Tuesday, October 20, 2015

To my little.

This week is better than Christmas for Kappa Delta, and I wish I could bottle this excitement and excess love and use it on everybody I know.
Now little, I don't know a whole lot about you. I know your favorite color, your favorite treat, your major....all those basics, but I don't know you. But I've watched you embrace KD these last few weeks and I couldn't be more excited to add you to our little family [because only the best get to join the House of Dimes] and get to know what an incredible person you are.
Two years ago, I went through my own big/little week with absolutely no idea who I was going to find waiting for me Thursday night, and I'm sure you're feeling the same way. All I knew was that I wanted somebody to look up to, somebody to shop, study, relax, cry, and laugh with, and somebody that could be the big sister I never had. My big is everything I wanted, and everything I didn't even know I needed; and I hope I can be the same for you. As wonderful as my big was my first year in Kappa Delta, I didn't truly appreciate her until I had littles of my own to mentor, look after, and become friends with. It's truly a new kind of love, one that I am excited to share with you.
I'm going to do my best to be what you need. Whether it's somebody to study with you in the library, somebody to try a thousand formal dresses on for, somebody to hold you when the boys are being mean, or someone's bed to sleep in when you're alone in your apartment, I'm here. If you need a friend to go with you to an awkward party, an emergency plan to get out of a bad date, or somebody to binge watch all of Grey's Anatomy with, I'm your girl. I'll probably smother you with a lot of love, ask a lot of questions and seem a little needy, and mother you more than you want....but it's all out of love. We may not always get along, and I'm not perfect. But I will always, always, always have your back.
But most importantly, I am here to help you find a love for this organization and everything that comes along with it. Kappa Delta has shaped my college experience, and I could not be more excited to watch you experience this sisterhood--and to experience it alongside you.
Happy guessing--I'll see you Thursday!!
I love you already, little one.
XOXO, Big.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My General Conference Soapbox.

I'm a stubborn person--and most of you know that alone is an understatement.
I'm also very competitive and I hate losing.
I don't like being wrong, and I have a really hard time when things don't go my way.
[Yes, I realize these are all weaknesses, and yes, I am working on being better].
Y'all can imagine how well I handled losing relationships I had stubbornly competed for for years despite them never going my way.
NEWSFLASH: I didn't handle it well.
In fact, I threw several tantrums, cried [a lot], and threw a very large pity party for a hot minute.
I'd put a lot of love, emotion, and effort into things I thought were going to last forever--and refused to accept the fact that I was wrong.

If we're being completely honest, I was upset, I was devastated, and I was very, very, very lost. I felt like I'd lost my right arm and I couldn't seem to find my bearings anywhere. You should also know that I hate losing control of anything [or never having it in the first place], and despite everything in my life that was [and still is] going so incredibly right, I felt like I'd completely lost control of everything.

Since I was little, I've been taught to ask for help when I had a problem...and sometimes that asking is simply a whispered prayer when things seem especially hard. So I did that. I asked for any kind of help, advice, anything. Not an hour later, I got a text from a friend asking if I had ever read the book "The Infinite Atonement" by Tad R. Callister. At that point, I hadn't, but she told me to read one of the chapters.
The internet is a wonderful place, and I quickly found what she was talking about. Elder Callister discusses the Atonement in relation to what he says is "suffering unrelated to sin" and said,
"Impossible as it may seem, he has somehow taken upon himself those feelings of inadequacy, sometimes even utter hopelessness, that accompany our rejections and weaknesses."
I'm an English major. I read all the time--and I have an almost obsessive affinity for meaningful words and inspirational quotes. This passage of writing? It was written just for me, I'm convinced of it, at least in that moment.
The next day in Institute, we studied the same book.
That night, my best friend sent me a quote from a talk by Chieko Okasaki that reiterated everything I'd read.
I got the message. Despite feeling like I was the only one in the world feeling like this--I wasn't alone, and someone did understand every aspect of what I was feeling.

Fast forward to General Conference at the beginning of this month, and I was feeling much better than I had been. There was still this obnoxious little ache every time I was reminded of what I was missing, but I'd accepted the way things were going.
I was just confused about where to go now.

In seminary, I was taught to go into Conference Weekend with any questions I needed answered--so I did.

I got off work and turned on the radio in my car just in time to hear Sister Neill F. Marriott say, "in order to have a healed and faithful heart, we must first allow it to break."
I'd let my heart break. I was ready for it to be fixed.
The rest of General Conference was full of speakers reiterating the idea that God wants us to have joy, and that we need to let our trials/problems/whatever is causing us pain, go.
We have too much to be happy about--it is time to move on.

Every six months, I go into General Conference with a question on my mind--a question vastly different from the time before. And every time, that question is answered.
That's not to say the problems fix themselves immediately.
Some days my heart hurts and I still don't know exactly what I'm doing. But I am now fully aware of the fact that I am not alone--and that moving on doesn't mean giving up, it just means there is something more out there.

I'm so grateful for not only inspired church leaders and an inspired prophet, but also for friends who listen to the spiritual promptings they receive. General Conference is one of those things I am more grateful for every time it comes around, and I hope I never take it for granted.
Our Heavenly Father is real, and He listens to our every word. The Atonement, although I don't understand it completely and probably never will, is the single most incredible thing that has happened on this Earth. And the church is true--I may not be sure of a lot, but those things I do know, and I believe them with all my heart.