"Be a true friend. This kind of enduring friendship is like asphalt that fills the potholes of life and makes the journey smoother and more pleasant. It should not be a resource used to gain personal advantage but a treasure to be appreciated and shared." --Elder Richard G. Scott
About three weeks ago, I visited some friends and family in Utah. It was very difficult for me to come home after I had so many great experiences. I came home and felt super depressed and lonely for about a week.
I prayed for help in dealing with those feelings but felt lost. My best friend and so many of my closest friends live so far away, as do so many in the North Star community, a community that has helped me in many ways to change my perspective about my experience with SSA. How the heck would life out in Illinois even compare?
I went to a convert baptism the Saturday after I returned, and that's when my stake president answered my prayer. He came up to me and put his arm around me. He taught me, randomly out of the blue, that a lot of joy is found from reaching out and serving others, and that by so doing we receive the strength and support we need.
It was then that I understood that we all have similar stories. As we open up to those we trust and share our stories we gain the strength we need. People come into our lives for a reason. While different then what I have out in Utah, I can still find love and support in any ward as I seek to serve and be there for others. And I know that my true friends will never abandon me. At the top of that list is the Savior. He will always be there for me.
And I realized as well that if I did live in Utah, that there would be difficulties and challenges there as well. No matter where I am or what I do, life will continue to present glorious opportunities and challenges.
As I now return back from another trip out west, my mind is drawn to some conversations I had with some of my closest friends and confidants during this past week. I refuse to believe that friendships on earth are restricted to our mortal life. There's a scripture that I believe speaks to this: "And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy." (D&C 130:2)
Friendship, to me, is right up there with family, and I personally believe that Heavenly Father will not take away these precious relationships.
I find myself incredibly blessed to be surrounded with so many amazing people. As I reflected on where I've been and where I've come from over the past year until this Thanksgiving, my heart is full of thanks to God. I've been blessed to associate with incredible people in Utah, Illinois, and Brazil. I've been led to amazing friends at BYU, growing up in northern Utah, and throughout all times and places in life.
Within family and friendship, I see glimpses of the celestial kingdom, where we are seen and see clearly, where we are surrounded by those who made us into the glorious people we've become.
Above all, I hope that as I continue to strive to become who the Lord wants me to become, I can be counted among his friends "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."