I have been home from my mission for 366 days now. 1 day more than a year. And what a year it has been! I remember sitting in the dining room of the Oregon Portland Mission Home, 368 days ago. I told my mission president that I was scared of going home, and that I didn’t want too. I know, I’m a pansy, but that’s beside the point. I was afraid of returning home, where my best friends were married, getting married, or not active in the church, the job market was terrible, and I didn’t know what I wanted to major in. In short, I had no idea what to expect, or what to do when I got home. President Dyches told me that these fears were common, and that as I did the things that I knew that were right, I would feel right about being home. Later in the evening, I looked into the eyes of the Elders that I was going home with, and saw the uncertainty in their eyes when they talked about going home, but the light in their eyes burn bright when they spoke of “doing all I could”, “seeing miracles”, and “knowing that the Church was true.”
Sure enough, it took a good 6 weeks before I watched a movie, 7 to go on a date, and 7 or 8 months before I felt confident socially, but I got there. Were there a lot of the highest highs and lowest lows that I’ve ever felt? Sure. Were there times when it didn’t seem like it was worth it to move forward? Absolutely. But those times of doubt were always followed by times of reassurance, of peace, and of new opportunities. And with new opportunities, came new decisions to be made, and outcomes to weigh. I think I’ve been more susceptible to doubt this year, than in any year previous. This is what will almost always happen when new and worthwhile things begin. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has taught:
“This opposition [to truth, new things] turns up almost anyplace something good has happened. It can happen when you are trying to get an education. It can hit you after your first month in your new mission field. It certainly happens in matters of love and marriage. It can occur in situations related to your family, Church callings, or career.
With any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. Face your doubts. Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.”
Try and picture the eyes of those Elders in that kitchen, barely more than a year ago. Maybe picture your loved ones around you, as you talk fearfully, cautiously of things that are going on in the world, or in your family. And then, remember how doubt and fear were replaced by a burning faith, an almost fierce assurance that what has happened, and what will happen, is true, worthwhile, and for our good. Keep things in perspective, and “all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”