It's been months since my last post. Blogging here has become simultaneously tedious and risky, so I haven't seen much of the appeal behind it.
However, on recommendation from a friend who has always believed in my ability to "pioneer," I've decided to share a little about my life lately.
Some of you noticed that I wrote a blog post about the BYU-Idaho Student Honor Office a few months ago. I decided to delete the post because I felt it was insensitive and petty. I've rewritten it, but I can't decide if I'll post it. Time will tell, I suppose.
The long and short of that first deleted post was this: In May of this year, I was suspended from BYU-Idaho until April 2015, when I can apply to attend school in April 2016. Effectively, I was removed from the school for nearly two years. I acknowledge my wrongdoing in being suspended, but I felt somewhat wronged by the school, that justice had been served with exactness and severity, but no mercy was extended. I could write a book filled with the negative feelings I had (and still have), but my message tonight is a different one.
Since May, even taking into account my now-derailed education, life has been pretty amazing. I've felt reasonably close to my Heavenly Father, and I have a renewed desire to deepen my understanding of Him and of the Atonement of His Son, Jesus Christ. The love of my Savior and of my God have gotten me through many hard times and led me through periods of darkness and uncertainty. Life has continued to be so beautiful even after being kicked out of school and evicted from my student housing.
The biggest blessing of being suspended came from an unexpected source: my family. My parents recognized the ways I broke the Student Honor Code at BYU-Idaho, but they also prayed for mercy and promised they would help whatever way they could, which included financial assistance and lots of prayers and affirmation of love. It opened a frank dialogue between me, my parents, and my siblings about our testimonies, my concerns about the LDS church, and our beliefs about the Atonement.
My friends also partook, as my suspension gave me an ideal opportunity to come out to them and finally allow them to see something that I'd kept so secret for so long. Again, we were able to discuss and they bore testimony to me of their faith. I'll never forget their faces when I told them I was being suspended and why. Not one of them looked at me with disgust or indignation, and their sadness was based in empathy, not patronizing.
I can remember the tears rolling down the faces of A.C. and her sister K.C., and the twinkle in M.W.'s eyes told me she loved me. A.T. looked at me, all smiles on her face that affirmed that everything would be alright, and my best friend K sat right next to me as I told everyone else, a silent support. As soon as I finished, A.S. wordlessly got up and wrapped me in a hug, not a bro-hug but a big, real hug. Then, the men in the room offered a blessing that gave me great comfort to know that God will still be with me as long as I seek Him. It was a breathless, spiritual evening.
God's blessings have not ceased. While life is far from perfect, He has always been there in the past, and I trust Him as I embark on my next journey, a full-time position writing for a car magazine in Southern California. In yet another blessing, the hiring managers at the position felt confident enough in my abilities to overlook the fact that I was one semester short of a bachelor's degree.
The saying that keeps entering my mind as I consider my blessings is, "It takes a village to raise a child." It's not an ideal fit, but I modify it slightly when I think of those in the village who have borne me up during my times of worry and sadness. My roommates, my friends, my online pen-pals, my parents, grandparents, and siblings, and of course, my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
My life is so good. It's so hard and it brings so much pain, but it is so good.