Anyone who has read this blog at all knows that I have for the past few years been living under the motto of Make it Happen! What most of you don't know is the catalyst of that motto. I want to share 2 experiences that really have framed this motto in my life.
Experience #1: Travel
when I was 20 I was able to go on a study abroad to Jerusalem/Egypt with BYU! This was my first experience to really travel and get outside the USA (not including Canada/Mexico). Coming from a large family travel wasn't part of the package and so this opportunity was a dream come true for me.
I remember one day I was talking to a fellow student in the program, overlooking Old Jerusalem, and he was telling me about all his traveling experiences. I was flabergasted at the places he had travelled to and the things he had seen and done at such a young age! In fact I was completely and entirely jealous and angry at him for it. How could he afford such luxuries??
One night as I was walking around the Jerusalem he decided to join me and we started talking about life. We ended up sitting by this small grove of Olive trees and I'll never forget that short but irrevocably changing conversation. Basically to sum it up he asked me why I don't travel more, since it seemed in our conversations that I value it. This question made me a bit angry at first and so I reacted so by letting him know that I couldn't afford to travel. He laughed at my reply and very gently and lovingly shared his simple words of wisdom.
He asked me if I had a job back home, I said yes, he asked me what I spend my money on, I said college. Then he paused. He went on to tell me that he also had a job back home, but instead of spending his money on education he spend it all on traveling--since that is what he valued the most--at the time. He said that if I took all the money I spent on paying for education and spent in on travel--then I could have the same kinds of experiences that he was having.
This simple conversation was a huge epiphony for me. I had assumed so many things with him and I was wrong on so many levels. He was right, I valued education more than traveling, and I put my money where I wanted it. That was the last time I complained about not having money to travel!
Experience #2: Scripture Knowledge
A few years after my "travel experience" I was an EFY counselor in Idaho. I had a Coordinator (person/supervisor over me) that I really admired (ps I helped him marry his wife). I was in awe at his ability to memorize scripture, to have quotes from the apostles on the tip of his tongue, and for the amount of spiritual knowledge that he possessed. Again I was envious!
One night as I was quietly studying my scriptures in the lobby making sure the kidlets were sneaking out of the dorms this mentor of mine came and sat next to me. Without ever really making it obvious we began a great journey in the scriptures and I was truly enlightened on many levels. I couldn't believe the insights he had, the scriptures chains we made, and the principles I learned in that short time.
When it was time for us to part and get to sleep he could sense I was frustrated. I asked him how he did it-how in that short time I had learned more that most likely I had in my own personal scripture study that entire year. I was surprised by his answer. He simply said, "I paid the price!"
He went on to say that although he and I had just been studying for a short time he had showed me things he had collectively learned over years of study. He talked about the hours he had spent cross referencing the scriptures, digging into the meaning of things, and truly understanding the principles that scriptures are teaching. He said that for some things there's not shortcut--you just have to pay the price.
I guess I had just though he was a natural--that it came easy to him--that he just got the scriptures better than most.
In the end both these experiences taught me a lot about life! I learned that you can have what you want but you have to pay the price (sometimes literally)!
PS. thanks Ty & Scott