Summer: That diminutive moment between the state of falling and flying as I allow my bare feet to leave the security of the red rock. Every limb pulling apart into one thousand and sixty pieces as I soar through the air to the stretch of water below in a state of thrilling and complete panic. Where my mind seems to be schizophrenic in the sense that it cannot decide whether I am about to die or whether I have simply begun to live.
These pictures represent everything a summer is almost required to give to a seventeen year old teenage girl (such as myself.) A summer romance, finding yourself in a far off place, trying something new, feeling freed from the cares of the world.
Naturally, this is what I expected my summer to be. This is exactly what it has always been in the past growing up, why wouldn't the summer before my senior year be the same?
Because God had another plan for you Rachael, that's why.
Summer: July 4th, 2011 " Dear Journal, In the scriptures it talks about Christ's disciples wanting to be near him, to be close to him, wanting to learn from him. I think I am finally beginning to understand this love that these disciples has for him through a very unusual experience. He is home. My example, my best friend, my big brother. Halfway through his mission and he is home. Surgery this upcoming Saturday. I have been with him almost every moment of the day, for the first couple of nights I dragged my mattress right next to the couch that he laid on all day and night. The spirit he has with him is uplifting, I can't help but want to be near him. He has the light of Christ with him. As an Elder he is a representative of the man that I pray to every night. He has changed, the way he prays now is indescribable. It is respectful, personal, and saturated with purpose, faith, and meaning.
July 28, 2011 "Dear Journal, My family has cracked. We are falling apart. My little brother is away from us right now. My parents come home every night from Salt Lake entirely exhausted, but worst of all, defeated."
Through everything, I am grateful. I have never in my life felt as stretched as I have this summer. Emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually. I feel prepared for whatever lies ahead. Josh wrote in a letter once the following quote:
"Rachael, imagine that the ground beneath you is splitting. It completely cracks right beneath your feet. On one side is your education and work, the other: your friends, family, and social life. You will set each foot on a side the rock and feel yourself being stretched. It will be scary, and at any moment you feel as though you are going to fall into the dark pit beneath you. As it gets farther apart you put both your hands on one side and both feet on the other, desperately trying to keep your balance and hang on. Just when you feel like it is too much to handle, You Will Grow. and very slowly, you will get both feet on the ground, stand up, and Enjoy the View."
I can't give you a list of the boys I have kissed this summer, I can't tell you who is doing what and where and why and how,
but I can tell you about the endless conversations I have had with my mother on my front porch in the early mornings and late nights, the feeling of laughter erupting from inside me as I came back from the bathroom into the theater only to see my Dad on our daddy-daughter night, slightly embarrassed, waiting for me to come sit by him as he sat in his suit and tie holding a big bag of hot, buttery popcorn while the rest of the room was filled with Moms and daughters waiting to see Monte Carlo. I can explain to you how to carefully hand scrub a kitchen floor, how to properly attend a hoedown in the Teton mountains of Idaho, the feeling of sitting around a campfire for the last time watching each girl I have grown up with, looking beautiful without make up, stand one at a time and share their testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I can tell you what the inside of the Phyciatric Ward in Salt Lake City looks like, and I can explain to you how grateful I am for my little curly haired angel I have in my life, that teaches me every day to be a better person.
And i can testify that God lives. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true.
It is knowing that someday Christ will put his hands on my little brothers head and heal him. It is a warm meal brought to my house on a Friday night from a neighbor. It is the small, gentle, and quiet promptings from the spirit the week before it all happened telling me to go home and help my mother.It is feeling so entirely alone and misunderstood, kneeling down, and knowing that somebody, somewhere knows exactly how you are feeling. It is the wind blowing through the aspen trees and the peace of the mountains. It is a letter from a dear friend. It is knowing that we weren't promised everything to be perfect, we were only promised it would be worth it.
I believe that,
that someday it will be worth it.
"In that imaginary instant, I couldn’t help calling out to him: “Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead.” Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come." -Elder Holland