Mysterious Ways

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I have been praying to God for awhile now to give me a good straight guy friend. Well, I think my prayer is finally coming true, but it is in a kind of weird way. This friend tells me that he is asexual and that he used to be gay. I trust him and have no reason to believe that he is lying to me. I just find it hard to believe because it is something new and different--something that I have never experienced it before. That is why I have a hard time believing him. Well, that and I have seen other people from Evergreen claim they went from gay to straight but then went back and cheated on their wives (some even leaving their families). That's besides the point though. I have had great conversations with him and I really enjoy talking to him. He is a really good friend. I always look forward to talking to him and I can't wait to hang out with him! I think it is going to be a lot of fun. God does work in mysterious ways and I thank him for giving me this new friend. I think it will be good for me.

It also makes me wonder if His mysterious ways explains why I am a gay. I don't know. I guess I'll just have to see what comes down the road of life and continue to look for understanding.

Clear Broth to Stew

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And I had to be alone because anyone who came near me invaded me. Only in the absence of people could I boil myself down to a clear broth and add things a little at a time. Occasionally I would venture out into the world with someone else as my escort, but it guaranteed nothing. Each random moment of interaction held danger.

-Julie Gregory, Sickened
I wrote this a while ago in this post. Now, as you may have noticed, I am starting to write again. I am learning and growing. I have started to become what I have wanted to become again and things are really going well for me.

This process of going from a clear broth to an amazing stew was a hard one, but it was well worth it. I am glad that I set forth on the journey and decided to leave the MoHo world to discover myself and to become what I wanted to. I have truly never been happier. I don't have the best life, but I don't care because I am what I am and I love what I am.

What was this process of making a most delicious stew?

It started out with making goals for myself. They were just small things that I wanted to do. One of them was a small item of service every day. This could be as simple as holding a door open for someone, saying hello to someone who looked down, helping someone out with homework, or just being a friend to someone who needed one. Another one was to focus on what I am passionate about. I started focusing on school, research, work, and developing a better relationship with my family. I then made goals of what I wanted to do in the future--where I wanted to be in five years, ten years, and so on. I then decided to structure my life around how to achieve my goals. I did make some spiritual goals too, but I don't want to share them because they are personal and private.

These goals structured my life and have allowed my growth. They have allowed me to add certain ingredients, if you will, into my clear broth. They have given me direction during hard times, they have given me strength, and they have given me desire to accomplish what I set out to do. I can proudly say that I have been accomplishing my short and long term goals and I hope to continue to accomplish them.

Goals were an excellent starting point, but there was also a lot of introspection going on too. I would look at the past, look at my motives, and look at my mistakes. I learned a lot by doing this and it helped me develop a healthy sense of who I am in certain situations and how desires, moods, and many of things can change depending on the situation I am in. With all of this in mind, I have taken proactive approaches to keep me out of situations where I know I act how I do not want to act. The introspection was also looking at myself and seeing/believing that I could achieve my goals.

The last major thing that I did was to not beat myself up if I made a mistake that set me back from my goals and ultimately who I wanted to become. I eventually realized that everybody makes mistakes and it is how the person responds to the mistake the situation that has been created because of that mistake that makes them who they are. If who we are is determined by our mistakes, we would all be failures and never make the Celestial Kingdom. That is how I came to this realization.

I'm sure that there is a lot more that I did that helped me develop this stew that is me, but these are the things that stand out to me and strike me as important.

Here is to a new and better life... Cheers!

