Monday, October 13, 2008
I'm sitting in prison in Utah with a little heater fan blowing on me and an inmate taking a personality profile measure next to me. The measure is 567 questions long, so I've had some time to do some thinking and I'm going to have some time to do some writing. What do I think? Well, life is most always a better deal than I feel it is. I say most always because sometimes, I am able to see it for the radiant and transcendent marvel that it is, and the beautiful future that it urges on us. Funny, I usually start to see that life is better than I give it credit for after talking with a few inmates. I guess, compared to them, I've not got such a hard case. Hahaha.
I hesitated to post this cause I'm not sure how good of an idea it is to open yourself up like so. I edited it down quite a bit and tried to make it as clear as possible. I'm posting it for two reasons: so that I can read it a few years down the road and maybe see how my thinking about the past has changed and because I really appreciate being able to learn about others' lives and the things that lead them to where they are now, so maybe others will appreciate reading this.
Well, I'm a small town boy. I feel so at home in the woods and in nature...it can be the outskirts of a small town, a cow pasture, or some meadow a hundred miles from anything and I'm home. Yeah, corny. But, really, you've seen man vs wild? Yeah, that's totally my thing. I finally acknowledged being SGA in April 2008, but that's not to say that I couldn't have admitted to it before. I got into trouble with boys starting at about the age of six. Sometimes we got caught sometimes we didn't. I never treated girls with anything but the utmost respect. I thought I was such a good guy. All of the immoral stuff stayed really well hidden, even from my parents. I played most every sport, fished, hunted, camped, and got into plenty of trouble - I've got a juvi record a mile long.
We moved to another town when I was 15 and on probation for the second time. This probation officer was a really good guy and helpful. That was the start of a new life. I remember my dad saying to me, "This is your chance to start new. Nobody here knows anything about what you've done." I don't know why, but after all the things that my parents said trying to turn me around, this time, my dad got through. I started being good as far as what people saw, but nothing ever changed with regard to immorality. I had some pretty life changing things happen in the latter teenage years. The most significant was a car accident that involved my whole family (mom, dad, me and my four sisters). I got some pretty serious head injuries that left me with few memories from my past and a bit of a changed personality. For the 4 months after the accident, I was on my own. I was one of the two people in my family that could walk and because of that, I was expected to take care of myself. It was a really rough time, my brain couldn't handle coherent thought, but I was on my own. After it was all over, I had become very independent and comfortable being alone. I had plenty of fun with friends, but my favorite time was being quiet and alone or having good talks with one friend.
When I went to college, I told my parents that I was planning on going on a mission, just because if I didn't tell them that, they would have probably broken (I'm currently the only active child of the four that moved out...and they don't know I'm gay); but, I definitely knew that I would never choose to go. I had tried so many things to get the Lord to fix me (I knew something was wrong) that by this time, I was really resistant with Him. Fortunately, I had some miraculous roommates that first semester and an incredible mentor...I decided that I did want to serve a mission. I went out on the mission right before they "raised the bar." Now, believe me when I say this, I served with everything I had and the most unspeakable things happened on the mission. Wow, I learned that I was where the Lord wanted me to be; and that God, his offer for redemption through the atonement, and the reality of his closeness are so true, real, and actual.
After I came back, I taught at the MTC for a year. These three years (the mission and the MTC) stood in sharp contrast to the rest of my life. After the MTC, I left UT cause I didn't know where life was suppose to go. I moved to Arizona and started working for a program that helped children who had gotten in deep trouble with the law, drugs, immorality, or other defiant or destructive behavior. I loved it, and I got a second job working with children in group homes and emergency care shelters who were wards of the state. Both of these were in Arizona. The two years there brought me to the knowledge of what my calling is in life - to help young people and their families to learn to walk together in harmony through the challenges of this world. I needed more education to do this, so I sold my house in AZ and moved back to UT to finish school. I'll be done in April and then move on to whichever grad school accepts me.
April will be the one year mark from when I admitted to SGA. I have nightmares sometimes that my family finds me out. It's going to happen some day. I don't have a partner and I don't ever plan to, but being single for too long is just about as much of a give-away. At any rate, the other questions and evidences will eventually give me up. But, I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, no?
at 3:27 PM