Narrating an Inner Struggle
This decision could change the course of my entire life more than any other decision. I thought college would do that or my major, but I don't think it matters too much what I decide to do career-wise. Maybe even marriage would do that, but this decision would probably determine who I would marry and what type of life I would live. No, this is the most important decision. No pressure! Do I go on a mission? My twin sister has already received her call. That was a HUGE surprise. Would I be going because she is and twins do everything together? What about the temple? Am I considering this because everyone else in my family is endowed and I want to be too? Or is this for me? What about my boyfriend? He just came home and I thought I was going to marry him, but I am not feeling that so much now. Is it just doubts? Or is it wrong? But I thought it was so right and he doesn't seem like the waiting type. Do I just let go and give him up?
I don't think my bishop would like me going on a mission, I am dating someone and he is definitely the pro-marriage type. Do I talk to him about it any way? But wait! He just came up to me and invited me into his office, "lets open your papers" he said. Wow! That was unexpected. I didn't even hesitate to say "okay"- even more expected. So maybe this is right. Maybe I want to serve the Lord. Maybe I would be willing to go any where. I think I am willing to have doors slammed in my face and people reject what means so much to me. I think I am willing to give up a full scholarship, a well-paying job, and approximately $8,000. I think I can leave my family for 18 months. Is it worth all the sacrifice? Yes because my life will be changed forever. I want to give people hope, knowledge and faith. I want them to see miracles and know there is a God who loves them and knows them personally. I want them to enjoy the blessings of the temple. I am going, so here goes everything.
Scripture, Personal and Powerful/ Wilderness Quest- one experience combined
I walked silently through the dark, hearing only my footsteps crunching on the pine needles and the rhythm of my breaths. Crunch. Breathe in. Crunch. Breathe out. I wonder if I will have an experience like his- a First Vision type of experience. I set up my camping chair at the base of a tree, perched my flashlight on a branch aimed at my lap so I could read the letter and my scriptures without fiddling with a flashlight. After an inner battle at what order would heighten my spiritual success, I decided to read the letter from my mom first, pray second, and read the scriptures third. I opened the manila envelope with a tree pasted to the front to retrieve a small letter written on tree paper from my mother. "Dear Hailey.......". I read the entire letter, but fixated on one phrase. I focused all of my attention on a few words my mother had said. I wish I could be that person. Never have I wanted a quality more in my life, a quality I didn't think I possessed, but for some reason leached myself onto. I felt pulled to it. I want that to be true. Never has my heart wanted something so badly in my life.
I was suddenly aware of all of my surroundings: the beetle climbing the tree, moths dancing around the flashlight, casting shadows on my letter. I heard an elk call in the distance, maybe a mile away but in my personal space, all was still and quiet. Just me, my thoughts and my rhythmic breathing. How peaceful. I knelt down on the ground, my knees protesting to the pinecones, needles and rocks underneath, but I didn't care. I clasped my hands in a firm grip and began to pour out my heart to heaven. Every muscle in my body tensed in concentration. I plead, I begged, I promised, I wished with all of my heart to have what my mother said about me to be true. I prayed for one phrase. What seemed like hours, but was probably only a few minutes of devoted supplication, ended and I felt peace. The cool night air turned instantly warm and I felt like I had been wrapped in a fond embrace. Maybe it would come true. I sat back underneath my lighthouse, my wooded sanctuary and opened the scriptures. Any random place would do. I flipped open to a page and a sappy pine needle fell onto my perfectly crisp page. I brushed it away and gasped. Right where the pine needle marked the page was my phrase! That beautiful phrase. That phrase I had been yearning for the last few minutes. It was promised to me in scripture and by my mother. I sat there for a while, praising God, looking at the stars and His marvelous creations. The stars peeked through the spidery limbs of the trees, like fingers reaching toward heaven. If only my fingers could reach so high. With the same detail that He created the Milky Way Galaxy, Orion's belt, the Dippers and the North Star that I could see so perfectly and clearly in this wooded night sky, He planned my life. Yet how much more important are we? I picked up my chair, hesitantly brushed off sticky pine needles from my clothes- I had grown fond of that sap- gathered my scriptures, retrieved my flashlight from its perch and more silently than before walked back to the gathering place. This time the needles didn't crunch. Nothing so harsh. This time they crinkled. This time my breaths were even, not really noticeable. I must be consumed in my thoughts and wonder at creation and how the world and everyone's experiences fit together. Was that scripture written for me? Or was my mother inspired to write that exact phrase? Or was it both?