Swim

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-"Swim" by Jack's Mannequin

You gotta swim
Swim for your life
Swim for the music
That saves you
When you're not so sure you'll survive
You gotta swim
Swim when it hurts
The whole world is watching
You haven't come this far
To fall off the earth
The currents will pull you
Away from your love
Just keep your head above

I found a tidal wave
Begging to tear down the door
Memories like bullets
They fired at me from a gun
Cracking me open yeah
I swim to brighter days
Despite the absence of sun
Choking on salt water
I'm not giving in
I swim

You gotta swim
For nights that wont end
Swim for your families
Your lovers your sisters
And brothers your friends
Yeah you gotta swim
For wars without cause
Swim for the lost politicians
Who don't see their greed is a flaw
The currents will pull us
Away from our love
Just keep your head above

I found a tidal wave
Begging to tear down the door
Memories like bullets
They fired at me from a gun
Cracking me open now
I swim to brighter days
Despite of the absence of sun
Choking on salt water
I'm not giving in
I'm not giving in
I swim

You gotta swim
Swim in the dark
There's an ocean to drift in
Feel the tide shifting away from the spark
Yeah you gotta swim
Don't let yourself sink
Just find the horizon
I promise you it's not as far as you think
The currents will drag us away from our love
Just keep your head above
Just keep your head above
Swim
Just keep your head above
Swim, swim
Just keep your head above
Swim

I love this song. It is such a wonderful message. There may be tidal waves that pull you down and try to drown you, but you gotta swimming. You have to keep swimming to survive. The horizon and your goals aren't too far away. You can make it. Don't let yourself sink... Just keep your head above and swim.

Achieving Greatness

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I said this to one of my swimmers a couple of weeks ago and for some reason, it has stuck in my mind and will not leave me. It's like it has been haunting me.
Sometimes you need to fail to achieve greatness.
I never thought something that I randomly came up with on the spot, or at least something that I think I came up with randomly, could have such a great impact on me and my swimmer. When I told my swimmer that, he just said, "Wow! That's something that I really needed to hear." He was having a hard week and wasn't doing as well as he would have liked. I took him aside and talked to him for a bit and then told him that. Throughout the rest of the week, even though he still wasn't doing very well, he had a positive attitude and he tried his best to do the sets that I gave him. He did not make the sets, but he tried. Then these past couple of weeks, he did really well and made every single set that I gave him. If he would have given up after a couple of failures, he would not have known the sweetness of his success and the joy that comes from it.

I feel like this has a lot of parallels in my life. I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. I have also not been the best of people at times, but I always learn from my mistakes. I feel like it is necessary to make mistakes in this life because we learn from them. I know that this may sound like I'm preaching to the choir or something, but this is something that I struggle with and need to realize more often. I am a perfectionist and I tend to need to have everything perfect. I do not let go of failures easily and they usually affect me for a very long time. I need to take my own advice and realize that I sometimes need to fail because I can learn so much more out of failures than out of success. Don't get me wrong, you learn things from success too, but failure usually seems to strike you to the core and teach you in so many ways.

Failing too often can also make you give up. I have never had this problem, but I know some of you have this problem. All that I can say is don't give up. Failure is just a part of greatness. It is something that we all have to go through. Everybody makes mistakes and fails at life. It's what you do after the mistakes and failures and how you handle the situation that makes you who you are. You may feel like crap because you feel like you have failed or made a mistake. If you hide under a rock, you will learn nothing and you will not grow. That doesn't make you any better as a person--it makes you worse. If you take your failure or mistake as a challenge to better next time, you will grow and learn from the situation and it makes you a better person.

Remember that sometimes you need to fail to achieve greatness.

Running Away?


It has been awhile since I last posted. It hasn't been because of a lack of thinking and figuring things out. It has been a lack of time. I had a conversation with a former close friend a couple of weeks ago now and I have been milling it over and over in my mind. I wanted to figure things out before I posted about it and I think that I have a general understanding of what he was saying and how I think he is absolutely wrong.

In our conversation, he told me that I am running away from my problems and who I really am. This is because I have given my time to work, school, and that's about it. I have filled my time with other things. My time is completely filled that I don't have much free time. He claims that this is running away. He told me that this is my method of leaving my problems behind and forgetting about them. It is true that is a way for me not to focus on things that trouble me and bring me down, but I don't consider it running away. If I focus on the things that trouble me all the time, I will mope around and hate life. This is something that I don't need. It is too easy to fall into that process and never be happy and right now I am immensely happy and I don't want to lose it. I don't think that he realized that I do think about things too and try to find ways to make my problems and my life better.

