Believe it or not, there are still things I am learning about life. I has been nearly 3 years since I left on my mission. Sometimes I feel like Herman Melville when he said that his life began at 25, when he returned to America after many adventures upon the sea. Some new way of understanding was imparted to me one afternoon in Virginia. It had pored all day long, it had been raining like that for days, weeks maybe, I don't have any dry memories of Marion, Virginia. We had no appointments, no one to teach, so we walked, all day long, house to house to house; and it rained and rained and rained. Near the evening, when the gray blues were turning to violet blues, we were marching through Hungry Mother State Park. Misty all over, hungry, wet through and cold, but still mumbling to each other every now and then about how beautiful everything was. Virginia is sneaky like that, it leaves you miserably in awe. Sister Nelson stopped suddenly, I walked right into her back. (Just ask her, I did this all the time! I was always looking out at something, forgetting my feet.)
"Shhhhh!", she whispered. "Look!"
Not fifteen feet in front of us were two tiny deer, looking right in our faces, not scared at all. I had never been so close to a wild animal before without a zoo fence in between us. I was transfixed. Everything in the world was dripping, steam was rising from their backs, their quick instinctual bodies still hot and ready to flex into motion should we pose a threat. We stood their forever, watching each other.
We never stood anywhere, we were always moving, walking, running. Never enough time, always in a hurry. My companion was inhumanly prompt. In contrast to everything my two months in the mission had taught me about never never wasting a single moment, we stood there.
No matter where I go I can hear the drip drip in my mind. I can smell the mossy moistness of the first real forest ground I had ever tread. I can see their short breaths bathe them in a cloud of thick warm haze. I can't feel my toes. (Some things never change.)
Some things in this life are absolutely precious. Occasionally, in milliseconds, we are changed thoroughly. I had never wanted to be a missionary. I never wanted to live in a moldy smelly apartment with a stranger who wouldn't let me drive and always made me shower first in a cold tiny tub with a ceiling so low even I couldn't stand. But I had craved all my life the feelings that overwhelm me, even now, when I think back on the miracles of those thirteen months. Isn't it a perfect plan our Father in Heaven has made for us?
A natural resilience to conformity has gotten me into some sketchy situations, including but not limited to: knocking my fifth grade mega crush's tooth out in a game of basketball, wearing teal boots (as a missionary) to hear Elder Bednar speak about exact obedience, being stuck on the second story roof of my apartment while my companion was inside with the Sheriff, and teaching a Sunday school lesson to the priesthood in my singles ward about what "women expect of them". You would think that by now I had learned my lesson, not so.
I believe that individuality, in all of us, is so beautiful. It is what makes us, children of God, as unique as the stars. It is what necessitates the personal and custom plans/ paths we all take back home. The lessons that are tailored exactly to each journey, each soul.
So, if the words of He Man thrill you like the words of Capitan Moroni, do not be ashamed! Take your sward in you hand. Shake it at the evil of the world. Tell them just exactly who "has the power". My Heavenly Father loves me. He loves you. He knows you. This life is a joyous time for you to prepare to meet him again, to show him the talents you Did Not bury, but multiplied.
Like a little sparrow he tenderly lifts you in his hands to the sky and whispers, "Fly."