Monday, July 13, 2015

What I spoke about

I came back to Korea for a lot of different reasons. But one reason (that I've finally admitted to myself after many months) was to run away. I had the same expectations that every RM has after coming home from their mission. Finish school, find someone to settle down with, start a family. After months of messy surgeries, doctor's visits, and uncertainty, I was ready for some permanence. Instead I got a string of bad dates, several cases of unrequited love, and more than a few nights of sitting at home eating blocks of cheese while watching Say Yes to the Dress for the thousandth time. So as soon as I had graduation plans, I decided not to wait around and let life or love to happen. And because I don't do things half way, I moved across the world to a city where I knew no one, where I hoped adventure awaited.

Don't get me wrong. Moving to Korea wasn't a bad decision; it's just that some days I'm not altogether certain it was the best one.

Which brings me to what I talked about on Sunday in Sacrament meeting. I wanted to talk about one of the main things I've learned while I've been here: overcoming the temptation to isolate oneself. I ran away to Korea to have this fierce, independent lifestyle. And what I learned is that while I can be independent and rely on myself, I don't really want to. I learned that there's this certain kind of courage in opening yourself to others, in being vulnerable, in loving other people and letting them love you back. I think this kind of love includes, but goes beyond romantic relationships and abides in the genuine friendships that we all crave to make. Of course I couldn't say all this in Korean on Sunday, so I read this quote from the Ensign instead:

When I think about the type of woman I want to be, the adjectives I want to use are brave, graceful, intelligent, and self-sufficient. These are my goals. But I think, since being here I've tried to reach those goals at the expense of building relationships. There's been more than a few times when instead of socializing and being with people, I shut myself in my apartment and binge watched a TV show or two. I didn't want people staring at me on the bus, or I didn't want to have to focus all night on a conversation in Korean, or a million different things. But isolating myself didn't make me any more courageous, or graceful, or intelligent. In fact, I think isolating myself from human interaction pushed me further away from the person I wanted to be more than anything else.

Once again, there's no way I could have said any of this in Sacrament meeting. Instead I just told some funny anecdotes about how hard it is to live alone in a foreign country. And then I talked about how better my life was when I forgot about the differences between myself and those around me. And I closed with one of my all time favorite quotes by Sister Oscarson, "If there are barriers, it is because we ourselves have created them. We must stop concentrating on our differences and look for what we have in common; then we can begin to realize our greatest potential and achieve the greatest good in this world."

One of the things I believe more than anything else, is that God didn't put us on this Earth to be alone. That's why love, in all it's forms, exists. So after all this, I'm going to strive to be a little bit more present; to close my laptop, put my phone on silent, and overcome the temptation to isolate myself from other people.

And that's what I spoke about on Sunday.

The Youth in my ward and me. Aren't' they precious?