Sunday, April 19, 2009

Has my Freshman Year Been Good?

So my mom read a part of my ward newsletter that I took home since I was voted best male cook in my ward. She said the Bishop's message included something about "a lot of heartache" and she asked me about it last night. But I thought about it and considered what has happened with my friends. I have had one friend whose dad got cancer, one friend who had some serious struggles this semester, another who had a few emotional breakdowns, and many friends who have had minor heartaches. I think one's freshman year is difficult. We are far away from home, on our own, left to our own devices. We experience the sweetest moments of our lives and definitely the most bitter.

My year at BYU has been a roller coaster ride. I loved my first semester at BYU. I had great classes, many friends, and an active social life. I bought into the freshman experience. I stayed up late, procrastinated homework, did silly things, and had a great time. I met some of my best friends that I have ever known. Towards the end of the semester, I felt some heartache over the Prop 8 issue. This is an issue that I will never forget. It caused me to reevaluate my spiritual convictions and what I believe. Permit me to feel persecuted for a minute. I grew highly disillusioned with BYU and BYU students from the Prop 8 experience. I saw some of the most bitter hatred that I have ever seen among the Saints. Someone said that I "have not right to question the desisions of the Prophet of God." Yet through this, I maintained my testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I managed to sort through what the Gospel is and what the Gospel is not. I realized how happy I was as a member of the Church, even if I couldn't stand the culture sometimes.

Then things started to change. My second semester at BYU has not been happy. I have often felt very sad and very lonely. I have been stressed up to my eyeballs and I have felt some of the deepest social hurt that I have ever felt in my entire life. My grades, while still very good, have not gone quite as well as I would have liked. I felt abandoned by many of my friends. I felt some of the most emotionally excruiciating pain I have ever felt. And I felt unloved many times. I felt like I was an outcast in my ward and in my friendships. I saw how cliques developed and how I felt so left out and hurt by this. This is not to say I did not have happinesses. I did. I had a class with Dr. Keele that changed my life forever. I grew even closer to probably my best friend at BYU. I had the opportunity to give this friend blessings. But nonetheless, I felt as if God had abandoned me.

Then a spark of hope came into my life. I was called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Thailand Bangkok Mission. Thailand brought back the sparkle in my eyes, the laughter in my voice, and yet when I reflect back upon this semester, I look back and see the awful nature of this semester. I was hurt. I am hurt. I will be hurt when I look back upon this semester. But then I think of the exquisite joy I will find in sharing my testimony of Jesus Christ with the people of Thailand. Nothing, to me, can bring greater joy than that. Throughout this semester, I realized how much of a friend I really do have in Jesus. Even when all my other friends go off and leave me, I have a friend in Christ.

I know a lot of people use the term know when they refer to testimonies. I typically don't like that because religious knowledge is so tricky. But for me, I know that Christ is my heavenly friend. I know that He died for me. And as I write this post, tears in my eye, I realize that perhaps that was the point of my freshman year. To grow closer to Christ as I felt abandoned. To more fully accept the atonement in my life and see what it really means. Though I am prone to wander, I feel my Savior's love everytime I repent and come to Him in anguish, longing for my burden to be lifted. And that's what the people of Thailand need. They need a friend who can understand their economic poverty, the sorrows of their lives. Christ will help us. He is who He says He is.

And that's the best news of all.

6 comments:

Janessa said...

Genius post.

That's basically how my freshman year has gone down as well and I'm sure we aren't the only ones in that boat. Freshman year, no matter where you are or what you decide to pursue, is yet another necessary rite of passage that allows a person to be brought closer to those things that matter most to them... It's these times that I'm most grateful for the things and people in my life that I tend to unintentionally overlook when my world gets chaotic.

The ones that stick around ♥

Michelle said...

ooh, it was a good year. Thanks for this fantastic blog.

Catherine Agnes said...

cups of love.

rochelle said...

jacob,
you are such a special person, and you have and are going to continue to make such a difference in the lives of the people you come in contact with. i am so glad that i've had the opportunity to know you!
love,
rochelle

ke said...

Thanks dear.

Snoopy said...

Jacob.

I heart you.

And I felt the same way.

Isn't it nice the Lord still loves us and cares about us, even when it feels like no one else does?