Almost all of my favorite movies, tv shows, and books (of old, but then again, the Good Book and the LdM too), are centered around the theme of good vs. evil, light vs. darkness, joy vs. pain, faith vs. despair. A huge part of my life - sports - and specifically football, revolves around this struggle as well. Guess what, the mission is too. Life is this way.
I can hear the voices of Coaches Magpiong and Davis screaming in my ear the word "adversity." Every day, walking these streets of good ol Argentina, I can hear them yelling this word. It's a condition in which sports are arguably the ultimate teacher. I can't express enough my gratitude for the lessons I´ve learned about handling adversity from sports, and specifically from these two fine coaches, BEFORE entering the real world.
The conclusion I'm continuing to reach, both from practical experience and accounts in the Book of Mormon, is that the only true counter to adversity is faith. Faith is the belief in things not seen. Faith breeds and implies work. Faith without works is dead. The Red Sox survived and ultimately triumphed in 2004 riding the wave of faith. Keep the Faith. It sounds like they just barely finished doing the exact same thing. (Reading the account of the celebration from my boy Matty O was heartbreakingly awesome. Oh how I'd love to have seen Jonny Gomes place the trophy at the Marathon finish line.) Faith is the reason we beat Natick last year. One year ago yesterday is a day I'll forever remember. The week leading up to it, the morning of the game, obviously tearing my ACL too, were all different. Faith fueled the fire.
The thing with faith is that it's freakin hard to harness all the time. There will always be demons of adversity laboring to destroy our faith. Una pelea de la mente. At times, it's easy to see the hope on the horizon and keep pressing on, but at other times its pretty darn easy to feel you're going no where but down.
Another hard thing about maintaining faith is that we often wait for a tragedy, a misstep, or for the clouds to weigh down a little too much, to exercise our faith. We let something like the Marathon fiasco be the source that pushes us. This is great. Produces results too. But the next season, or the next go round, that foundation is gone.
We need to plant our seeds of faith in something simple, true, and concrete. Provide your faith with plenty of room to establish firm roots for those tough times. Then, nurture it. Feast upon the words of Christ, serve others, go out and let your faith be tested! Members of the church will recognize this metaphor straight from the Book of Mormon. Others that are not members can marvel at the beautiful, simple advice. Faith requires foundation, effort, and patience, just like a tree. It's not gonna sprout from a seed to a tall oak in a day. However, there are people that have come before us, from whom we can learn and adapt our trees of faith around.
The ultimate message of hope that we can take from this understanding of faith is that the potential of your faith is infinite, and thus your potential as a human being and a son or daughter of God is infinite. As we strive to improve every day, we arrive that much closer to perfection, to a firm, tall oak.
This past week, our faith took a pretty big one, two punch. Friday night, Maximileano - one of our best investigators (Baptismal Date = Nov. 16)- got sent to jail. Again. He had just barely done a 10 year stint. We don't really know anything else. Also, Victoria, our golden investigator, sent us a text the morning of her baptism: "Don't come to my house anymore. I'll find you and return the Book of Mormon." Nothing more. We still haven't been able
to track her down, and we still have no clue what happened.
It was hard to take. Not terribly, however, because of our somewhat young oaks of faith. Control what you can control, trust in God, and WORK. That's the recipe. That's faith. Granted, I sound a lot more accomplished/wise than I really am. I know the recipe, but I sure don't follow it all the time. The invitation is out there for all of us. Plant the seed, water it, and patiently watch your faith, and thus happiness and satisfaction, grow. We learn from Nephi that perspective can give us a much needed boost, but even this motivation isn't enough: " And I said unto them: aIf God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done.
