultimatum. I feel like it completely overlooks the value and integrity of a friendship. That being said, we do drift apart from one another. It happens. I have only actively put a few people into this category in my life and that's probably only when the relationship becomes some sort of threat to either party involved.

"Don't make someone a priority when they only see you as an option." Unfortunately, that's a true statement and as much as I admire so many of these people, we can't risk everything for someone who sees us as nothing.


This one is my weakness, my disadvantage, and oddly enough, it is my strength, my endurance, and my life. When I make a new friend, I automatically put them in this category. That may seem a little naive, but I don't want to spend a life without any of you! I would love nothing more than to have one big eternal fiesta with everyone! And that's why it is so hard for me when I have to let a friend go, even if it's just for a short time. I know that the Lord has His ways of carrying out His plan. I know that each friend I have has been placed in my path as a blessing in my life.

I have heard it said,

"Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down."

To those of you who have taken the time and effort to break down those walls, I am so grateful.
To those of you who have made me feel like I am worth the world, there is no way I can ever repay you.
And to those of you who love me while knowing all of my imperfections and inadequacies, I could not ask for a better friend.

Monday, April 4, 2011

That Would Happen To Me

When I was 16, I backed my dad’s Porsche into the garage. No, not the garage door. The part that is actually the house. I scraped off the paint on the back passenger side and dented it on the stucco.

That would happen to me.

A few weeks ago, I drove to school with my gas light on. Don’t worry it’s only a 35 or 40 minute drive. I was late, as usual, and I was going to fill up with gas down there. At least I would have, if I had remembered my wallet. I found $3.78 in my car, back pack, and in begging and ended up making it home safely. I forget my wallet a lot. I drive with my gas light on a lot. Both things don’t usually happen on the same day.

That would happen to me.

In middle school, I was always concerned with how I looked. My mom was still doing my laundry at that point in my life (might still be doing it, but anyway) and every once in a while she would shrink a favorite article of clothing. That never went over very well. One particular morning, I grabbed my jeans from the laundry room and “freak out” when I could no longer fit into them. At all. I couldn’t button them, or even fit into the legs for that matter. They were tight! The next hour was a war between my mother and I. When I got home from school that day, I opened my closet and almost died laughing. When my mom came in to see what was up, I told her, “Oops… I was wearing your pants this morning….”

That would happen to me/us.

Instead of answering the phone at work how I’m supposed to: “Thank you for calling Great Harvest, this is Spencer!” I accidentally said, “Dear Heavenly Father.” I laughed so hard I had to hang up.

That would happen to me.

When I was 12, I had a season pass at Snow Bird and a sweet snowboard with a dog on it. My sister and I were minding our own business (trying to get down the mountain alive), when this crazy man came up from behind me and ran (or boarded, rather) right into me. I ended up upside down in a tree; my board up in a branch and my head in the snow. The nice man got mad at me for blocking his view and left me there to freeze to death. It only took Lauren 10 or 15 minutes to get me out of that dumb tree. I didn’t go snowboarding for the next 10 years. When I did go again, my friend broke her arm. Epic fail.

That would happen to me.

My first job was… delightful. I worked at a movie theater for about 5 minutes. My first job was to clean the theaters after the movies. Easy cheesy lemon squeezy, right? Wrong. During my first day I managed to stick my hand inside a poopy diaper, slip on and land flat on my back in throw up, and have two enormous garbage bags break right on top of me.

That would happen to me.

I was on a trip with some friends. I was playing catch in the hallway with one of my friends when she said “go long!” Like an idiot I started sprinting backward. Clumsy/uncoordinated people don’t know how to “go long.” I forgot that there was a bathtub right behind me and before I knew it, I was doing a back flip into said bathtub. I hit the bottom pretty hard and when I finally realized what happened, I saw water coming toward me. I had somehow turned on the water while doing my acrobatic moves. I couldn’t get out because I had landed on my arms funny and the water was getting closer and closer. My friend was laughing because she thought my dangling legs were hilarious. When I finally managed to get myself out of the tub, not only was I wet, but I was also choking. Apparently I licked the bottom of the tub or something and that’s how the hair got in my mouth. I came that close to throwing up.

That would happen to me.

This story is just plain sad. During the first week of my mission, one of the wards gave us large bags of presents to take to a less-fortunate family as a “secret Santa” sort of deal. When we showed up on the doorstep, the family was so grateful. They cried and hugged us and thanked us in Spanish. I was so excited that I got to give them their gifts and I was going all-out in my Santa hat. I looked back to my companion. His eyes were as big as bowling balls. He had taken us to the wrong house. The rest of the story is too sad to tell. I will say that I think I was crying more than the little kid when I ripped that present out of his cute little hands. I didn’t understand why we couldn’t just let them be our NEW secret santa family! I didn’t talk to my companion for the rest of that week.

That would happen to me.

About four months into my mission I was asked to speak in church. Being a young, new, and eager missionary, I was ecstatic! I prepared my lovely talk on member missionary work and got up to deliver my well-rehearsed address. About 4 and a half minutes into my talk, a sharp pain ripped through my abdomen. I was pretty sure someone shanked me right there on the stand. I remember I was in the middle of a quote from President Hinckley. I closed the talk with an “amen” mid-quote and found my seat. I don’t recall a lot during the next 2 hours, but I do remember waking up in the hospital wondering what the heck happened. I had apparently just come out of an emergency appendectomy! My appendix decided to act up right in the middle of my talk. Very rude. So I got rid of him.

That would happen to me.

