Monday, April 2, 2012

Two Years is a Long Time

As of today, my girlfriend and I have been together two years.

Pondering the passage of that amount of time makes me look back to when I was considering serving a mission for the LDS church.  After much thought and a hell of a lot of prayer, I decided against going.  I realized that I wasn't so sure of the truthfulness of the church and I was not going to devote two years of my life in the service of something that, by my most careful assessments, was "probably true."

That was a good call.  Looking back on the last two years of my life, I try to imagine if I'd spent that amount of time preaching in a foreign country instead of spending time with the girl I love.  And I just keep coming back to the realization that two years is a long time.

I went into the relationship with my girlfriend voluntarily, and I was committed to it.  And even though we've had a pretty smooth ride free of the dramas that can plague other couples (especially among our generation), we've had our ups and downs.  It's all been worth it.  But I can't fathom the possibility that I almost spent that same amount of time working for a cause I was not fully committed to--how miserable would I have been for those two years?

Two years is a long time.

I considered going on a mission in the hope of gaining a testimony while I was serving.  I'd heard of others having this experience, and I thought maybe I should just go.  I'd grown up in the church, and it was expected that I'd serve a mission, and I didn't relish the thought of being a twenty-year-old male in the church who wasn't a missionary.  I figured maybe going despite my uneasiness would make things easier and that I'd come home with a testimony and it would be worth it in the end.  

But two years is a long time.

If I'd managed to stick it out for the full two years, I have a feeling they would have been the worst two years of my life.  I'd be removed from my family and the comforts I'd grown used to, planted in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people, and I'd spend my days fervently telling people to believe in something that I had only a casual interest in and a tepid trust in.  My hypocrisy would have eaten away at me.  And it would have eaten away at me for two years.

Two years is a long time.

I'm proud of myself.  I'm proud that I stood up to the society I was in and made the difficult choice to proceed in a different direction.  I'm proud that I learned to start spending my time with things that I felt committed to and invested in.  And I'm proud that I used my years my way.

Because two years is a long time to waste.

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