Monday, November 23, 2009

In the Moment

This week was great. Work is finally picking up (in reality, it hit us like a ton of bricks), Savior of the World performances are going as planned, and while life is crazy, I know that the Lord will help me choose the right direction.

That said, I'm exhausted. My boss finally got back on Monday from months of work-related travel and gave me a project that took 2 hours just to explain. It involves an Excel spreadsheet with thousands of entries – along with one other coworker, I need to read, rate, organize, group, and color-code every entry (and some entries need to be coded and rated for multiple purposes) by the end of the day on Tuesday. Wow. He called it tedious and mind-numbing, and I have to agree with the mind-numbing aspect; every few hours I have to turn to my coworker and have a short conversation just to give my head a break.

I think that I take for granted that I work in such an incredible environment, with people who are so dedicated to a cause. Working at the Missionary Training Center – no matter where you work inside – is one of the most coveted positions in the valley simply because of the environment. Add the fact that my work directly impacts everyone else at the MTC and I am amazed at the course of events that brought me here. I could be working anywhere else... and yet the Lord was kind enough to bring me here. I know I definitely didn't plan it this way... and I'm grateful that the Lord was watching out for me.

Savior of the World has also been an amazing experience. I don't think I could have chosen a better part for me to play. I'm not a lead – so I don't feel like anything revolves around me – and yet I feel like I'm an integral part of the cast. I'm making friends, developing relationships, and learning principles from people I would have never met... all the while having a great time. It's nothing like any other musical performance I've ever been in – it doesn't really feel like acting. When Christ appears to the apostles, I feel as if He is actually there in a closed room with us; it doesn't even cross my mind that I am on a stage in front of hundreds of people... and every night I find myself learning Gospel principles that influence my life.

We began public performances on Friday and play through January 2, 2010. If you go online to buy tickets, almost all the tickets are sold out. I spoke with another cast member who told me about standby. She said that, historically, very few people have been turned away from standby. You just arrive an hour early (the show starts at 7:30, so between 6-6:30), put your name on a list at the ticket office at door 5 of the Conference Center (you can park under the Conference Center – just mention you're coming to see Savior of the World), then wait as tickets become available. They hold tickets for missionary use and for other reasons, and as it gets closer to curtain, they release all of those. So, if you're 8+ years old, you could come any night even without purchasing tickets in advance and still probably get in.

Work and Savior of the World have taken most of my time, but in the moments between, I find myself wondering what will happen when it is all done. So much in my life seems to be in limbo. The biggest thing is my medium-term plan for next year – I haven't heard anything from the business school at Stanford – and no news is not necessarily good news in this case. December 16 is the admission response date, and if I haven't been invited to interview before then, I can't get in. Either way, I'll know in just a few more weeks. If I'm accepted, then my plan is to attend next Fall. If not, then I have some more decisions to make. Should I apply to another school, even though I won't be able to do a cross-curricular study involving education? Should I just try to begin my massive change-the-world-of-education project and pick up the skills as I go along? Is that even possible? And, if not getting into Stanford means putting my goal of changing the world of education on hold, what do I do in the meantime? I've thought about starting a business, throwing myself into the acting/singing/performing world, performing in Church productions like the Nauvoo pageant, moving far away and finding an intense full-time job in another field, spending all my time writing and trying to get my books published... and yet while each idea holds merit, none seems truly compelling. I have no clue which pathway to take. Each one is so completely different, and the Lord is conspicuously quiet – which means either that He expects me to make the choice and/or that the correct choice isn't yet available (the latter is what I'm expecting).

And, in the midst of it all, as I wonder if I'm making the right choices and dating the right girls and even going in the right direction to fulfill my purpose in life, the Lord sends me signs to let me know that He loves me. A wind storm. A perfectly timed conversation with a friend. The wave of memories that accompanied seeing a poem I wrote 5 years ago. In everything I do, He is there with me... beside me... and He has gone before my face to prepare the way for me (whatever that way may be). Perhaps He is simply allowing me the time to appreciate the moment – to spend time living and learning today without thinking about what tomorrow will bring. It's definitely a lesson that I am still learning to appreciate.

Each of us is often at a crossroads in life. And, even if we aren't, crossroads always loom in the distance... and of all the things that can be scary in life, uncertainty (at least to me) is one of the worst. But there is a great quote from Savior of the World as it relates to this. “It's okay to wonder about yourself. But you must never wonder about the Lord. ...Trust in the Lord – trust that He will fulfill His promises in His due time.” It's natural to wonder if we will ever measure up to the gifts and talents God has given us – if we will ever be as good as the road He has paved for us. And alone, we will never make it. We will never be good enough when we rely on our own strength. But with Him at our side, if we are actively striving to do what is right, nothing is impossible. I know that God is with us, and that He will fulfill His promises to make us great, to make us perfect, and to make us happy. Go out and be missionaries!

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