Happy thanksgiving yall!
This week really was a week of thanks and really reflecting on what I am really grateful for that I sometimes take for granted.
Thursday, Thanksgiving day, we were invited to go to our Branch Mission Leaders extended families house for a turkey day lunch! It was very sweet of them to invite us. :)
(I'm suuuper super bummed but I didn't take very many pictures at all this week!)
But we had a great time, talking to all the family members and extended family there and getting to know them. Really quality conversations :)
Elder Mortensen and Elder Howe were there as well! They are serving in a little town called Pride.We laughed and talked with them alot. They are so awesome.
We talked about the new zone tshirts that we are going to get at our next zone meeting that Elder Howe designed, empathized with each other about being doubled in and nasty apartments, joked about Elder Mortensen being the grim reaper of companions, (he has sent home his last 4 companions in a row, 2 going home at the end of 2 years, 1 getting injured and having to go home, and one going home early), swapped stories about what we were doing last thanksgiving a year ago, vented about how we were struggling to stay within our allotted mileage limitations and what we were trying to do to stay under miles.
We were walking everywhere and these elders were biking everywhere. around 40ish miles a day. They had biked to this Thanksgiving lunch and it was around 15 miles away from their apartment!
Then it was time to go to not overstay our welcome and went our separate ways.
The rest of our day was very relaxing and chill! We were able to take a quick nap, visit with the Halls (the people we live next to/with) and then we went to a small dinner with another family in the ward.
Friday was another good day! We walked and walked to more peoples houses and tried meeting as many people as we could as everyone was still off work and hopefully home for the holidays.
Friday night we received shocking news.
Elder Howe was in an accident. The elders were riding their bikes and Elder Howe was hit by a car going 50 mph. He is in very critical condition.*
This news literally blew me away yall.
It was devastating to my heart.
We were literally with them only 24 hours ago! laughing, joking, talking about our lives and futures. and it all changed in one instant.
But most of all I was overcome with sadness. Since I was just with them I was able to imagine a single pint of what they were going through. The scenario kept going through my mind. And I became completely heartbroken. to the point where it was about to consume me.
Luckily, (and by luckily it was obviously spirit led) that morning I was reading through some of my old inspirational advice emails from my family and I had read this one from Mallory that I remembered reading. It was exactly what I needed.
Email from Mallory:
I don't often share things on social media.
I look at it though.
I LOVE looking at pictures of people's lives.
I laugh and show Preston funny cat memes.
I eat up articles about #fixerupper.
I think I have seen every single #studioc sketch.
Heck, I even made a March Madness bracket this year with Pres.
I also keep in touch with the "world's status".
I sometimes hit up #hony to read people's stories and get in touch with the feels.
I read and watch news articles, or hear it from Preston- an avid current event-er.
I sometimes read the open letters from so-and-so to whomever.
I shed tears over articles that break my heart, especially ones involved with sexual abuse or angel babies.
I watch presidential debates and read (with some eye-rolling) political articles.
(The only thing I don't do is scroll down to comments on articles, videos, etc. Too much, too much.)
I do enough to stay in touch.
But sometimes my heart hurts too much.
It's like I have a magical power that lets my imagination take me and put me right in the shoes of the persons involved -
the husband of the wife with cancer, the rape victim, the woman struggling with depression, the child of the police officer who was killed, the mom of a beautiful angel baby, the torn family fleeing their home
- feeling what they feel and crying with their cries.
Oh wait...I do.
It's called empathy.*
When I get too sad or too sick over the world, I used to just close the article and swallow myself up in an aforementioned cat meme or pictures of a pretty house.
And then I would feel guilty for running away from the real world and trying to find happiness in frivolity.
So one day, I sat down and tried to figure out what I could do to stop that sad feeling.
I want to be informed. I want to feel.
I don't want to run from the world or hide or cover up my feelings.
I want to embrace the fact that I can feel those feelings and experience that beautiful, sorrowful, and sometimes painful part of life.
But I don't like to be overwhelmed with sadness from an outside source.
And so I sat and thought.
And I sat and prayed.
And this is the overwhelming answer I got.
