I Felt Like I Needed to Go and I'm Glad I Did

A lovely post by Ashlee.

Do you ever wonder why some of the greatest life lessons are learned in the most ordinary circumstances? The tale I have to tell is of such an experience.

It was an ordinary night and I was sitting on my bed watching Netflix, knowing full well that I was missing a church activity. I was perfectly content to sit in my room all night until I received a text reminding me that the activity was happening. My guilty side was persuaded and I decided to go to the activity. I wasn’t going to dress up though, they were getting my presence, they would have to be okay with shorts, hoodie and flip-flops. Of course no one cared what I was wearing and I was welcomed like I had just come back from war. Throughout the course of the night I discovered something... I was having fun. I had conversations about books, movies, life, vacations, with people I only knew from church who I had probably said 5 words to. 3 hours passed and I realized that I was enjoying my current company, the cool breeze, and one of the last summer nights we would have for a long while.

I decided that it was time to go, and as I was walking to my car, I felt joy. Pure unadulterated untainted joy. I was just happy. As I began driving I thought about my day, and that bit of road rage I had, and the unkind thing I had said, and I felt remorse. I still felt joy, but because of that joy that consumed me I felt remorse for those things I had done.

Let me say it this way. I love inspirational sports movies. Especially the ones where someone takes a chance on the bad boy, and he’s turns out to be just the one they need to win the championship. One of my favorite such movies is a story of a rugby player named Rick Penning. Rick is sent to a correctional facility in Utah because he has been caught drunk driving one too many times, While at the correctional facility Rick meets the happy go lucky facility manager played by Sean Aston (Samwise).  Samwise enlists the help of the local rugby team to get Rick involved, and hopefully at the same time get a shorter sentence. At first Rick is hesitant, and selfish and does everything he can to look out for himself; but through the course of the movie Rick has teammates that help him out, and a coach that has three simple rules: don’t do anything that would embarrass yourself, your team, or your family. At first Rick doesn’t listen, and even gets drugs smuggled to him inside the facility. As always happens in these heartwarming tales, the tides are turned. Rick loses his best friend to a drunk driver, and Coach Gelwix asks Rick to be a team captain. At that moment, Rick tells his coach about his drug use, and then says, “I can’t believe you made me tell you that.” In reality Coach Gelwix hadn’t told Rick to do anything. He fostered a safe, loving environment where Rick could learn, be selfish and grow from his mistakes. After recognizing where his true loyalties lie Rick denounced his old ways, became the team captain, and brought honor, to himself, his team, and his family.

I feel like this is what Heavenly Father does with us. We are given rules, and guidelines when we come to earth, he will always be there whether we follow them or not, but his love is closer and easier to feel when we are obedient. When we know and feel pure love, we are more willing to fight to keep those feelings with us always, and thus more likely to forsake the things that keep us from feeling that way.

You might think it’s weird that I learned all this from a barbeque, but I am finally starting to understand why people sacrifice everything, even families, and successful careers to know the Lord, and his love.

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