Monday, January 11, 2010

More than surface thoughts

This weekend has been one of major reflection and catharsis. Over the last two days, I have shed a tear a few times. I completely embrace this and rejoice in this, glad for the ability to feel emotion. It all stemmed from the many blessings I have in my life. I have thought about many things in my life, and remembered some of the things that I thought I had forgotten. I have so much to be grateful for.

First of all, more than anything else in this world, I feel that I need to share my love, adoration, appreciation, respect, and admiration for my family. Every single part of it is amazing, and I wouldn't change a single thing about it. From my father, my mother, my sister, to my little brother, these people are so amazing! They are always there for me, and share their love for me in their own individual ways. As I sat, looking at everyone while we held family night, I realized how superbly great I have it. They are all unique and they each add so very much to our family. The absence of any single one of them would be such an unimaginable loss. They have a knack for inspiring me to be better than I am, and to "stand a little taller." They do so much for me, and I only hope that I have and that I might be able to return the favor in the future. More than anything else, I desire to see that they are happy. I am not perfect, and I hope that they can forgive me for the times that I throw my little Pauliana fits. Through the temple, I know that we are united, and have been sealed for Eternity, and I am so extremely happy that I can share the rest of forever with them.

Along with my family, I am extremely grateful for the friends I have made over the years. There are so many of you, who have made such a tremendous difference in my life, and I will never be able to thank you sufficiently for the great examples you have been to me. This includes leaders that I have had in church, school, and community settings, as well as the great peers that I have had the tremendous pleasure of associating with and the honor to call my friends. I am so grateful that anyone would consider me a friend of theirs, for you truly have enriched and continue to enrich my life. Living in the world, but not of the world is a fine line, and it is so, so, so extremely easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, worried about fitting in with social standards of the world. There have been so many times, where I have been tempted to do that which I know to be wrong, and I have sometimes fallen, but so often I have been gently corrected or stopped by a good friend before I have given into temptation. I owe so much to all of you. You have no idea when you are being watched, and so many times your example has been such a tremendous help and inspiration to me. I know nobody's perfect, but with that being said, you have been such great examples to me. I only hope that I may help those around me live to their highest potential, thereby returning the amazing favor. You all are amazing.

Along with this, this weekend, I have remembered how much the Gospel of Christ has done for me. I know in my heart and mind that we have a Savior. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, our eternal Father. They both love and care for each of us on such a microscopic level that they know us more than we will ever know ourselves in this existence. Christ has given the ultimate sacrifice for us. The Atonement. I almost restrain myself from mentioning this in such a common forum as this, since it is such a sacred and holy event to me, but it is a fundamental part of my testimony, and I must share it. There was no ulterior motive in his actions. He suffered so greatly and for so long. Such ordeals would have killed an ordinary mortal. Throughout his life, Christ never reacted. He acted. His earthly life and ministry was one of love and Charity. None of us could have the chance to return to live with Him, and the Father without this ultimate sacrifice. I am far from perfect, and I make mistakes every single day. I owe so much to Him, and yet He seeks to bless me, completely out of His love for me. I love my Savior. He is my best friend, and is always there for me... Even when I slip up and act beneath the potential I have as a son of God. The Atonement is infinite, but it is also completely intimate. He is there to pay the price for my sins, but so much more than that. This scripture describes it so much better than I can: "And [Christ] shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities" (The Book of Mormon, Alma 7:11-12). I really stand all amazed at His love for me, the love that he has for each of us equally.

My 18th birthday has come and gone in the recent weeks, and with that has come the realization that the opportunity to share the good news of our Savior is closely approaching me, within a year's time. With this last year, I realize that I must prepare to share this message by doing everything I can to strengthen my testimony, so that I may teach with the Holy Ghost (Doctrine and Covenants 42:14). I am so excited that I have this chance to give back to the Lord by spreading His word to our brothers and sisters. I will try to be the best that I can be, in order to be an example of the believers, so when I appear before the judgement bar of God, He will not have cause to be ashamed of what I have done here. I'm still the goofy guy you all know, and I'll still make silly mistakes, but I hope that I can help those around me by just being my cheerful self. I've experienced so much in my short time here on earth. On one hand, I feel as though I've learned so much, and on the other, I realize that I have so much yet to learn. I've gone through a few struggles and challenges in my life, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As I look back on my life so far, I wouldn't change a thing. It has all been a learning experience. Again, thank you for being who you all are, and being in my life. I love you all.