Sunday, July 25, 2010

It only takes one wrong turn to completely change your path

Just over a month ago, my family had a family reunion of sorts in Utah. My oldest sister came to Utah for two weeks with her 5 daughters, which motivated us all to expand the trip! Luckily, we were not all stuck together for the entire trip, different people came and went, when everyone that could be there was there we had as many as 22 people! Including my parents, my oldest brother Brian, his wife Amanda and 3 daughters Emily, Paige, and Isabell, my oldest sister Hilary and her 5 daughters Alyssa, Kaylie, Lauryn, Emma, and Sydney, my sister Helen, her husband Matt, and 2 sons Jacob and Isaac, my sister Sarah, her husband Rick and 2 sons Jackson and Carson and daughter Natalie and me of course! It was a great trip full of ups and downs, but for the most part it was a positive reunion. We were sad that Seth and Ashtyn couldn't be there with us as well, but such is life! Due to the convenience of having the majority of the family in one place, Sarah decided to have Natalie's Baby Blessing while we were there. On the morning of the blessing my Mother and I had a little adventure...

First of all, the condo we were staying in was in Midway, UT which is 45 minutes away from Salt Lake. So my mother and I set out to Salt Lake early in the morning in effort to help Sarah get ready for the blessing and the lunch afterwards. While driving we made a wrong turn. Once we realized that we didn't recognize the place, we debated turning around or not. As we kept driving, unable to decide what to do, we saw a sign that said 5* miles to Park City. Figuring that it was in the same general direction that we intended to go we continued driving. About 3/4* of a mile later there was a sign for "Rough, Curvy Road Next 4*miles" and another one that said "End of State Maintenance". Usually signs like this exaggerate, figuring that we would be fine we soon dismissed any ideas of turning around and pressed forward. Then the pavement stopped, gravel started. Still we kept going. Then the gravel slowly transitioned into dirt. And the switchback turns started. Unable to find any place to turn around, we continued driving. Climbing higher and higher, getting more and more frightened with each corner as the trees shielding the fall disappeared and the chance of hitting an oncoming car increased due to our driving in their lane so as to stay away from the edge, we kept driving. We drove through groves of birch trees, and through the Wasatch State Park, we drove over Empire Pass, we drove up into the clouds, and were ecstatic to see any form of life such as a cottage, or a snowmobile, or even power lines. We had no cell phone coverage, and no one to rely on but ourselves, but we kept going. Finally, we started going down, the number of houses increased, as did the number of oncoming cars. We regained cell phone coverage and we were able to contact Sarah and tell her what was taking so long. We finally navigated our way back to the freeway and made it safely to Sarah's house. And despite the laughter, the fear, the insecurity of not knowing where we were, and all the other emotions we felt while on the drive we managed to find the positive in the experience.

I liken this experience to any other mistake we make in life. At first it is easy to turn around and repent, however, as you keep going it becomes less and less realistic to turn around. We feel like we are too far down the path to ever come back and repent. This is when the mistake forces us to do things that teach us something. As a result of our wrong turn and not turning around, we were forced to drive along an unsafe, long, road, making our trip longer and much less enjoyable than it could have been. We had to do things that we didn't want to just so that we could make it back to the right path, this is the same as when we make mistakes in our life. We sometimes have to confront people, or admit to things that we are ashamed about, but we have to do it in order to make our way back to the right path. Sometimes we even feel like we have lost contact with everyone around us, like we are alone, but let me reassure you that we never are. The savior will always help us, if we but call on him, even in the most difficult times in our life the Savior will be there for us. During our drive we said many prayers that we would be safe and find our way, and even though we couldn't call anyone we knew that we could call on the Lord. And even though we may feel like we are the only ones that have the problems that we have, there is always someone that has been through the same thing. If no one had ever travelled on the road we did, the road would not have been there. However, the most important thing about this whole experience is that with faith, and perseverance we made it safely back, even after our mistake.

Looking back it was a very good experience, even though it might have been hard at the time.

