Posted in I'm a Mormon

Mind the dash

I was asked to speak about my conversion or goal setting, but I am a sucker for a good challenge so I am going to fit both into this talk if you’ll bear with me for about 15 or 20 minutes. I talk pretty fast so it will be closer to 15. 
There is a saying “Mind the gap” it is usually a visual, but can also be an audible warning issued to rail passengers to take caution while crossing the horizontal spacial gap between the train door and station platform. 
I am going to go with “Mind the Dash” today though. Our lives are short, they essentially are made up of a start, an end, and a dash. The dates are 24 hour periods of time that the government say matter because it helps them keep track of how much time we are taking up here. What really matters is that dash, that dash, as Linda Ellis worded it, “represents all the time that they spent alive on earth. And now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth. For it matter not, how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash, what matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.” 
So how are we spending our dash? Are we sitting around waiting for things to happen or are we setting goals and making things happen? Are we setting goals and letting them go to the wayside because “well it’s a hard goal and it isn’t going the way I wanted it to?” I have struggled with goal setting and achieving just like every other person on the planet, but joining this church has helped me immensely. We have been challenged to create a goal for ourselves in the area of missionary work and I can’t begin to explain how much of a difference this has made in my life.
Imagine, if you would, an 18 year old me. I was a college sophomore at SUNY Brockport, I was studying history, education, and military science and I was volunteering full time hours with overtime at the local ambulance agency. One night, I was out in the bay washing the ambulances with my headphones in, singing along to the song “All-American Profit” from the musical The Book of Mormon, when I got a tap on the shoulder. I thought for sure that someone was going to tell me it was late and I was singing too loud or to pick another song. Instead I was told “That isn’t how it happened!” And I was confused to say the least. David then went on to tell me that him and Nicholynn were actual Mormons, not stage ones and that the musical, while striking interest with people and having catchy tunes was not very accurate. David did not know it at the time, but I am a very inquisitive person. I think that “Why?” And “How?” Are the most used words in my vocabulary besides “please don’t be a STEMI” and thus began the bombardment of questions. Dozens of questions a day until I got my first Book of Mormon, then dozens about that leading to my first time seeing the hill cummorah pageant. Then it quieted down. I hung out with them regularly but we didn’t talk about what it meant to be a Mormon anymore. 
Elder Jeffrey R Holland said that “If something is buried in the past, leave it buried” but I’m about to unearth a little bit of my history to make this talk a little more personal. 
“Diagnosis: Major depression, single episode (unspecified) Anxiety disorder (unspecified), Overdose (intentional, non-opiate), Renal damage unknown extent” and I was sent on my way.
If you had asked me on November 27, 2015 about my dash I would have told you it was pretty dull, pointless, uneventful, and coming to a close. I found myself in a hospital with a lot of bad stuff most people have in their kitchens running through my system and a lot of nurses and a few doctors walking quickly around me mumbling things I couldn’t really hear to each other. Checking EKG strips, labs, and breathing status. My parents sat at the door of the room periodically being allowed in as stability fluctuated. I was in a rough spot to say the least, but I was pretty sure my dash was coming to a close, the pen would be lifted and that end date would begin to be written. 
I didn’t want to do anything at that point. So setting a goal was definitely not on the radar….at all…literally nowhere in a million mile radius. Slowly but surely I got back to “normal” but something was still missing. In the words of Mrs. Incredible to her children “Don’t worry. If the time comes, You’ll know what to do.” I thought back to the year and how that summer I had gone to the pageant with Nikki and David Harrel and how the goosebumps were constant and it was such a calming feeling to be there. 
So I shot nikki a text and was like “hey so can I come to church with you guys on Sunday? Is that allowed? Is that ok with you, I get if it’s not I just have a few more questions so I figured I would kinda see what this whole thing is about.” To which I got a very enthusiastic yes of course you can come to church with us! And now I’m here, in Geneseo , giving a talk on conversion and goals! Without their missionary work, I would not be here, but I might not also be HERE the impact they had on helping me find a place and purpose in the world and showing me that although I couldn’t see my worth all the time there were people and a Heavenly Father that did, every day 365 24/7 and I needed to surround myself with that energy. 
And with converting comes opportunities to set goals, like to get a temple recommend, doing temple work, getting endowments, getting married, reading the Book of Mormon the whole way through, working on personal progress, and in the words of Hercules, “I am on my way. I can go the distance.” But in the words of President Thomas S Monson “Wishing will not make it so,” goals take work, effort, and commitment to the outcome. You can wish for a million chocolate chip cookies, but if you don’t get the ingredient, mix them together, scoop them out, and bake them- you’re not going to get cookies. 
Diagnosis: Dyscalculia: severe difficulty in making arithmetical calculations, as a result of brain disorder….basically dyslexia with numbers.
Goals are outside of the church as well, currently I am attending the paramedic program at MCC, perusing my associates in paramedicine after obtaining my BS in history. College was something that was expected but was not easy, it would have been so simple to pass off the opportunity to go with the excuse that it was hard, but “We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner” Dieter F Uchtdorf, spoke that and it couldn’t be more true. That doubt can be trying to obtain a degree, reading the Book of Mormon, going for temple work, speaking at church, asking a friend if they wanted to go to church, or whatever your goals are, don’t let the doubt and fear of failure hold you back.

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22 year old EMT. I like to write things down on here.

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