It is seven twenty four in the morning, and I am laying here in the cool, damp darkness of my bedroom, all wrapped up in my bed, my hair tangeled and stringy; clearly in need of a good washing, my toes tucked into the bottom of my sheet the way I like them. The familiar sound of Ashley Jo's even breathing in the bed next to me makes me eyes heavy, and makes me feel safe and exhausted. I keep on meaning to put up christmas lights in my bedroom, but for now, I am lost in the darkness, and it is wonderful. Last night I looked through old "profile pictures" on facebook. I can't believe how quickly the time has passed, it seems like just yesterday I walked into American Fork Junior High for the very first time, just yesterday that I had my first kiss, my first doctor pepper, my first election assembly, my first cheerleading pom-pom, my first zit.
My brothers best friend arrived home from the Phillipines yesterday. He told me I looked older. He told me he couldn't believe how much I have grown and matured.
I finally am starting to feel grown up on the inside too. I feel as though I am learning to swallow change by the mouthfull, and I am not quite as prone to spitting it all up.
I have two boys in my life who have made a profound influence on the person that I am today.
The first is my big brother, my partner in crime, my best friend.He made me feel beautiful when I was akward and tall, he played speed with me until three in the morning when I couldn't sleep. He taught me how to drive when I was fourteen years old, and unlocked the door for me during the early hours of the morning. I pushed his car down the road in neutral so my parents wouldn't hear him driving away, he ate off of my plate. He checked me out of school and took me out for ice cream. He read his scriptures over his mixing bowls filled with cereal, and cried as he bore his testimony over the pulpit the week before he left. He lent me money for gas and folded laundry with me on saturday mornings. He taught me everything about life.
He wrote me a letter this week.
"Im so proud of who you are. I´m so proud of who you´re becoming. I think the world of you. Help me out when I get home in about a year and eight months (I´m still brand new in the mission!!!! I´m never going home!!! ;_). But when I do get there, help me out. I want to have some good brother-sister dates. I´ll be making the big bucks. The tab´s on me, ok? I just love the memories I had with you before the mission. Our family´s going to be the closest thing ever. ;_). We´ll pick up Ashley and Alex, drive down to Ogden, and surprise George, taking him out to country boy dairy or something ok? The family is the most important thing in the WORLD. And I don´t want it to slip by.
When you´re the best of friends....
dooo do do dooo."
and the second,
I wrote a letter to him, for him this morning.
It is the reaosn I am still in my bed.
This boy is all tangled up into my heart.
He is quietly humble, and would never express this to anyone, but this young man has literally been a light to American Fork High School his sophomore, junior, and senior year. Jackson is a natural leader. Teenagers are constantly looking around them for an example, for someone to follow, for a blue print of who they should be, of who they should become. Jackson has been that; especially for many of the little boys coming fresh from the junior high. I only wish you could see the way that they follow him. There is not a day that passes that I do not see a small head bobbing past me, wearing a grey pullover sweater, tan khaki pants, proudly walking down the hallway with their chin held high, dressed almost identical to Jackson. They want to be like him. Not because he wears the latest baseball hat or because he thinks he is the coolest kid on the block. These little boys look up to Jackson because he is different, because he looks out for these young boys. He is not afraid to be kind, to reach out to others, to be himself. He is not interested in getting others interested in himself; he is interested in others. He carries with him this unique, genuine warmth that emanates as a light in the darkness would to those around him. His attitude towards life is contagious, and his willingness to serve, to give anything he has is absolutely astounding.
There are a few experiences that I have had with this young man that I feel better explain Jackson Aubrey’s character better than any words that I could express towards him.
` I will never forget the day that I sat at his kitchen counter talking with him as he raided his kitchen, eating almost everything in sight. His clothing, his hair, his hands and feet were teathered in dirt from a scouting campout he had just returned from. I watched him eat and I remember teasing him with something to the effect of; “What did your leaders do, starve you!?” He brushed my comment away with a small laugh as he proceeded to tell me of him campout experiences. He told of the long hikes, of the views from the top of the mountains, of the testimonies of Jesus Christ born over the campfire, and his eyes lit as he told me of a small deacon he became friends with. He laughed as he recalled how this little boy was constantly hungry, of how exhausted this boy was throughout the trip. Jackson never said it, but I knew. Jackson was raiding his refrigerator because he had given much of his food during that trip to this little boy. Jackson looks out for those around him, and will give anything, and everything that he has to give to make others more comfortable.
It was one of those days where everything seemed to be falling apart. My car had broken down, I had completely failed a math test I had studied hours on end for, and on top of everything I could not find my C.N.A. bookwork anywhere. I had an exam the following day, and desperately needed my bookwork and binder to study for this big exam. I had spent the majority of my day searching every classroom, every inch of my bedroom, the back of my car, to find what I had misplaced. I remember sitting in my car feeling completely inadequate and overwhelmed, not knowing what else I could possibly do to find this particular book that seemed so important to me at the time. I drove to Jackson’s and sat on his porch in tears explaining everything that I felt was going wrong in my life. He quietly and carefully listened to every word I had to say, and then he knelt down beside me and asked me to kneel too. I looked at him, very confused, and knelt down on my knees. He then proceeded to close his eyes, bow his head, and offer a small, simple prayer asking Heavenly Father to help me find my bookwork, thank you for everything we have been given, Amen. Jackson does not rely on himself, or try to do everything on his own. He believes in God, and knows where to turn himself and others for help. He is an example to me of faith, and trusting in something higher than himself.
Jackson Aubrey will graduate high school, and go on to accomplish incredible, incredible things in his life, I know this without a doubt in my mind. He will be a missionary in whom the Lord can trust to work hard, and to share the Gospel with those individuals who he will be sent to, for he has already shared the gospel with so many simply by his association with them. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to learn from Jackson Aubrey’s example and I believe that he has every qualification necessary in order to be an eagle scout.It was never my intention.