That is why there is an Atonement.
The Atonement isn't just to be talked about on Easter Sunday (which is soon, btw).
The Atonement isn't just for when you did something wrong.
all those with a broken heart.
It is for the husband of the wife with cancer,
the rape victim,
the woman struggling with depression,
the child of the police officer who was killed,
the mom of a beautiful angel baby,
the torn family fleeing their home.
It is even for the silly 25 year old girl who weeps when she reads Facebook articles while her baby sleeps.
This life is full of sadness, pain, heartache, trial, anger, frustration, and seeming injustice,
And, I hate to break it to you, but the next president isn't going to fix that.
But I know One who can.
Not because He will make all that go away.
But because He helps you through it.
Isn't that beautiful?
It is okay to feel. It is okay to feel all those sad things.
Embrace them even!
But don't wrap them up in your heart. Don't hold on to them.
Embraces are hugs -
you hold them for a second, a minute, sometimes even a few minutes.
But you always let go.
They will still be there. Maybe even right next to you.
But you don't have to hold onto them forever.
And let me tell you a not-so-secret.
The best way, and sometimes only way, to let them go is to let the Savior take them.
He will take them for you.
That's how much He loves you.
It doesn't matter what your sad thing is,
He will take it for you.
If you are willing to let go.
And let me tell you the best part.
After you let Him take it,
the Savior of all mankind
will then wrap you in His loving arms.
Soothing, comforting, and bringing peace.
Sometimes we have to give Jackson medicine when he is sick.
To say he dislikes it would be a vast understatement.
Every time, after we give it to him, I wrap him in my arms and just hold him.
And he stops crying.
I like to think that is what the Savior's embrace is like.
Those things will still be there.
But so will the Savior.
You didn't run away.
You stayed and you faced them, but with the Savior by your side.
Holding you up.
And helping you feel.
Because it is okay to feel.
I love feeling.
He is real. I know He is.
#Hallelujah for that.
*Yes, I said empathy. No, I have never had those experiences. Yes, for that moment, I have felt the feelings of what they are feeling. No, that doesn't diminish their feelings at all. Compared to their sorrow, it is fleeting. It does not match the magnitude of their experiences. But, in that moment, it is very real.
(Thank you to Tom Barker for opening up my eyes to the compassion hierarchy.)
Look it up.
So that moment when I was almost overcome with feeling, I knelt down and prayed to my Heavenly Father. I poured out my heart and prayed for Elder Howe, Elder Howe's family, and Elder Mortensen. And I started a fast.
Then got up and we got to work. We went out tracting and trying to share the #LighttheWorld video with everyone we could!
And that was one of the coolest experiences.
I really felt the power of the Atonement work in my life.
I felt God take it for me. He heard my many prayers and gave me the peace I needed.
I felt light. I felt optimistic about a hard situation. I felt strength. I felt the power of the Atonement in my life.
I gave my feelings a hug. and then I gave it up.
The Atonement is not just for sins. Its for everything we feel. Good and bad and indifferent.
AND IM SO THANKFUL FOR THAT.
yall I am so thankful and my heart is full.
I LOVE YALL SO MUCH AND AM SO THANKFUL FOR YALL.
honestly thank you for writing and sending me all your prayers and emails.
They really honestly mean alot to me! They help me! and they make me happy :)
love love love yall!
*The whole story is that Friday evening the Pride elders were riding their bikes on the hwy (not an uncommon thing, its all rural) and riding towards the sun. The sun was in everybody's eyes. A lady was driving and didn't see them. She side swiped Elder Mortensen and hit Elder Howe. Elder Howe hit the windshield and his bike was impaled into the car. His helmet was split in 2. Elder Mortensen called 911 and then immediately went over and gave Elder Howe a blessing. Elder Howe has been in a medically induced coma, his brain is very swollen and he has a punctured lung but no broken bones. Elder Mortensen is shook up but he's alright. Elder Howe's parents came down Saturday night. We have been praying a ton as a companionship and as a mission and we had a mission-wide fast for him Sunday.
Can you just appreciate the beauty of Lousiana for a moment with me <3
all from this week