Le Grande Lolo shares a little of what he has learned over the past two years before he embarks on his life’s next adventure

There are lot of things that you tend to learn once you leave home for the first time; dozens of realities and cruel truths that seemed camouflaged, hidden or cushioned from their actual nature. 

Being gone for two years, thrown into the thick of life and trials, I have gained a greater perspective on the perceptions, lessons and ideals of much of what is in the world. 

But the funny part out of the whole journey was that I didn’t leave to learn about what was in the world, I could find that on Google. 

I left to find someone else, to find myself.

In a nutshell I served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which for young men consists of voluntary service for two years, proselyting and serving in whatever measure and capacity we were able to both spiritual and physical. 

I began in March 2015 and ended March 2017.  I served in the St. Louis Missouri Mission which stretches in a near three hour radius well into both Illinois and Missouri with St. Louis as the epicenter.  

There is many a tale to be told from the lips of a missionary and in many ways I am no exception; I have seen a lot of things both and good and bad among the people of Missouri and Illinois. 

I have made many lasting and valuable friendships with people I now consider to be family and have seen the beauty in what humanity has to offer.  

But now I will begin my formal story.

There is much ugliness in the world, I have become well acquainted with it, and all of it is the work of mankind’s darker side.  The greatest pain I have witnessed has been at the hands of selfish agendas. 

A mother who refused to rear her children so she could maintain a drug induced stupor, a father who won’t support his family because he is too busy drinking it away in bars, children who ungratefully hurt and punish parents who are literally holding the threadbare fragments of their lives together with the last of their strength and self successful individuals who scoff, judge and refuse to give aid to those they deem as unfit and being responsible for their own misfortune. 

So many words spoken in anger without restraint have literally torn the lives and hearts of millions of lives as I have watched helplessly pleading with individuals to let go of pride.  

The greatest description I can offer of such a sin sick world is that of a stubborn patient who refutes medication for a perfectly treatable condition because it is simply not complicated and complex enough to be valid in their eyes. 

People have a knack for looking beyond the mark, to look for things that are simply NOT THERE because the simple truths are just too “mediocre” to be the right ones; a science experiment gone haywire. 

Repudiation of help has been the greatest cancer known to man; that the master physician of all ills, the Savior of whom I was graced to testify of, is not good enough or that the means to healing are just not feasible or real enough for consideration in the halls of theological stupidity and arrogance.  

I have cried in anger, screamed silently and yearned to shake sense into the close minded psyches of human beings who are in need of something so much more that the insipid distractions of frivolous pleasures and wants.  

Lesson one: Let go of what you cannot control.

We as both human beings and children of God are blessed with the sanctimonious privilege of choice; to make the decision between right and wrong for ourselves no matter the outward stimuli. 

The only thing that comes from stressing over the foolish choices of others is self inflicted torment.  You cannot pray away the agency of another, but you can choose how you will react.  Someone may hurt, but you can love. 

Someone may steal, but you can replace.  Someone may destroy, but you can heal and forgive.  God made opposition in all things so that the rose of good could be fostered among the briars of evil.  The dulcet taste of good is magnified in contrast to the bitter bite of painful sorrow.

Now that I have effectively furrowed the defining factor of human frailty into your minds I wish to now speak of human redemptive attributes.

The mission is a dual edged sword; you expect the refining and cleansing fire of trial and sadness to make you stronger and more enduring yet God in His infinite mercy allowed the cultivation and blossoming of miracles to be given also.  

Humans are the incredibly frustrating and flawed offspring of an all loving God; gosh I sincerely wonder how he deals with us all the time.  Whilst working with my fellow brothers and sisters as a missionary I got to see that yes they can be insufferable, frustrating and insanely aggravating but they have such a capacity for love, charity, patience, strength, improvement and growth. 

The greatest gift I have seen in us is our inherent ability to be better.  We start out messed up; try really hard not to be messed up, sometimes don’t even acknowledge that fact and continue to be messed up but that NEVER has stopped our progression!

That in and of itself is awe inspiring! Our ancestors, we and our children have had the stubborn innate gift of declining the heinous persuasion that we should just throw in the towel when things get rough.  Yes there are those that don’t endure, but there are those that do. 

If there is any time our hard-headed natures came through it has been here!

Witnessing people change their lives because they want to, and because they can, has been inspiring to me.  We are redeemable because we don’t allow petrifaction and fear from stopping us achieving the perceived impossible. 

That is what makes us divine, what makes us children of God, what sets us apart from the average darned mammal: the eternal desire and need to create and change, to evolve beyond just physical appearance and change our natures!

That is what shapes the marvelous work I have been a part of: I have not been making people change into something they are not but into what they already are, discovering the self that we have lost sight of in the cloying lies of the world.  

So the next time you forget that fact, that you are simply incredibly undeniably super duper amazing, take a good look around you and say: “thank you”.  Because that is what we are here for: to remember, who God is, who we are, and just how blessed and gifted we really are.

So that begs the question: Did I change? Did I discover more of me and more of the world?

Yes, I did

And so can you ☺


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