Devastating to hear about the injury. 52, hope you got my letter that I sent off Monday morning, where I said most of what I've been thinking and feeling. It was torture from Sunday afternoon when I found out via Thira Christensen and fam who I "bumped into" at the Temple clear till Tuesday night when they finally delivered my first DearElders (for some reason they didn't print them Monday). I had been on a bit of a small-scale, slow decline, which culminated in one of the worst talks I've ever heard at the Tuesday Devo. Luckily, I got to read your letters right afterwards. Brigham - that was the single greatest thing I've ever read. Every prayer from Sunday-Tuesday was answered through that letter. I really can't put it into words. There's something about the combination of brotherhood, football, and the Gospel that goes into our bond that I could never give enough thanks for to our Heavenly Father. It doesn't seem fair and honestly, it probably flat out is not fair at all that it happened to you, but like Adam said to you, (thank you!!) there really is so much more to life than football. I promise that everything ahead of you is better than what's behind. As much as it sucks to lose your senior season, I believe that you will come to know that the introspection and new perspectives that come from a (seemingly) life-altering event like a torn ACL are a tremendous blessing. At a certain point in everyone's career, they won't be able to go back and rewrite even a single sentence of their story (unless you're in the movie Touchback, more on that later). It's the one thing about high school sports that is both glorious and heart-breaking at the same time. However, you will gradually come to find more and more blessings that will come out of that early ending. As for another thing Adam said - cherish the relationships you have on the team. It sounds like there was an overwhelming amount of support from the BoB last weekend. That's one thing no one will ever be able to take from you. Ask anyone on last year's team; very few of us hung out much outside of football, but those guys will always be some of my best friends. On the field or not, you are still a leader and still a Raider. Keep your head up and do always those things that please Him. There isn't a play we can't make.
As for Touchback, I'm sure Matt is gonna crack up at this reference. There's this low budget film about a dude in a similar situation as you. I will admit it was one of the cheesiest, poorly made movies I've ever seen, but the message is golden. I'd check it out in the next little while. Pay attention to the things most important in life.
I have little time to answer everyone individually, so I'm gonna send some quick s/os. Hope you understand!
Ned - Brotha! So good to hear from you! Sounds like life is great and you're starting to sort out the most important things in life. Keep doing your thing - proud of you!
Brian - s/o to the most consistent writer! Seems like life is great with you too. Thanks for always letting me know whats up and whats down. Means the world to hear from you (all of you!)
Riley - Love getting the BYU low-down from you. Did you honestly expect things would even be kinda the same without half the DRC? C'bannn. We got to go to the JKB on BYU campus to get fingerprints this past Monday. We stood on the sidewalk between Helaman and the HSFB for close to 20 minutes waiting for the shuttle but no dice! Didn't see anyone I even recognized. Good and a bad thing I guess. Thanks for writing me though - best of luck with Rugby. Sounds... interesting.
Hugh - write me bro
Before I sign off, just wanna share a few scriptures with Brigham, first and foremost, but everyone really:
1 Nephi 11:17, Nephi says "I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things."
Pretend like I'm saying this. I KNOW God loves you bro. I know He loves all of us. Every single person that reads this letter is a child of God. Think about how much your own parents love you, and then know that's not even close to how much God loves you. That being said, I certainly don't know the meaning of even some things. I have no clue why a torn ACL had to be in your story. But, I know He loves you and there IS a reason for it.
I wrote something like this on the outside of the envelope I sent you, and coincidentally, that was before I came across this verse in my study. I said, "Don't let it define you. Let it refine you." I think we often view trials and afflictions as "the end of the world" type events. We let them weigh us down and oppress us, convincing ourselves that nothing could make it better. We let them 'define' us. I think if we were to change one letter in that word, flipping to 'refine,' and in the process change our perspective and attitudes, we would see that afflictions are merely just Heavenly Father tossing us in His furnace, heating and cooking us so that we can emerge out the other side a perfected gem or precious metal. It takes time and a lot of patience to acquire the perspective that will allow us to embrace the furnaces were are all tossed in every now and then. They really stink. If we persevere, though, I testify that we will be able to look God in the eyes after this life and hear him say about each one of us, "I have refined THEE."
Ok, so by way of logistics: Family, please be by the phone between (all east coast times) 11 AM-1 PM and 5 PM-11 PM. At these times, I will be in the Salt Lake and Atlanta airports!! En route to, guess where?!?!? BUENOS AIRES! Yep, that's right! Last night, our whole zone, minus poor Elder Padgett (heading to Colombia - Robin represent!) got the pleasant surprise of travel plans in our mail boxes. I guess they didn't stop the wave of tourist visas after all!
I will be leading Rogue Squadron 7 (Me, and 6 West Campus Elders going to Salta as well) as we embark from SLC to ATL and ATL to EZE. We're flying from 11-5 to ATL and then 9 PM - 8AM to Argentina! Gonna conk out on some sleeping pills. We're supposed to meet the Mission Pres in BA, but after that, I have no clue how we're getting to Salta. After having my expectations bounce all around like a beach ball at a Nickleback concert, they've settled on the original plan all along. 2 days of General Conference (yee yee!) and then just like that, I'm off. Peace out America!
What does this mean?
1. Totally forgot up till now - Mom, can you order me some more contacts and send them to the address in my call packet? I have enough for about 6 months but I'd love to get a stimulus package when I run out.
2. No more DearElders! That site only works for the MTC (or at least I'm pretty sure it doesn't work for my mission). Please don't send anything through there, cause the only one who's gonna get to read them are by buddy Padgett. From here on out, I'm banking on email as being the only source of communication. I think letters take about 4+ weeks between ARG and the USA. To be completely honest, I'll probably only ever be able to make time for this family email and maybe one other. It would mean the world to me if y'all would continue to fill me in on your lives via quick emails, even though I probably won't be able to respond to most!
Before I forget, a few requests:
Mom/Dad: could you email me a list of the best conference talks ever, or something along those lines? You can probably find something on google or something. I don't know how it will be in the field, but we can use LDS.org through our missionary login so I love listening to talks when I can.
If possible, could you send me any/all info you have on G-Pa Donkey Wonkey's life? I can also go on familysearch.org and it's pretty cool to see who I come from.
I think that's all for now!
Cuanto más cuesta, cuanto más vale!