Usually before I go to bed, I think about life. I think about all of the things that I have accomplished, all of the mistakes I have made, what I can do better, what I need to accomplish in the short run to achieve my long term goals, and similar things like that. Is that running away? I don't think so. I am actively trying to improve upon my life and grow. Sure everybody makes mistakes and we all hide them at times, but we do eventually face them and try to learn from our mistakes. I think that he thinks I am still trying not to face them and I can see where he is kind of coming from, but I don't think he is right.

So ever since my last fling with a boy, I have backed out of the MoHo world. I know that hanging around gay people and associating with them gets me in trouble. I haven't ditched my friends. I just don't see or contact them as much and they seem to do the same to me. I'm just in my own little world and they all seem to be in theirs and it's completely fine. Just because I haven't been associating with them and staying out of trouble means I am running away according to my former friend. I don't feel this way at all. I know that I am gay. I know that when I am around other gay men that I tend to do things with them and get into trouble. I know that when I do things with them, I usually become unhappy and feel torn in my life and things start to go downhill. I know and understand a lot about myself. Just because I have decided to not hang out with my gay friends does not mean that I am running away from my problems and who I am. I think it shows initiative on my part and show that I know more about myself than most people. I am also taking my bishop's advice by keeping myself out of situations where I have the potential to commit sin and he doesn't think it is running away either. He thinks it is smart precautions.

Am I running away? I don't think so...

Past Couple of Years

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These past couple of years, I have had life defining moments that have changed my life drastically. There has been at least a big one each year and those are what I want to talk about right now. As a side note before I get into my thoughts, I think it is interesting how much I have gone through these past couple of years. Most people can't even imagine what it is like and/or will never go through as much as I have in their lifetime. Now to my thoughts...

The year that I got out of high school, 2006, is the year that I finally came out to my best friend who ended up becoming my first boyfriend. That was a major defining moment in my life. It was time for me to start accepting myself for who I am and not hide it anymore. Throughout high school, I knew that I was gay. I had so many crushes on guys and never one on a girl. I never had fantasies about girls, just guys. I wanted to hook up with some of the cutest guys and date them, but I knew that it would never happen and I kept lying to myself and others about the whole situation. Coming out was a very liberating experience. I guess it also helped that my friend came out to me that very same night. I was the first one he ever came out to too. This then lead to a relationship that I will never forget and never regret. It taught me a lot. It taught me that I can have love in my life and that I'm not the only one in the Church that experiences SSA or who is gay.

Then the next year, late 2007/early 2008, I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. This changed my way of living. In late 2007, I started getting really sick and I lost a lot of weight (50 lbs), which was all muscle :(. I then started getting worse and I had extreme pain in my abdomen. I eventually went to the hospital and found out that I had Crohn's. My life has definitely not been the same since then. I have been learning to live with pain almost constantly for a year now. There are good and bad weeks, but it is still hard. Sometimes it is so bad that I feel like there a weight on me that will never lift up, but I know that it goes away eventually. This experience has taught me that I can still push myself through the hard times and do what I need to do. It has also taught me that I can be anything that I want to be, even though it might cause a lot of pain and hardship. Another thing that I have learned is that I can change my life to fit it to my situation. I think that is probably one of the most important things that I have learned.

Now it is late 2008 and I might be diagnosed with liver cancer. This is definitely going to be a defining moment in my life if I am diagnosed. I can't even imagine how drastically my life is going to change and how it is going to be affect. What does a 20 year old do if they have cancer? Who has ever heard of a 20 year old having cancer (I know that there are people out there who do get it this young, but nobody I have ever known)? Who would have ever thought that I could get cancer at 20? It's really kind of scary, but I know that I have been preparing for it these past couple of years with the defining moments in my life along with everything else I have been going through.

Finding Meaning

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And I had to be alone because anyone who came near me invaded me. Only in the absence of people could I boil myself down to a clear broth and add things a little at a time. Occasionally I would venture out into the world with someone else as my escort, but it guaranteed nothing. Each random moment of interaction held danger.

