Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WEEK 29 - Forgiveness

Wait, wasn't this just P-Day
Well, this week has been really fast! We've been going like crazy! We're still on bikes, now a little more bundled up than we used to be (the wind chill is the worst), but it's all good! We love being out and about, and being that cold is always a good way to know you're alive. I'm somewhat reminded of when we jumped into lake Tahoe in February after walking through three feet of snow to get there. ( my partners in crime know who they are )  It's not that cold here, and we don't have snow, but man does being chilled let you know you're alive!!! Haha

This week, our ward has a group of priesthood holders going up to New York to help with cleanup... I wish I could go!!!! I want to help with that so bad.... It really has impressed me though. This group is leaving Thursday evening, cutting their thanksgiving short, then they're spending all weekend sleeping in chapels and cleaning up debris. Work, vacation, all of that is being set aside so they can go help. I'm way impressed.
The Oakton stake has been remarkable in it's response to the storm. Last week, they sent up 35,000 lbs of clothes filling over 165 feet worth of moving trucks. They also gathered $45,000 worth of gift cards for the missionaries who are working so hard so they can have some good meals to support their good service! You should see the members out here, they're going door to door, visiting complete strangers, getting their whole neighborhoods, even their whole schools involved to help collect stuff to send. It's amazing to see.

Let's see... big news this week.... There's a lot of small news... we've met with multiple of our former investigators, and things are going very well there. My planner looks completely thrashed... haha plans change so much, it's crazy! It's hard keeping up with it all, it seems like something always falls through. But each time, the Lord gives another opportunity so we have something worthwhile to do and we keep Busy serving each day.

People are home during the day more here than in Ashburn, so we're getting to do a little more tracting and daytime stuff. Many of those people who are home during the day though are home because they have no job and have used most of the money they have on drugs... It's very sad, but it's great seeing what the gospel can do for people. Elder M and I sometimes play a little game we like to call "guess what drug they're on" after the door gets closed on us. haha. Some people are really nice on drugs though! We just wonder and hope they're as receptive when they're clean and sober. We had one guy who was high as a kite: "no drugs? done. No alcohol? that's easy! No sex? man, I can totally do this!" haha. He did show an honest interest in the gospel though, so we're hoping to catch him again earlier in the day, before all of that... It was really neat. He was so gone, and so incognizant, yet the spirit was able to be so strong. We were talking about it after, and came to find that both of us the whole lesson were just imagining him with his hair cut short, his heroine marks gone and dressed in white. It's amazing how strong the spirit can be when we just see people as who they can become; as who they were meant to be.

So, Saturday was not my day.... Did anybody feel a particular need to curse my name by any chance? Because it worked! haha I've gone my whole mission on bike just fine, then suddenly I wipe out twice in 20 minutes!!!! haha. The first one, we're cruising down this stretch of road and I hit this rough patch of asphalt. Nothing too unusual, but I'm watching the road pretty closely because it's dark. Next thing I know, I look up and Elder M is turning left in front of me! haha I had no time to react, my front tire hit his back tire and I went flying. I must have looked like superman! I was up there!!!! It was crazy. I rolled out of it okay, and was back on my feet before he came to a stop, but it was freaky! Then, not 15-20 minutes later, we're riding again and we hit this spot where there's a curb you hop, then a seep downhill with road signs at the bottom. Usually it's not bad, just hop the curb, ride down and shoot the gap. Only this time, I didn't hop the curb. I kind of just rode straight into it, and next thing I know, I'm just getting rocked as my bike throws me from the saddle! Now I'm up in the air again, getting pretty comfortable up here now with all my frequent flier time, and the first thing I think is that I'm about to get impaled on a road sign! Fortunately there was an abandoned telephone pole, and somehow I managed to grab the pole with my arms and my bike with my legs! Suddenly, I find myself clinging to this pole about 8 feet above the bottom of this drop holding myself and my bike up in the air!!! It was pretty crazy.

So, this week, I've been thinking a lot about forgiveness, particularly about forgiving ourselves. I have found that oftentimes the hardest person to forgive is me. I feel like I can forgive others pretty well, but for some reason, I have so much trouble letting go of things I've done or thought, and just forgiving myself. Even when I do "forgive" myself, I can't let it go. When I forgive other people, that's usually the end of it for me. As you often hear, forgiving others seems to free you from a burden. I truly do feel free, closer to the spirit,  better when I forgive others. But, when I forgive myself, I still just can't feel that way. I don't know what it is! Even when the thing I'm forgiving myself for is past and gone, It still just digs deep. It seems to be one of the darkest ironies in life that the things which no longer threaten us often do us the greatest harm. And it's all because we just can't let it go! We've repented of those misdeeds, we've taken care of them, they no longer threaten us, yet they still just destroy us. I just don't get it. Anyways, my challenge to us all  this week - a challenge I am also taking upon myself - is to find something you haven't forgiven yourself of. Then forgive yourself! Let it go! We can't change the past, so lets use it to our advantage! Let's learn from it! Let's stop wasting our futures by vainly attempting to change the past, and lets employ our knowledge of the past to help shape our future. I know that as we do so, we will find more joy in our lives, and those things which we forgive oursleves of will stop pestering us and allow us to grow closer to our Savior Jesus Christ.

As Michael McClean put it in a song of his:
"Letting go seems to break your heart
Though it will heal it feels slow to start...
There’s so much of life that can’t be lived
If you’re holding on to hate and anger deep inside
Let it go
All that is worth saving
Is love
Love will hold you tight
Love lifts the burden
And love shines the light
Only love
Nourishes our soul
If it’s not love
Simply let it go"
I promise you that our Savior Jesus Christ offers you love. Love is what's worth saving, so drop all that extra baggage, and just love. Feel the love coming from our Savior and offer it to those around you, and when you can, learn to love yourself despite the things you've done. I testify that by doing so, we will find the capacity to forgive ourselves for those things which fester and burden us.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy watching White Christmas Friday night !
-Elder Hodgson

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