When an ex gets married, everything about the situation is just awkward. I try to make it a point to not go to the wedding/reception, but that hasn’t always been such an easy thing to do. Especially when you get invited to ALL of them! While I was avoiding my last ex’s wedding, I spent some time in St. George with some friends. We were driving down bluff street one day and I look over and to my surprise is my ex-girlfriend and her husband. On their honeymoon. So much for evading that disaster. Luckily I ducked down before they could see me and now the only way they’ll know is if one of you tells them, or they read this. In that case, I hope your honeymoon was spectacular! It sure looked like a good time!

That would happen to me.

A few months ago I woke up at approximately 2:37 am. I know this because I always look at a clock when I wake up. The weird part was that I was not in bed. I was in my kitchen sitting at the counter. Right in front of me was an empty bag of my favorite ruffles potato chips, an empty box of cinnamon toast crunch with a matching empty bowl with the milk gone but the cinnamon specks on the side, and a plate of cookies with a bite taken out of each cookie. Apparently its called Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder (NSRED). However, as I far as I know, this never happened before that and hasn’t happened since. But every time I wake up with a weird taste in my mouth, I always wonder…

That would happen to me.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Burden of Forgiveness

I have contemplated a lot as to whether or not I wanted to post this. I think in a lot of ways, many of our trials and experiences can be very personal and in many circumstances should be kept to ourselves. That being said, I realized that as I was going through this process, that there is a hope that someone else can benefit from what I have learned.

“Forgiveness is more than saying sorry…” We could play a little rendition of ‘name that movie,’ but for those of you who don’t know what movie that is, it could ruin the fact that I’m trying to be serious for once in my life. Still, the idea behind that (hilarious) quote remains true.

I know that each of us has our own burdens, struggles, trials and challenges. During the past few years, forgiveness has been one of mine. Without going to much into detail, I will give you a little bit of background. The “growing up years” weren’t always so easy for me. I always had an incredible and loving family. However, it was difficult to make and keep friends. I was the shrimpy uncoordinated kid that got picked on. People said things about me that ruined my self-worth. From elementary school through high school, people would say things to me and about me that constantly made me feel like I wasn’t worth the wasted air.

I wasn’t treated fairly. I was often hurt, depressed and alone. I wanted more than anything to be friends with and included in groups with the very people who hurt me the most. My self-esteem was literally nonexistent. Although I know that many kids go through this, I felt like I was alone. I’m also sure that those who have met me recently may not see the absence of confidence that I am claiming. Let me assure you, it literally plagued me.

The past five years have been incredibly eye-opening for me. I have learned a lot about myself, love, friends, and most importantly my personal relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. As I served my mission, it was easy for me to forget about past events and especially the people that I couldn’t bear to face again. When I came back, I had a fire in me that a lot of people at home had not seen before. Many found out that I do, in fact, speak my mind. All of a sudden, I was funny instead of awkward. However, I did not expect that it would be difficult to come home and realize that I had not completely surmounted the feelings of inadequacy. As I began to reconnect with people, attend my singles ward, and go to activities, I started to crawl back into my shell a little bit. I was extended a calling in my ward to be the executive secretary to the bishopric and thus was forced to deal with these individuals that I hadn’t seen or thought of in years. I learned that many of them have changed, as have I. I hadn’t even given them the chance to show that side before I continued to judge them relentlessly. I was now serving the people that I felt had hurt me the most.

I couldn’t let go.

That’s when I recognized that I was the only one that had a problem. I had been out preaching repentance and forgiveness for two years and now here I am, a hypocrite. The once humbled servant of the Lord became ‘proud’ and ‘superior’ to those who had made him feel worthless before.

For the last few weeks, this has been on the front of my mind. When I go to institute, Sunday classes, the temple and especially sacrament meeting- this has been my mantel. Forgiveness hasn’t come easy. I hope and expect that it has been let go, but I would feel it in everything I do. The worst part is that I realize that I have now done things and said things that I needed to be forgiven for. How can I expect that such a sweet redemption can come upon me when I am so selfishly acting the way I have been?

As I was sitting in sacrament meeting quite a few weeks ago, I stumbled across a song I don’t recall ever hearing. The second verse stood out to me as if it was written in bold red ink.

Hymn #197 O Savior, Thou Who Wearest A Crown

“No creature is so lowly, No sinner so depraved,

But feels thy presence holy And thru thy love is saved.

Tho craven friends betray thee, They feel thy love’s embrace;

The very souls who slay thee Have access to thy grace.”

“The very souls who slay thee have access to thy grace.” I repeated that phrase in my head the rest of the day. The scripture references at the bottom led me to Matthew 27. Tears filled my eyes as I read the following verses (28-31).

“And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.

And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’

And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.”

I’ve never been given a crown of thorns. I’ve never been beaten or spit upon. I certainly haven’t ever been crucified on a cross that I had to bear. And yet, I am led back to that same line from the hymn, “The very souls who slay thee have access to thy grace.” He took upon himself His own persecution, mockeries, and unfairness and still He has offered to take mine as well.

“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.”

My institute teacher said something the other day about Christ that really made me think. (He may have been quoting someone but I’m not sure). He said “He had the power to be a lion, but He chose to be the Lamb.”

As I have tried to relate this all to my life lately, all of these things have really come together to help me understand the power of forgiveness. I have the disposition to be fierce, defensive and judgmental. My character reacts on instinct and inhibition. I have the power to be a lion, but in my quest to become like my Savior, I need to forgive. It's finally time to move on.