Well, it has taken me quite a long time to write this post. In fact, I wondered if I ever would. For a while I just wanted to ditch this entire blog and disappear into the new life I had ended up in. I was in a confused state wondering who I was, what my purpose was, and if it really was all worth it. One doesn’t exactly go viral for going on a mission… Go on a mission… And then come back early… That’s not supposed to happen. That’s not the fairy tale ending everyone wanted. It’s not the fairy tale ending I wanted. Well, real life isn’t a fairy tale, and that’s okay.
For those that are not following me on social media, you are probably not aware. However, I have been home from my mission since the end of June. A lot things came with this. Shame, depression, anxiety, hopelessness… These were all knocking at my door. I remember looking out of the window on the plane leaving Taiwan. I remember a kind of pain I have never experienced in my life. This was a feeling of complete and utter sadness not only for myself, but for the many people in that country I would never be able to meet. All those people I couldn’t talk to. All those people I could have helped… Gone… Opportunity lost. My family was amazing and gave me a real welcome home at the airport. All of them were there. I even had a sign! I was incredibly grateful for a loving family that supported me no matter what.
The reasons for my being home… I am not going to discuss. I have learned that a lot of things in life should remain private. However, I would like to discuss a small part of my journey in figuring out the meaning of all of this.
You see, I went through A LOT to get out. And as many of you know, I also experienced a lot of loss after I left. I came back and wondered… Why? Why was I to go out if Heavenly Father knew all along that I would come back? Why would he send all of these wonderful people in my life to help me along the way if it was all in vain? These questions drove me into a deep sadness. To illustrate how I came to a conclusion, I will tell you about the last meeting I had with a member in Taiwan before I left.
It was a crazy hot and humid day in Taiwan (typical). I was on splits with one of the zone leaders. He told me we had a meeting with a member from the ward to do service, and have dinner. I spent the next two hours scraping a kitchen floor… Which made barely any difference hahaha… But hey, that’s okay. My zone leader told me that the member was very frustrated with the ward. We were worried she was going to go inactive. She was a single mother, and had lost a lot of faith. She had experienced a tremendous amount of trials in her life. The entire time my zone leader tried to make things better with her. However, she continued to seem very angry with our presence.
It was now time for dinner. We enjoyed the meal she prepared for us (well, he enjoyed the meal. I was almost about to die haha). It was now time to share a spiritual message with her. To help her with her faith issues, he began to share something. I wasn’t able to understand much of what was being said, but I could tell that an argument was starting to happen. Eventually, my zone leader stopped in the middle of his sentence and asked, “Do you have anything you can share about trials?” I responded, “Oh boy do I ever.” Haha he couldn’t have asked a better question. I started to tell this amazing sister of my story. I explained to her that I had left everything to come on a mission. I told her that while I was away my sister had passed away. However, I did my best to stay out to be an example for my family no matter how hard it had been on me. I don’t remember much else what I said. I have also never spoken Chinese so well in my life. As I began to speak to her, tears ran down her cheeks. I have never felt the spirit so strong in my entire life.
After we left her house I had a very strong realization. Everything that I had said to her, was exactly what I wanted to tell myself. All of the flaws I never realized about myself… All came to me like a tidal wave. I started to shed tears of gratitude. My heart was full from the experience I had. At this time, I knew I would probably be coming home soon. However, I was so grateful that I had this experience.
You see, I realized something this day. Yes, I realized a lot of important things about myself that I wouldn’t have ever known had I not served a mission. Or at least, not for a very long time. But another very important thing I realized is that our lives aren’t supposed to have just one big climax. That isn’t what life is about. I thought this was going to be the biggest part of my life. The fact is, we are going to have many amazing things. We are meant to keep going no matter what. We are meant to improve no matter what comes our way. And you know what? Sometimes life will smack you right down from what you thought you should be doing. Sometimes you give your all into something… And you just might fail. That’s life though… Life is failing.. and moving.. and failing and moving… But along this process we IMPROVE. That’s what’s important.
My life now is not glamorous by any means. I work over full time, and go to school over full time. My free time is mostly taken up by the gym, or taking myself on a date (yes I do that now haha). But I am happier right now than I have ever been. I have come to terms with who I am. I have come to terms with where I am, and where I need to be. Had I not ever served a mission, I would never know just how amazing life COULD be. I would never know really what I was capable of being.
These days, I don’t inspire too many people anymore like I used to. People are slowly fading out of my life. The world’s interest in my life is slowing down… But I am starting to be able to inspire MYSELF. Too often we neglect ourselves. We want to be everyone’s savior while we are lost in the darkness.
So, the big question. Will I continue to write? I think I am going to. There is still more to tell. And as my mission president told me before I boarded that plane… “Hippie to Missionary… I don’t think that story is over yet.”
If you want to know what’s going on in my life now, you can follow @jaromrocks on Instagram. Love you. Jesus loves you. Have an amazing day.
Next time I am talking about loving yourself, and why I take myself on dates every week. Stay tuned!