A year ago today, March 6, 2015, I left the land of Chomping Gators, Screaming Indians, sweet potato eating, southern people of Jacksonville Florida and Southern Georgia. A year ago, I took of my name badge and became a “return missionary”. Going on my mission, I was told that it would be the hardest thing of my whole life however, this past year has taught me that going home has been the hardest thing I have ever done. This weekend, I have taken the time to reflect on all things that has happened to me in just 365 and the person that I have become. The past year has taught and brought me closer to my savior then ever before and I’d like to write about a few ways how.
Coming home with a torn achilles tendon was one of the hardest things ever as I have had to learn how to re-walk and eventually learn how to run again. In a slow progression, I learned how to become whole again. Physically, I got to be healed and restored new. I’ll never forget the look of my mother’s face when I walked out of the doctor’s office in a giant boot. She was so shocked. Months of physical therapy where at times I was discouraged and left thinking I would never get to run again. The atonement of Jesus Christ was there in every aspect and helped me get rid of the fears that lingered in the back of my mind.
Coming home was a mental challenge. All return missionaries experience heart break as they leave the one place that their true love is. Words can’t express how challenging it is to mentally pick up life in a new world after your heart has been shattered. My mission motto was “I love tough things, I am the first to do tough things, I do tough things first.” I can remembering the plane taking off and my heart felt like it was being ripped out and then a familiar voice telling me that I love tough things. Coming home, that has been my motivator to do things that I don’t mental think I can do. Mentally, the Savior has helped me over come the struggles in my mind of insecurities, regret, and fears. The Savior is there to remind me that I can do the tough things that I don’t feel that I can do.
Moving to Provo, UT has been greatest blessing and I never thought I would say that. I live with three amazing men of God that teach me daily what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. I can see through their examples how to Love God and Jesus Christ so much more. They have looked past my faults and challenge me to be a better person. They have helped me over come my addiction to the word hell and all the bad days that have come from heart break, bad break ups, terrible test days, and to not getting an internship of a life time. They continue to pick me up and help me be a better man.
Provo has given the Provo City Center Temple. This temple, though not dedicated, has been the biggest blessing me. I live five blocks away and makes me so happy every day. It has given me a deeper prospective of an eternal life and its where my soul feels the happiest. Its where I escape the world and remember the importance of all things in life. This temple has helped me to think of Jesus on such a different level that I can’t help but thank him for all that he has done.
The past year has been a rollercoaster but as I continue to move forward I know that my Savior will be there for all aspects. I am so grateful for the amazing people that I have met this year to help me on this path of coming to the world and moving forward. At first, I was very hesitant on adapting but as I sit here in my Gator hat, I am very glad that I have. I am glad that I have had the experiences that I have had this past year from the heart aches, to the new loves, to new adventures, to the many new mountains that I climb daily. Though I miss Florida and Georgia deeply, I am glad for this new phase in my life and the person that I continue to grow to be. I love the Tough Things that I have overcame and face head one with my Savior there to help me.