-Julie Gregory, Sickened
I can relate with Julie. Sometimes you need to run away, leave the world, friends, and family behind, look deep within yourself to find out who you really are, and then build yourself back up from a clear broth becoming who you want to be without the influence of others.

Passion

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So it has been awhile and I have had time to live life a little and experience a lot. I said that I am going to examine myself by going deeper and find out the truth about me. I have found some truth and some beauty in my life in these past couple of weeks. Things have gotten exponentially better and it is because of finding things that I am passionate about.

In the book The Velvet Rage: Overcoming The Pain Of Growing Up Gay In A Straight Man's World, by Alan Downs (that was the book I mentioned in a previous post for those of you who were/are curious), it talks about how a lot of gay men lack a sense of passion for something that they truly love because they have been limiting or hiding their feelings or not feeling at all. It also talks about how they usually jump around from partner to partner, job to job, place to place, or whatever to whatever because they do not feel fulfilled in life--all because they lack something that they truly love and are passionate about. I have found that this was true for me.

When I was little and in high school, I had passion for swimming. It was my life. I absolutely loved it. It saved me from my demons inside of me and it helped me be free for four and a half hours everyday. Then when I reached college and got cut from the BYU swim team, that passion died away and my demons were no longer held at bay. They rose and I came out of the closet. I came out to one of my closest friends and he came out to me that same night. We ended up having a relationship and having sex. I loved my friend I came out to dearly and then he was ripped away from me, never to be seen or talked to again because we both decided to talk to our bishops about us. Ever since being cut and having him ripped away, I have noticed that I have lacked a strong passion in my life. There were moments when I have had strong passions for a guy that I loved or the church, but it seemed like they were never long lasting or as long lasting as swimming. The truth is that I have been bouncing around with my feelings. This includes guy to guy, my stance with the church, my stance on marriage, and many other things like these.

These past couple of weeks, I have not been really social like I am normally am. I have been staying at home, studying, working, reading, and many other things that do not involve others. I have found this to be very fulfilling and I have never been as content in my life as I am right now. I attribute this to the fact that I have found many things that I truly love and am passionate about. I have found that I absolutely love biochemistry or chemistry for that matter. I love studying it and learning about its complexities. I also love going to school and learning. It is so much fun to increase my knowledge. Research is another thing that I love. I love spending hours in my lab working with my HIV samples and figuring out the DNA sequences. I also love coaching. I love to watch my swimmers push themselves to achieve their goals and I love to help them achieve their goals. It feels so good to know that I am helping them. All of these things together have helped me find fulfillment. I feel so whole and content. I am also really happy. I am glad that I have found things that I am passionate about and I hope that I can continue to stay passionate about many things because it makes like so much better.

That Green Gentleman

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-"That Green Gentleman" by Panic At The Disco

I feel like a lot of things have changed for me, but as the song says it's ok. I feel like I am heading in the right direction for finding my purpose here in life.

Going Deeper

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A lot of things have been going on in my life right now. It has been interesting to say the least. I recently read a very amazing book that was referred to me by Chase. I am probably going to be talking about that and relating it to my life in upcoming posts. I'm going to dig deeper into my life and find that meaning that I am so desperately searching for. You all get to join me in my journey into the depths of my soul and the rabbit hole...

Drowning

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I'm drowning right now. I don't know what to do. I'm glad school is almost back in session because I think that will help me out. I think I need to take a break so I can start to tread water again and begin to swim again.

People Pleaser

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Hello, my name is Sean and I am a people pleaser. If you haven't met me, you'll have to believe me. It is something that I do. I love seeing people happy and knowing that I played a part in making them happy. I can sometimes really careless about myself in order to make someone else happy, except if the situation is making me look bad. The problem with being a people pleaser is that in order to make everyone happy, I sometimes lie, tell half truths, hide things from that person, and do things that I really don't want to do. I also have the problem of saying no to people. This causes a lot of problems and it can lead to hurt feelings, loss of friendships, and many other detrimental effects. I need to find a happy medium of being a people pleaser. I need to learn that I cannot please everyone and I cannot always make myself look good and not bad (I'm imperfect too, even though I don't like to admit this to others).