Until later,
Safe and sound

*Estimate, please do not quote me in any court of law, or any other venue in which accuracy is vital.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Caught in the whirlwind called life...

It has been a very long time since I last posted anything, and a lot has happened. I have been on two trips, had a birthday, and had many forgotten moments that would have been worth mentioning. Unfortunately, some things many have been lost, but that is to be expected when there is so much happening in ones life. My typical Friday goes something like this...wake up 7am, workout 8am, work 9:30-12:30pm, either work 4-8 or babysit 5-11ish...of course the evening varies week to week, but it is essentially the same thing, earning money and losing sleep. Each other day of the week is equally busy, and filled with more or less the same thing. For now I desire to recall a few very fond memories that remind me of the important things in life.

Over the past year, my family has lost a few close friends. Each was unexpected and equally difficult for my father. Those of which I am writing about now were all men, in similar health and age to my father, and they were all friends of his. The memories of which I choose to recall are as follows:

1). Dave passed away leaving his wife, 3 sons, and daughter. Though I do not have a specific memory of Dave, I admire him for many reasons which I will now explain. Prior to becoming sick, Dave felt impressed to pay off all debts, and ensure that his family was taken care of. Following this prompting, he paid off his home, and a debt. While it is hard to know if he knew that he would not be here much longer, or if he was just trying to follow the council of the prophets, the important thing is that he followed the prompting of the spirit and blessed his family in countless ways. Dave was an engineer, he worked specifically on pacemakers. I recall Dave telling a story of a young man and the lose of his life. Because he works with pacemakers, one of the things that he must do is to monitor to pacemakers, to ensure that they are functioning correctly. When a pacemaker is failing, he is notified. Sometimes there are things that he can do, and other times there is nothing he can do. He told of a time in which he was notified and there was nothing he could do. He said that the most difficult thing was being forced to watch this young mans heart suffer and fail and have no way to help. He related the experience to how the savior feels when we chose to do things that harm us on an eternal perspective. I will forever admire Dave, and look forward to seeing him again someday.

2). Sean passed away alone in his house, and left behind a son. Sean worked for my parents. Shortly after Sean lost his job (as did we all) he and his wife divorced, leaving him alone. His death was the result of a malfunction of antidepressants. Shortly after hearing of the death of Sean, I was sitting in my sisters house trying to access the Internet. When all of a sudden I was connected to the Internet. At the time I could have sworn that was Sean's way of communicating with me that all was fine and that I should not fear. I now remember that I set up my computer to save the information necessary to connect to my sisters wireless, however, I cannot deny the feeling of peace that I felt when the event occurred.

3). Dallas passed away of unknown causes. Dallas was my father's friend from church. He was a stubborn veteran, addicted to morphine due to his time in the military. One of my last memories of Dallas was on the night before crimsonnaire initiations. He was over at my house, and he knew that I was worried about whether or not I would make it. I knew that initiations would happen that night, and that knowledge alone probably made it more stressful. I had to work that night, and while I was at work I got a phone call. To my surprise it was Dallas, he asked me for my cell phone number, confused, I gave it to him. I then went and got my phone and took it into the room I was working in (shh...don't tell my boss). A few minutes later, I received a text from an unknown number that said "Hey you know that thing you was worried about, don't". It was that moment that I knew I would make it! While it took away the element of surprise, it felt really good to know that Dallas cared enough about me to go through so much effort to keep me from worrying.

I know that talking about people that have died is not really uplifting, and you might be thinking I am now some Gothic, pain-loving weirdo...but I am not, sorry to disappoint you. I do have a reason. These three individuals all taught me important life lessons about what is important. From Brother Wiggins I gained a stronger testimony of the importance of following the promptings of the spirit. From Sean I became more sure that death is not a thing to fear because it will all be okay in the end. And finally from Dallas I have yet another example of how important it is to take the time to show others that we care about them. While caught in the whirlwind of life, it is easy to forget what really matters. It is only when we take the time to stop and think that we realize what we have been doing is insignificant in the larger scheme of things.

Until later,
Reevaluating what is important