Monday, August 11, 2014

Testimony: You Don't Have To Be Special

"In ev'ry condition--in sickness, in health,
In poverty's vale or abounding in wealth,
At home or abroad, on the land or the sea--"

Robert Keen (How Firm a Foundation)

This post is dedicated to everyone who are not in he midst of trial and surgery, who may be on the upward cline of a hill from a dale, who may be sitting pretty on the top of a hill, or who may believe trails are all there is to life.

Well keep sitting pretty.
Have you ever studied hope? It's not just for the hard times.

A few years ago, my roommate just "had" to go to a lecture for her class. Upon meeting me, most people think I strive for lively fun and could never pay attention to a lecture. Sit down for 2 hours after a full day school and homework? Are you kidding? I'd love to! This roommate knows a lot about me, including the secret that I love attending lectures. Add that to the fact we attend different schools, I love hanging out with my roommate, and my could've-been date who said he'd give me the details hadn't talked to me since then and still hadn't made any contact (so I assumed he forgot), I was more than rearing to go!

The lecture: Literature of the Antebellum Period (my roommate was a nursing major at the time, and we still don't understand the connection). The presenter: Dr. Holland.
His dad was there. It wasn't until I was reflecting on this experience I realized how cool it was that his dad goes to his things as possible. This man has a doctorate and is a mature human being. But his dad came anyways.

Did I mention his dad is Elder Holland? He sat six seats directly in front of me with his family.

During that period of my life, I attended a stake institute class, taught by a couple. The favored story of that time was when Bro Institute had his hand shaken by the prophet in some profound way at some critical point in his life. We had even spent an entire class sharing and talking about such experiences.

And here was Elder Holland! His talks had always spoke to me. He was "my" apostle. You know? The one who always says what you need to hear. The one you just feel a profound connection to. Yeah, that one. He was a paper airplane toss away.
Maybe I'd have one of those experiences.
Maybe I would be noticed out of a crowd.
Maybe something something life changing would happen.
Maybe he would give my roommate and I advice.

Or maybe not.
There were plenty of buzzing students in the amphitheater style classroom. We came for the professor anyways.

It occurred to me that my story was missing something all the other stories had. I was quite happy and content with my life. I loved my roommates, school was school, I had no major questions, and my testimony was alive and well. I had no problem. Which is a perfectly fine problem to have. Both of us were in happy places in our lives.

We made it through the long lecture (luckily, he had pictures!), and it was time to pack up and go. The inevitable long line formed to shake the hand of the apostle and to thank the presenter.

My roommate and I talked a little bit as we gathered our stuff. This conversation brought forth the still funny "But you live in you Utah. Don't you see General Authority everywhere?" No. She had met 2 apostles, and I had never met one.

I don't know how it happened, but we ended up being among the last to leave the room. There was one young man talking to Elder Holland and another talk to Dr Holland. The left just as we reach the bottom of the amphitheater.

And that's how we met our friend Elder Holland. He greeted us warmly with hand-shakes. When I told him we shared mutual friends (the grandmas) he got so excited our handshake could have knocked out any hug! We chatted in a familiar fashion and shared many laughs.

My roommate and I flew all the way home. I called my mom as soon as I could to tell her what happened. Turns out she knows him too. Whenever Elder Holland would come up in conversation or was quoted, my roommate and I would look at each other and say "our friend Elder Holland."

So when does the testimony part come in?
It didn't come from Elder Holland (Sorry, friend), it came from the delivery.

I didn't need to meet "my apostle". I didn't need anything really. I was just there to get out of the apartment and spend time with my roommate, and perhaps learn a thing or two.

I didn't need a friend. I had Alison.

I didn't need a warm handshake. I got plenty of affection from friends and relations.

I didn't need to meet a messenger of God.

But I got it anyways.

You don't have to be special to have something special happen to you. I think that is when God's love is really shown. He doesn't love us because we need it. He showers us with love and blessing simply because He loves us.
He is always aware of us. Not just when we cry for Him. He is our father and friend, not just a doctor or master carpenter. He wants to see our happiness increase.
If you don't know it, ask Him. He'll answer you.

The church is true, even when you don't need it to be.

And besides, you're special anyways. If you don't believe me, ask the one who created you. He's listening.

I know for myself that God loves loves you for you. He loves unconditionally. He loves you for your weaknesses and He loves you regardless your strengths. He is our Heavenly Father. His love cannot be comprehended. His hand is in all things. He's in the ups as much as He is in the downs. We are never alone.

Just as a funny side note, my brother was on his mission at the time. He emailed me saying he was happy about my experience. He had never met an apostle either. A year or so later, I was in the MTC and he got to really know 6 of them. No apostles came to the MTC for the whole two months I was there. Go figure.

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