Christ-like People

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On Wednesday, I had an interesting conversation with a customer that I have been good friends with for a very long time and it almost ended with me coming out to him. This conversation was one of the most spiritual conversations that I've had in awhile and I thought I would share parts of it with you and my thoughts. Darren, the customer, is almost 50 years old. He was once a member of the Church, but decided to leave (I'll tell you the reason why later in my post). He is also very liberal and loves to cause controversy here in Happy Valley by making certain comments that outs him as a liberal in a very conservative zone.

Our conversation started off by him asking me what my plans were for the future. I told him that I am possibly joining a research team this fall studying HIV, that in a couple of years I wanted to be in medical school, and other things like that--just my typical future goals and what not. He then asked me if I wanted to go to U of U for medical school and I told him, "Hell no!" He was kind of surprised by that answer and I was kind of surprised that I swore in front of him. He then asked why and I told him that I wanted to get out and experience life outside of Utah (save me from the bubble). We then discussed how most people in the Church are very conservative. He then asked me my beliefs. I told him that I support gay marriage, abortion, stem cell research, and many other controversial topics. He was kind of surprised by my response.

He then decided to tell me his story of why he left the Church. He left the Church because he felt like the people in it were too hypocritical and judgmental. He also said, "People in the Church make themselves look like they are welcoming and accepting, when in realty, they are rarely that way." According to Darren, members do not take what they say to heart. I would have to agree with this and I know that I am guilty of this sometimes--the whole world is.

Who are we to judge another person? We are nobody and we do not have the right to judge another person--only Christ has the right. Sure we can judge a situation as being good or bad, but we should never judge a person that way. They may differ from our beliefs, but they might be some of the nicest people around. Would Christ shun someone because he is gay and supports gay marriage, stem cell research, and abortion? No, he wouldn't (well, I believe he doesn't cause that's me). Would Christ shun a conservative, old woman, who likes to drink coffee and tea? No! He loves all of us and judges us by our situation and life events. We should not judge others. We should be Christ-like people and love one another. We should be accepting of everyone and show them that we love them. We should also give them the same basic rights because it is the right thing to do.

This sounds corny but think, "What would Jesus do?" You know he would be loving and accepting of everyone despite the choices that they are making. Another corny statement... Love the sinner and hate the sin. Show everyone Christ-like love and become more like Christ.

On My Own

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I always try to do things by myself. I don't like help from others because I think and sometimes know that I am plenty capable of doing things on my own. When I rely on others, I feel weak and I don't like to feel that way. I want to have power and control over the situation.

My bishop told me last Sunday that my main problem is always wanting to do things on my own and not rely on others, especially the Lord. He told me that with SSA I probably need to learn to rely on the Lord more than most people do because my life is hell and is really hard. The reason why we started talking about this is because I messed up big time and was and still am having a pretty hard time with life right now. I am sick of it--I just want to be done! It would be really nice to have a nice simple life without any problems, but this does not happen at all. My life is supposed to be this way. My bishop feels like I tend to forget the Lord and just push through life on my own. When I am righteous, I have the Spirit, but I don't listen to it. I don't need the Spirit's help or that's what I think. I think that I am strong enough to handle the situations I put myself in and when I know that I am not strong enough, I put myself into that situation anyways just to prove people and God wrong. This, however, doesn't usually happen. I usually fall and mess up.

The sad part is that all of this is true. I am not humble at all. I am a proud bastard! I don't like others helping me and I would much rather do it on my own. I am independent and proud when I do things on my own. When I accomplish something, I did it all by myself, not with the Lord's help. It's all about me having power and control over my life.

How do I get rid of this pride? How do I start relying on the Lord and others? I know that I need to start relying on the Lord more since I plan on staying in the Church, but I don't know how to do it. Does anyone have some advice for me? (Hey! It's my first step by asking others for advice...)

