Reflections on my personal history
[brace yourself, I’m waxing poetic]
My heart and mind are heavy today, and I am experiencing a vague and lingering sadness. The reasons for this are fairly complex, but as I’ve reflected on them, I’ve had occasion to look back at my life thus far and recognize the unexpected and unusual twists and turns which have shaped me and altered my course. I wholeheartedly believe that the Lord’s hand is in each of our lives, to the extent that we invite Him to participate, and I have no doubt that such interactions and interventions are for our ultimate good. Nevertheless, life is full of poignant or painful experiences, as well as certain singularly soul-stretching events which reveal, and if endured well, refine our character.
It is fascinating to look back and recognize what factors have led me to where I am now. Things such as the fact that I was held back a year in kindergarten because my parents thought me too hyperactive (according to one account, I couldn’t sit still to write my name), that my LDS mission was delayed (and the reasons for the delay), that I grew up with certain people in a certain place, that I have encountered certain influential books and ideas, and that certain people were involved in the critical junctures of my life. Of course, this is to say nothing of the deep and steady influence of certain quiet constants in my life: my wonderful parents and siblings and certain close and life-long friends, the culture of freedom and opportunity enjoyed in this prosperous country (notwithstanding our current turbulent circumstances), and the intimately powerful, although perhaps outwardly unremarkable, effect of the Church and its teachings on my life. This mortal life, although fraught with difficulty and confusion, is nevertheless an incredible journey – one which, fortunately enough, may also be filled with clarity, peace, and joy! I hope that we all might have occasion to stop what we’re doing in our busy lives to reflect on our own life experiences, taking note of areas in need of course-correction and seeking to recognize the hand of an involved and loving God in our lives, and then afterwards approaching life with renewed vigor and zeal and a fresh and grateful perspective.