"And I still wont grow up, I'm a grown a** kid
Swear I should be locked up for stupid shiz* that I did
But I'm a champion, so I turned tragedy to triumph
Make music that's fire, spit my soul through the wire"
Kanye West -Through The Wire (edited for jamesthemormon readers)
These lyrics hit home as I think about my progression through life.
What is life about honestly?
It's about learning from your past and making your future that much brighter. So many lessons have been learned, but I'm still learning.
The biggest/hardest lesson I've had to learn is when to let go. When to let go of guilt. When to let go of grudges, and when to let go of people who you think love you, but only hold you back in your eternal progression.
6 years ago my brother converted to Islam. At the same time my mother stopped talking to him because she claims she has "nothing to say". Each week for almost 5 years he wrote her a loving letter pleading with her to speak with him and to be a part of his newlywed family's life. After 7 years of zero response he's given up, realizing his efforts were keeping him from moving on and being happy. Although I don't ever condone giving up, I do support any persons decision to increase positivity in his or her life.
You know what's right. You know what to do.
Sometimes God allows the "hardest things in life" to happen to us . . but its always for our greatest good. We may not understand why this is all happening, but when we are patient or take a step back, in time we'll come to understand and see the bigger picture.
Although I finished my Mission in the great state of Washington. I started it in the former Soviet Union, aka . . . Russia. I was called to serve in the Rostov-Na-Danu Mission. From the 3 months I served there, I realized Russians hate Americans, despise Black people, and absolutely loathe Mormons.
Being all 3 you can imagine the peachy time I had inviting them to hear about the Restored Gospel.
My first transfer I was with Elder Porter. He was 5'3 but had the heart the size of Andre the Giant. Serving with him was like serving with your best friend when you were 8. You know the kind of friendship that was 100% drama free and you just clicked . . . like seat-belts. Although we had many adventures together knocking doors in the dusty brothel infested streets of Tuapse, there was one disaster that we will never forget.
We were coming back from a Zone Conference during the peak of summer and unfortunately these trains didn't come with air-conditioning. After 8 hours of sweating like a hot dog on the 4th of July we stepped off the train, drained and dead-tired at 2 am. We walked back to our apartment trying to avoid eye contact with all the Drunks yelling "Hello America" and Russian Hookers asking us to come home with them. When we reached our door I was so happy to walk in and collapse onto my bed immediately. After about 5 min of staring at the door numbers underneath the peep hole like a zombie I asked my companion why we still hadn't entered. With almost tears in his eye he told me he didn't have our key. My face went from confusion, to disbelief, to absolute terror. What were we gonna do?
Idea number 1 - climb the drain into the open window 4 stories up....3.5 min later after numerous failed attempts, that idea was shut down.
Idea number 2 - find a ladder to climb to the top. We didn't have a ladder so we set off to contact drunk Russians at 2 am to find someone who could lend us one.
The first person who would stop and talk to us seemed excited to talk to Americans. As we tried to explain our problem and how we needed help, he pulled out a handgun. I froze. I didn't know what to do. He then pulled out a clip and without hesitation I ran. I ran so hard it felt like I was tripping over myself. As I finally turned a corner for safety I looked for Porter but he was nowhere to be found. I peaked back and he had had his hands up, and I never asked, but my guess was that he was peeing himself. I shouted "RUN" and thank the heavens he followed my instructions and got to me safely. After a 15 min lecture from me explaining that "if you see a gun--you run" we headed back toward our apartment in defeat.
As we sat on the curb brainstorming ideas of what to do, a legit tropical thunderstorm began. We looked at our phone and realized our phone was about to die. Our only answer was to turn to our Heavenly Father and ask what to do. With urgency and sincerity we pleaded for help and inspiration. Immediately we felt impressed to call Ludmila. An Old Grandma in our Branch who didn't live too far away. We called, she picked up, and we ran over with tears of gratitude and joy.
We woke up the next day to find that the monsoon had continued throughout the night and the the entire city had flooded. After we picked up our key the Zone Leaders sent via bus early that morning, we hiked through the muddy knee high water back home. On our way home we saw that an entire basement pharmacy completely flooded and there were two women trying to save it all by themselves. As representatives of Jesus Christ we knew what we needed to do, and spent the remaining hours of that day scooping and tossing giant buckets of water trying to save this pharmacy.
We were stinky, sticky, and exhausted. We may have had to run for our lives from a stickup and almost broke our backs scooping out that water but we knew God needed us right there, at that specific time and specific place, to be an example of the believers.
Sometime we do stupid things, and sometime stupid things happen to us, but in the end we're the ones who get to choose if we are going to see the light in the situation and learn from it.
Like this stupid mistake . . .