And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannotainstruct me, that I should build a ship?" (1 Nephi 17) I personally marvel and am even a bit jealous of this incredible faith. Today, the invitation is to look at your problems in the perspective of the universe. Realize that God can do ANYTHING, and wants to do anything for us, His children. The deciding factor, that which bridges the gap, is our faith. Regardless of the condition of your oak tree, I challenge you and I to trust in God today to help us with our tasks. The promise, contingent on our faith, is that we will be able to build a boat. (read the link) Maybe not today, but as we nourish the faith, the boat will slowly take form. Dare to be great. Have faith that your potential is infinite. I know yours is. Godspeed.
Go Sox. I was teased and tormented Monday night in the home of a less active family as they flipped through the tv channels and stopped at Game 5 for a brief moment. The tv literally felt like a window to my old life. Oh well. Mas tarde.
Congrats to the Raiders despite a tough loss. Season ain't over yet tho. Beat Needham.
I'm so super lucky to have all of you as my support. As I sometimes long for what once was and what will be, I think about the promises of the glory of Heaven, and the Celestial Kingdom specifically. The ultimate promise is that we can live with our families forever in a perfected, exalted state. We often diminish the value of the word forever. I think everyone of my friends that wrote me this week included this sentiment in one form or another. Forever is truly remarkable, and undoubtably is a part of true glory. I can't imagine just how blissful this will be, but I have to believe it will include you friends (Gang Love) (and football).
Happy B-Day Ned. You were in my dream the night before 11/3. We balled up hard.
I am seriously homesick for New England's four seasons. I'm done with 100 degree Halloweens (not big at all. The young changitos run around but there's hardly anything different. I got the idea that there's a lot of evil associated with it here. The members were surprised that we have halloween parties at the church). Although ya'll may hate the 5pm darkness and being able to see your breath, I'm convinced it's all about juxtaposing the warmth and brightness of summer. Be grateful. I miss it.
Tim and Shark - you already know I only rock the Birkenstocks every freakin day. I miss the Cave, Shark, Finn, the whole crew a ton. To my pleasant surprise, I even found some of Finn's hairs stuck in the sole. Kinda gross, but my sentimental side kicked in and made me love them that much more.
Shout out to the Bill family. You're in my prayers, especially Alex. Stay strong, and know you're very loved.
Mom, I truly did laugh out loud at the stories of the 1%-ers etc. Brigham is spot on. A Toyota is a luxury vehicle in my neighborhood. Everyone drives stick. Quite a few people drive (the sickest) 50 year old trucks that I think Grandpa Bringhurst probably drove. It's evident that a lot of blood, sweat, and tears have gone into preserving the same mode of transportation between generations. Finally, its a common occurence to see a young family of 4 crammed on a little moped like Evan Callahan's. Apparently in Tucuman they can fit up to 7. I'm so grateful for the Sequoia. You better never sell it! We're truly blessed, tempororally of course, but more than anything spiritually.
Don't know which pics are which but heres the scoop.
Cute Pastor Ademan puppy is dope, but nothing like Finn.
They serve Gatorade in glass bottle and 10 year old logos here.
Went ahead and bought my own knife - ain't nobody messing with me now. Don't worry. The knife and slingshot are basically just manifestations of my childhood in Texas that were dirt cheap so I had to buy them of course.
Finally, the clouds/mountains here are sooooooooo sweet. Anna's camera doesn't do them much justice though.
Finally, Christmas package list:
1. Tons of family pics etc. printed out
2. Contacts - send the ones you ordered
3. PLEASE try and gather as much football film as you can from my 4 years in HS. Jim Sarni and Coach Davis and the Wellesley Channel probably. Obviously don't send them but I don't want to run out of time
4. Handwritten testimonies from Mom, Dad, and the Grandparents (individually would be great)
5. A Quarter from 1994
6. Calendar with pics of Wellesley or Boston (4 seasons)
7. Mini foam roller - ask Jesse Dimick
8. BBQ chicken rub
9. .20 mm architect pens, black ink (2 or 3)
Cranberry/dark chocolate trail mix
pen drive w/ contemporary style church music
Sorry to everyone I didn't get a chance to write today. I'm already over an hour O.o