Goals

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Goals have always been a very important part in my life. Ever since the age of twelve, I had goals. They ranged from spiritual, physical, schooling, dating, swimming, friends, and whatever else I felt like I needed to improve on. Right now, I have a lot of goals--take the MCAT in a year, finish my medical school prerequisites, go on two dates each month, continue to get straight "A's," etc. If you didn't notice, one important aspect of my goals are missing--the spiritual goals. I don't really have any spiritual goals right now. The main reason for this is because I am not sure which goals to have.

As you can see from my other blog, I am not ready for marriage so that isn't one of my goals right now and I'm not preparing for it. I have kind of lost my spiritual goals when I was denied from going on a mission. A year ago, I had plenty of spiritual goals because I was preparing for marriage. They ranged from bearing my testimony in church, participating in the discussions in Sunday school and Elder's Quorum, reading my scriptures daily, praying morning and night, and going on a mission. The truth is that I did pretty well on some of these goals, but with others I flopped on. That was ok with me just as long as I was trying to achieve them. I did those things and I felt prepared to go on a mission, but due to my many mistakes the First Presidency didn't feel like I should go. I was fine with this and I understand why they felt this way.

I am still fine with their decision, but the consequences of their decisions have been hitting me hard. My life has changed drastically and I have to find new goals to work on. What spiritual goals does a twenty year old have besides getting married in the temple? I have no idea! That's where I'm stuck. I'm not sure to do. I go to church, participate, and I have put service mission papers in. I try to read my scriptures and I try to pray. What else am I supposed to do? I feel like I should be doing more, but I don't know what to do. I was hoping that putting my service mission papers in and getting called to a service mission would help me out, but it hasn't. I am still waiting to be called and still missing goals. I guess I just have to keep living life and maybe I'll find some goals. I still think that the service mission will help me find some because it gives me a calling and a purpose in the Church.

Gay and Mormon

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I've had a couple of friends talk to me about being gay and Mormon. It seems like all of these discussions end up with the conclusion that it is easy being gay and Mormon until someone meets/crushes/falls in love with the right guy--this is when it starts to become hard.

Life in the Church is generally easy. I go to church for three hours, I pay tithing, I follow the Word of Wisdom, I watch General Conference, I listen to the council of leaders, and many other simple charges. I realize that some of these are hard for people, but for me they are relatively simple to follow. Then when it comes to falling in love with a man, that's a completely different story. That is when I seem to throw my beliefs out the window. I soon find myself wanting things that I know are against Church teachings and harmful to my spirituality. This sometimes leads to me falling and having to go through the repentance process. I guess that everybody goes through a similar process as this when hit with their weakness. My weakness is men, which seems to hold greater consequences than other weaknesses such as alcohol, food, and worldly goods. I can be excommunicated for these things while other people have only minor privileges taken away from them.

One of my friends also said that most people that are gay and Mormon only need the right guy to help them leave the Church. I believe this is true. If someone shows another true love and they take care of each other, it is easy to leave. It is much easier to have someone there physically rather than spiritually showing you love. That's what makes it hard to be gay and Mormon.

I Once Was...

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I get the most random inspirations or thoughts about whatever in the most unlikely of times. This happened today. I finally went back to work today after all of my problems generally got under control and vacation time finally ended. It started out with swim practice this morning--nothing unusual there. Then I went to work at Poco Loco--again nothing unusual happened. Then I headed home, ate some lunch, took some pills, and headed off to coach a swim meet. Everything was going fine until some random thoughts popped into my head. I looked around and saw that nobody was really associating with me. I usually was a gathering point when I swam with these swimmers and I still am when I am coaching, but they were paying no attention to me and it made me look back at my life.

