2012 has come and gone… Looking back on my whirlwind of a year I can say that it was the most emotionally disheartening year of my life…
I can relate the past year to a family experience we had some years ago in Lake Tahoe. It was a dream of my Mothers to get the entire family to catch a hot air balloon ride. Lake Tahoe is like a little piece of heaven on earth and the view from a couple thousand feet in a hot air balloon would be breathtaking. Everyone in our family was super excited the day of the scheduled ride. We got to the site early in the morning only to find out there was too much wind to go up… We waited and waited and watched as they sent little black balloons into the air to test the wind. After hours of waiting they told us it was a not going to happen. My littlest brother Jared just started bawling. We all were devastated, leaving with crushed dreams.
In my own personal life I really built 2012 up to be my year…Things really didn’t go as planned. I had big dreams that were crushed in tragedy and I have found myself at the turn of this new year at an all time low…a rock bottom. I was riding so high with emotions on my sleeve and now I am like what in the world just happened? The hot air balloon did not sail.
I only blame myself for my situation and have had a serious reality check as to the way I have been living. There are still plenty of chinks in my armor. In the quiet moments the Spirit whispers what it is I need to fix and yet it is still difficult. It takes true strength and courage to take your deep rooted weaknesses and and stare them in the face and go to battle with them. More often than not you will fail…and the thought of failure is scary.
I ask myself over and over, then why even try? There are so many times where the world seems like it is crashing down on me and I have wanted to give up on my dreams… Maybe it would be easier to do it the worlds way? The lies are real and can take hold of your mind and heart if you let them. It is when you are weak and vulnerable and have a broken heart that Satan sends his onslaught of demons to take hold of you.
Yet God is mindful of you and loves a broken heart. A quiet voice enters your heart and you remember who you are. You need to start living according to principles which you know will bring you healing and happiness. To give up is to head straight for a dead end. “Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die (2 Nephi 28:7)” is the mentality. The worlds way is easier, the path is wide and there are many who are headed that direction.
2 Nephi 27:33 states, “And it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he said unto his disciples: Enter ye in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work.”
There is so much emotional pain in this world which leads to people scrounging for the nearest and most easily accessible coping mechanism. Many of the problems in this world stem from a lack of love in intimate relationships… dysfunctional family relationships and failed marriages, failed dating relationships, broken friendships, etc. People don’t do bad things necessarily because they are bad people, mostly they are just looking for escape from pain…they are wounded souls who need comfort. All of the deep rooted problems are because as humans we hurt other humans who have tender hearts. After too much hurt this hearts turn cold as ice. People become monsters who do nothing but hurt and suck life out of the innocent and vulnerable. The Savior himself was taken advantage of and sent to the cross. In his perfect understanding he cried, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).”
I have been lucky that for the majority of my life I have been spared of personal emotional heartbreak. I had a storybook childhood and lived the dream at BYU traveling, playing volleyball and dating. Dental school and getting involved in serious relationships lately has been a real challenge for me. I am no longer seeing the world through rose colored glasses.
I naturally have an open heart to anyone who wants to share with me… and there is something about me where people can tell I am not judgmental and so they open up to me. I have felt the weight of the world though as people share their issues and it has weighed on my mind and heart. Selfishness, sin, corruption, dishonesty and deception are taking over our world. If you think about the state of the world, our nation and the future for our future children is downright depressing… I have met plenty of girls who are broken from the way guys have treated them in the past. Their hurt doesn’t allow them to have a normal and healthy relationship with a nice guy. As nice guys you suffer the consequences of what some jerk did before you…
I have struggled lately with the concept that nice guys finish last… I always seem to chase the wrong ones who leave me burnt and my heart hurting. Temptation enters my head, am I doing it all wrong? Should I become a man of the world in order to get what I want? These are lies from Satan that are rooted in cynicism… becoming over self critical and blaming yourself for everything is never healthy either…
“Criticism is the forerunner of divorce, the cultivator of rebellion, a catalyst that leads to failure. I am asking that we turn from the negative that so permeates our society and look for the remarkable good among those with whom we associate, that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears. When I was a young man and was prone to speak critically, my father would say: “Cynics do not contribute, skeptics do not create, doubters do not achieve.””
Gordon B. Hinckley, Stand a Little Taller (Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate, 2001), 161.
I am usually full of faith, hope and dreams…everyone close to me knows this. Lately it has been difficult to maintain that attitude and I am tempted to give in to the negative. Yet I will not change that I am a dreamer. I want someone who appreciates this side of me and who can hold the same big dreams with me…not someone who tells me i’m wrong for thinking the way I do and to change.
During my BYU volleyball senior year, on the way to every volleyball game on the road our Assistant Coach Rob Neilson would throw on Aerosmith’s, “Dream On” on his Ipod as the last song before we pulled to the arena. The song is very appropriate for this time in my life…I want to share the lyrics…
Every time when I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone
It went by, like dusk to dawn
Isn’t that the way
Everybody’s got the dues in life to pay
I know nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes
I know it’s everybody sin
You got to lose to know how to win
Half my life
Is books written pages
Live and learn from fools and
You know it’s true, oh
All these things you do come back to you
Sing with me, sing for the years
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good lord will take you away
Yeah, sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tear
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away
Dream until your dreams come true
What really hit me as I pondered these lyrics is that everything we go through in life molds and shapes us into who we are. There will be ups and downs and good and bad happen to all of us…“The past is gone…Everyone has their dues in life to pay…You got to lose to know how to win.” Yet despite heartbreak, sadness and depression, it is our choice how to respond. Do we get stronger and more motivated or do we give in? Are we choosing to dream on?
