Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Winter Retreat 2008

A few hours ago I returned home from the 2008 Remnant Church Winter Retreat. It's kind of a bittersweet thing. I'm ready to come home and sleep in my bed, but at the same time I don't want to because that means I have to come back to reality. I have to come back into this world and face real life. I don't like doing that.

For a couple days I got to spend all of my time surrounded by people that I know care about me. I was surrounded by people I care about. For a short period I didn't have to worry about the distractions and the pressures of life. The day-to-day activities that are normally vying for precedence were temporarily put on the back-burner. Even though I had to sleep on the floor and I had middle schoolers running around yelling and screaming and goofing off until 2 o'clock in the morning, even though there were kids that annoyed me to no end, it was great. It was beyond great. Words can't adequately express just how it is that I feel. All I can say is that's where my heart is. That's where I want to be. With those kids, with those people, it all just feels right. Nothing really seems to be wrong with the world.

But, as great as retreats and camps like that are, they are merely a glimpse of what Zion will be like. They are only a taste of the sweet, sweet spirit that will be flowing throughout the streets of that perfect city. It brings me to tears thinking about it. I close my eyes. I can see the sun shining, I can hear the birds singing, I feel the cool, clean air filling my lungs. I see little children riding their bikes down the sidewalks, I see the clean streets, the green trees and grass. I see people working together, serving one another, helping each other.

It's a dream that thousands of people have had for nearly 180 years. It's a dream that thousands have worked towards, a dream that hundreds have given their very lives for.

Time for a history lesson. On April 6, 1830, the Lord Jesus restored His church to this earth in it's purest and truest form. For this reason that church bore His name as "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". This dream, this goal, this "Zion" was the sole mission of that church. Over the years, things have happened, and that church has fractured and broken into hundreds of little branches. Now I don't know what all of those little branches believe, but I do know that there are a few that still hold to that dream of Zion. The branch that I am a part of--The Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints--still holds true to that dream of Zion. Just as it was the mission and the goal of the original church, so, too, it is our mission and our goal. It is what we are earnestly working towards, it is what we, as a people, long for. It's what we have been called forth to do.

But it is hard for me to understand just how this can be accomplished. It's an undertaking greater than any that mankind has known before. It is something that nobody fully understands. There are few that even hold a grasp to very notion of it. But I know that someday, somehow it will happen. It has to. As we have been told, if we are faithful, then "Zion, will unfold before us". But it's only through the power of God that we'll be able to stay faithful. But with His help, we won't lose hold of that ideal. We won't lose sight of that light at the end of the tunnel. With His help, we will be able to accomplish this mission, and we will build Zion. Not only for our well being, but for the well being of mankind.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Fork in the Road

A moment ago, I had a whole heap of topics to write about. But now, as I sit down to write them, wouldn't you know it, they've all left me. It's annoying how that happens.

Anyway--a new direction. I am a senior in high school. As such, the responsibility of choosing what path I am to take in life is upon me. It is something that I do not take lightly. In fact, I am having more trouble deciding than I ever intended on having. For some people it is easy to choose what profession they want to pursue in college. It just comes clearly to them. But me, I have never known. I have had leadings, ideas, but never absolutes. It is such a huge decision in a person's life, I don't want to make the wrong one.

I heard a quote from some book somewhere that goes something like this, "When teenagers reach their senior year of high school, they are required to make decisions that will have a lasting impact on the rest of their lives at the exact moment in time when they are least capable of making them." That right there hits the nail on the head. It precisely sums up the trouble I am having. When you're a teenager, all you really think about is Friday night, you think about what you are going to be doing with your friends that weekend. You don't know what you want, at least not for sure. Everything is new to us, we are still learning who we are and what it is we stand for. Choosing a career is not something that know much about.

I know that this doesn't all apply to everyone. There are a lot of teenagers out there who know exactly what they want and where it is they want to go. I am not one of them. It gives me comfort to know that I am not alone in my dilemma. But it doesn't make it any easier.

Perhaps I am just complicating things. I have a tendency to do that. I've heard many girls say that that is what guys are good at. Maybe it's true. I don't know.

In my life, the only thing that I've really known for sure when it comes to a possible career choice is this--I want to help people. By that, I mean that the only jobs that have interested me are Policemen, Firemen, the military, all those other jobs that involve danger and the risk of losing your life. To save my life I couldn't tell you why. The only thought that I have on that comes from a Marine Corps recruitment card that I got in the mail--it's a calling. Not everybody has it, not everybody wants it. But there are those that deep down have a need to protect and defend. It's something in the make-up of who they are. In one of Dr. Phil's books he wrote that from the beginning of time men are the ones who protected their families, they are the ones who gathered the food. They provided. The men are the ones who went to war, they were the warriors. Not that women can't fight, but men are better at it. So for that reason, men have a need to prove to themselves and others that they are tough.

I feel I have that calling. I know that probably sounds weird. That me, a quiet kid who doesn't want to play basketball for his high school even though they all practically beg him to because he isn't an aggressive person, would have a need to protect and defend people. I can't explain it. My entire life I have been fascinated with the military. Something about it just captivates me. Seeing them marching in step, the uniforms, the weapons, the vehicles, all of it just seems so cool.

Anyway, I've got to go. Maybe I'll write more later.