I was once an amazing swimmer. I am not going to lie. I generally try to hide this but I have competed on the national level and won some events. I am also a state champion and record holder. People looked up to me because of my hard work, dedication, example, and because I could swim really good. As I watched the swimmers interact and swim, I felt like a part of me had left. I used to be in amazing shape. Now, I'm not in good shape because I have a disease ravaging my body. I used to be faster than anyone on the team right now, but if I got in and swam against any of them, I would be lucky to beat them in a 25 or a 50. It makes me really sad. Why was I once a great swimmer and now why am I a fallen swimmer? I have no idea. All that I know is that it is depressing and it brought tears to my eyes today--it's a good thing that I had sunglasses on.

Then this caused me to think about life in general and the premortal life. I am not going to lie again, I have had my fair share of trials and I believe that I have had a lot more than most people. I remember a quote about how the choicest spirits in the premortal realm are tried the hardest in this life in a fallen state. For some reason, I believe that I am a choice spirit (people have told me this before including my current bishop). I know that I have fallen a great amount of times and I still continue to fall. What I don't get is why does God allow the choicest spirits to fall so far? I'm sometimes frustrated by this topic. Why have I done the things that I have done in my life? Why wasn't God there to stop me? Why isn't He there to stop me when I am going to make a huge mistake? I know that a lot of you will tell me that it is to grow and learn, but quite frankly, I've learned and grown a lot. People tell me that I am wise beyond my years. Most people mistake me for a 23 or 24 year old when I am only 20. It just doesn't fully make sense to me sometimes.

I wish there was a way that I could stop falling into the same temptations over and over again. I just want to be done and quit falling, quit suffering, and quit feeling the pain that comes from the Fall.

Trials

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This week has been awful, but Wednesday is when it got the worst. I woke up Wednesday morning with bloody diarrhea. This is common in people with Crohn's Disease, but it had never been this bad before. I went to the doctor that day and he told me to cancel my trip to California to see some friends. He also told me to be very careful with what I do because I could be hospitalized at any moment. I told my friends that I could no longer go and there was disappointment all around and that saddened me, but I guess that's what happens.

The week kept getting worse. I found out that I had to be put on some new medications. These new medications are $5,000 per dose. I get them via injection every couple of weeks. The shots are very painful and are very similar to the gamaglobulin or "peanutbutter" shots. I'm not too excited for this, but I guess it is what I have to do. It's all part of my life.

All of these events has caused me to think about trials--their origin and purpose.

In a conversation with a friend, we talked about the different philosophies of the origin of trials. Some people believe that they come directly from God and that He gives us specific trials. Others believe that we are an imperfect world, in an imperfect body and that trials form based on this imperfectness. Then there are others that believe that Satan creates the trials and gives them to us. Finally, there is a mixture of theories. What we came up with is a mixture of the origin of trials. Some trials certain people are given because God knows that they have to experience certain events to help them grow and achieve their potential. This, however, is limited in my belief. I believe that we live in an imperfect world and in an imperfect body. Once we are born, all of that imperfectness is there. Our spirits are perfect, but our bodies and the world we live in aren't. From the influences of these imperfections, most of our trials are created and experienced. I do also believe that Satan does have the ability to tempt us or rather help dull our senses and put us in dangerous situations that can cause a trial to form.

The purpose of trials seems to be an easy topic for most people. They say that trials are there for growth. They are meant to stretch and pull you in ways that you aren't normally stretched and pulled. I agree with this, but I also believe that each trial has a deeper lesson--something that is supposed to be learned in this lifetime. I think that God wants us to learn certain things and he leaves us to our own devices and the world to learn these lessons. He only gives us certain trials when He knows that we will not learn on our own what he intended for us to learn here on earth.

How does this relate to my Crohn's Disease and my trials? I'm not sure yet, but I'm sure that I will eventually find out what I am supposed to learn from this trial.

Extraordinary

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I have always wanted to be an extraordinary person. Ever since I was little, I would always crave to be the fastest, strongest, smartest, funniest, and whatever else I could be. My little body would always push the limits and achieve many great things. I would climb the biggest tree in the neighborhood, win the school geography bee, practice swimming everyday, and many other things so I could be an extraordinary person.