When do we stop dreaming? We don’t until our dreams come true. Once they come true our dreams will change… Once a dreamer, always a dreamer.
While at home over break my family and I watched the old movie, “Romancing the Stone…” It is a classic with Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. The basic theme is to never give up on Mr. Right coming into your life…an author named Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) is living in New York City and has always dreamed of her cowboy showing up to rescue her…She goes to Colombia to help a friend in trouble and ends up on the most wild adventure of her life. Mr. Right does come along and she lives happily ever after. What if she had given up hope? So many around her told her she was silly and not in touch with reality. She was ready and preparing herself and she got her love story.
I think a lot of girls give up hope in men after dating or even marrying a sour one…This mentality is wrong and there are good men out there ready and willing to sweep a girl off her feet. I have always wanted to be that guy who sweeps his woman off her feet. I want to ride in on the white horse on a nice sandy beach where my damsel in distress is waiting. She will see me and run towards me and we will ride off into the sunset. Too much of a fairytale? I don’t think so…Your reality is whatever you choose it to be and your only confined by the walls you build yourself.
I feel like more often than not what has gone wrong in my story is that I ride in on my white horse and I see my damsel in distress but she is in the ocean drowning herself or getting eaten alive by sharks instead of waiting patiently for me or running towards me. You will have to excuse the analogy. Both people have to hold and want the same dream or it won’t happen.
My parents always give us kids a calendar for Christmas…mine is inspirational and the cover for January is a couple at the top of a mountain with the quote, “Defeat is not the worst of failures, not to have tried is the true failure…”
I thought long and hard about this on Christmas Eve. I do not want to be a failure. I will always try and will never be a quitter…its just not in my DNA. Engraven on my family crest are the words, “CONQUER or DIE.” I will keep trying until I conquer or I will die trying. I refuse to give up.
Even if you have given up on all faith, hope and dreams it is never too late to try. It’s not over until the fat lady sings… There is a quote on my wall in the bathroom that says, “everything will be ok in the end, if its not ok, its not the end (unknown).”
The recent pop song from PINK has been on my mind lately…
Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone’s bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
You’ve gotta get up and try try try
Gotta get up and try try try
You gotta get up and try try try
When your heart is hurting and broken there is no way around the pain. You will bleed out, pass out and spend time in the hospital until you recover. If you try to escape the pain you will only make things worse. You will not be “ok” until you turn your heart over to the master surgeon, who is qualified in every complicated heart procedure known to man, he is the only one capable of fixing your heart. He then gives it back to you healed and stronger than ever before.
At this time in my life I have had to make the difficult decision to seek emotional healing through the Savior. The world wants you to run after false remedies that it claims are immediate however there is no quick fix. Too many of us ignore the Savior for days, months, years and lifetimes and we live in our broken, cynical, depressed state always wondering why the best things in life, the things we’ve always dreamed for, constantly slip through our fingers. Yet through all the darkness the light and hope of the Savior is ever shining, he is ever beckoning us to run into his open arms for comfort.
A couple days before Christmas my family and I went to a Christmas tree farm to get a tree. We drove around for almost an hour looking for a farm that still sold trees. We climbed up a hill together as a family and cut down our own. I am the oldest so I assumed the responsibility of putting the tree on my back and carrying the tree down the mountain by myself…I had a very intimate moment right then with my Savior. The tree was heavy and was weighing me down after about 20 yards…I still had about 200 to go to get the tree to the back of the truck. I realized in that moment, totally alone, sweat dripping from my head, that this is exactly what the Savior did for me. Unless we give our cares to him, we will carry our own burdens through this life. We must cast upon him all cares, no matter what it is… Not just obvious sin but depression, regret, inadequacy, heartbreak, fear, jealousy, tragedy, abuse, and any and every struggle known to man. He carried the cross for us so that we don’t have to do the same. We must seek him in every thought.
Matthew 11:29-30 says it best, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
At the beginning of this new year let us all remember the Savior is the only answer, and make a determination to cast all our cares upon him…He is the one who will give us hope to keep dreaming. He turned water to wine, he calmed the seas and even raised a man from the dead…He himself died and was resurrected three days later. Is there any doubt then that he who has all power can make our fondest dreams come true if we just allow him to?
The Book of Mormon prophet Alma reminds us of the Savior, “And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness (Alma 38:9).”
I know that the perfect day will come when there is finally no wind, and the hot air balloon will be able to lift off over Lake Tahoe uninhibited. The Lord controls the wind. He knows the desires of hearts and our fondest dreams. If we turn our lives to him we can have all we have ever wanted and more we did not even imagine possible. Your future is only as bright as your hope in Christ.