Friday, April 25, 2014

The Changes Within

Last night, we were watching Kevin play, when we suddenly realized that he's gotten kind of tall. He's been walking so long, that somehow we missed the fact that he's growing. When he was younger, we had some safety in what he could reach and what he couldn't reach. He could only reach the second shelf of the bookshelf, and he could barely do that. However, now he can reach the third shelf and grab things off of it. He has also begun to climb on it. Scary.

It seems like only yesterday he turned one...
Kevin's grandparents don't live very close to us anymore (my parents are much closer than Grig's parents) and so when they see him, they make comments about how old he is getting. However, to me, it seems like he never ages. I do notice developmental things that he is learning, but when I try to think back on when he was a baby, it is difficult to think of him any differently than he is now.

This seems to be the case in all aspects of life though. Within myself, I hardly ever notice me changing, and often if I do, I resist the change. It's difficult to want to be different, because I rather like myself. That was one of the hardest things about serving a mission for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I was really concerned that it would change me, and I would become a different person.

This stressed me out for a few weeks, but the Lord had asked me to go on a mission (through personal prayer and scripture study), so I was determined to do it.

A couple days before I left, I was set apart to be a missionary by my Stake President. In the blessing, as he laid his hands upon my head, he was inspired to tell me, "The mission won't change you, but it will define who you are."

That was a balm to my soul. Throughout my mission, I often didn't notice the subtle changes that were occurring within me, but my mission president would occasionally comment that he could see the changes and he was proud of me.

When I returned home, I wasn't a completely different person. I still enjoyed the same things and still had the same friends, but I simply had more self-control and a more empathetic and loving view of the world. The mission helped define what was actually me, and what was simply things that I liked.

A similar situation can occur in marriage, I think. Sometimes because we see our spouse everyday, we don't always see how they are improving and growing. We begin to take them for granted, or we become critical because we only see the mistakes that they and their fallacies. It does me good to occasionally take a step back and think about the man I married and how much he has grown over the past couple of years. It helps to keep me from taking him for granted because I can see how much he is trying to progress and come closer to the Lord. Sometimes I try and tell him the improvements that I have seen as well.

It's nice when he tells me the same too.

Sometimes looking back is the only way to see how far you've come. Sometimes when we try and see the Lord's hand in our past, we can truly appreciate where we are in the present.

Try to look for the improvement in others and in yourself. It helps when I know that I'm not stuck in one place and that I am moving forward.

Sometimes the hardest changes to see are the changes that occur within the walls of our own homes.

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