After growing up and becoming who I am today, I still crave and feel the need to be extraordinary. My childhood was littered with accomplishments and I still want to achieve all of my goals. Adult life, however, is different than childhood. There are more roadblocks. Trials also become harder. Life in general is filled with mundaneness. As I grow older, it becomes harder and harder to achieve my goals.

When I was little, I had the dream of being an Olympic swimmer. I didn't care if I made the podium or not. All that I wanted to be was a swimmer swimming for the USA. This dream was coupled with being a collegiate swimmer. This dream was crushed two years ago when I was cut from the BYU swim team. That was a difficult time for me. That was the first time that I didn't accomplish a goal that I had set for myself. I was crushed and entered a depression that I had never felt before. I had an amazing friend help me through that time, but that amazing friend also help me not achieve another dream from my childhood (I'll talk about this later). My friend pushed me to continue to swim and try out for the team next year. At first, it was really easy to continue my schedule of training and remembering my goals. This, however, didn't last. School, work, friends, and life got in the way. I soon gave up on my goal. I didn't achieve this goal and in a sense I feel like I have lost a part of my extraordinariness.

The thing is that I haven't lost any part of my extraordinariness. I have become extraordinary in a different way. I am now a swim coach and all of my swimmers love me. I was at a meet this past weekend and everybody told me that I did an amazing job at coaching and that they were grateful for me being there. That made me feel really good inside. It helped me feel that I was still extraordinary. That I was an influence on the lives of others to do good.

Another dream that was crushed happened this year. I wanted to serve a mission, but this dream was crushed because of things I had done with the friend mentioned above and partially due to Crohn's Disease. I have been struggling with this for awhile. I feel like I have let down myself and God causing me to lose my extraordinariness. This, however, is not true. I know that God has a different plan for me now and this involves serving a church service mission. I can be an extraordinary person when I do this. Just like how my path changed in swimming. I'll be able to befriend and hopefully influence many people that I am serving.

It seems like my hunt for extraordinariness leads me in my life that keeps living. It leads me to where I am supposed to be and where I am supposed to be extraordinary. I may not be extraordinary in the ways that I want to be, but I am extraordinary in the ways that I am supposed to be.

A Life That Keeps Living

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A life that keeps living.

Behind this phrase, there are many hidden ideas and thoughts that run through my mind. They all however, center on Christ. He is the one person that connects the entire universe together--spiritual and temporal.

The first idea that comes from this phrase is eternal life. We all have been given the gift of eternal life because of Christ's sacrifice. Our lives will continue on forever despite what we do in this life. We may be in different kingdoms of glory, but our lives will always continue on. It is amazing to think about this concept. Life does not end after death. It never ends.

Another idea that comes to mind is my life and my search for meaning, purpose, and adventure. I could just sit on the fence and not make a single decision. I could also float on my back and rely on others to guide me through this life. In a sense, I would be living if I did that, but in my reality I wouldn't be living at all. Life isn't meant to be watched. It is meant to be experienced and lived. We must keep making decisions and experiencing life rather than watching it go by, watching others find joy and growth. We need to experience happiness, sadness, joy, pain, melancholy, and every other emotion in order to really live. Christ experienced everything here on earth and He lives to this day. Those who experience life are the ones who keep living.

Right now, I could just give up and stop living life. I have good reasons to. I'm attracted to men. I have Crohn's Disease. I don't have the best relationship with my family. I don't have very many good friendships. I am in extreme pain right now. All of these things could bring me down. However, I don't let them bring me down. I keep living life. I see the range of emotions, experiences, and struggles that I am going through and realize that they are for my betterment. I am actually growing from everything that happens in my life. I could just give up, but I don't. I have the help and love of God and Christ on my side. As long as I have faith in them and do my best, everything will work out how it is supposed to. My life is one that keeps living despite all of its set-backs and problems and it gives me meaning and purpose.

Searching For Meaning

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I have started on a new path in my life and it is full of new meanings, adventures, and struggles. This is my search for meaning in a life that keeps living.