It’s been a minute since I posted on the blog. I had great intentions of writing something up weekly then on week four I wrote a post that yes I was passionate about but all told was garbage, enough so I pulled it from the website. Now it’s the end of week 7 down here in Los Alamos and I feel like I actually have something on my mind worth writing about. So let’s give it another go.
I’ve been reflecting a lot on role models and friends recently. This week a friend of mine who I haven’t seen for at least ten years reached out to me and took me to lunch. Truth be told this friend, Russ, really was more my brothers friend than he was mine. Russ is 11 years my senior and his influence on my life was probably largest between the ages of about 6-9 years old while he was in high school paling around with my brother Brig. Their crew consisted of five or six guys that essentially emulated who I wanted to be when I grew up and what I wanted from a group of friends when I got to that point in life.
These young adults were also the first group of guys I ever watched prepare for and leave on LDS missions. If there was any question in my mind about going on a mission before, it surely was gone.
So there I was this Friday eating lunch with a man that I hadn’t seen in ten years and really hadn’t known exceptionally well, and it was awesome. The whole time I was struck by the fact that despite, time, distance, and a wide array of life changing events, this man was still my friend, and would give me the shirt off of his back just the same.
Isn’t there something magical about people like this in our lives? Candidly, I have been blessed with an inordinate amount of these kind of friends and heaven knows I am probably not deserving of any of them. As I have thought about writing this blog post I’ve been trying to make a mental list of all of them, the people I haven’t seen in years, but I know just the same are keeping the faith and would be by me until the end if I needed. The list is almost endless.
I think of the next generation of role models in my life, the crew that my brother Dave hung with (and still does). I think of my young men’s leaders, Of high school teachers, trek parents, lacrosse coaches, families from my mission, friends from the YSAs I have been in and now the friends I have made in Los Alamos. Above all I think about my friends from high school, who essentially were as close as siblings from 8th grade until when we all started graduating from college. The list is long, and it is awesome.
As I have been thinking of these people, these individuals, I can’t convey the emotions that come to mind, when I think of the laughs, the tears and the experiences shared as we all pressed forward in our common cause. In a lot of ways those memories are what life is about.
At this very moment, as I write these words, my nephew Tanner is giving his farewell talk, as he will be leaving to serve a mission in Nicaragua for the next two years. It tears my heart out not to be there supporting him today, I never had a little brother, but Tanner is as close as anyone will every come. I was seven when he was born and I always wanted him to look to me like I looked to my brothers and my uncles.
Being a missionary is a hard task, but it is unbelievable rewarding. One of the rewards that comes from missionary service is getting out there and realizing that there are people all over the world headed on the same path, the path that follows the footsteps of the savior Jesus Christ. This knowledge also teaches you that even though you might be physically separated from the people you love, you can trust that they are still where you left them marching on that same path. I hope if he hasn’t already learned it, that Tanner will come to know that he will never be truly alone in Heavenly Father’s work.
In reality, none of us will be. Unlike times past, there will be no great apostasy before our Savior comes again. Sure individuals with have their struggles, and men’s hearts will fail them, but if this life has taught me anything, there are followers of Christ to be found with whom we can align ourselves with.
What a blessing it has to see Christ’s face in the pillars and bastions of the faith that have graced my life. Whether they be far or near, it gives me the strength to carry on. Now as I think of my nephew on this great day, I pray that I can also be a pillar and a bastion for him, just as so many others are for me.